In the first moments of creation you revealed yourself to be a God of words: you spoke, and light was created. You spoke and the waters moved back from the land. You spoke and life itself began. God, we stand in wonder at what you chose to do through the power of your words: entire galaxies and the smallest flower all exist and evolve in response to your voice. Life itself is possible only because you chose to speak. And yet, God, we miss how truly extraordinary your words are if we stop at the grandeur of even the created universe. For God, you are not only a God who speaks, you are a God who calls. From the holy and mysterious depths of the the universe and from within our own spirits, your voice is calling us. By your divine choosing, you have called us to be in relationship with you and to join you in the miraculous work of shepherding life in to existence. From the first moment when you called Abram to be the father and ancestor of your people to the moments when Jesus called his disciples to follow him, you have made it your business to call us to you as you work out your loving plan of inviting all of creation alongside you.
God, we give thanks for the extraordinary gift of being called to be your disciples. In the moments when we have failed, when we give in to the temptation to follow our own selfish desires and our own arrogant assumption that we know what it best for our communities and even our own selves, we ask for forgiveness. In the moments when fear or doubt kept us from speaking words of light and healing into a cynical and hurting, we ask for courage. In the places in our own lives where we are not sure what your voice even sounds like, we ask for clarity, for wisdom, and for faithful companions on the journey who can help us better hear you.
We are often reminded in the church that we are created in your image, and so often our minds drift to wondering about what you must look like in the fullness of your divinity. But what if, Lord, what it means to be created in your image is to sound like you? And so we ask: how might we pray and work to make sure our voices sound more like yours? How might we cultivate in ourselves voices that are committed to creating and sustaining life; how might we cultivate in ourselves voices that echo with redemption and forgiveness and second chances? How might we use our voices to open doors instead of build barriers between your children, whether oceans away or as near as the width of our own dinner tables? And how might we use our own voices to to reveal those places where the words of some people and some institutions are not your words, but are instead words chosen to evoke fear, dissent, and mistrust?
God, in a world where there is so much noise from so many people seeking to convince us of that their way is the only way, that their truth is the real truth, give us discernment, courage, and compassion to hear your voice calling above the others—and not only to hear, but to follow.
We ask it in the name of the one who calls us to discipleship even now.