Wednesday, December 8, 2010

For December 19, 2010 -- 4th Sunday of Advent

Less than a week till Christmas. Are you ready?
Maybe. Maybe not.
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season we have gathered here,
for a time of peace, for a break in the rush.
In the midst of the noise of the season we come together
for some quiet time, for a reminder of what it's all about.
We come to hear stories passed down through the centuries.
God, invite us into the story this day. Amid the hustle and bustle, help us to remember what the season is about.
God open our hearts,
and fill them with the true gifts of Christmas: peace, hope, joy and love.
May this time of worship refresh and energize us,
so that we can be beacons of Christmas light a world that so sorely needs it.
We pray in the name of the baby whose birth is just around the corner, and who would later teach his friends to pray saying...

We have heard the story again, maybe from a different perspective
but it remains the same story.
And now we go back into the busy world,
where we do the most of our service and ministry.
In this Christmas week, go out to share the gifts of God with the world around you.
And may God bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For the Later Service on Dec 24

From St. John's Newfoundland to Tofino BC, from Point Pelee Ontario to Alert Nunavut,
All across the nation people of faith gather to hear the story told again.
And so God of Christmas we gather together,
seeking to hear the old story and sing the old songs.
In this time of worship,
Open our ears to hear the angel song, open our eyes to see the child who has been born, open our hearts to the promises of love, hope, joy and peace that are Christmas gifts to the world.
May we be changed by our encounter at the manger.
May we be filled with the Spirit of Christmas not just tonight but throughout the year to come. Amen.

The story has been told, the Baby is born
We join the angel song “Glory to God in the highest!”
Having heard the story and sung the songs,
we go out to share the “good news, which shall be for all people”
May the Peace, Joy, Love and Hope of Christmas shine in your lives
And through us shine on all we meet. Amen.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

For January 2, 2011 -- Sunday Before Epiphany

Have you heard the great news?
What news?
A baby has been born!
Really? That's wonderful!
Come along as we go visit the family
We'd love too!
Do you know how special a baby this is?
All babies are special.
You're right. All babies remind us that God is creating new life and hope.
But this baby?
They say he is hope for the whole world. They say he will change the world.
Then we should give thanks to God!
Thanks and praise indeed.
And may we who visit the baby be moved to work for the changes he brings. Amen.

We have come to see the one born to be King
we have brought our gifts and praises.
Now we go out to change the world.
We go to share the love, hope, peace and joy he brings.
Go with God. Amen.

For the Early Service on Christmas Eve

Lighting the Advent Candles
We light this candle to remind us of Hope. Hope for the world, hope that lightens the darkness of despair.
Light of Christmas, shine in our hearts and in our world
We light this candle to remind us of Peace. Peace in a world that is rocked by violence, peace based on a world where all can live in comfort and safety.
Light of Christmas, shine in our hearts and in our world
We light this candle to remind us of Joy. Not just being happy and merry but a deep Joyfulness that fills our hearts and souls with a sense of well-being and contentment.
Light of Christmas, shine in our hearts and in our world
We light this candle to remind us of Love. Love is the way we live together, love as the cure for the dis-ease that rocks the world.
Light of Christmas, shine in our hearts and in our world
And now the night has come. The baby is going to be born. And so we light our center candle to remind us that the Light of the World lives among us all.
Light of Christmas, shine in our hearts and in our world

Echo Prayer
Thank you God,
Thank you for Christmas.
Thank you for coming as a baby.
Help us to remember
what Christmas is about.
Help us to share gifts
of love, hope, peace and joy
with everyone around us.

The night is still, and yet...
The air rings with angel song
A child is born
And so we rejoice
Go out to share the Christmas Joy. Go to proclaim the Christmas Peace and Hope. Go assured that we live in the Christmas Love. Amen.

Monday, November 29, 2010

For December 5, 2010 -- 2nd Sunday of Advent

CALL TO WORSHIP/OPENING PRAYER (uses words from "In the Bleak Midwinter" by Christina Rossetti [#55 in Voices United])
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind makes moan,
blowing across the snowdrifts, chilling the body to the core.
Earth stands hard as iron, water like a stone,
frozen and lifeless, cold and unforgiving.
Snow is falling, snow on snow,
as we gather to share the promise of life and warmth
God of life, death, and life beyond death, in this time of worship,
open our eyes and hearts to see new shoots coming from dead stumps, to see flowers blooming in the midst of the desert.
And in the end send us back out,
as people of life and hope, as people of peace and justice, as people who know that life still wins.
We pray in the name of Jesus, whose birth we prepare for, and who taught his friends to pray by saying together...

COMMISSIONING: (uses words from an Israeli traditional song "Joy Shall Come" [#23 in Voices United] which echoes Isaiah 35)
Joy shall come even to the wilderness!
A shoot shall spring forth from the stump of Jesse!
The parched land shall know great gladness!
As a rose, like a garden, the desert will blossom
The Anointed One is coming!
And in response we sing songs of Good News
Go out from this time of worship ready to proclaim the promise that life conquers death, that life still wins!
We go with God, who calls forth life. Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

For November 28, 2010 -- 1st Sunday of Advent Year A

The nights are growing steadily longer.
And there is a lot of darkness in the world.
The thermometer keeps going lower.
A coldness too often matched by how people treat each other.
The darkest and coldest time of day is just before dawn.
We await the coming day with hope.
God, we wait for you to break into our world yet again.
Coming as a child, weak and helpless.
As dawn breaks over the horizons of our lives,
may the light reach into the deepest corners, bringing peace and hope, love and joy.
We pray in the name of the child whose birth draws near and who taught us to pray saying...

Day is breaking! Time to greet the dawn!
We go out to walk as people of light.
The time is now! God's time is now!
We go out as people of hope, sharing that hope with all we meet.
Go as the people of God, go with God. Amen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

For November 21, 2010 -- Reign of Christ Sunday Year C

In the midst of a world where many call for our loyalty
we gather to celebrate the coming of the King of Kings.
In a time where we are told to look out for ourselves,
we gather to acknowledge that we serve the Lord of Lords.
In an era where leadership and power are often viewed with suspicion
we gather to look for a different model, a different King.
God who calls us together,
awaken in our hearts this day an awareness of what it means to live into your kingdom.
We pray in the name of the one called King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who taught his friends to pray by saying together...

Look! There is the king!
That baby in a manger? You must be kidding!
Look! There is the king!
That man on the hillside? I don't think so!
Look! There is the king!
The one leading the parade? Now you are talking!
Look! There is the king!
Hanging on a cross? Not possible!
Look! Where is the king?
Good question.
God whose Kingdom is all around us and yet not quite here, help us to look in odd places to see in new ways.
Remind us that the Kingdom of God is something different. Remind us that there is another way to live together. Help us make the ancient prayer “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” a practice of the heart and not just words we say by memory. Amen.

As our worship ends,
we go out into the mission field.
We go as citizens of a place that is here now and is being brought into existence.
we go as citizens of the Kingdom of God. We go to share the Good News of God's Shalom with all we meet.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Communion Invitation

This is the Table of the One God. It does not belong to St. Paul's or to the United Church of Canada, but to God who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, who works in us and others by the Spirit. And so we have no right to bar anyone from coming to eat and drink from it. All those who seek to share int God's abundance and who strive to live in God's Way are welcome here. Come and taste the grace eternal, come and see that God is good.

Monday, November 1, 2010

For November 14, 2010 -- 25th Sunday After Pentecost

Living in a world that seems to be falling apart,
we come to find hope for the future.
Living in a world where the forces of destruction seem so strong,
we come to hear about the One who Creates and Re-Creates.
Living in a world where old habits and hatreds seem to live forever,
we come to hear God proclaim “Behold, I am doing a new thing”
God who has gathered us together,
open our hearts and minds to see the new creation in our midst.
In this time of worship,
may we be refreshed and renewed as people of Love.
We pray in the name of Jesus, who taught his friends to pray together saying...

God of the “now and the not yet”,
We admit that it is frustrating living in times of re-creation. We confess that often we would prefer certainty to the “wait and see”. We admit that we get impatient when things don't happen as quickly as we would want.
God of destruction that makes way for re-creation,
We confess that we want to hold on to what is comfortable, or at least familiar. We confess that we sometimes mistake our vision of what the world should be for your vision of what the world will be. Forgive our impatience, our arrogance, our shortsightedness and our self-centeredness. Open our hearts to the reality of your graciousness.
...time of silent prayer...
Over and over God tells us “Behold, I am doing a new thing”. God is re-creating our world and ourselves. This is grace and acceptance and forgiveness.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

As our time of worship closes,
we go out into world around us to live and to serve.
As those who have eaten at God's table,
we go to share food for body and spirit with God's created and re-created world.
As those who believe God is active in the world,
we go to counter the despair of destruction with the hope of a new world.

Monday, October 25, 2010

For October 31, 2010 -- Reformation Sunday

Ezekiel was called to the valley of dry bones;
and wondered if those bones could live.
We have been called to this place,
and sometimes wonder what the future will bring to the church.
Who has called us here?
The God who brings life.
Why are we here?
To be refreshed, to be renewed, to be sent out with hope.
As we sing and pray and listen,
may God open our hearts and minds to new possibilities
And when our worship is ended?
May we go out ready to meet a changing world. Amen.

Ezekiel stood in the valley of dry bones
and saw how God could bring new life.
Sometimes our churches feel like that valley
and then the breath of God blows through and brings new life.
Sometimes our world looks as desolate as sun-bleached skeletons,
and so we are called to speak God's Word of hope and life.
As we go into the world,
May we carry hope, and promise of renewal. May we be agents of Life.

Monday, October 18, 2010

For October 24, 2010 -- 22nd Sunday After Pentecost, Year C

God of our pride and our humility, move among us in this hour of worship. Open our eyes to the realities of being beloved, imperfect beings. Fill our hearts with the promise that we are special and worthwhile. And then send us out to share Your love and promise with all we meet. We pray in the name of Jesus, who taught his friends to pray together saying...

Gracious and Loving God, you call us to a life of balance and realism and hope.
But sometimes we lose our balance, we see the world through filters that twist what we see.
For those times we become too quick to blow our own horn and blind to our own mis-steps;
forgive us and remind us of the reality of being imperfect beings.
For those times when we fail to recognize how special we are, when we feel worthless and ashamed;
forgive us and remind us that we are beloved and worthwhile, created in Your image.
...time of silent prayer...
In the beginning we are told that God looked at the imperfect Creation and proclaimed it to be very good. As part of that Creation we are loved and accepted, flaws and all. When we wander from The Way, we are forgiven and drawn back.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

As worship draws to a close, service continues.
And so we leave this place to live and to serve.
Go, remembering that you carry God's love with you,
and so we will strive to remind all we meet that they are Beloved, that they are worthwhile, that they are accepted.
And we go to make that reality a force for growth in our world

Monday, September 20, 2010

For September 26, 2010 -- 18th Sunday After Pentecost, Year C

God, when the world is falling to pieces around us,
help us remember that we are people of hope and promise.
When the enemy is at the gates and the world is being changed,
give us the courage to buy a piece of land, trusting that it will be ours again some day.
When we are tempted to give in to despair,
strengthen us and remind us that we are not alone.
God of our past, present and future,
it is a time of uncertainty and we aren't sure what will come next.
And so remind us that there is always hope,
help us believe that all will be well some day. Amen.

In a world where despair and destruction seem to have won,
we go out carrying a word of hope and renewal and growth.
In a time when the future is uncertain,
we trust in the Promise and live as people of Hope.
As people of Hope, go out to perform acts of hope, showing the world that things can, and will, be better.
As people of Hope, we go trusting that God is with us. Amen.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

For September 19, 2010 -- 17th Sunday After Pentecost Year C

NOte:  This is a repost as these were also used in 2007 (that post also includes and offering dedication):

Jesus said: no slave can serve two masters.
And we remember the times our loyalties have been divided between not just two, but many places.
Jesus said: You cannot serve God and wealth.
Ooh, that one hits close to home. We admit that sometimes we have a hard time choosing between those options.
There are so many things that call for our money.
So many times we think of the things we need, so many times we confuse what we need with what we want.
For the times our actions show that our loyalties have been misplaced,
For the times that we choose to honour our wallets and wants over Your cry for justice, forgive us God.
…time of silent confession…
While God asks for our loyalty, perfect performance is never demanded. Even when our thoughts are swayed by worldly concerns God is still there. God is the Master that always welcomes us back with open arms.
We are a forgiven people. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Whoever is faithful with little will be faithful with much.
We go now, striving to be faithful with what the abundance God has given us.
Go out to be honest stewards, go out to be wise with your gifts.
We go now, striving to put our priorities where our mouths are, seeking to serve but one Master.
Go out knowing that the Creator God, the Redeemer Christ, and the Sustaining Spirit are there to lead and guide you always.
Thanks be to God, the One who we serve. Amen.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

For August 29, 2010 -- 14th Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 17, Year C

Call to Worship/Opening Prayer
The invitation has been given:
Come and gather, come on and all, come as you are!
The welcome mat is laid out:
Come in and sit down! Join us!
We gather to sing and listen,
we gather to pray and be refreshed.
Hospitable God, welcoming God,
may this time together fill us with vision of what it means to embrace Radical hospitality.
Challenging God, coaxing God,
may this time together push us to ask ourselves hard questions about ourselves and push us to new actions.
Loving God, encouraging God,
we pray in the name of Jesus, who teaches us how to welcome others in your Kingdom.
And who teaches us to pray together saying...

Merciful God, we try to live in the Way of wisdom, but sometimes we get confused. There seem to be 2 sets of rules and it is hard to choose. The common sense of the world seems much more attractive than the Radicalness of Your Way. For all the times we play it safe, when we stay in our comfort zone, forgive us.
...time of silent prayer...
God's Way is not always easy or comfortable. But it is always available. When we make other choices God is always there to lead us back, never holding our wanderings over our heads. God is Gracious and Forgiving. We are a forgiven people.
Thanks and Praise to God! Amen.

God called us here together, welcoming us just as we are.
And God calls us to welcome others, just as they are.
As we go out into the world,
We go remembering that all are welcome in God's kingdom.
Which means that we have a message for the world,
we share God's message of welcome, of Radical acceptance and hospitality
As you go to welcome the world, go out knowing that the God who creates, re-creates, and sustains us is with you every step of the way.
Thanks be to God! Amen!

Monday, August 16, 2010

For August 22, 2010 -- 13th Sunday After Pentecost, Year C

When we are bent over and tired...
God is there to set us free.
As those who have been called to stand up straight...
we go out into the world to share the promise of freedom.
As you go out, know that the God who sets us all free, who helps us stand straight, who gives us strength to go on is with you every step of the way.
Thanks and praise to God. Amen

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

For August 15, 2010 -- 12th Sunday After Pentecost Year C

Each of us had a choice to make this morning
We could roll over and go back to sleep or we could come to worship.
Each of us has many choices to make in life
Do we follow the world's wisdom or God's wisdom?
We gather here to receive guidance and strength to make these choices.
God, grant that in this time of song and prayer and listening our hearts and beings are opened to Your presence, to Your dreams, and to Your wisdom.
And in the end send us out to live and serve,
making hard choices, choosing to follow Jesus, choosing Your way over the world's ways.
We pray in the name of Jesus, whose path we try to follow, and who taught his friends to pray by saying together...

God is gracious beyond all our hopes and expectations.
Whenever we drift into error, whenever we make unwise choices, God gently draws us back onto the Path of Life
We are forgiven and loved. Always.
Thanks and praise to God! Amen!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

For August 8, 2010 -- 11th Sunday After Pentecost Year C

God we admit that we let the comfortable get in our way. We confess that we sometimes let religion get in the way of being faithful. For all those times when we have been diverted from living out Your love, forgive us we pray.
...time of silent prayer...
God is gracious and forgiving. When we stray from The Way of wisdom God gracefully draws us back. WE are loved and forgiven.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For August 1, 2010 -- 10th After Pentecost, Year C

Who has brought you here?
We have come in response to God, who calls us to be God's people.
Why are you here?
We come to experience God's Presence, to hear God's Challenge, to feel God's Love.
We come to worship and learn together. Let us pray...
God, some weeks it seems like it would be so much easier to stay home and relax on Sunday morning. But still You urge us to get up and come to worship together. We have listened to Your urging today.
In this time of song and speech and silence open our hearts and minds to Your presence. May this time together remind us of what is truly important. And may we leave this place committed to live as people of The Way, people of Love. We pray in the name and memory of the Risen Christ, who before his death taught his friends to pray together saying...

Our time of worship comes to a close
Our time of service continues.
Now we go out into the world
Ready to examine our priorities, ready to put the important things first, trusting that this will make a difference in our world.
As you go out into the world to live and to serve, go confident in the promise that God: Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, is with you always and all ways.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Prayer to close a Pastoral Relationship

God of community, you call us to live and work and minister together in communities of faith.
You encourage us to grow together, to love together, to celebrate together, to weep together.
We know that in our communal life there are times when people come and times when people go.

9 years ago we began a new ministry relationship.
New friendships were formed, new bonds began to be built.
Promises of mutual support were made, a covenant of mutual ministry was built.
In the time since, bonds of care and concern have grown.
We have shared the good and the bad with each other,
we have laughed, and cried and raged with the events in the world.
We have learned and disagreed and discussed.
And for all of those 9 years we give thanks. For friendships and support, for challenge and growth.

But now the time has come to mark the end of that relationship.
We move forward into a future that is always uncertain.
As we move forward we name that, although the ministry relationship of the past 9 years is now ended, the bonds of care and concern, the ties of friendship, still endure.
Today we release each other from the promises made at our covenanting.
Today we look forward as we each go our own ways and while there is sorrow there is also excitement and hope.

God who has walked with us all these years together, we trust that you will continue to walk with us as we walk along the path of life.
May the connections formed in this relationship strengthen all of us to face what the world may have in store.
May the learnings shared enable our continued growth as followers of The Way.
And may we all be better for the laughter and the tears and the time we have shared together.

WE pray in the name of the One whose name we bear, Jesus of Nazareth, the one we call Christ. Amen.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Prayer for the 85th Anniversary of the UCCan

Prayer for the History and the Future of the United Church

God of our history, we remember with praise and thanks those men and women of vision who came before us. We give thanks for their seemingly impossible dream of a United Church and for the hours and years of faith-filled and prayerful labour to make it a reality.

God of our triumphs, we remember with pride the great things that have been accomplished in the last 85 years of witness and worship. We give thanks for those who heard Your voice calling and stepped forward in leadership. We celebrate those who offered prophetic critiques of our nation and our church when it was needed. For those with courage and heart to make the difficult choices in a faithful manner we say thanks and pray that we can learn from their example.

God of our regrets, we acknowledge that our story has its times of shadow as well. There are times when we have not lived up to the ideal of what it means to be Your people. We remember the stories of residential schools and our interaction with the First Nations people of this country. We remember times when we as congregations and as a national church have chosen to remain silent when a prophetic voice was needed. We remember and regret all those times when people have been made to feel unwelcome or unworthy by member of this United and Uniting church. And as we share our regrets we offer our repentance, praying that we would learn a better way by reflecting on our past.

God of our present, we know that all is not well with the church today. In congregations and Presbyteries and Conferences across the country there is much anxiety and dis-ease. We worry about “greying” membership and declining numbers. We fret about finances. We wonder if there will be a 100th anniversary. In the midst of our worrying it can be easy to notice the good times, the signs of Your Spirit blowing new life into our midst. In the middle of our dis-ease, reawaken our hearts with words of hope and comfort.

God of our future, we can not know what the future will bring. Sometimes that unknowing brings excitement at the limitless possibilities. Sometimes it just makes us fearful at our lack of control. And so we attempt to shape the future in our own way, according to our own vision instead of opening our hearts and minds and souls to what Your vision may be. As we move forward in to the clouded uncertainty that lies ahead, help us to remember that we are not alone. Open our eyes to see and ears to hear what possibilities are out there. And whatever the future may bring, strengthen us to face it faithfully and as people of hope.

Challenging God, over the centuries You have challenged people of faith on countless occasions in innumerable ways. We are challenged constantly to live the old story in new times, to sing the old songs in new places, to keep the faith when it would be easier to let it fall by the wayside. At the same time we are challenged to hear new stories that intersect with the old, to learn new songs that capture the faith of the ages, to allow our understanding of You and Your world to grow and develop. Help us face the challenges of the present and the future with the knowledge that, just as you were with all those who faced challenges in the past, you are and will be with us as we face our own. All this we pray in the name of the One whose name we bear, Jesus of Nazareth, the One we call Christ, who taught his friends to pray by saying together...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

For APril 4, 2010 -- Easter Sunday

Mere days after their world was torn apart,
two women go to visit and tend the grave of one they love.
And when they get there they find that the grave is open and empty.
What new horror is this?
Not horror but gift. Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen indeed! Hallelujah
We come together to worship.
We come to share praise and joy!

This is the day that God has made!
We will rejoice and be glad!
God of new life and new hope, today you do a new thing!
With the dawning of the new day you have brought a new creation into being!
As we celebrate the resurrection today,
empty the tombs and dead spaces in our lives,
renew our hope for the future,
remind us that the coming Reign of Love, Peace and Justice may be slowed but can never be stopped.
As we walk to the tomb with the disciples,
open our eyes to the power of resurrection.
As we see the wonder of new life,
empower us to live as a resurrection people. We pray in the name of the Risen Christ. Amen

This is the day that God has made!
We will rejoice and be glad!
We have heard the wonderful news!
Christ is Risen!
We go to live resurrection hope!
Bringing words of life in place of fears of death, sharing the promise the God’s Reign wins out, that God has the final word.
In the name of the God who makes us,
in the name of the Christ who makes us free,
in the name of the Spirit who makes us one.
We go in God’s love and promise always.
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Monday, March 22, 2010

For March 28, 2010 -- Palm Sunday

If you listen carefully you can almost hear it,
Drifting through the air, singing and dancing.
It gets closer and closer, louder and louder,
Songs of joy and hope.
The Kingdom is coming! Can you see it?
The Kingdom is coming! Will we join in the parade?

God, when we open our eyes and ears we can see and hear the signs of the coming Kingdom,
We want to join in the singing and dancing and rejoicing.
It seems that nothing can stop the good times from coming.
But is that really true? Do we really believe it?
Or do we work to find ways to block the Kingdom?
Maybe. God, for those days when we get in the way of the parade, for the ways we try to interrupt the festivities, for our reticence to embrace the possibility of the Kingdom, forgive us.
…time of silent prayer…
God is the leader of the parade. God calls us to the celebration. Even when we have doubts or try to block the Kingdom, God still calls us to sing and dance for joy. We are forgiven.
Blessed be the One whose kingdom comes on a donkey! Amen.

We have marched and sung with the crowds.
We share their hope for better things to come.
The week ahead will throw cold water on that hope.
But we still try to sing our hope. For even if our voices are stilled the very stones will take up the song.
As we go into the world of hope and challenge, remember that in the hope and in the challenge we are not alone. God walks with us as we journey towards the Kingdom.
Thanks be to God! Hosanna and Hallelujah!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

For MArch 14, 2010 -- LEnt 4C

God, there are times when we lose our way on the journey of life.
Days when we simply get confused which way we should go and make a poor choice.
God there are times when we intentionally leave the Way you would have us follow.
Days when we turn our back on the wisdom you offer. Days when we demand our entitlement and use it for our own selfish pleasures and purposes.
God, there are times when find ourselves hiding in a corner somewhere.
Days when we are convinced that we are not worth finding. Days when we wonder why you would look for us.
God, for all the times we get lost, when we take the wrong turn in life…
Forgive us and draw us back to The Way…
…time of silent prayer…
The Psalmist writes “Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven”. The Gospel reminds us that God is always happy to find the lost, that God is always welcoming us back home with open arms. We are forgiven and loved.
Thanks be to God! Amen

We who are sometimes lost have been found.
And so the party of life continues.
We go out as people whom God has welcomed with open arms.
We go out to welcome others with open arms as we share God’s words of love and acceptance and hope.
And where ever our journey takes us, when we are sure of the way and when we have gotten lost, we take strength from knowing that we are NOT alone. We live in God’s world and God is with us.
Thanks be to God. Amen

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

For March 7, 2010 --- Lent 3C

Creator God, it is your hope that your people grow and become all that they could be,
But too often we are content to remain stable, not being fruitful.
God of growth, you call us to step forward, enriching the lives of those around us.
But too often we are willing to look after our needs first, and then using our “extras” for the world around us.
God of the Earth, you call us to be good users of life’s soil,
But if we are honest there are many times when we appear to be a waste of soil. For those times when we resist growth, when we are not fruitful, when we are less than we could be, forgive us we pray.
…time of silent prayer…
God is a patient and caring Gardener. God continues to nourish and nurture us, helping us to bear fruit, even when it might seem more logical to start afresh. We are forgiven, we are fed.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

We go out as children of God, Beloved and nourished.
May we bear fruit in response to the care from the Gardener.
We go out to work in the soil of life, the dirty world in which we find ourselves.
May we help to enrich the soil around us so that all may grow to bear fruit in their own turn.
And remember, we are not growing of our own accord or power. We grow because we are held in the arms and care of the Gardener from germination to maturity.
Thanks be to God who gives us growth! Amen.

For February 21, 2010 -- Lent 1C

God who has called us together,
We come here seeking to find the path of Life, wondering who You would have us be.
As we wrestle with those questions of being there are so many tests and possibilities along the way.
And so we seek guidance and strength.
In this time of worship,
Open our hearts and souls to your Way. Give us the strength and wisdom to pass the tests of life. Amen.

As worship ends, service continues.
We leave this place to continue following the road that lies in front of us.
On that path there are many options, many times we can turn aside.
But we pledge ourselves to stick to the goal, to struggle with the tests, to be who we are meant to be.
And we remember the great promise of faith. We remember that we never face the tests and trial of life alone.
May the Threefold God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, be with us always and all-ways. Amen.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

CLosing Prayer for an Annual Meeting

God of our coming and going,
God of our past, our present, and our future,
we have met, we have celebrated, we have remembered.
We also have visioned, shared hopes, dreamed dreams.
And now we go out into the world in which we do most of our living and our ministering.
As we go out, remind us that we do not go alone.
As we go out, remind us that we go with a mission.
As we go out, fill us with love, hope, and peace to share with the world.
May our lives and our ministry be signs of Your love and promises and possibility for the world. Amen.

Opening PRayer for an Annual Meeting

God of our past, our present, and our future,
Source of life, in whom we have our being,
One who has created and is creating;
today we gather to celebrate our life together over the last year.
We give thanks for all the ways we have experienced Your presence over the last year.
As we think back over the year we remember those times we have gathered to say farewell to members of our community, we name and remember them again today {read names from Annual Report}. We also pause to remember those who celebrated their relationships and their love over the last year {read names}.
Today we remember also many hours of worship and service together, meals shared with each other and the wider community, shared laughter and tears, shared hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties.
God of our past, our present, and our future,
today we also move from remembering the year that was
to looking ahead at the years that will be.
In our time of reflection and visioning this afternoon,
open our hearts, our minds, and our souls to your wisdom and your guidance.
Inspire us with your vision for how we can flourish as a part of Your global body.
Fill us with a sense of who and how we are called to be in the world.
May our discussion this day re-energize us and cause us to be renewed in purpose so that we can better share your love with the world. Amen.