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Provider God, we praise you for such a beautiful and cool morning. The morning breeze is such as welcome relief from the heat these past several days, and we delight in seeing the works of your hands around us, from the green leaves on trees, to the vibrant blooms, to the clouds so bold against blue skies. Summertime reminds us to slow down, to take deeper breaths, and we so desperately need that reminder and season in our lives. It’s easy to become wrapped up even in the busyness of vacations, family gatherings, camps, and trips. We relax once we’re on the trip, or attempt to, but going from sixty to zero is disconcerting. Grant us rhythms of life that aren’t so taxing on our bodies, on our hearts and souls. Our bodies do so much for us, are always fighting for us, even when it can feel like they are working against us when we receive the new diagnosis, the next update, unexpected news. God help us to not just care for, but love our bodies, no matter what size or shape, no matter how old or young, in sickness and in health, and to delight in the ways that they carry us throughout life.
God we ask that you would continue to carry this world, that your steadfast love would continue to be made known. We see evidence of that love in the human chain that was formed in Florida to rescue the family from the riptide. We see evidence in people’s courage to stand up to sources of power, and calling them out for the ways in which humans rights are violated and defiled. We see the power that steadfast love has in the world, and we pray that this steadfast love and compassion would be infused into our world and nation’s leaders as they lead and make decisions that impact the lives of millions.
Convict us Lord when we forget to extend loving kindness to others, when we participate in only seeing others as a label and not as a whole person as you have created them. Convict us when we pass people by because they make us uncomfortable, rather than look them in the eye and say, I see you, just as God sees you. We need hearts of loving kindness Lord, and not just towards others but ourselves. We have our own secret shames, tombs of darkness that we hide in, surrounded by writings on the walls that tell us we aren’t enough—good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, spiritual enough, loving enough, worthy enough.
But God, even you couldn’t be confined to a tomb. You called Lazarus out of the tomb, and you call us out by name, telling us that we were never meant to live in darkness, but in the light of your love. Help us to be courageously vulnerable and emerge, to hear the truths that come from you and not our tombs, to hear the voices of friends and family who are shouting at us that we are loved, we are smart, we are beautiful, and that we bear the image of Christ. Help us to proclaim the good news to others who might be trapped in their tombs of shame, and to be a community that is more consumed and concerned with including others, with seeing people beyond the labels, and with showing true lovingkindness so that people might flourish here.