Who do we say that you are?

Here’s the prayer of adoration and confession I used in the opening worship service at United Theological College on Monday. The gospel reading was Mark 8:31-38, including the questions Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am” and “Who do you say that I am?”. I took on the challenge of writing a prayer of confession that rounds out the the sense of “acknowledging with” God. I think we’ve become far too narrow in our approach to confession, focusing largely on shortcomings, sin and forgiveness, and overlooking the transformative work of the Spirit in communities of Christ. The final section of the prayer could be strengthened further.

Who Do You Say That I Am?

Jesus, who do we say that you are?
We say that you are indeed a prophet
One who comes in the name of God to speak truth without fear.
We see in you a challenge to our complacency
and a call to invest in a future that reflects God’s vision for the world.

Jesus, who do we say that you are?
We say that you are the Reconciling One
breaking down the walls we have built between us and God
We live as reconciled people because your border-crossing
has given us forgiveness and new beginnings as a way of life.

Jesus, who do we say that you are?
We say that you are the servant leader
whose life, death and resurrection
demonstrate with integrity the call of God.
In you we are challenged to take part in the transformation of the world
without resorting to coercion, manipulation or neglect.

Jesus, who do we say that you are?
We say that you are the source of life
The one who connects us with the spirit of God
We experience you as the bearer of wisdom
who inspires us to live with creativity and courage.

Jesus, what do we say with our lives in response to your question?

Yes, we seek to speak with courage for a world marked by justice
We have started to listen to your call in the voice of the marginalised
And yet we have such a long way to go.

Yes, we live as a multicultural community
We are paying attention to the artificial barriers
linked with gender, age, ethnicity and sexuality
And yet are just beginning.

Yes we are looking for models of leadership
that take seriously both calls for transformation and nurture
We’re journeying with you as disciples
And yet we find ourselves taking faltering steps.

Yes we are members of a learning community
committed to discerning wisdom
seeking integrity, creativity and courage
And yet we have so much more to discover.

Who does Jesus say that we are?

You are people of God
Called again to live with courage
Reconciled and restored together
Challenged to take part in the renewal of all creation
Inspired to live today with wisdom, creativity and courage.

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