Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Prayer for 2015

God of Hope,
it is hard to be hopeful.
Our news feeds seem intent on filling us with fear and despair.
And yet when the darkness of despair threatens to win the day you respond with words of hope. “Comfort, comfort ye my people... God will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep”
Keep the vision of the Kingdom in our hearts and minds, make us into people of hope,
and help us carry hope into those shadowed places of the world where despair seems to be winning.
And so we hold in out hearts those who need hope in their lives
...time of silence...

God of Peace,
Mass shootings, ISIS offensives and refugees, armed robberies and murders in our city, more and more people struggling to hold the chequebook in the black.
So many things this year make peace seem like a dream, a faint possibility, a wish made on a falling star.
We yearn for peace, we desperately need signs of peace, even as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace.
Move in our hearts, gracious God, fill us to overflowing with Christ's peace, that we would be able to share that peace with everyone we meet.
With expectant hearts, we look forward to that day when peace is more than just a word, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb and they will not hurt or destroy on all the holy mountain.
...time of silence...

God of Love,
All we need is love, so the song tells us.
Love is the great commandment, the power that keeps us growing.
In love you break into our world, coming to live among us as one of us.
In love you challenge us to live love with each other: family and stranger, friend and enemy.
This Christmas season, in a world which tries to make us afraid, remind us that love casts out and defeats fear, remind us not to be afraid.
And so fill our very beings with love that it spills onto everyone in our lives.
May love be the keystone, the guiding principle, of our lives, at Christmas and all the year through.
As we hold in our hearts those we love, and all those around the world who are hungry for love
...time of silence...

God of Joy,
in sanctuaries and living rooms and village squares around the globe people are singing songs of joy.
We have heard and shared the Good News of Great Joy for all the people.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
And yet...
in every corner of the globe tonight there are people who find joy a distant, uncommon visitor.
People struggle for life's needs, people sit with loved ones lying in sickbeds, people live in places many of us would not be caught dead, people gather in the midst of Christmas celebrations to say farewell to a loved one, people sit alone far from family and friends.
We know the life is not always what it could be. And yet we trust that all will be well some day.
On this night, on every night, we pray with and for all those who struggle
may they know that they are not alone, may they hear the word of promise and joy and love
...time of silence...

God of Birth,
once again we hear the angel announcing:
“for unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour who is Christ the Lord”
Once again we hear the angel chorus:
“Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth Peace”
And so we celebrate a baby born long ago. We celebrate births that happen today:
Hope born in the middle of bad news and despair.
Peace born in a world of violence and struggle and disparity.
Love born in a world of fear.
Joy born in the hearts of the broken-hearted.
For everything that is born in our midst tonight we sing songs and mutter prayers of praise and thanksgiving.
...time of silence...
These things we pray in the name of Jesus, the Babe in the manger, Emmanuel, God-With-Us

Thursday, December 10, 2015

For Christmas Eve

Stop! Listen! Do you hear it?
Hear what?
The song drifting over the snow. It started in low then it started to grow....
Yes I hear it! It sounds so happy. What does it mean?
Something wonderful has happened, A baby is born.
Let us go and see!
Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the new-born King

In the dark of winter we look for light.
We light candles to bring light into our world.
The light of Hope, of Peace, of Joy, of Love (light the four outside candles)
And now there is one light left.
On this night of glory we remember that God is born in our midst,
the Light of the world shines in our communities.
And so we light our centre candle, remembering the Babe who is the centre of our celebration, the Christ who is the centre of our faith (light centre candle)
God of angels and starlight, God of shepherds and stables, God of Christmas glory,
tonight we gather to hear the story we have heard so many times.
God who comes to live among us, God who chooses to share our joys and sorrows, to share our lives,
as we listen for angels sharing Good News awaken hope in our lives.
God who is at work in the world, as we celebrate the birth of Christ,
remind us that the Good News the angel shares is for us, for all the people.
For to US a Child is born, to Us a Son is given. May his birth-light shine in and for and through us.
Glory to God in the Highest! Amen.

The story has been told, the angel's words echo in our heads, our hearts, our souls.
We go back out into the night with a song in our hearts.
Go! Tell it on the mountain, over the fields and everywhere!
Jesus Christ is Born!
And as you go, carry the light of the Christmas glory with you,
to share with everyone we meet.
Glory to God in the highest!
And on earth, peace, goodwill among humanity. Amen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

For January 3, 2016 -- Epiphany Sunday

There is a Light, a beacon, drawing us forward.
We are drawn toward it, like moths to a flame
In its warm glow we sing, we pray, we worship.
Here we are refreshed, here we are nourished.
And as we gather in the glow of the Christ Light we greet each other with words and signs of Christ's peace

God of Christmas,
already the angel song is fading, already we are starting to get back to our routines.
God of Christmas,
but still we want to see the child, to be reminded of the hope he brings.
God of Christmas, in this time of worship,
may we join the visitors from the East, come to honour the one who has been born to be King.
God of Christmas, after our time of worship,
send us back out to share the Good News of the season, even if there are those who would try to extinguish the hope and possibilities it brings.
This we pray in the name of the newborn King, soon to be a refugee. Amen.

God of light, like the Magi we are drawn into your light, into your presence.
Like them we want to bring our best to lay by your side.
God of light, in every age there are those who live in fear, whose lives are threatened simply because they live where and when they live.
Causing them to flee to strange new places, to make home in new communities..
God of light, when the shadows of the world loom on the horizon, when they drive people to our doors
grant us the grace, the strength, the wisdom to react appropriately, to welcome the stranger as a neighbour.
God of light, when those shadows make us afraid, when the fear makes us less than we could be.
grant us the grace, the strength, the wisdom, to choose another path.
..time of silent prayer...
The God revealed in the Christmas Child is gracious and giving. The God revealed in the manger draws us to the light with mercy and forgiveness and hospitality. The God revealed in the Christmas star helps us to shine through the shadows of life.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

We have gathered to honour the one born to be King.
We have been warmed by his light, we have been fed at his table.
We have seen him forced to flee for his life.
We have been reminded of our calling to see Christ in all those who flee for their lives
And now we leave this time of worship,
recommitting ourselves to serve Christ, renewing our pledge to live as people of love.
We go out into the world to live, to love, to serve.
We go out sure that God goes with us, in light and in dark we are not alone. Thanks be to God.

For December 20, 2015 -- Advent 4

God, our time of waiting draws longer,
we are anxious to hear the song of angels bringing Good News.
As we continue to wait and prepare,
keep our hearts filled with hope,
keep our eyes looking for peace,
keep our actions and words filled with love.
And finally,
overfill our souls with joy, joy that spreads to all we meet.
These things we pray in the name of the Baby whose birth draws nigh, who later will teach us to pray saying...

God of Joy, as the days grow shorter, as the night grows longer,
we become so aware of the darkness that threatens to overtake the world.
We read our papers, we listen to the radio, we turn on our computers,
and we wonder how we could possibly sing songs of Joy this year.
If ever there was a time when we needed you to break into the world,
it is now.
If ever there was a time we needed to hear the angels words,
it is now.
If ever there was a time we needed to join Mary in her song of hope and joy, defiance and power,
It is now.
Awaken in us the possibilities of Christmas, awaken in us the defiance of Mary, awaken in us the vision of how the world could—no, how the world WILL be.
And through your grace we can again sing of joy. Amen.

In just a few days it will happen.
The baby will be born.
Angels will sing.
The Starlight of Hope, Peace, Love and Joy will drive away the shadows.
We go now to finish getting ready.
To shop and wrap and bake and cook.
We go now to make room in our hearts,
for Emmanuel, God-With-Us to be born anew.
We go to share the Good News that is for all people, with the world around us.
A child is coming, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the Highest!
And on Earth Peace. Amen.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Advent Candles 2015

This year we are using a sung piece (written by Lloyd Larson, copyright 1994) as the base for our candlelighting:

Advent 1: November 29, 2015 – Hope
Sung opening—Come Child of Light
Spoken interlude
1. No matter our circumstances, God promises and offers hope. Hope is born anew when we hear God's promise to the people in exile
2. “Here is your God!... He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep”. (Isaiah 40:10-11)
1. Hope is a star that shines in the night, leading us on till the morning is bright (Brian Wren)
Light one candle
Sung closing Come Child of Light

Advent 2: December 6, 2015 – PeaceSung opening—Come Child of Light
Spoken interlude
1. We await the birth of one who we call the Prince of Peace. God's kingdom is a kingdom of Peace.
2. When his son John was born the priest Zechariah said: “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace”. (Luke 1:78-79)
1. For lo! the days are hastening on, By prophet-bards foretold,
When peace shall over all the earth Its ancient splendours fling, (Edmund Sears)
Light two candles
Sung closing Come Child of Light
Advent 3: December 13, 2015 – Love
Sung opening—Come Child of Light
Spoken interlude
1. The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of love, the Christmas child is love incarnate
2. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son (John 3:16a)
1. Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas, Star and angels gave the sign. (Christina Rossetti)
Light three candles
Sung closing Come Child of Light

Advent 4: December 20, 2015 – Joy
Sung opening—Come Child of Light
Spoken interlude
1. The birth of a child is a cause for joy, God breaking into the world is a cause for joy.
2. When Elizabeth met Mary she said “And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.” (Luke 1:43-44)
1. Joy to the World! The Lord is come; let earth receive her King! (Isaac Watts)
Light four candles
Sung closing Come Child of Light

Call To Worship for the Advent Season

In this season of preparation of watching and waiting
We gather to pray, to sing, to worship
In this season of Hope, Peace. Love and Joy
We gather in anticipation of the birth of Christ.
As we wait the birth of the Prince of Peace, we greet our neighbours with the Peace of Christ.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

For November 15, 2015 -- A service working with Hosea 11:1-9

The God who spoke Creation into being calls us to gather in worship.
We come together to sing, to pray, to listen.
We gather in God's presence and peace, we greet each other with the Peace of Christ.

God who calls us all Beloved Children,
we come into your presence, we come to be embraced by your loving arms.
In this time of worship,
remind us of the love which holds us fast.
In this time of worship,
restore in us the desire to love and serve.
In this time of worship,
prepare us to go back out into the world to live as your children, to love your children, to serve your children.
These things we pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, who taught his friends to pray saying...

God of grace, God who loves us like a child,
we acknowledge that, as children sometimes do, we wander astray.
God of grace, God who works to heal and protect,
we acknowledge that sometimes we do not recognize the healing and the protection.
God of grace, God who leads us in loving wisdom,
we acknowledge that sometimes we are headstrong and insist on going our own way.
God of grace, God who will not let go,
we acknowledge that sometimes we struggle and do not want to be held
...time of silent prayer...
Here is the extent of God's grace. Even though we wander astray, even when we do no see how God is present, even when we are stiff-necked people- even when we struggle against God's love, God is unable to just let us fall. In grace God holds us in love, in grace God remains part of the equation of life.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
Our time of worship closes,
we go back into the world to live and serve and love.
We go to a world where many feel isolated, alone, unloved.
And so we carry the Good News of a God who can not let go of God's beloved children.
And we go knowing that God is with us,
Creating, Redeeming, and Sustaining each step of the way.
Go in peace, in faith and in love

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

For November 8, 2015 -- Elijah and the Prophets of Baal

May the peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.
We gather to celebrate God's presence, to be reminded of how God is active in our world
We gather to sing, to pray, to listen, to worship.
As we gather, we turn to our neighbours to offer each other the peace of Christ.

God of the ages, in our times of drought and struggle, those times we feel abandoned
we seek for a sign that you are with us, that you are indeed God.
God of the ages, in a world filled with potential idols and gods,
we know that sometimes we wander, we give our focus to the wrong things.
God of the ages, in a world of viral videos and sound bite politics,
we acknowledge that sometimes we want the “big show”, the spectacular, the fireworks and glory.
God of the ages, God of grace, God who moves within and amongst us always,
open our eyes to see the signs of your presence, open our souls to feel your grace, open our hearts to share that grace with the world around us.
God of grace, active in the world, active in our lives,
we sing songs of thanksgiving for your presence, help us listen for your voice urging us forward.

Monday, October 19, 2015

For October 25, 2015 (Service using parts of the story of Ruth)

God calls us to gather as sisters and brother in faith and life.
We gather with the members of our family.
God calls us together to be prepared to be sent out
we gather that we would be refreshed as servants of God.
As we gather together we turn to our friends and neighbours and exchange words and signs of Christ's Peace...

God you call us to name as family the people whose lives we share.
Help us to commit ourselves to care for them, and to allow them to care for us.
We know that sometimes our families, the ones we are born into and the ones we choose, fail us.
And we know that we sometimes fail them.
And so help us move beyond the failings to find the way where we can all flourish,
forgiving, giving another chance, taking the risks of love and commitment.
God of grace, God who calls us beloved children, God who challenges us to see brothers and sisters wherever we look,
give us the grace, the courage, the ability, to see beyond our old boundaries as we share the love you have shared with us.
And when our vision is limited, when we ask “who is my brother?”
open our hearts and souls to the breadth we find in Christ Jesus.
As part of the family you have chosen,
help us God to live in grace, in love, and in mutual support, committed to each other. Amen.

Monday, October 5, 2015

For October 11, 2015 -- Thanksgiving Sunday, The call of Moses

O God we call...
throughout the ages people have called out in their times of crisis.
O God we call...
those under the thumb of oppression, those struggling under the weight of life.
O God we call...
seeking to know that we are heard, seeking relief in our hardship.
From deep inside we yearn for you.
We ask you to break in to the world, to set things right.
We are not alone...
we trust that you hear the cries of your people.
We are not alone...
with thanksgiving we celebrate your constant presence, your assurance that the arc of the universe continuously bends toward justice.
We are not alone...
God of life, we thank you for the gifts you share with us, we thank you for changing the world so that all your children might flourish.
And so in hope and thanksgiving we echo the old prayer:
That all will be well, all manner of thing be well. Someday. Amen.

God hears.
And God calls us to hear too.
God acts.
And challenges us to act as agents of God.
We go out into the world,
looking for the “burning bush”, looking for those places where God invites us into the work of liberation.
And we go secure in the promise that we are not alone. God is with us.
Thanks be to God. Amen

Thursday, September 17, 2015

For October 4, 2015 (using Week 3 Year 2 readings from the Narative Lectionary)

We are called to be the church
to celebrate God's presence.
We have responded to the call
and so we gather together in worship
As we gather we turn to our neighbours, our family of faith, and exchange Christ's Peace

God who calls us to be a community of faith,
a community that strives for justice and struggles to understand how you would have us live.
We come to this place,
to worship, to be renewed, to be challenged,
to be sent out,
to live your Way of Love and Hope, to make a difference in the world.
And in so doing to proclaim the Gospel of the crucified and risen Christ

God, grant us the courage,
to send all others across the stream and stay alone in the wild to confront our fears and our demons.
God grant us the courage,
to wrestle and strive and to not let go.
God grant us the courage,
to name our own failings, to grow stronger through our weaknesses.
God grant us the courage,
to wrestle with you, to struggle with your Word, to discern where your mission intersects with our lives.
God grant us the courage,
to laugh, to live, to love. Amen.

Our time of worship draws to a close.
We have gathered at the table of faith, we have listened for God's voice.
Our time of service continues.
We live and work and serve in the world around us.
Go to the world, go into every place.
We go to share God's love and hope. We go to live as people of the Way.
Go with God: Parent, Child, and Spirit , who is with us always.
We are not alone. Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Christ Candle responses for Fall 2015

A pillar of fire in the desert, the words of faith and Scripture, a candle shining in our worship,
all reminders of the God who leads, guides, challenges, and supports us.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

For September 13, 2015 -- Garden of God

God of life, in the beginning, you gave us a garden.
Where the tree of life grew. Where we were invited to live in community with you and all creation.
In the end, in the midst of the New Jerusalem, there will be a garden.
Where the tree of life will grow. Where the river of life will flow. Where we are welcomed back into paradise.
In between we search for the garden.
Looking for signs of paradise in a world where paradise sometimes seems far from real.
Gardener God,
In grace lead us to find the gardens in our lives, reveal where paradise lies waiting to be found.
And when that seems impossible,
remind us of another garden,
where your grace and power were revealed in the face of death and disaster,
where resurrection returned paradise to the world.
Gracious God, reveal your grace and power and life to us
throughout our lives. Amen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

For September 6, 2015 -- The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

Come in, Come in and sit down!
We gather with our brothers and sisters in faith.
Come and gather at the banquet table of God.
Where all are invited, where all can eat, where we break bread together.
As we gather at the table, we greet our fellow guests with words and signs of God's Peace.

God of the banquet,
we gather together to sing, to pray, to open ourselves to your presence.
In this time together,
open our hearts to the breadth of your open grace, open our spirits to the width of your welcome.
You invite us to the banquet of life.
We respond, we join in the singing and dancing and feasting.
As we are fed in this time together,
prepare us to share the banquet with our neighbours. Amen.

God of the banquet, you invite us to come and celebrate.
But sometimes life is just so full, we are too busy.
God of the banquet, you invite us to come and celebrate.
But there are other things that seem more important. Maybe next time.
God of the banquet, you ask us to bring others to the banquet.
Who shall we invite?
God of the banquet, you open the table to everyone.
Which surprises us, which confuses us, which sometimes angers us.
God of the banquet, help your grace flow through us as we gather at the banquet.
Help us to be open to all our neighbours, to welcome them in, to celebrate together.
God of grace, through your grace, may the celebrations be loud and long lasting.

We have gathered, we have shared in the Banquet of Life
We accepted the invitation.
Now as our worship concludes we go out into the world.
To share the love of God, to share the joy of the banquet. with all we meet.
Go with God, witness to the love of God, carry the hope of faith with you.
We are not alone. Thanks be to God, the host of the banquet of life.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

For Summer Worship

In the dog days of the summer,
we gather to worship, to have the fire of the Spirit lit in our souls.
In this season of growth, as the earth puts out food,
we gather to worship, to be fed and energized.
As followers of Christ, we greet each other with Christ's peace...

Gracious God, you blow life's breath into our lungs.
We live in you, we live through you.
You call us to live lives marked by forgiveness, love, hope, compassion.
And we strive to do so.
But if we are honest,
sometimes our lives are marked by resentment, dis-interest, fear, self-centeredness
God of Grace,
when we get it right celebrate with us, when we miss the mark gently guide us back to the path of wisdom.
...time of silent prayer...
God is gracious and merciful. God celebrates our successes and mourns our mis-steps. God continues to call us back to the Way with forgiveness and grace and mercy.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

FOr June 21, 2015 -- NAtional Aboriginal Day

Cultural Genocide
The words echo through our country and through our hearts
Cultural Genocide
The words make us stop. Make us think again about who we are and how we are as a church, as a nation.
Creator God, Great Spirit,
we pause and remember the wrongs done on our behalf.
Creator God, Great Spirit,
we name that good intentions sometimes lead to the same results as bad intentions.
God of community,
we acknowledge the broken-ness of our community, the relationships that need to be rebuilt.
God of community,
move among us, push us to do the hard work of reconciliation, give us the courage and endurance to see the long task through.
God of forgiveness, God of grace,
help us to be honest and truthful with each other. Move in our hearts to hear each others stories. Place in our souls the desire to create a new relationship where we see you clearly in each others faces. Give us the humility to accept the need for repentance.
...time of silent prayer...
God is Gracious, God calls us to be Gracious. God moves among us to remind us that in Christ's life and death and New Life there is forgiveness, there is the possibility of repaired relationships, there is hope. Though the road may be long we have God to guide and strengthen us along the way.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

As we close our worship, we continue to pray,
for healing, for truth-telling, for truth-hearing, for reconciliation
As we leave this space we go out into the world,
committing to work for healing, for rebuilding relationships, for the coming of the Kingdom
As we live and serve we trust that God is with us,
moving in the hearts of all, pushing us to be more than we are.
Go with God