Those who can rediscover the simplicity of a child can begin to hope anew. This is possible above all for those who know they can trust God, who desires har- mony among all peoples in the peaceful com- munion of his kingdom. It is also possible for those who, though not sharing the gift of faith, believe in the values of forgiveness and solidarity and see in them – not without the hidden action of the Spirit – the possibility of renewing the face of the earth. Pope John Paul II World Day of Peace, 1996

We pray for children who sneak popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can never find their shoes. And we pray or those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who never “counted potatoes,” who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an X-rated world. We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money. And we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, who can’t find any bread to steal, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real. We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse out the tub, who get visits from the tooth fairy, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool, who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone, whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry. And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who aren’t spoiled by anybody, who go to deb hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move, but have no being. We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance. For those we smother…and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

Dear Jesus, We know that our life journeys may have many twists and turns, some unexpected, others just part of living. Help us to bear painful surprises. When we stray from your way, may your mercy call us back. May we become welcome guides to others, all in your love. Amen

Dear Jesus, Help me to remember those times when I felt close to you, when my heart was filled with admiration and warmth for you and your message, when you gave me comfort in difficult times, when I was overcome by the beauty of creation, when all things just seem to fall into place. Amen

Dear Jesus, At times I just have to slow down and rest in your presence to get some perspective on what I am to do in my life. I can easily get caught up in trivialities and miss what is truly important or fail to get enough rest and exercise to be able to face day to day challenges. Be my guide to make good choices in following your way of love and self-giving. Amen

Lifted up on the Cross You promised the repentant thief a place with you in paradise, lifted up as a sign in the desert You promised to draw us all to yourself.

Lord Jesus, lifted up on the Cross You offered yourself for us all. Your wounds for our healing, Your sufferings for our faults, Your agony for our peace, Your forgiveness for our sins, Your thirst for our comfort, Your blood for our redemption, Your death for our life.

For those who have died life is changed, not ended. In your goodness, Lord, we pray their faults and failings mended and heaven’s crown thus won, we will remember them transformed into the image of your divinity, we will think of them changed into glory. Amen

Treasured in time immeasurable how much more then are we in glorious splendour adorned, clothed in richest glory.

We Will Think of Them Changed Into Glory Even though I feel the loss, and sadness presses heavy down, yet memories linger on, a melody of flowers to ease the pain of parting. Lord, one little flower that perishes is clothed by you in splendor and glory, and how much more then we, we who are made imperishable, who are loved by you eternally.

My thoughts go with you, my dearest friends, my tears weep for you, my love never ends. Your memories linger, your smile that cared, your listening ear, your goodness shared. My heart ever hold you, my embrace never cease, my prayer enfold you, my wish is your peace. In God’s deepest love, in God’s gentlest care, in God’s sweetest joy, This is my prayer. Amen

In our busy world there are so many who do not want to know, who do not want to share our sorrows or grief. Yet the Lord cares. The Lord knows all your suffering, and He has promised, He will comfort you; We will enfold you in His love.