Saturday, March 16, 2019

MArch 24, 2019 -- Lent 3 -- MArriage/Relationships

Opening PRAYER
Companion God, made known in relationship,
we come here to build our relationship with the family of faith.
God made known in Jesus, who calls us to friendship,
in this time together deepen our love for God and neighbour.
Spirit God, always present in our lives,
move in and around us, renewing our hearts and souls.
As friends and followers of Jesus we pray in his name, sharing the words he taught his closest friends...

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
God of relationship, you challenge us to live in relationship with you and each other.
And we know that we grow from our relationships but sometimes it is just too hard.
God of relationship, you challenge us to be vulnerable with you and each other.
And we will, to a limit, because sometimes vulnerability terrifies us.
God of relationship, help us to be people in relationships
Give us the courage to be open and vulnerable, to forgive and be forgiven, to risk and to protect together.
God of Grace, god of love, God of relationship, through your grace help us grow together in love and in hope. Help us enter into all our relationships, with you and each other, as fully as you enter into relatioship with us.
Amen.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

March 17, 2019 -- Lent 2 -- Prayer

Opening PRAYER
Source of life and love, Creator God;
we open our hearts and minds and lives to your presence.
Teacher and Guide, God in human form, known in Christ;
we come as those who try to follow the path you set for us.
Always present with us, giving hope, Spirit God;
we come to be filled with You, refreshed to live out our faith every day.
As those who bear Christ’s name we pray together the words he taught his friends...

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
God of relationship, you call us to share our lives with you.
And we do. Or we want to, when we aren’t too busy to pray.
God of relationship, you ask us to listen for your voice.
Which sounds great, but we like to talk.
God of relationship, you encourage us to trust that you answer.
And we often wonder what our prayers accomplish, or we don’t like the answer, or we want to stay in control,
God of Grace, help us know that you are there, give us the confidence to trust in you, hear our prayers when they are wordy and when they are silent.
...time of silence...
We offer up our prayers.. When they are selfless and when they are selfish, when we listen and when we only talk, when we see results and when we wonder if it was all worth it we offer up our prayers.. And always God is there, hearing, loving, responding.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Call to Worship & Commissioning for Lent 2019 (Practices of the Church)

CALL TO WORSHIP
In this season of Lent, of preparation for Easter
we gather to reflect on our faith story and our faith practices.
God has invited us to this place
where we open ourselves to God’s presence
As people of faith, we are people of relationship
sharing our hopes and joys, triumphs and struggles with each other and with God.
Gathered as a community, we open our worship by greeting each other with signs and words of Christ’s peace...

COMMISSIONING:
The God who has called us together,
now sends us out to put our faith in action.
The God who asks us to follow the path of Jesus.
challenges us to share God’s word of hope and love with all we meet
The God who lives with us in relationship,
is with us now and always as we live and serve.
Go with God: Parent, Child, and Spirit; Three-in-One and One-in-Three

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Prayers for Annual Meeting 2019

Opening
God who calls us to be the church, we have made one more circle around the sun.
Another year has been and gone and today we gather to reflect on the year that was,
to listen for your voice speaking in our midst,
and to look ahead to the year that is just beginning.
As we gather this morning we give thanks for all the many ways people in this faith community have lived out their commitment to the community:
-those who have led and planned activities,
-those who have volunteered to help at one of those activities,
-those who have served on Council, or on one of the Ministry teams,
-those who have served communion, or greeted, or read scripture, or made coffee for our Sunday mornings,
-those who have prayed for their neighbours in the congregation and in the wider world.
AS we gather this morning we remember the neighbours who come to this place
-for comfort:
-for a food voucher,
-to attend support meetings in this building,
and we are thankful for the opportunity to serve our community in this way.
God of life, as a community of faith we mark the changes of life.
We mark life’s beginning with Baptism, remembering [insert names].
We mark the maturing of our youth with Confirmation, remembering [insert names].
We join together to celebrate Relationship, remembering [insert names].
We join our hearts to celebrate life and to mourn at the time of death, remembering [insert names]
In all the changes of life we recognize that we are not alone, and we give thanks.
God of our past, our present, and our future,
move among us, we pray, as we meet here this afternoon.
Open our ears and hearts to hear and know where you are leading us.
As we talk about a vision for this faith community, help it be not just our vision but yours that pulls us forward.
We pray in the name of Jesus, our teacher and guide, our rock and redeemer, our source of hope.
AMEN 

Closing 
God, you have called us together, and we have responded.
Here today we have sung, and prayed and listened.
Here today we have broken bread together at the table of faith and at the table of community.
Here today we have given thanks for the year that was and talked about how we will be a faith community in the years to come.
And you have been a part of all of that.
Thank you.
Now we move out of this building and into the world where we do the most of our living and serving.
As we leave this building today may we be assured that you go with us.
As we live and serve in the wider world may we see Christ in the neighbours we meet, and may they see Christ in us.
As we move into the future as a community of faith, may we always be aware of and strive to live out the vision you have for us as individuals and as a congregation.
And may we always remember that we are not alone.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
AMEN

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

To Go with Mark 2:13-22

CALL TO WORSHIP
The God who was present at Creation,
calls us to gather together.
The God who continues to create and re-create,
invites us to worship
As we open ourselves to worship, we greet each other with words and signs of Christ’s peace.

Opening PRAYER
God of life, as a new week begins,
we gather together to sing and pray and listen.
God of renewal, as a new week begins,
we open our eyes and ears to see and hear what you are doing in our midst.
God of wholeness, as a new week begins,
we ask for healing, we seek the courage to follow where you lead us.
God made known in Christ, we pray in His name, sharing words he taught so long ago...

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
God you continue to invite us to see the new thing you are doing
but if we are honest, we don’t always do new things well.
In the life, death, and resurrection of Christ you transform the world,
but transformation may be uncomfortable, and so we sometimes work against it,
and so we try to contain the new in old containers
But still God you persist in the new thing,
revealing the promise of New Life, challenging us to try out new containers,
God who is doing a new thing, when we are unwilling to follow the new path,
open our eyes and hearts, move us beyond protection of old understandings, lead us to see where you are pointing.
God of Grace,
forgive our stubbornness and unwillingness to change,
forgive our willingness to strike back against the new simply because it is not what we have always done,
forgive our periodic blindness to what you are doing in our midst
God is doing a New Thing to share the old message of Love. Where we resist, God is patient and coaxing. God forgives us and calls us to try again. God opens our eyes to see what God is up to.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

COMMISSIONING:
Jesus meets us where we are and calls us to follow
Healing our dis-ease and making us whole.
Jesus brings new life and new possibilities
Pushing us to put away the old boxes which are no longer useful.
AS people of faith we step out into a new way of seeing the world,
Following where Jesus leads us, proclaiming the Good News of healing and wholeness.
Go with God: who has created and is creating
who is made known in Jesus, the Word-Made-Flesh
Who works in us and others by the Spirit

Monday, December 24, 2018

2018 Christmas Prayer

God who has created and is creating,
on this Christmas night we give thanks for the wonders you have created:
for sunlight shining on fresh snow,
for the excited giggles of children hanging their stockings,
for the warmth of family and friends gathered around a table,
for twinkling stars and moonshine in the crisp winter air
for all the gifts we have received that make life full.
We wait with hope for what is being created, for the wonders we have yet to see.
Creator, open our eyes to see what you are doing in our midst,
open our souls and hearts
that we would embrace the Kingdom proclaimed by the Babe in the manger.

God of hope and promise, as we sing the old songs and tell the old story,
we know that the world is not what it could be.
Too readily we see the darkness and shadows of the world.
Renew and restore our hope,
open our eyes to see the possibilities,
reveal to us the ways that people like us are choosing to make a difference,
shine light on the places where the promise of Christmas is becoming reality.

God of peace, tonight we celebrate the birth of one called Prince of Peace.
Tonight we remember angels proclaiming “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all”.
Help us be people who make peace in our own circles.
Help us push our leaders to make peace in larger circles.
Help us find peace within our own lives when we are troubled or anxious.

God of joy,
sometimes we get too busy for joy.
Sometimes we get too worried for joy.
And yet if we turn in another direction we might find it.
Reach into our hearts and souls and open the doors where we have locked joy away,
that we would be able to sing wholeheartedly “Joy to the World the Lord is come”!

God of love,
God who loves the world so much you will never give up on it,
God who in love chose to live among us as one of us,
sharing our triumphs and our failures, our joys and sorrows,
over and over you teach, encourage, command us to love.
May we truly love you, each other, and ourselves and put that love into action.

God who has come in Jesus, the Word-Made-Flesh, to reconcile and make new,
tonight we celebrate the birth of Jesus, of Emmanuel, God-With-Us.
Tonight we celebrate that in love you keep breaking into the life of the world,
into our own lives,
to bring renewal, redemption, and re-creation.
Tonight you once again proclaim the beginning of a new era,
one where the Kingdom will be real and growing in our midst.
Tonight you call us to come and see the Babe in a manger
and see in his face:
the promise of peace, the eyes of love, and our cause for joy.
As we run with the shepherds to see if the angel story is true,
may we be full of delight, of excitement, of hope for the world, hope for us.
Having seen the child, may we live as if the world,
and we as well, have been changed because of this night.

God of Christmas,
this night there are also prayers in our hearts that we can not or dare not put into words,
and so we lift them up in the silence of our hearts
...time of silent prayer...
All of these things, spoken and unspoken, hope-filled and anxious, joyous and sorrowful, we pray in the name of the baby who lies in the manger,
who we call Saviour and Messiah,
who will grow up to teach us all about what it means to live and love in the Kingdom,
and who will teach his friends to pray saying the words we now sing...

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A WEdding Sermon

M and A, now I talk to you about relationship. To be in relationship is at the heart of human experience. We all have a variety of relationships in our lives. Our earliest is that of child and parent, then maybe a sibling. Then there are other family members: grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins... As time goes on we move out into the world and develop friendships with people outside the family circle. Some of these become deep and life-long, others are just for a period of time until one or the other moves on. Each of these relationships teach us something. We learn who we are as we relate to others, we learn how to relate to others, we may even learn about who we want to be when we grow up. Both of you have relationships like these in your lives.
But then for many people there is another relationship. This is the relationship where you choose one special person with whom you will share your life more deeply than with any other. This is the relationship where we choose to make ourselves more vulnerable than any other. In this one we pledge ourselves to each other, we make vows to support each other come what may, we promise to put this relationship in a place of prime importance and grow a place where both of us can grow and blossom and shine. It is this relationship that we are here to celebrate to day.
Today as you stand in front of your family and friends you will make promises to each other. Today marks the beginning of a new part of the life you share. After today many things will be the same as they were yesterday. And one thing will be different. Your lives will be joined together, interlinked, in a stronger way. We have all come to witness this happen. We have all come to promise to support you as you grow a marriage together. We have all come to celebrate this commitment, this life you share.
Tomorrow you continue to build the relationship and life you share. On my GPS unit you can choose your destination but then you can add stopping points along the road as a “via point”. Today is one of those via points on the journey, a layover perhaps as you continue to the destination. Mind you this is a journey with no set destination, rather a series of destinations will appear along the way, just as there have already been a series of destinations to get you to this day. The journey of marriage is one where you continue to learn more about each other and yourselves as you live through what life decides to put in your path. In the process we trust and pray that your relationship will grow stronger and deeper as time goes by.
On the table behind me are 4 candles. 3 of them we have lit already, one we will light in a little bit. The words we attach to these candles can help you along the journey that will be your marriage.
HOPE – what would life be without hope? Hope is that thing that pushes us to keep trying when the road gets challenging, the hope that individual challenges are temporary and the relationship is lasting. Hope is that thing that gives us a dream, or a series of dreams, as we look to the future. M and A, may there always be hope in your marriage
PEACE – Peace can mean many things. Sometimes it means quiet or calm. Sometimes it means one side has conquered the other. In marriage we look for a different kind of peace. We look for the peace that comes, not from the total lack of conflict (because we know that doesn’t exist). The peace of marriage is based on the fact that conflict is resolved and both people win. Peace in marriage comes also when we can sit quietly with our beloved and be comforted and warmed simply by their presence. A and M, may peace be the norm in your marriage.
JOY – At this time of the year we hear a lot of talk about Joy. From a theological and practical point of view I think we get Joy wrong. For me joy is not just happiness. Joy is deeper. Joy comes from that deep place of trust and appreciation Joy in marriage comes from seeing each other and ourselves with clear eyes, flaws and all, and realize the depth of our relationship, how much we would miss without each other. A and M, in the life you share find joy in each other, produce joy for each other.
LOVE – The candle we have yet to light, possibly the most important candle we will light this afternoon., the candle of Love. None of the relationships in our lives are always easy. The deeper the connection, the greater the vulnerability there is and that makes love so much more important. In marriage we put our lives in the hands of another, on purpose, knowing that this is a risk. We are able to find the comfort to do that because there is love. If there is a magic bullet to marriage (to life in general) it is love. M and A, may the love which has lead or drawn you to this place continue to lead and draw you forward in the years to come.
A and M, you have invited us to be a part of this special day. You have invited us to add this to our celebration of Christmas Love. We thank you for the invitation. And we come to witness your commitment, to promise to support you in the life you share, and to celebrate with you today. In the Scripture passage we just heard it reminds us that a threefold cord is not easily broken. I have noticed (not being inclined or allowed to actually braid hair in my house) that if you try to braid two strands together it does not work well. But add the third strand and you add stability and strength. May God be present as the third strand in the cord that is your marriage, there to add support and strength when the others feel stretched to breaking May God bless and keep you always. Amen.