We come into one another's presence seeking some part of ourselves, knowing that we do not live alone, knowing that we cannot live fully if we are for ourselves alone.
We come as ordinary people, each with strengths and each with weaknesses, aware of our shortcomings. Our lives set before us many tasks. We are not always equal to them.
Too often we fall short of our best expectations of ourselves; we do not know enough, we are not always patient, we fall into anger, we cannot find strength, we do not wait for wisdom, we lack vision. It hurts. It hurts to acknowledge our shortcomings.
And yet, here we are, not always perfect, not always wise, but always human, gloriously and miraculously alive and breathing, wondrously and mysteriously human.
(The following may be read as a unison response.)
May our time together renew our hope.
May the stories we share refresh our courage.
May the songs we sing lift our spirits.
May the words we speak invigorate us.
May the touch of hands, the sound of laughter,
the sight of faces new and familiar,
restore us in faith. Amen.