God of Love and Life,
the pattern of your presence among us is clear enough:
You give and we receive.
You give with overwhelming generosity,
and we receive with our customary casualness.
You give more than we can ask or imagine,
and we receive, sometimes in wonder.
You give us life and breath, and we receive.
You give miracles of newness, and we receive.
You give rain and sunshine and food, and we receive.
You give yourself in prophetic voice,
and in the most unexpected holy people, and we receive.
You take and bless and break and give, and we receive.
But sometimes you challenge us in overwhelming mystery
and awesome destruction.
The world shakes on its foundations and we are terrified.
The waters move beyond their bounds and we feel engulfed.
The mountains crush the valleys
and we cry from the buried depths.
Do not, we pray, allow our hearts to go numb
when this happens.
Do not, we beg, allow us to give in to a tempting paralysis.
Move us, in those times of dread,
to take our turn as the givers,
so that all may find food and shelter and care and nourishment.
Open our heart to hear the cries of those who weep,
so that what we have received from you in abundance,
may be passed on to all.
Help us, O God who is love,
and O Love who is God,
to love even in our own faltering way.
God of Life and Love,
the pattern of your presence among us is clear:
You give and we receive;
You challenge and we are afraid.
Be with us as we learn again to see you
in the giving and the receiving,
the generosity and the fear,
the alarm and the hope.
And let us learn to repeat with the psalmist:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
-Mary Taylor, modified from Julian of Norwich
-submitted by Mary Pandiani