Pastoral Prayer for August 13, 2023

Loving God, we are deeply saddened and distressed by the loss of life and homes due to the wildfires in Maui.  We know that you are with all those who lost loved ones or who had loved ones injured or who lost their homes.  We pray that your presence with all those affected will bring hope and life and healing.

Our pastoral prayer this morning comes from Walter Brueggemann, United Church of Christ theologian, widely acknowledged to be the world’s leading Old Testament scholar.

Not at our beck and call

We call out your name in as many ways as we can.

We fix your role towards us in the ways we need.

We approach you from the particular angle of our life.

            We do all that, not because you need to be identified,

            but because of our deep need,

                                    our deep wound,

                                    our deep hope.

And then, we are astonished that while our names for you

            serve for a moment,

            you break beyond them in your freedom,

            you show yourself yet fresh beyond our utterance,

            you retreat into your splendor beyond our grasp.

We are – by your freedom and your hiddenness –

            made sure yet again that you are God. . .

                        beyond us, for us, but beyond us,

                        not at our beck and call,

                        but always in your own way.

We stammer about your identity,

                        only to learn that it is our own unsettling

                        before you that wants naming.

Beyond all our explaining and capturing and fixing you. . .

                        we give you praise,

                        we thank you for your fleshed presence in suffering love,

                        and for our names that you give us.


Independent and United Church of Christ