Thursday, March 17, 2011

Prayers of the church

Yesterday, I wrote about the Litany of Peace that begins our Kyrie.  Today, I want to mention the remaining two lines of the text.  The Kyrie turns its attention to the church and its members.  First, we sing "For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord."  I'm likely over-reading the text, but I've always been a fan of the word "all" in this text.  It does not say that we pray solely for members of the church or anything of the sort.  We pray for all who offer worship and praise, visitors and long time members, clergy and staff.  I'm convinced that churches need to be inviting places of peace, mercy, and inclusiveness to thrive; just as Jesus dined with tax collectors and people from all walks of life, so should we welcome all into the embrace of God's mercy.

The final line of the Kyrie is a request: "Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord."  Since this text comes near the beginning of the service, I think of it as asking for His presence throughout the rest of the service and the week ahead.

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