May your people who call ourselves by your Son's name

begin to live in the actual ways and teachings of Jesus today.

May we remember that Jesus taught us to lay down our lives for the sake of others,

to never live for ourselves and our own advancement,

but to pour out our lives for the sake of our neighbor.

May we live as Jesus actually lived:

seeking out the lost and lonely,

offering prayer, comfort and healing for the afflicted,

providing safe haven for the marginalized and oppressed,

giving abundant food to the hungry,

offering water to the thirsty,

protecting the humble from the arrogance of religious leaders who forget your heart,

seeking justice where injustice rules.

May we be kind (oh when did we stop being kind?)

May we be compassionate to every human being.

May we be safe places for those who are afraid, and may we never diminish or belittle their fear.

May we stop using the phrase "God is in control" as an excuse for inaction.

May we open our eyes to the needs around us and rather than offering only pious prayer, may we use every last ounce of strength to meet those needs in the name of the One we serve.

May we be humble enough to know that we are often wrong, and that we are often wrong "in your name," which is the most grievous of sins.

May we remember that the only people group we are called to judge is ourselves.

May we read your prophets and hear their sharp words of chastisement as words for us today.

May we stop hoarding your grace, as if we were the final arbiters of who is deserving of it and who is not.

May we remember that no country, no flag, no political party, no political purpose ... nothing; nothing on earth is more important than our one allegiance, which is to You, and to the work you have given us ... which is to love. To love you. And to love our neighbors - ALL our neighbors - as we love ourselves.

Forgive us, God ... when we forget who we are.

And have mercy on us.

Have mercy.