Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Candle lighting responses for Easter

In this Easter Season of new life and new hope,
may the light of this candle remind us that light and life have the victory over death and darkness.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Prayers at the Foot of the Cross (for Good Friday)

God of life, today we pause to remember the power of death.
Today we tell the story of what happens when someone angers those in power.
Today we tell a story of betrayal by a friend, trial by empire, execution as a way of silencing the one who names injustice.
Today we tell a story that happened long ago in a land far away.
Today we tell a story that continues to happen today in places close at hand.

As we remember the story today help us to see its truth.
As we tell of Jesus' trial and execution remind us of those who are found legally guilty for doing and saying the right things.
As we tell of the friends who are conspicuously absent from the cross remind us how easily we slip away when the struggle for justice becomes dangerous or challenging.
As we look at the cross remind us of the power of empire in any age, and remind us of our duty as people of faith to proclaim a different empire, a different kingdom, a new way of living together.

God of life, today we pause to remember the power of those in charge to run the world.
Today we remember the many people near and far who are broken by that power:
those who live in places where peace is just a word, not a reality, not even a dream
those who are pushed to the margins because of their race, their gender, their bank balance, their marital status, their orientation, or any of the countless other ways we find to set people apart
those who live with nothing so that others may live with abundance
those who choose to challenge the injustices in their world and are crushed beneath the feet of those in charge
...time of silent prayer...
But even as we remember that power we remember that day follows night, hope replaces despair, and life will conquer death.
And now, as we prepare to leave this gathering, may we do so ready to challenge the empires of our world, even if such a challenge leads us to a cross outside the city gates.
We pray in the name of the one who showed us the depth of his passion for Your Kingdom, who taught us to live in love and justice, in whose life, death and resurrection we can find the path to Kingdom living, and who taught his friends to pray by saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Maundy Thursday Service

Lighting of a Flame:
God is the light in our darkness. As we gather for this meal we light a flame to remind us of God's presence, to remind us that God is part of our circle and part of our worship.
May the flickering light of this flame sustain us as the story of our faith grows darker.

Opening Prayer
God of life, you have called us to gather in this place,
open our hearts to your love in this time together. Open our eyes to see the world around us as you see it. Open our souls that we would be willing to embrace the path of servant-hood. We pray in the name of Jesus, who is our Servant Lord. Amen.

Hymn VU593 Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with your Love

Scripture: John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Washing Each Other's Hands

A Meal Prayer
As we prepare to share this meal, help us remember the blessings we have been given.
Day by day we are fed in body, in mind and in spirit. May the food we share strengthen our bodies. May the friendship we share strengthen our hearts. May the story we share enable us to be people of love. Amen.

We Eat Together

Scripture Exodus 12:1-14
Pesach & Passover (Reflection)

Our Meal Continues

Scripture 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
A Special Meal (Reflection)

Bread and Cup are Shared

We Finish Our Meal
We have come together, we have broken bread together
sharing a meal of memory and fellowship.
And now the meal has ended and we go back to the rest of our lives,
we go as people who have been called to be servants to the world.
We go to share the love of God with all we meet,
we go trusting that the Light of God will shine even when the world grows darker.
Go with God, who feeds us in body and soul, who frees us from bondage, who walks with us as we live and serve. Amen.

Hymn: VU278 In the Quiet Curve of Evening

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easter Intro

This is how we will open our Easter Service, it leads into the joyful proclamations: (in the service it will be accompanied with PowerPoint slides)

This Week In Jerusalem

GOOOOOOOOD Morning Jerusalem!, and welcome to KJER in the morning. If it's happening in Jerusalem we'll tell you about it.

IT has been a busy and exciting week here in Jerusalem. OF course the Passover festival always brings large crowds and a great deal of excitement but this has been even more pronounced this week.

The week began 7 days ago with a strange parade into town [next slide] seen here in an artist's reconstruction. An itinerant preacher and miracle worker from Nazareth came riding into town on a donkey while his supporters threw clothing on the road and waved branches. Upon reaching the city this Jesus went to the temple where he overturned the tables of the money changers, drove animals out of the temple precinct and generally caused a great ruckus. Sources say that this was the last straw for Temple leaders, who were already worried about the excitement caused by this man.

The next story about him came 4 days ago. [next slide] Jesus and his friends held a Passover meal together – as did we all – but unconfirmed reports claim that at this meal Jesus invited his friends into some sort of ritual cannibalism, claiming that the bread and wine was his body and blood. I repeat, this is an unconfirmed report, we are not accusing anyone of such a horrible thing.

Later that night Temple authorities, aided by one of Jesus' friends, were able to have him arrested. Following a quick trial they were able to convince Pilate to have him executed. [next slide] Accordingly, he was taken to the execution place and crucified. [next slide] Following his death his body was laid in a tomb which was then placed under guard because of fears the body would be stolen so his followers could claim he had risen from the dead.

Elsewhere in the city...[next slide] oh wait, I am told we have a breaking story. This must be a joke. NO? A mistake then. Just read the story you say? Alright then.

Early this morning Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. [next slide] And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. [next slide] Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

On that note it is time for a break. KJER will be back with more on this amazing story later today...

Monday, April 11, 2011

For April 17, 2011 -- Palm Sunday

As we gather along the roadside we feel the excitement filling the air.
Something is happening! We want to join in!
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Look! Your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he – humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey!
God, we join in the crowds, the jubilation, and the adoration.
The excitement is contagious, we have high hopes for what may come.
In the time of worship;
feed us in mind and body. Remind us where our loyalty truly lies.
And send us back out to proclaim the coming of the king, in whose name we pray.

God, on this day of great joy and excitement,
it is easy to get caught up in the hopes and the shouting.
But there is something else lurking around the corner,
a shadow of doubt and testing. A shadow of death and devastation.
Even as we join in the joy,
we admit that we may also join in the voices of another crowd, shouting NO in the face of your offer of a new world.
For the times we choose the easy parade over the hard road of change. For the days we choose to remain in the shadows...
forgive and strengthen us. Set us free from fear so that we can proclaim openly the coming of your Reign.
...time of silent prayer...
As we wave the branches we proclaim that the Reign of God is here and now! As citizens of God's Kingdom we are forgiven in our doubts and our mis-steps. We are set free of the past to move toward a hope-filled future.
Hosanna! The King is here! Praise and thanks to God! Amen

We have sung, we have eaten, we have celebrated.
Now we go out to live as citizens of God's kingdom
As we walk forward we see a shadow looming on the horizon
but beyond the shadow we see the brightness of a new day
And so we go out bravely, willing to face the tests that will come.
Ready to proclaim the coming of the one who comes in God's name. Ready to share the Good News of hope in a world too often given to despair.
And we go knowing that the God of Life, of Light, of Love is with us from celebration to cross to celebration.
Hosanna! Amen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

For April 10, 2011 -- 5th Sunday of Lent.

In a world where death seems to have the power,
we come seeking life.
As people of faith,
we proclaim that life wins.
We have been called together by God,
who calls life from the tombs of our world, who unbinds us from our chains, who is the God of the living.
In this time of worship,
may the tombs of life be opened, may our hearts be unbound, may we be reminded that in the end life will always win!
We pray in the name of Jesus, who came to bring abundant life, and who taught his friends to pray by saying together...

God of life, you promise us that life is always going to be the winner.
But we look around us and are moved to doubt the promise. The powers of death seem so strong.
You call us to come out of the dark tombs of the world and be set free.
And we have to admit that sometimes the comfort of the familiar overpowers our wish for abundant life.
You see a valley of dry bones and see possibilities.
And we see desolation and ask “Can these bones live?”
For all the times we lose hope, for all the times we doubt the promise, for all the times we prefer the comfort of the tomb to the unknown of new life,
Forgive and strengthen us, unbind us and call us to live again.
...time of silent prayer...
Christ says: I am the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me will live”. Living in Christ we are strengthened, freed and forgiven. We are called to new life, new hope, and new possibilities.
Thanks be to the God of life! Amen.

Jesus calls us out of our tombs, unbinds us, and sends us out.
We go to share the good news of a life that will always win!
Even when the way grows dark and danger lurks around the corner,
we share faith that light is beyond dark, that hope replaces despair.
Go out trusting in the God who gives life, who calls us to live, who is with us every step of life's journey!
Always and all ways! Amen!