Let us pray.

Dear God, you surprise us.

In a billion year universe you have a very serious interest in us.

We look out on the face of the universe and we see its grandeur and its indifference.

And yet you promise us that you have an interest in us, you are concerned for us, and you care that we live and the way we live for ourselves and for others.

Lord, you care for us, you love us, you encourage us to kindness.

Lord, you love those who we love, and those who we claim to be too busy to care for them.

Lord, you represent those who we love, and for those who need our call for justice.

We have met as the Gathering of Southern Presbytery, a diverse group of people you have called to govern the church in Otago and Southern, as interesting a bunch of people as you can get.

We worry about our finances as a church, because that is what Presbyterians do.

You teach us about Leviathan, that wonderful beast which you created, as big as Godzilla.

You created it to sport in the oceans; you created it to sport with you.

It is a mythical beast as strong as God, and you made it to play with you.

You catch the hell-beast on a hook, and we are saved.

How wonderful that is!

And yet we are worried – we are worried what we are doing to the climate.

We are worried what we are doing to the environment.

In a world filled with many more humans than fabulous beasts and monsters, can we all survive?

And that worries us.

Teach us to care for the other people of this planet, who just happen to not to be human – animals and beasts, plants and trees, mountains and rivers – you have given us dominion over them all and we are responsible for them too.

Let us take action to save our planet, and save ourselves – before we meet you on the next world over.

We want to raise up leaders to affect change, and we want you to be God-with-us as we take action.

Be God-with-us as we take action to be advocates to preserve this world that you have put us in.

We pray for our leaders, in the Church, in the world, in society, that we may live godly, righteous, and peaceful lives.

You are the one who says to us, be whole, be complete. You want to give us your shalom peace.

The peace that is part of the integrity of our lives.

Be with us in our households and our families.

Raise us up to right relations with each other and to good health. Make us whole.

Thank you for those you restore to us. Be active in this place and among us, your people.

Make us whole, make us at peace. Make us to listen to others, and to the voice of the earth.

Because in one generation you can save the city if the people repent and turn to you, and in another generation the city is destroyed and its name and its location are remembered only in books.

We hear of war and the rumours of war, may the great beasts you have created stand between vulnerable and the violent, and be our protectors.

Save your people so we may celebrate your festivals, and do not remove our names from your book of the life.

And we say together the prayer that you taught your disciples….

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