Closing Prayers and Readings
These prayers are appropriate for the conclusion of a service. As a final benediction, we take the hopes and prayers for repair, peace, and justice that we have just voiced and challenge ourselves to turn them into action.
May God bless you with discomfort At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, starvation and war So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them And to turn their pain into joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness To believe that you can make a difference in the world, So that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
- Franciscan Benediction
Peace for the Children of God O God, all holy One, you are our Father, and our Mother, and we are your children. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we may be able to discern your work in the universe. And be able to see Your features in every one of Your children. May we learn that there are many paths but all lead to You. Help us to know that you have created us for family, for togetherness, for peace, for gentleness, for compassion, for caring, for sharing. May we know that You want us to care for one another as those who know that they are sisters and brothers, members of the same family, Your family, the human family. Help us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, so that we may be able to live in peace and harmony, wiping away the tears from the eyes of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. And may we know war no more, as we strive to be what You want us to be: Your children. Amen.
-Desmond M. Tutu, Former Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa (adapted)
This is What We Are About
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations
that need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
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 God’s grace
to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results
but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are the workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets
of a future not our own.
-Bishop Ken Untener
Don’t merely expect to find or to believe that life is worthwhile; make it worthwhile. Don’t merely see life whole; make it whole.
Not knowing which should come first, to improve one’s self or to improve the world, we end up doing neither.
Actually, the only way to improve the world is by improving one’s self, and the only way to improve one’s self is by improving the world.
-Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan
May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.
-Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama