The Common Good

A Prayer for a New President and a New America

God of Abraham, Miriam, Hannah, Rizpah, and David...
God of Elijah, Amos, Ruth, Isaiah, Deborah...
God of Mary, John the Baptizer, Peter, Paul, Philemon and Onesimus...
God of Anthony, Ambrose, Dirk Willems, Teresa of Avila, and Francis of
Assisi,
God of Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, William
Wilberforce, and Oscar Romero
and God of love, grace, and hope...

Thank you for creating a perfect world.
Forgive us for the mess we have made of it.
Thank you for creating Jubilee, gleaning, and Sabbath as patterns to
ensure that the poor are cared for, the earth rests, and inequality is
dismantled.
Forgive us for choosing the patterns of empire.
Thank you for using the weak things to shame the strong and the
foolish things to confound the wise.
Protect us from becoming too strong or too wise.
Protect us from ourselves.

Forgive us...
for the groaning of creation
for the millions who die of hunger and curable diseases
for warehousing people in prisons and using them for labor
for the scandal of billions wasted in war
for worrying about tomorrow and storing up more than this day our
daily bread
for an economy that mirrors the seven deadly sins
for our Caesars and our Herods
for the violence and greed in our own hearts
Save us from ourselves.

Deliver us...
from the arrogance of power
from the myth of redemptive violence
from the tyranny of greed
from the ugliness of racism
from false hope and counterfeit change
from the cancer of hatred
from the seduction of wealth
from the idolatry of nationalism
from the paralysis of cynicism
from the ghettoes of poverty
from the ghettoes of wealth
from the blood-stained pages of history
and from the legacy of slavery.
Deliver us oh God.

Give us the courage...
to bless the poor in a world that blesses the middle class.
to bless the meek in a world that admires aggression.
to bless the hungry in a world that feeds the already fed.
to bless the merciful in a world that shows no mercy on evildoers.
to bless the pure in heart in a world of clutter and noise.
to bless the peacemakers in a world that baptizes bombs.

Give us imagination...
that we might not conform to the patterns of this world.
that we might shatter indifference and interrupt injustice with grace
that we might choose the cross over the sword
that we might be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves
that we might consider the lillies and sparrows as they shame Wall
Street's splendor
that we might choose the dream of God over the dreams of nations
that we might cling to the God that so loved the world, not just America
that we might allow our Jesus to change America rather than America to
change our Jesus.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Shane Claiborne is a Red Letter Christian and a founding partner of The Simple Way community, a radical faith community that lives among and serves the homeless in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. He is the co-author, with Chris Haw, of Jesus for President.

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