Prayer for Higher Education Sunday
Prayer for Higher Education Sunday
October 31, 2021
Invitation to Prayer
The United Church of Christ holding in the light this Sunday, October 31, 2021, our recognition of our witness in Higher Education,
in forming a future that reflects the fullness of God’s creation.
Today, in the spirt of Reformation Sunday
and also Halloween, often tied to All Soul’s Day,
our communities of faith lift up all our rigorous relationships
with those institutions of the United Church of Christ
in our colleges, universities, seminaries and academies.
This day we give thanks for these institutions
founded and rooted in our Church,
and we are called in faithfulness to engage and nurture them,
while offering prayers for their wellbeing.
For the past and what the Church initiated, f
or now and the demands that face all of us,
and to the future that needs our united efforts, let us offer our prayers.
Beloved, in all the ways we call the Holy, let us pray….
Summon in us, Eternal One,
this day of reflection and blessings for the gift of higher education
that we have received from past members of your faithful witnesses.
Secure in our lives the dreams and imagination
that leads to the search for truth, the education of all,
and the building of a justly ordered world.
Free us from the limitations that holds us back,
that in boldness we might be free, to become all that you intended us to be. For we hear in the commencement address given by Toni Morrison,
“You are moving in the direction of freedom,
and the function of freedom is to free someone else,”
so move us to serve others in the quest for freedom
that our service might liberate all.
For to educate is to free, so may our institutions not be timid
in addressing the demands of today,
preparing all for lives of propose and meaning-
to be agents of change, known as healers of brokenness.
We ask prayers Almighty One, for our communities of higher education
in the lives of students filled with hopes, dreams and restlessness.
Let our communities grow in inclusion while wrestling with fiscal realities
that shackle students in undue burden.
In a society that fractures truth, center our laboratories and classrooms
in free exchange and relentless critical inquiry that challenges values,
shaking to our core the very foundations that we build-
so that justice and mercy may flourish.
Hold us accountable by word and deed to our mission statements
and what we say and believe our higher education communities offer the world.
Lest we miss this moment of racial reckoning, creation justice,
rising hatred realized in so many forms, division that permeates everything,
and faith formation in a pluralist world,
that the rigor and call for education is ever upon us.
So grant perseverance to those who teach and administrate,
that our collective work brings the United Church of Christ
and all institutions of Higher Education moving together “that all may be one”.
For the enormity of the task is ever present,
still your grace and strength sustain us, and for this we give you thanks.
So in this year of 2021, may we be guided by questioning spirits,
scholarship and service for all of your beloved creation,
and a deepening faith that invites true belonging
where belief and becoming are interwoven…
even as the 85th Psalmist declares,
“Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet:
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.”
So receive our prayers this day
and turn our church and communities of higher education
in new, compelling and restorative directions.
For it is to life that we are given and also called.
May it be so in all our ways of knowing and becoming.
All this we pray, Amen.
A Prayer for Higher Education Sunday was written by H. Scott Matheney +
Chaplain Elmhurst University
As Elmhurst University celebrates its 150th anniversary as a University of the United Church of Christ. 1871 to 2021
Copyright 2021 H. Scott Matheney. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.