we offer you our praise and thanksgiving,
for the joys of friendship,
and for the burden of faith.
As we sit in the midst of your many mercies,we are mindful of so many of our brothers and sisters
who dwell in places short of mercy,
absent of justice,
defaulted on the gifts of life.
We can recite the grocery list of needful people
and violent places,
but you know them all.
As you know them and we know them,
we pledge in this company
to take these needful people in these violent places
as our call from you.
We are so poorly equipped for such a call.
But you are the God who gives
bread and wine,
table and towel,
book and song,
and with them courage, freedom, and energy
for the task to which we are unequal.
Catch us up this day into the reality of your good purpose, that by the time we leave each other
we will know –
yet again –
that your mercy and justice and compassion
outruns all the needs of the world.
Sign us on and bless your church,
bless the bishops and the priests,
bless the pastors and the elders,
bless all the faithful in places harder than our own,
in places of seduction like ours,
in places of temptation we know too well.
Keep us simple and on task,
and we will praise you by our glad obedience.