Loving and compassionate God, who is ever-present. We are grounded in your love. We remember the words of Jesus to “love your neighbour”.
We pause to bring our concerns and prayers for others before you. Not as a fix it list for you to remedy but to remind ourselves that we have a responsibility to care for each other as well as ourselves.
We think especially of the needs of families. Families in all their forms. Families with a Mum and Dad and children, single-parent families, blended families, families with same-sex parents, families with adopted children, families with disabled children, displaced families, refugee families, families in detention centres. The tensions, stresses and things that might be challenging households at this time. As well as the things that enrich and strengthen them and the joys of family life.
We think of families where there may be anxiety about children returning to school, or going to school for the first time – facing new fears and challenges.
We think of the extra stress that the virus pandemic has placed on families. Health worries, financial stress, loved ones lost, livelihoods lost or badly damaged, people working from home, children doing homeschooling.
We remember especially the people of Zimbabwe, particularly the families and loved ones of members of this congregation, who may be experiencing financial and economic stress as well as dealing with health issues.
We think of families where there is tension and stress, communication breakdown and family violence.
For those experiencing mental health issues, social isolation and homelessness.
For all people everywhere who are facing, or trying to recover from, catastrophic environmental change. Particularly for the people of Western Australia who have lost homes and livestock through fire.
We think also of the factors that protect families and make us stronger and more resilient. Good friends and companions, people to share our lives with, to share our concerns with, people who provide needed support, people who love us. And people who help foster a strong sense of community and identity and hope for the future. Art and music and recreation. Good food and coffee.
We pray for our public health team and for care workers everywhere who are caring for others.
We remind ourselves that we live together in community. We remind ourselves of our call to Mission and responsibility to continue to work for social justice.
We pray for the strength to continue on and to play our part in discerning the future of our Mission in St Kilda. We pray for its sustainability and the legacy we will pass to those who follow.