Almighty God, we need your presence in our land during this election time.
Guide the candidates to campaign fairly and present their viewpoints honestly.
Guide the voters as they listen and assess the positions of the different parties.
Jesus, you cared for those who were poor, physically challenged, social outcasts.
Walk with us into the voting booth and help us make a wise decision,
taking into account not only our own needs, but the needs of others.
Inspire many to vote, so the will of the people can be heard.
When you are very good at doing things for God, you start to look around and you notice that other people aren’t feeding, clothing, welcoming people at all, or maybe they are not doing it efficiently enough, or in the right way. We can be like the famous do-er Martha, who was judgemental of Mary. We can become judgers. we can put ourselves in the role of God, deciding who is a sheep and who is a goat. Mennonites have been pretty quick to put their judging hat on, and it’s not just about who is working hard in the feeding, clothing and welcoming department.
Today we pray for those among us who seek shelter every day.
Home is gone for them, for many reasons;
they are fleeing violence, or they couldn’t pay the rent,
sometimes it was addiction or mental illness.
So now they wander, seeking shelter.
Some live in their vehicles, holding on to some possessions.
Others have left it all behind, and with a bag or two
go to shelters for a meal or a bed, taking their children with them.
Others sleep rough, under bridges, or in the bushes around the city.
Hear our prayer for those who fall under the wheels of our economy.
Our church, First Mennonite, wants to tell you something about the land we live on…
the land where our church, our homes, our towns and cities and farms are.
We aren’t the first people to live here,
there were people here for thousands of years before we got here.
They are called indigenous people, and they still live here;
they have beautiful names: Anishinaabe, Haudenosauneee, Attawandaron.
Let’s say those names: Can you repeat after me? Anishinaabe. Haudenosauneee, Attawandaron.
We didn’t live up to the promises we made with them on how to share the land,
and it’s not been fair to them.
We have hurt the people with these beautiful names, the indigenous peoples.
We are trying to figure out how to make things right,
You are the God who hears:
hear our prayer today for all who lament or repent.
For those among us who face discrimination every day
because of their skin colour,
For those among us with white skin who benefit
from racist systems sometimes even without realizing it,
For those among us who have struggled and waited so long
for the Promised Land of freedom and equality,
God the Almighty longs for justice
and confronts the sin of white supremacy.
God gathers the souls of the murdered,
their blood cries out from the ground.
God hears the cries of the oppressed,
and comes to their aid.
Jesus kneels with the protestors,
he stands in solidarity with the downtrodden,
he cradles the broken bodies of the persecuted.
The Holy Spirit broods over the bent world,
blowing the winds of change,
propelling the rushing winds of hope….
The sun rises and people head out from the shelter
to spend the day on the streets.
We pray for kindness in an unfair world,
safety from harm and aid for those who are sick.
Every person has their story.
Jesus, you too were a wanderer,
travelling far from family:
be with those who feel lonely today.
We ask for basic things:
food to sustain,
comfortable dry places to rest,
and for the compassion of strangers….
thank you for Indigenous and Inuit communities,
strong after centuries of persecution.
Families with deep bonds of love,
wise with elders, rich in culture, lovers of the land,
speaking with powerful voices that cannot be silenced.
God of justice, God of love,
hear our prayer of lament for crimes committed:
for land taken, for children stolen.
for laws that hobbled culture,
for languages legislated out of existence,
for racist policies of every kind
that produced a wicked harvest of poverty.
You know how this toxic power dynamic
I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.
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