Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Prayer for Pope Francis

At most of the pope's public appearances last week in the US, he asked audiences to hold him in prayer. And so, let us pray for Pope Francis.
Prayer for Pope Francis 
(by Rev Dr Durrell Watkins)
God of grace and goodness,
our Helper and Healer,
Source of light and love,
our Guardian and our Guide,
We pray for our fellow minister and laborer in your vineyard, Francis, Bishop of Rome.
We honor his gentle spirit.
We admire his humble nature.
We give thanks for his appreciation of the Golden Rule.
We remember Jesus saying, "Blessed are the peacemakers," as Francis calls for disarmament and for the end of wars.
We hear his challenge to care for the earth, for the poor, for the displaced, for the sick, and we hear in his words Jesus' call to care for these same children of God.
We give thanks not only for his official role and duties, but also for his ministry of presence which he shares so graciously and consistently.
We have seen him eat with the homeless.
We have seen him visit prisons.
We have seen him pray with Catholics and Protestants, Jains and Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, Jews and Muslims.
We have seen him love and bless children, and touch the infirm with the power of kindness.
We have witnessed him trying to soften the rhetoric on divisive issues over which good people honestly disagree.
We have heard him ask the question in response to your gay and lesbian children, "Who am I to judge?"
What gifts these signs and symbols are to the world!
We pray now for the pope's continued good health, for his on-going happiness, and for his good example and witness to inspire Christians and non-Christians alike throughout the world.
And we pray, also, that the light of hope, justice and inclusion would shine even more brightly through him.
We pray that he may come to see same-gender loving people not only as honest seekers who should not be harshly judged, but as good people who have been blessed by you to be what we are in the world! May he take steps to lessen homophobia in his denomination and to heal those who have been harmed by homophobia's toxic venom. And may he very soon speak out clearly against physical and psychological violence done to same-gender loving people, especially violence that is committed in God's name, which is using the Sacred Name in vain.
We pray also that this seeker and lover of justice will come to see that a male privileging hierarchy has marginalized, insulted, and even wounded women; may he at least consider that you do call women to ordained ministry and "in Christ there is neither...male nor female" but we are all part of the creation that you call good. May he not only venerate the mother of Jesus, but respect all women and see them as equals in the work of ministry.
And, we know that gender identity isn't simply binary. May he come to see those of us who are transgender and gender non-conforming as children of God, deserving of respect, dignity, and fair treatment.
We are not asking that he be other than he is, that his heart be manipulated by super natural forces, or that he be untrue to his conscience; what we are praying is that this one who seems to care for people, who seems open to new learning, who seems to be willing to see "that of God" in others, follow those inclinations further so that he might be a voice of hope and healing, justice and inclusion for even more people who have been forgotten, dehumanized or demonized by church, state, society or culture.
We simply hope that this good man will see the goodness in all of your children, and add his gentle voice to uplifting those that religion has mistakenly put down for far too long.
We wish the pope well in his good endeavors, and we choose to believe that he can be one of the heroes who can right past wrongs and bring more people to your feast of all-inclusive and unconditional love. May it be so.

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