PRIEST:    As we gather to celebrate today’s Eucharist, Jesus challenges us to be a people of reconciliation, a community of peacemakers, to live in God’s endless and unconditional forgiveness.  Called to refuse to allow bitterness to arise from our wounds,  we seek to understand a God who is at once strong in demanding justice and gentle in forgiving!  And God is foolish enough to expect us to share the strength of his struggle and the gentleness of his forgiveness.  How often we fail!

READER:      When we judge rather than seek to understand,
condemn rather than forgive

                                                     LORD HAVE MERCY …

                            When we close our hearts to those who have hurt us,
loving only those who love us;
                            when we close our minds and hearts to the challenge
to be peacemakers and reconcilers

                                                     CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

                            When we are only too ready to seek and expect forgiveness,
                            but slow to offer the same forgiveness;
                            quick to expect support with our problems,
                            and slow to reach out to others in theirs

                                                     LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:     May the God of all mercy give us a new heart of compassion,
clothe us in forgiveness
                       and send us to our world as bearers of his reconciliation
                       bringing us all to everlasting life…


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