Tuesday, May 12, 2015

For May 17, 2015

As a baptized and baptizing community.
We gather to sing, to pray, to listen, to worship
As people who are being changed, transformed, sanctified,
We respond to God's call, we embrace the Spirit moving in our midst.
As a community of Christ-followers, we share the peace of Christ with our neighbours.

God of life, in our baptism,
we walk through life into death and back into life.
God of transformation, in our baptism,
you make us a new being, changing us, making us more than we were.
God of grace, in our baptism,
we are set free from the bondage of sin, we are set free to be people of life.
Transforming, Empowering, Gracious God
help us live as those who are freed from sinfulness, help us put the old ways behind us, help us live into the new people we are becoming.
...time of silent prayer...
The God whose love flowed over us with the waters of baptism, the Christ who redeems and teaches us, the Ruach who fills our lungs with the breath of life, is Gracious. God leads us through the mis-steps of life and, grace-filled, pulls us forward, transforming and sanctifying us as we grow into what is made true in our baptism. This is Good News!
Thanks be to God! Amen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

For May 10, 2015, to go with Romans 5:1-5

Jesus said “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest “
We gather in the loving presence of God, who gives us rest.
Here we lay out our lives, here we are refreshed for the continuing journey
We gather to worship,
And as we gather we turn to our neighbours and exchange the Peace of Christ.

Loving and Gracious God, we gather together again.
Here we celebrate your presence, here we give thanks for your gifts, here we come to drink from the spring of your wisdom.
Supporting God, we carry our burdens into this place.
Seeking to lay them in your hands.
Guiding God, we bring our struggles with us to this time of worship.
Trusting that you are with us in the struggle, that you will help us endure and give us hope for the future.
Challenging God, when this time of worship is over.
Send us back into the world, ready to carry our burdens, prepared to continue the struggles, open to see how you are active in our lives.
These things we pray in the name of Jesus, who walks with us, who offers to share our load, and who taught us to pray saying...

God of life, we acknowledge that the world is sometimes a confusing place.
A place that challenges our understandings and expectations of life.
In a world where we are told that if we do/buy/say the right things life will be easy,
we wonder why there is such suffering.
We meet our own struggles, our own suffering, small and great,
and we wonder what we are supposed to gain from it.
God of grace, God of presence, God of hope,
you promise to share our burdens, you promise to be with us always.
In grace, help us work through the struggles of life.
Through grace, push us to support others in their struggles, to ease the suffering where we can.
And if it is the right time, may we learn and grow in the struggle.
...time of silent prayer...
God is Gracious. God's grace is shown in the wonder that we are never alone in our suffering and struggles. God's grace is shown when we move forward and learn and grow. And also when we simply survive. This is Good News!
Thanks be to God! Amen.

Our time of worship ends, our time of service continues.
We go from this place back out into the wider world with its joys and its sorrows, its celebrations and its struggles.
As we live and serve, may we carry the love of God with us.
Sharing it with all we meet
And may we help each other with our burdens
Even as God walks with us and lifts the weight from our shoulders.
Go with God.
Always. Amen.

Monday, April 13, 2015

For April 19, 2015 -- Peter's Dream, Opening the Circle of Faith Wider

People of God! Gather together for worship!
We come in this Easter Season to celebrate the promise of new life.
People of God, gather together for worship!
We celebrate the diverse family of God, with whom we gather to celebrate God's presence.
And so we turn to our friends and neighbours, our brothers and sisters in faith, to share the Peace of Christ.

God of life in all it's wondrous diversity,
we come from many different places, many different tasks, many different realities.
Here in this place you call us together.
Here we worship together, naming what makes us united, celebrating our diversity.
During this time of prayer and song and word,
challenge our ideas of who is welcome in the community, open us to draw the circle wider.
This things we pray in the name of the Risen Christ, who taught his friends to pray saying...

God you call us to embrace each other as part of one circle,
but we insist are drawing lines that keep some in and some out.
You tell us that what you have called clean, we should not call profane,
but we find ourselves unwilling to live that out.
You tell us that in you the old dividing lines don't count anymore :no more male or female, Jew or Gentile,
but we find comfort in knowing who fits and who doesn't.
God of grace,
move in our hearts, opening us to be channels of your abundant grace and love.
...time of silent prayer...
There is a wideness in God's mercy. God draws the circle wider than we can imagine – keeping all of us inside the line. This is Good News!
Thanks be to God!

We have gathered to celebrate the God who welcomes us all into the circle.
Now we go out into the many other circles of our lives.
Into those circles we carry a precious precious gift:
the love of God, the word of acceptance, the promise of welcome.
Go now with the knowledge that God: Parent, Child, and Spirit, Three-in-One goes with you
Wherever we go. We are not alone. Thanks be to God

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Prayers at the Foot of the Cross (2015)

(sung response Voices United #411 “O God We Call")

Gracious God, on this day of earth-shaking death we gather with the women at the foot of the cross.
We see again the tragedy unfolding and we sing....

God of life, you created a world bursting with possibility.
Within that world you call us to live as people of the Way,
keepers of the covenant,
living lives of love and justice and mercy.
You challenge us to see your light shining in each person we meet,
remembering that we are made in your image.
You invite us to live in your arms, feeling your presence at all times.
But too often we do not take up that invitation.
We turn away, intentionally or accidentally,
we do not open ourselves to your presence and wisdom.
And so we sing....

God of hope, in Christ Jesus you tried a new thing.
You came to live among us, as one of us, sharing our world.
But the world could not see what was happening.
And Jesus of Nazareth ended up on a cross.
We remember the story.
We remember the anguish shown as Jesus expressed feeling your absence.
A feeling we know too well at times.
And so we sing...

God of justice and mercy, today we remember.
We remember a story from long ago.
We remember too that injustice is not bound by any time period.
And so we pray with those who have been broken by the world today:
the ones living under threat of bomb blast or gunfire...
the ones huddled in alcoves and doorways, with no place to sleep for the night...
the ones who go hungry so that their children would eat...
the ones who are lonely, forgotten, unvisited...
the ones who know the pain of waiting for a loved one who is missing from the family circle...
In our own brokenness we pray for the broken of the world as we sing...

God of bright light and deep darkness,
Spirit of Life and Love moving within and among us,
the one in whom we live and move and have our being,
with the story we tell today we enter the time of darkness and uncertainty and waiting.
We wait with hope for the light to climb over the horizon of tragedy.
And we trust that we do not wait alone.
And in the depths of the shadows we sing...

Monday, March 16, 2015

For March 22 -- Looking at the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

May the Peace of Christ be with you
And also with you.
We have been called together in this place
To celebrate God's presence, to listen for God's wisdom, to be renewed as God's servants
As we gather to worship, let us greet each other with God's peace...

God of life, who calls us to be the church,
we gather together as a community to listen for how you are speaking to us today.
God of justice, who calls us to live lives of love,
we gather as a community of people who try to understand what that means day to day.
God of promise, who calls us to be people of hope,
we gather as people who are looking for signs that the Kingdom is being made real in our midst.
In this time of worship,
refresh us, challenge us, renew us.
We pray in in the name of the one who taught about the way of love, who challenges us to serve each other, and who taught us to pray by saying...

God, when we look around we see so much need.
And we wonder how best to respond.
God we hear your voice in the old stories.
Challenging us to feed the hungry, to visit the lonely, to comfort the suffering.
Not in search of reward or payback,
but simply because it is the loving thing to do.
God of grace, we hear the voice, we understand the challenge,
but we find it hard to live out. God of grace, give us the grace to live the way of love.
...time of silent prayer...
God challenges us to be people of love. In grace God helps us along the way. In mercy, God works with us through our mis-steps and our mis-understandings. We are forgiven, set back on the path, and urged to try again. This is Good News.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

Monday, March 9, 2015

FOr March 15, 2015 -- Looking at the Day Labourers and the Generous Landowner

God you meet us where we are, when we are ready.
Maybe in the light of dawn, or the heat of mid-day, or in the last hours of sunlight.
Whenever we meet you, whenever we pick up your invitation, you say:
Come, join in the labour, I have work for you.
And when the day's labour ends you say:
here is your payment, here is what you need for today.
In our worship, in our songs and prayers, in our lives,
open our hearts and souls to the wonder of you mercy, your grace, your justice.
This we pray in the name of Jesus, our rock and Redeemer, who taught his friends to pray saying...

Our time of worship, a break from the busy-ness of life, draws to a close.
And we return to the world where we live and serve, where we share God's love in word and deed.
Go from this place as agents of justice, as carriers of grace, as workers in the vineyard.
We go to share in the preparation of the Kingdom.
And as you go, remember that you do not walk alone.
The one who has called us saying “Come, I have work for you” is with us always.
Guiding and supporting. Parent, Child and Spirit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

For February 8, 2015 -- Jesus Feeds the Multitudes, Peter Walks on Water

In a world of storms and winds and want.
God calls us to trust, to listen, to step out boldly.
As the storms of life are raging,
we gather to worship the God who stands by us.
As people who trust that the Peace of Christ can calm the storms,
we share that peace with our neighbours...

OPENING PRAYER (uses words from the hymn “Stand By Me”)
God of life, God of the wild wind and the still calm, we gather for worship.
When the storms of life are raging, stand by me.
God who calls us to step out into the storm, to take risks in faith and trust,
When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea
Thou Who rulest wind and water, stand by me
In this time of worship remind us that though the storms may rage we are held in your arms.
So that we would have the courage to step out of the boat.
We pray in the name of the One who stilled the water, the One who taught his friends to pray saying...

God of grace, the wind blows, the snow piles up, the waves threaten to overwhelm us. And yet you would have us say:
It's time to see what I can do to test the limits and break through... Let the storm rage on
God of challenge, you call us to step out of the boat, out of our safe places, to take risks for the Gospel.
But we are afraid, we are sure we will sink and be overwhelmed.
God of grace, God of power, help us take the risk, overcome the fear, help us trust in your wisdom and power. Help us stand tall and proclaim:
Here I stand in the light of day let the storm rage on,
Walking on water, or maybe swimming, as we live out who you have formed us to be.
And maybe we we will find that the storm won't bother us anyway. Amen.

Our hour of worship comes to a close,
and now it is time to step out of the boat, to walk into the storm.
We go from this place with faith and trust,
those things that keep us going, that keep us from floundering.
We go to share the promise and possibility of life with the storm-bound world,
so that the peace that passes understanding would bring hope and calm.
Go with God, who stands by us as the wind blows and the storm roars.
Our rock, our anchor, always.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.