Monday, March 28, 2016

For April 10, 2016, Easter 3 -- Acts 3:1-10

God of Easter,
we gather in this season of celebration.
God of Life,
we praise you for the signs of new life we see bursting forth around us
God of Hope,
we look around for signs of the Kingdom, those things that bring hope to our lives.
God active in our world,
in this time of worship renew us, remind us that we are agents of your love and hope, send us out to carry your promises to the world around us.
We pray in the name of the Risen Christ, who taught his friends to pray by saying together...

God of Grace, when the world looks on us with scorn and distrust,
you look at us with love and compassion.
When we look for help with symptoms and secondary problems,
you challenge us to fix the primary issues.
When life has us feeling defeated and broken you say:
Get up and walk.
God grant us the wisdom to know how you are calling us to respond.
Grant us the grace to see your power flowing through those around us
...time of silent prayer...
The God we meet in the Risen Christ is gracious. In Christ God opens our eyes and hearts and enables us to respond to the needs of those around us. God allows us to accept the help and love offered by those around us.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Here in this place today,
we have worshipped, we have welcomed.
The God who welcomes us all through the waters of baptism,
sends us out into the world to make a difference.
The God revealed in the Risen Christ,
challenges us to share the Good News of life that conquers death, life that brings healing.
As we serve in the world we know that:
the God who created and recreates us
the Risen Christ who redeems and teaches us
the Holy Spirit who strengthens and sustains us
is with us wherever we go. Hallelujah!

A Call to Worship for the Easter Season

May the peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
And also with you.
In this Easter Season,
we gather to celebrate the presence of Christ in our midst.
In this Easter season,
we share the hope and promise of resurrection with each other and the world around us.
Come and worship, come and worship,
worship the God who brings life and victory in the face of death and defeat.
As we gather for worship we turn to those next to us and share the peace of Christ.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Prayers at the foot of the Cross (2016 Edition)

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.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Opening Dialogue for Easter Sunday

What is all the fuss about?
Haven't you heard?
Heard what?
About Jesus of Nazareth!
Isn't he that guy who was crucified a couple days ago?
That's the one!
Well what about him? He caused some uproar last week with that parade. But now he is gone.
What do you mean?
This morning 3 women from our group went to visit his tomb but he wasn't there. An angel told them he had been raised.
Jesus is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

For March 13 2016 -- Lent 5, Mark's Apocalypse

The End is Near!
The end of winter, the end of the road to Jerusalem, the end of the age.
The Beginning is Near!
The start of spring, the start of New Life, the start of the Age of the Kingdom.
God as the end draws nigh, we gather for worship.
Help us see the possibilities in the endings, even as we tend to fear endings.
And then send us out,
looking past the endings to live into the possibilities of new beginnings. Amen.

God we hear the words “The End is Near”
and we shrug it off, imagining a street corner preacher.
But then we stop to wonder if the words are right.
And a shudder of fear slips through us, as we think about what would be lost.
God of life, Jesus reminds us:
unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
God of grace, in song we are reminded”
in our end is our our life eternity, in our death a resurrection...”
God who calls us to embrace the new age, the age of the Kingdom,
help us remember that in death comes life, that for something new to start something old must end.
And so when we hear the words “the end is near”
Help us respond with hope, looking for the new thing that is coming after the end. Amen.
(quotes John 12:24 and lines from In the Bulb There is a Flower)

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.
Another thing, our time of worship, has come to an end.
Time for something else, a new week, to begin.
And so as those who have been fed in body and soul,
we go out into the world to spread hope and love in the face of fear and despair.
And we go to do that secure in the knowledge that God, the source of our hope and love,
is with us in the beginnings, the middles and the ends of life. Thanks be to God. Amen.