Thank you that you are in the process of restoring your kingdom, and invite us to participate.
We confess that we often rebel against your best hopes and dreams for the world, both in the things we do and in the things we leave undone. Give us your grace to sustain us as we learn to live and act in sync with what you are up to in the lives of individuals, in the lives of people groups, in our institutions, and among your creation.
Forgive us when we quarrel with one another out of selfish ambition, vain-conceit and misplaced piety — when our posture should instead be the same as that of Jesus Christ: a servant. (Philippians 2:1-11)
Forgive us when we make ourselves like the leaders of Jesus’ day, sewing division and a spirit of religion amongst your people, “traveling over land and seas to make a single convert, and then making them twice the sons of hell that we are.” (Matthew 23:15)
Forgive us when we call out splinters in the eyes of those whose beliefs and lifestyles we disagree with without first removing planks in our own eyes, and the proverbial eye of our own doctrinal tribe. (Matthew 7:3-5)
Forgive us when we construct walls that divide and separate your family – our own brothers and sisters in Christ — rather than pursuing love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and unity – so that the world might know that God and Jesus are One. (John 15:9-17, 17:20-23)
Forgive us when we defame your holy name by misrepresenting your unconditional love. God, you are love, and you have called us to love one another because you first loved us. (1 John 4:7-21)
Forgive us when we forget that your son Jesus was condemned to death as a heretic –- like the biblical prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah and Amos before him –- all in the name of “orthodoxy”. (Luke 13:34; Acts 7:51-53)
God, in your infinite love and wisdom, help us to bear good fruit for the sake of your kingdom. Teach us to recognize when we do not incarnate the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We know that your disciples have always been identified by these virtues and we pray that you give us strength to bear this fruit as well. (John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22-23)
In the name of the Father, your son Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit,