So What’s a Good Church For? Part 4: Praying on the Journey

As part of the GC42 Prayer Pilgrimage, Moderator Gary Paterson has written a series of blog posts around the question, “So What’s a Good Church For?” This is Part 3: “Naming Core Values.” See Parts 12, and 3.

I am very grateful to be on this pilgrimage to Corner Brook, and so glad to be travelling with you. I am finding it helpful to keep asking questions, to push away at faith, letting go, purpose, values… and I appreciate the responses that are being offered.

I also know that prayer is what under girds these “conversations that matter,” and I am very grateful for the prayers that have been written for this journey. I am finding that  having a “constant prayer,” one that we are invited to pray each day, grounds me; equally important, though, is the gift of a daily new prayer, the offering of a different voice, a personal understanding of what needs to be lifted up to God. Thank you to all who have helped prepare the way.


I also know that many people have been praying for our church these past several months, even the past three years. And I have been, and continue to be, grateful for and sustained by this gift. I was very moved when I heard, recently, that people in the Cruxifusion community have been intentionally sharing in prayer for the United Church, especially in anticipation of General Council 42, and have been compiling their prayers… another part of the pilgrim journey to Corner Brook. I would like to share one of those prayers, written by Norm Seli (used with permission):

   we often pray to you extolling Your permissive Spirit,
   but today, we embrace Your demanding love.
In a time when we talk mostly about what we are NOT allowed to do,
   when we fixate on what is inadequate or flawed;
   what fails to meet what we perceive as Your standard,
Let us be open to Your command
   to love one another.
Let our church be open to Your demand
   that the Kingdom of Heaven not be optional.
Let us get on with
   the passionate transformation of our world by Your love.
Let us find joy
   in the compassionate transformation of individuals.
Remind us, that in Christ Jesus,
   we have all that we need.
We pray for ourselves
   our communities
   our church
   and our commissioners,
that we may be open to
   Your direction
   and rejuvenation
as we remove the rock and the stones
   that keep us locked inside our own little world.
Help us to follow Your demand that we live in the world
   as Your children, agents of Your love.
In confidence we pray, Amen. 

What might your prayer be for The United Church of Canada?