Saturday, April 04, 2015

Urban Way of the Cross 2015: Scripture Readings, Prayers and Images

The Urban Way of the Cross procession through Downtown Albuquerque included seven stations, where pilgrims reflected on areas where Jesus is being crucified each day  Dozens of Presbyterians, Episcopalians, United Methodists, Roman Catholics, Mennonites, Lutherans and others walked in this prayerful event. Here are a handful of  scripture readings, prayers and photographs from the ecumenical pilgrimage that started and ended at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

Loose the Bonds of Injustice: Is not this the fast that I choose:
 to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke? 
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. 
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. Isaiah 58: 6-10

\ Justice for the most vulnerable: For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of EgyptDeuteronomy 10:17-19

Prayer on Hospitality/Support for Immigrants: Jesus, there are no boundaries to your love, no borders to your kindness, no limits to your welcoming ways. No one stands outside the circle of your healing touch. Keep us ever mindful that we, too, were once strangers in this land. Teach us to welcome others as you have welcomed us. Lead us in the ways of tenderness. Unbind our hearts that we might, like you, respond to others’ pain and need not from a place of fear but from hearts overflowing with loving kindness.

Let the children come: Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ And he laid his hands on them and went on his wayMatthew 19: 13-14
Prayer for Justice (and an end to police violence): Jesus, the prophets longed for a day when justice might flow like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Give us strength that we, like the prophets of old, might raise our voices in calls for justice. Teach those who govern that they might rule with a righteousness attentive to the needs of all your children, but especially the needs of the most vulnerable. Turn cold hearts to the ways of mercy so that we may see your reign of love here in this place now.

Prayer on Finding Shelter for People Experiencing Homelessness: Jesus, you say to those who follow you, “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” You know what it is to be without a place to sleep at night. You know the challenges those who have no shelter daily face. You know the shame often piled on those who live on the streets. You know the loneliness that can accompany the move from houseless to housed. Draw us together—both housed and houseless—that we might live as one knowing that we all share one true home in you.

Prayer on Dignity and Honor for Women: O Jesus, we are so quick to judge others; so quick to strike out against those you draw close. We know that you welcome those others denigrate and dismiss. You weep with those others hurt through words and actions. You welcome all who come to you. You forgive all who turn to you. Teach us to be gentle to one another. Turn our hearts to those in deepest need. School us in your ways of loving kindness. Spur us to action that we might love as you have loved mothers, daughters and sisters that others have deemed not worthy for we know that all are worthy in your sight.

Prayer on Ending Hunger (from One Human Family, Food for All Campaign): O God, you entrusted to us the fruits of all creation so that we might care for the earth and be nourished with its bounty. You sent us your Son to share our very flesh and blood and to teach us your Law of Love. Through His death and resurrection, we have been formed into one human family.

Jesus showed great concern for those who had no food—even transforming five loaves and two fish into a banquet that served five thousand and many more. We come before you, O God, conscious of our faults and failures, but full of hope, to share food with all members in this global family.

Through your wisdom, inspire leaders of government and of business, as well as all the world’s citizens, to find just, and charitable solutions to end hunger by assuring that all people enjoy the right to food. Thus we pray, O God, that when we present ourselves for Divine Judgment, we can proclaim ourselves as “One Human Family” with “Food for All”.

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