Anniversary Prayer

Sovereign, Creator, Mother and Father of life: With thanks beyond our ability to speak, with hope that fills even this sanctuary, with joy for each of our 85 years, with forgiveness for some of the scenes these stones have witnessed and joy for the words and acts that make these stones shout Amen, hear our prayer.

Riverside ChurchFor this congregation: Look upon us with compassion for the fools we have been, the betrayals we have perpetrated in the name of our petty truths, misguided perceptions, jaded and small jealousies. Thank you for your mercy; now please continue to heal and reconcile us so we may embrace one another and show the future what your salvation looks like in this beloved community.

Accept the bold words and acts of justice these 85 years that carry the name Riverside as payments on the principle of this debt you have already, in Christ, redeemed. Stir us to serve our friends in need and to work for change so that their need is diminished. Remind us we too, are they.

Hear our prayer for our world as Dr. Fosdick wrote and generations have sung: “Cure our warring madness,” and heal the wounds of violence, save our children everywhere from harm, shelter the homeless and the refugee. Let compassion flow freely from those blessed with more than is needed so that victims of the many forms of disaster may simply have enough.

Set us straight God, our path clear, your love our north star, grace our dear and close companion, justice in our backpack, joy and wonder for refreshment. We’ve come so far, we have so far to go. Let the carillon ring over the city for decades to come. Grant us wisdom and courage to belong, to believe, to become, beyond “weak resignation” that we may face this hour, these days.


This beautiful prayer was offered by my colleague Rev. Michael Livingston on the 85th anniversary of The Riverside Church in the City of New York.  It is posted here with his permission.

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