Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For April 5, 2009 -- Palm Sunday

Look! Over there! Can you see it?
What? All we see are branches waving?
Listen! In the air! Can you hear it?
What? All we hear is people cheering?
Stop! Open your senses! Can you feel it?
What? That strange electricity in the air?
Yes. The branches, the cheering, the electricity. Something exciting is happening. Hope is coming. The king is near.
What are we waiting for? Let’s go join the excitement!
Good idea! Let us worship together in prayer and speech and song…

God, today we join with the crowds by the roadside,
cheering and waving in excitement.
As we remember the story today walk with us on the road,
filling us with hope for the coming of the Lord, pushing us to make the path ready.
But also we need our hearts opened to your wisdom,
because we remember that this triumphant parade leads to a bad end.
In this time of prayer and singing and story remind us what kind of kingdom we are actually awaiting.
and forgive us when we fall victim to dreams of glory without the shadow of the cross.
As forgiven and forgiving people we join in the raggedy band parading to the promised land.
And so we march with the one who leads the parade, saying the words he taught his friends…

Offering Prayer
God of palm branches and cheering crowds, the journey of Holy Week reminds us that our life is not our own. As we embark on that path again this year we offer from our abundance to the service of your love. May these gifts help to bring your reign to reality in the lives of your people. Amen

We have joined with the crowds in the cheering and celebrations.
We look forward to the coming time of glory.
As part of the hope-filled crowd we go to tell those around us of the possibilities that lie before us.
We share the promise of the Peaceable Kingdom found in a king on a donkey.
But off in the distance a shadow looms, a threat to all our hopes.
Nevertheless we will walk boldly towards the shadow, trusting in the light that lies beyond it.
Go out into this Holy Week to walk the path that leads to the cross. Walk that path knowing that we do not walk it alone: the Crucified One goes with us, the Creator is there to strengthen us, the Holy Spirit fills us with hope everlasting. Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

For March 29, 2009 -- 5th Sunday of Lent -- Charity or Community – What’s It All About?

We come together as a collection of individuals.
And we become something different.
We come together with a shared purpose.
We come to explore how God is active among us.
We come together to be refreshed.
We come to be part of a community of faith.
Let us worship together, let us pray…

God of community, move among us here today.
As we sing and pray and listen speak to us of how good stewardship of your gifts strengthens the lives of our global community and then send us out ready to keep on the work of embracing your kingdom coming to reality on earth.
We pray in the name of Jesus, who taught his friends to pray the words that we now sing…

Loving community we seek O God.
In the seeking we sometime find it easily and sometimes find it missing.
And yet the community is made by “us”, not by “them”
which reminds us of the times the community may have been lacking because our efforts at community building have been half-hearted.
You have graced us with great abundance.
Help us remember that with abundance comes responsibility.
As we attempt to be good stewards of what we have,
help us to use our gifts in aid of that loving community we seek.
Even though we may occasionally misuse the abundance God has provided the gift is never withdrawn. God forgives our poor choices, God gives us a second chance to embrace God’s community. We are forgiven, and loved.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

Offering Prayer
Creator God, we who have been given much now share what we have with the world.
We offer these gifts of time talent and treasure out of our desire to build a better community.
May the offering of these gifts change we who give them.
May the offering of these gifts change the world in which we live. We offer them in your name, God of our abundance. Amen.

We came here from our various homes and lives, now we return to those lives.
But we leave reminded that we are members of a community of faith, reminded that we do not walk alone.
As part of that community we leave as those who have been called and empowered to build God’s community, God’s kin-dom “on earth as it is in heaven”.
With God’s help we commit ourselves to the task.
As you go out to re-build our community go knowing that the Three-In-One: Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer walks and works alongside you.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

Monday, March 16, 2009

For March 22, 2009 -- 4th Sunday of Lent, Cash or Credit??? – Tool, Scorecard or Goal??

God, as faithful people we strive to play the game of life and follow your path at the same time.
But sometimes the rules of the game lead us in a different direction.
We lose sight of what the goal is.
We work to build up stores of wealth and treasure in our storehouses and barns.
And yet we wonder why we are not at ease?
God, remind us where our comfort really lies, remind us what the goal of the game really is.
We confess that we have swerved onto a new path.
We confess that the love of money has taken hold in our lives and in our world. We admit that we need to be pulled back onto your path.
…time of silent prayer…
No matter how many times we swerve onto a different path God always calls us back to God’s path. No matter what goals may distract our attention, God always places the true goal in our sights. God forgives our wanderings and distractions.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

God, these bits of metal and paper only have the meaning we give them. We can choose to make them our goal or merely tools to help reach your goals. In the act of offering them to you and your service we signify our choice. May these gifts be tools of your love and your hope active in the world. Amen.

Monday, March 9, 2009

For March 15, 2009, 3rd Sunday of Lent --Consumption -- Cultural Contagion

Can you hear it?
That little whisper in the wind.
Yes, it draws us together. It brings us to this place to share God’s presence with each other.
Let us listen to the whisper, let us worship together, let us pray…

Gracious God, as we come together in this place we bring with us the dis-ease that comes from living in a troubled world. In this time together re-awaken in our hearts a hope for what could be. Remind us what really counts. Lead us to the cure for our dis-ease. We pray this in the name of Jesus, who taught his friends to pray the words that now we sing…

God of health and wholeness, we come here as people who have been infected.
We confess that we have become ill, that we suffer from the desire to have more and more.
We acknowledge that we have been given much, that we have acquired many things
Looking at all out gadgets, gizmos and what-ya-ma-call-its it is hard to believe we look for the next new thing.
And yet we have accepted the messages around us,
And in accepting those messages we have caught the dis-ease of our time, we have caught consumption.
Help us find the cure to this condition.
Help us bring the cure to the community around us.
Gift giver God, in the silence of our hearts we confess those times we have not been satisfied with the gifts you have given us
…time of silent prayer…
God’s desire for God’s people is health and wholeness. God offers us the path out of our dis-ease. That path begins by embracing the great and wondrous truth that we are loved and forgiven.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

God who has gifted us with such amazing abundance,
here we step out of the desire to get and choose to give instead.
We give out of our abundance so that others may know abundance of their own.
May these gifts enrich the world around us. May the act of giving awaken in our hearts a vision of what is possible in the world. Amen.

We came together as people seeking to follow The Way
And now we go out into the world following the same path
As followers of God’s Path we carry with us a message of hope and challenge
We go with the message that our dis-ease can be cured, our consumption need not be terminal.
And we walk secure in the knowledge that God the Gift-Giver is with us always and all-ways. Amen.