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.