Pastoral Prayer, 5/15/2015
Broadway Baptist Church
Chris Caldwell, Pastor
O God whose arms are strong and loving
Help us to see that we cannot embrace a person we cannot reach.
We praise you for living out this truth by sending your son across the great divide between things above and things below.
We give thanks for a savior who scoffed at the divide between
The Rich and the poor
The upright and the downcast
We give thanks for a savior who humbled himself
Who recognized the chasm between the might of God and the misery of people
And therefore built a bridge between them
We give thanks for a savior who was never content for there to be distance between him and a hurting person
Who reached and took the always withdrawn hand of the leper
Who demanded that Zacchaeus come down out of his tree
Who insisted the children be allowed to come to him
So that he could take them in his arms and bless them
So that we could see in him your strong and loving arms.
O God who builds bridges wherever there are divides
Forgive us when we remain at ease on our side of the ravine
Open our ears to the quiet roar rising up from turbulent streams of distrust between
People who have different bank balances
People who have different skin
People who speak different languages
Yet all who are people created by the same God.
Lord, help us to see that we cannot embrace a person we cannot reach
And so challenge us to bridge the divide between us
Help us to build bridges of care between those without food and people with money to buy it
Help us to build bridges of trust between those who have been built up and those who have been beaten up
Help us to build bridges of patience between the swift and the slow
Help us to build bridges of prayer between those who are well and those who are sick.
But Lord, we recognize we cannot bridge every chasm or bind every wound
And so help us to be faithful in providing the money for others to go in our place
Help us to give generously so that members of our church can be the strong and loving arms of Christ in forgotten parts of Louisville, in dirt-poor parts of Kentucky, and wherever else you call us.
But grant us also the wisdom of recognizing the limits of what we can do
And help us never to underestimate the importance of sending missionaries who give their lives and not merely their vacations to serve others and to share the message of Christ
We give thanks that, even as we worship in this place, around this nation and around your world there are missionaries sent in part by the support of our gifts
Guide them as they speak a word of grace in a language we will never know
Bless them as they carry the love of Christ into communities we will never visit.
Encourage them as they bring food into a home we will never enter
Strengthen them as they place a blanket across the shoulders of a person we will never meet.