Gracious God of love,
we are grateful that you have revealed yourself to us,
each of us loved by you as children,
each of us precious in your sight,
each of us a reflection of you,
each of us bound together by love,
which is in fact your presence among us.
We come to you, O God,
weary and carrying heavy burdens.
Some of us bear the yoke of illness;
some of us bear the yoke of loss and grief;
some of us bear the yoke of caring for those who cannot care for themselves;
some of us bear the yoke of unemployment or underemployment;
some of us bear the yoke of hunger;
some of us bear the yoke of homelessness;
some of us bear the yoke of oppression or marginalization;
some of us bear the yoke of violence;
some of us bear the yoke of anger;
some of us bear the yoke of depression;
some of us bear the yoke of addiction.
From these and from so many other yokes, dear God,
we pray for rest;
we pray healing;
we pray for release;
we pray for wholeness.
On this holiday weekend,
we recognize that our nation also bears many burdens:
we don’t trust our leaders;
we cannot find ways to work together for the common good;
we allow the least among us to suffer and languish;
we lose our children to endless conflicts and wars;
we fixate on what divides us
rather than on what brings us together as one people.
Remind us this weekend of our calling.
Remind us of our common creed
that all people are created equal.
Inspire us to ensure that all of your children
enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Help us to be profoundly grateful for our freedom and security,
to never take these gifts for granted,
and to use them for the betterment of all.
God of all life,
may peace and justice fill our land
and, indeed, the whole world.
We pray this morning for the escalating tension and violence in the Middle East,
and for places around the globe where people are victimized,
where safety is threatened,
where freedoms are denied,
where life is treated as anything less than sacred.
grant us the yoke of Christ,
binding us together,
tethered by your love,
guided by your presence,
bringing your kingdom into this world.
It is for this kingdom that we now pray,
using the words Jesus taught us.