In this month of September, help us remember O God our Father our collective history as a nation like Ezra your servant:
I said, “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today.”
Help us remember our sins not to blame and deepen the wounds of the past but to learn from the lessons of the mistakes and abuses that have happened; help us remember our sins to understand its roots so we may not repeat them again; most of all, help us remember our sins so we may realize your immense love and mercy for us in never forsaking us.
“For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather, he has turned the goodwill of kings of Persia toward us. Thus, he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.”
In your strange providence, loving God our Father, you have used the pagan kings of Persia to set your people free from the Babylonian captivity; in the same manner, you have never left nor abandoned us through our painful experiences as a result of our captivity in sin and evil to see your love and compassion, enabling us to turn them into opportunities for personal growth and maturity in our spirituality by deepening our sensitivity to the sufferings of others caused by evil and sin.
We pray today, O God that we may be agents of your mercy like King Cyrus of ancient Persia, most especially as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ sent out to proclaim the coming of good news of salvation. Amen.