God of life, in the beginning you spoke your world of life and love and creation began.
In the beginning, our faith story tells us, all was right with the world.
Creation existed in harmony, all had what was needed for life – and that in abundance.
But that changed.
God of love,
the world in which we live is filled with broken-ness. Fear. Hatred, Violence.
The glory of all having life – and that in abundance – has been lost.
But you have continually called us back, you challenge us to remember the possibility.
You sent messenger after messenger to remind us how we could, no how we should, live with our neighbours.
And your beloved children chose different paths.
Then you sent a new messenger. A different messenger. Jesus of Nazareth.
A messenger in whom people would be sure they saw your very presence.
He modelled love and acceptance.
He challenged us to see the world with new lenses.
He confronted the ways that his world fell short of the Kingdom
He gave us a new commandment. To love each other as he had loved the people around him.
And in response....
The powers of his time arrayed against him.
They had him arrested. Tried. Convicted. Condemned. Executed.
While crowds mocked and cheered and his closest friends ran and hid.
God of life, of love, of hope, of the promise,
today we gather to retell the story of the day the promise seemed to die yet again.
As we remember the story may we also remember the continuing broken-ness of the world.
And remembering the broken-ness of the world we pray:
with those who are isolated because they are “different”, because they don't fit the norm...
with those who are afraid, wondering if the next bomb-blast or bullet will have their name on it...
with those who despair, who give up hope that their world can get any better...
with those who are tired of trying to change the world...
with those who are unjustly condemned...
with those who feel ignored by the powers and authorities, left out, cast away...
We remember places like Brussels, Ankara, Bamako, Istanbul, Maiduguri, Peshawar, Grand-Bassam, and Shabqadar – places where terror has been used as a weapon and innocents are left as the victims this month.
Knowing that we live in a broken world we pause in silence to pray for hope, for the mending of our broken-ness, we pause to listen for your voice of correction, of hope, of promise, of instruction
...time of silence...
God of the cross. God whose love knows no bounds. God whose body bears the wounds your children have inflicted.
Hear our prayers. Open our hearts and eyes and souls and ears. And in the midst of our despair and pain and grief and woundedness share a word of hope. Lead us through the valley of the shadow of death.
We pray in the name of the one who hangs on the cross. Jesus, the one we call Christ. Amen.