Dear Lord, today I thought of the words of Vincent van Gogh: “It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.” You are the sea. Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life, you remain the same. Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock, but the sameness of a faithful lover. Out of your love I came to life; by your love I am sustained; and to your love I am always called back. There are days of sadness and days of joy; there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude; there are moments of failure and moments of success; but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love. O Lord, sea of love and goodness, let me not fear too much the storms and winds of my daily life, and let me know that there is ebb and flow but that the sea remains the sea. Amen.
-A Prayer by Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)
Prayer of the Bible
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts
of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and seek his face always.
(Free expression of praise and thanksgiving to God)
Confession of Sin
I return to You, Lord my God, for I have stumbled because of my iniquity. Take away all iniquity and receive me graciously.
(Time of silence for confession of sin)
Words of Jesus
God’s care for humanity is so great that he sent his unique Son among us, so that those who count on him might not lead a futile and failing existence, But have the undying life of God Himself. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
(Think deeply on these life-giving words of Jesus)
Prayer for Ourselves and Others
Blessed be God who hears me when I pray.
(Time to bring before God our own needs and the needs of others)
The Divine Embrace—Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in Your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and Love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen!
-Book of Common Prayer