God of Community,

Thank you for church. Thank you for a place to gather in our brokenness and dustiness and fumbling, in our joys and sorrows and wanderings, in our failings and weaknesses and fears, and especially in our aching for your nearness. Thank you for the misspoken and misspelled names, the bemused smiles at noisy toddlers during services, the handshakes and hugs as peace is passed between us, the rowdy boys and oft-missing teens, the coffee and the dishes, the sign-up sheets and the sanctuary, the typos and the spills, the laughter and the tears, the bread and the cup. Thank you for the baptisms and ashes and the promise that in life and in death, we are forever yours. Thank you for the pause of sitting together on a Sunday morning or a Saturday night and singing hymns and hearing the Word and being called back to Love again and again. Thank you for story time and precious prayers that little hearts grasp ahold of with all their might. Thank you for the liturgy and the way it gives us words when we have none and leads the way forward even as it offers itself to give us a place to rest. Thank you for the hands that craft it and for the voices that speak it with us and for us. Thank you for the chance to hear and bear one another’s burdens. Thank you for the God in Your Mercys and the Hear Our Prayers. Thank you for the back row sitters and the front row sitters and all the sitters in between. Thank you for the airplanes that soar overhead and the sometimes blinding sun that shines through the window. Thank you for the quirks and the habits and the messes. Thank you for each precious life and dusty human who has passed through or stayed to be held a while. Thank you for our pastor who does the endlessly stretchy and sometimes fragile work of trying to hold us in your light, who reminds us over and over again how fiercely and tenderly we are held by you, and who helps us lean into the ways you stretch us with your love and your call. Thank you for communion, the remembrance of your body broken for us and the cup of salvation poured out for us. Thank you for your abiding presence in every bit of it, for spilling your love into our hearts until it covers it all, splashing over and through us, mending and redeeming and comforting and wrestling all the while. Thank you for the now and not yet we inhabit and the messy, miraculous way that you ensure that we never inhabit it alone. Amen.

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