Saturday, February 27, 2016

CLosing Prayer for an Annual Meeting

God of our coming in and our going out,
God of our past, our present, and our future,
God who has called us to be the church, who has challenged us to be your hands and feet active in the world,
here today we have worshipped, here today we have met.
Now, after the prayer, the singing, the listening, the sharing;
comes time to head back to our various homes and busy-ness,
those places where we do most of our living and loving.
As we go, fill our hearts, our minds, our souls with hope,
so that we would be bringer of hope to the world around us.
May our lives exude the love which flows first from You.
We pray in the name of Christ, whose name we bear.

Opening Prayer for an Annual Meeting

God of life and love, you have called us to be the church:
     to celebrate your presence
     to live with respect in creation
     to love and serve others
     to seek justice and resist evil
     to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope..
Another year has passed into the history books and we gather for the Annual Meeting of this part of your Body.
Here and now we remember the many ways we have lived out the call to BE the church over the last year.
We have sung together, eaten together, learned together, and listened to You and to each other.
We have held each other and all our neighbours in loving prayer.
We have offered support to our neighbours who are struggling.
We have offered space to programs that assist people with life.
We have tried to be a place of love and hope.

God of birth, of growth, of life and love, God who holds us from before our births to long after our deaths;
in this place we have marked the passages of life.
With hearts full of hope we remember those time when we have had the opportunity to welcome people into the family of faith as they passed through the waters of baptism [read list of names]
As a baptized and baptizing community may we continue both to:
grow in our understanding of what it means to be faithful followers of The Way
and to provide opportunities for people of all ages to question, to explore, and to grow
in their own way as beloved children of God, called to be creatures of love and faith.

Trusting in the power of love that builds strong relationships,
we have joined with couples standing before family and friends to pledge their love and commitment to each other in the act of marriage.
We name them and pray that they are blessed in the life they share [read list of names]

“In life, in death, in life beyond death...”
God of life, over the past year we have said good-bye to some.
We have supported their families and friends in their time of loss.
Remembering and honouring them, we name those whose lives have been celebrated and deaths mourned over the past year [read list of names]

God who has called us to be the church,
as we remember the year that was and look ahead to the year that will be,
we know that the new year will have its challenges, as we still live in a community struggling with harsh economic realities,
and we trust that the new year will have blessings, some we expect and some that will surprise us.
In our meeting this afternoon move in our hearts, souls and minds.
Fill us with a vision for how and who we are called to be in the world.
We pray as followers of Jesus, the Christ, the head of the Body which we call the Church.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

For February 28, 2016 -- Lent 3

Creator of heaven and earth, Lord of all, in whom we live and move and have our being;
we gather together for worship.
In this time together,
open our eyes and ears, minds and souls to your strength and wisdom.
And when our worship draws to a close,
send us back out as stewards of the gifts you have given us, to love and serve and share.
We pray in the name of Christ, whose name we bear, and who taught us to pray together saying...

God of Grace, we join the witness of ages saying:
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof”
And yet we live in a world where others say:
“What's mine is mine”
Give me my due”
And we follow the one who says:
Render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's and to God those things that are God's”
God of wisdom, in the face of such competing claims,
help us find the path of wisdom and grace.
...time of silent prayer...
In Grace God offers us perspective. In Grace God gives us the ability to choose. In Grace God challenges us to use what we have been given to uphold and support God's Kingdom, for all that we have, do and are comes from and belongs to God.
Thanks to the Gift-Giver, in whom we live and move and have our being. Amen.

We have gathered, we have prayed, we have sung, we have listened.
Now we go out to continue our work in and for the Kingdom.
We have been reminded that the world and everything in it belongs to God.
And we recommit ourselves to use those gifts wisely.
Go now, as ambassadors of God's Kingdom.
To share God's love, to respond to competing claims for our loyalty and time and treasure.
And as you go, trust that God is with you each minute of every day.
Guiding, supporting, and challenging. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Prayer to Begin a Presbytery Meeting

God who calls us to be the church
      to celebrate your presence
      to live with respect in Creation
      to love and serve others
      to seek justice and resist evil
      to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope;
we who have been called and selected as leaders in that part of Christ's body which we call Northern Lights Presbytery have gathered here in Spirit River.
Over this weekend we will talk together, eat together, pray together, listen together as we strive to understand how you are calling us to be the church in this time and place.

As we meet, move within and among us.
Open our ears to hear your joyous laughter and your still small voice.
Open our eyes to see the wonderful and surprising possibilities of your Kingdom.
Open our minds that we would know the wisdom of Kingdom living.
Open our hearts to experience your abundant and overflowing love.
Open our souls to see Christ in friend and stranger.

And when our meeting is over, as we head back to our various homes and ministries, may we carry the love we find in this gathering back to those places.
May we leave this place refreshed and enabled to be people of Love, to live the Kingdom life of Love.
We pray as followers of the man from Nazareth, Jesus, our teacher and guide, our rock and redeemer, the one we call Christ and Messiah.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hymn Words

On February 28th we will be reading the passage from Mark 12 where Jesus responds to a question about taxation with "Render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's and to God those things that are God's". In Voices United there is an offering piece called "We Give You But Your Own" (#542) and I commented how well it would go with the theme, if only there were more verses. And so here is my attempt at creating more verses (though I did find more verses by the original author, they did not quite fit where I think I am going)....

We give thee but thine own,
what e'er the gift may be;
all that we have is thine alone,
a trust, O God from thee

May we with joyful sounds,
receive the gifts you give,
and share them with the world around,
to help your children live.

The air that gives us breath,
the strength we gain from food,
all things we use through life and death,
are gifts wondrous and good.

The Caesars of our lands,
tell that we must pay
funds they want to hold in hand
it is their due they say.

And in response you ask,
us to give careful thought.
How can your gifts fulfil our task?
Then use them as we ought.

We give you but your own,
whate'er the gift may be,
all that we have is yours alone.
We give it gratefully.

(Verse 1 by WilliamWalsham How 1858; Verses 2-5 Gord Waldie 2016, Verse 6 by William Walsham How, as adapted in #542 Voices United)

Monday, February 8, 2016

For February 14, 2016 -- Lent 1

God of life, God of abundance,
we who have many gifts gather in your presence.
God who turns the world upside down,
making the last first and the first last,
in this time of worship,
shake us from or complacency, challenge our assumptions.
And then send us out,
to share the abundant gifts we have as we wait and work for the Kingdom.
This we pray in the name of Jesus, the One we call Christ, who taught his friends to pray saying...

God of grace, we too come and ask:
What must we do to inherit eternal life?
And we are reminded of the commandments,
rules that help us live in community with neighbours, friends, strangers, enemies.
God of grace, we say:
We have tried to do these things our whole lives.
Then you look at us and ask us to give up our possessions.
Do we go away sad? Do we take the chance?
God of grace, you remind us:
Where your treasure lies, there is your heart.
God of grace, grant us the courage, the wisdom, the strength,
to explore what our actions say about our treasure.
God of grace,
remind us that you are with us always, guiding us to place our hearts on those things that are most valuable. Amen.

We have gathered, we have prayed, we have sung, we have listened.
Now we go out to continue our work in and for the Kingdom.
We go as people who have many possessions
pledging to use what we have to spread God's love and hope as we strive to keep God's Commandments
We go to help turn the world upside down,
challenging assumptions of what is in favour of what may be.
God with God, who is turning the world around, who is building an new world in our midst.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

A Lenten Call to Worship

In this season of Lent, a time of preparation,
God calls us to gather to worship, to pray to sing, to listen for God's voice.
As we walk with Jesus on the road to Jerusalem,
we see looming before us a cross, a shadow on the horizon.
We gather as fellow travelers to the city, the cross, and what lies beyond.
God has called us together, and so we worship, we pray, we sing, we listen.

Monday, February 1, 2016

For February 7, 2016 -- Peter's Confession, Transfiguration

God you bring us together in this place,
we come to be fed, to be renewed, to seek understanding.
God you challenge us in this place,
we embrace the challenge, trusting that through challenge we grow in faith.
God you are revealed in this place,
sometimes in shining glory, sometimes in tears and struggle.
God as we worship in this place,
refresh, renew, and challenge us so that we would see your awesomeness.
We pray in Jesus' name,
as we strive to walk the path of discipleship. Amen

God of grace,
sometimes discipleship is so difficult.
We see you standing in front of us and we look for glory.
Then you tell us to expect heartbreak and challenge.
We get a glimpse of your glory,
and we are confused, frightened, unsure what to do or say.
God of grace, made known in Jesus the Christ, in the challenge and in the glory
you call us to look toward you, to listen to you
Grant us the grace and wisdom to watch, to listen, to follow, to learn,
And, in the end, to possibly understand,
As we join you on The Way
as we explore the glorious Kingdom. Amen.

Jesus stands and asks “who do you say I am?”
We join millions who have gone before and say “the Messiah”
Jesus stands in front of us and tells us the realities of discipleship
We join millions who have gone before in the challenges of living as disciples.
Jesus stands before us and offers food and drink for the journey.
Fed and nourished we go out into the world to live and serve.
Jesus stands before us, shining in glory,
and will be with us to the end of the age. Thanks be to God. Amen.