A Prayer from Mark 1.29-34

We pray, God of life,
aware of our world around us:
struggles, grief, vast injustice;
hope, hospitality and small signs of your presence.

Your hand and love have shaped everything, and everyone,
teach us your patience and your mercy,
both with ourselves and with those around us;
help our anger at wrongdoing to be shaped into acts of justice
and words of challenge;
reform our grief that we might live more fully into your promise.

Lord Jesus,
You brought healing to those who could not imagine renewal,
and opportunity to those who had been denied.

We think of countless women disciples who have shaped opportunity into service;
who have borne witness over millennia,
with acts of justice, mercy, courage and hope;
who have used hospitality to echo your welcome
and have entertained angels unawares. 

Holy Spirit,
Breath and wind and wonder,
remind us of your call to serve and to proclaim,
to offer life to those who are demonised
and hope to those possessed by hopelessness.  

As our community begins to fragment,
make us ambassadors of reconciliation;
as we fear to be too close to each other,
remind us that you gather us with the kiss of wind and flame;
as we are confronted by struggles beyond our strength,
give us the capacity and courage to serve where we are,
and those people within our reach.

Raise up leaders to speak of you and your promise,
challenge our current leaders now to act justly
and not from self-interest;
lift up those who are poor,
whose names are unknown,
who are discarded by systems, or politicians,
or us.

Bless our congregation here,
bless our Uniting Church,
bless your Church in every appearance and every place,
that we may serve you well,
and the world for which Christ died.