Saturday, May 8, 2021

Prayers of the People for MAy 9, 2021

 (Uses words from the hymn by Walter Farquharson Would You Bless Our Homes and Families)

Would you bless our homes and families, Source of life who calls us here;
in our world of stress and tension teach us love that conquers fear.

On this day we call Christian Family Sunday we remember our families
we remember that our families can be sources of great support,
we also remember that families can be sources of great struggle or pain.
We give thanks for the gifts of families,
and we pray with those whose relationship with family is strained or breaking or broken.
In this year of pandemic and distance we pray with those
who have been unable to get together with family in the same way as normal
who have lost family members to the disease
who have had relationships strengthened by time spent at home together
and who have had relationships tested by so much time home together.

From the homes in which we’re nurtured with the love that shapes us there,
teach us, God, to claim as family every one whose life we share.

God who calls us all family, we pray for families of all shapes and sizes and types:
the families that have two parents and lots of children,
the families with multiple parents in different houses, sharing children,
the families with parents of different genders, the families with parents of the same gender,
the families where the children have four feet and fur,
the families who do not include children,
the families related by blood and the families made by choice,
the families bonded by legal status and the families bonded by love,
the families made up of friendships that have spanned the test of time,
we see the wondrous diversity of families and we are thankful.

Parenting God, on this day set apart to celebrate mothers
we give thanks for those who have been mothers or been like mothers to us.
At the same time we pray with and for those who find this day painful:
mothers alienated from children, children alienated from mothers;
those who have had to stand by a grave and say farewell to their children;
those who have had to say farewell to their mothers;
those who have wanted to bear children but for some reason it has never been possible;
those who have chosen not to bear children but have been told it was the wrong choice;
those who have become parents at a time they would not have chosen and have sometimes felt trapped;
those who made the hard choice to offer a child for adoption,
and those who were pushed or forced to make that choice.
God hear our prayer.

Let us reach beyond the boundaries of our daily thought and care
till the family you have chosen spills its love out everywhere.

God of this large, diverse, sometimes strange, family of faith;
we celebrate today with our siblings who sing and dance
we weep today with those who grieve
we pray with all those who struggle
we strive to live out the love you call us to share,
love that breaks down the boundaries and walls we create between each other.

And through all that life may offer, may we in your love remain;
may the love we share in families be alive to praise your name.
Help us learn to love each other with a love that constant stays;
teach us when we face our troubles, love’s expressed in many ways.

All these things, all the prayers of our lives
we pray in the name of Jesus, the Risen Christ, our Rock and Redeemer, our teacher and guide,
the one we call Saviour, Friend, Messiah and who leads us on the path of love.
AMEN

Monday, April 26, 2021

For May 2, 2021 -- Easter 5B, Vine and Branches

 

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
Source of life, you offer us roots that will feed and sustain us.
Sometimes we cling to those roots.
Sometimes we insist on relying on our own roots, our own strength, our own sources of sustenance.

In Jesus, the True Vine you invite us to remain connected to You and to each other,
spreading as branches of the tree of Love, spreading Love and hope into the corners and crevices of life.
Sometimes we feel disconnected, cut off from the vine, isolated from those things that sustain us.
Sometimes we decide we don’t need the vine, and then wonder why our leaves droop and we start to wither.

God of life in abundance, God who calls us to be fruitful branches, when we cut ourselves away from the vine, when we insist on doing things on our own, when we resist your attempts to prune and guide us for better growth:
forgive our headstrong natures, show us how to reconnect, renew our lives to help us bloom.
...time of silent prayer...
Our faith story begins and ends in a garden. The God who creates and re-creates us is a gardener, watering and weeding and pruning to give growth. This same God calls us to be connected and rooted in the soil of love so that we can grow and be fruitful. In Christ God forgives us and helps our branches renew our connection to the vine. God helps us grow to full flower, rooted in God’s love. This is Good News!
Thanks be to God! Hallelujah!

Monday, April 5, 2021

For April 11 2021 -- Easter 2, service looking at John 21

CALL TO WORSHIP
May the Peace of Christ be with you!
And also with you!
As we still stay physically separated to keep each other safe,
God invites us to join together in this virtual space
Connected by the Holy Spirit, and by technology, we continue to celebrate the reality of Resurrection
Let us worship together as followers of the Risen Christ.

OPENING PRAYER
God, we gather here together in spirit, though separated in space,
in this time together speak to our hearts, bring us hope, energize our souls.
Remind us of the power of Easter to bring life that conquers death.
And push as to live as people of hope, help us live as those who have been transformed.
We pray in the name of the Risen Christ as we share together words he once taught his closest friends.

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
Death-defeating God, in the Resurrection you challenge us.
You reveal a new world, you call us to move beyond what we once called normal
To be honest, sometimes it is hard to be transformed.
Like Peter we want to go back to what we once knew, to the familiar and the comfortable.
Still you meet us where we are, with our grief and our guilt and our fear,
so that we can live into the new reality, so that we can take the risk of being changed.
God when we are hesitant to be transformed, when we want to remain where it is comfortable,
give us strength, forgive our reluctance, push us to be Easter people, we pray
...time of silent prayer...
In the Risen Christ we meet God’s power to transform death into life, defeat into victory, despair into hope. Through Christ God brings us forgiveness and grace, new life and new hope. We ARE Easter people.
Hallelujah! Amen.

COMMISSIONING:
God calls us to live as Easter people!
We go out to share the promise of new life.
God calls us to be transformed by our encounter with the Risen Christ!
We go out to live in a new world, changed by history and changed by faith.
Go now to share God’s love,
Go to share God’s promise of life,
Go to share God’s transforming word of hope.
And go knowing that God: Creating Parent, Risen Christ, and Empowering Spirit
Is with us through all life’s changes. Hallelujah!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Prayers at the Foot of the Cross (2021)

 

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam,
Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe,
You have brought us through another year,
a year of challenges and struggles
nd yet you are there in all of it.

Creator of all that is, you share your vision of how the world could be.
Btu the world as it is falls short of that vision.
Every year, on this day we call Good, we pause to name the broken-ness of the world.

On this day we remember a story of execution,
a story of powerful striking out against a different vision for the world,
a story of passion and commitment,
and as we remember the story we wonder how it speaks to our current reality.

Today, God of Grace, we lift up those who have been broken by the world:
the ones who have been sacrificed in the name of bigger profits or lower taxes...
the ones who have been shut out of decision making and power...
the ones who have been targeted because of race, or gender identity, or sexuality...
the ones who live on the margins, or who have been labelled expendable...
the ones who are not treated equally or fairly by the systems of society...
the ones who know that they are not welcomed just as they are...
all those who have been made to feel as if their lives, their welfare, is less important.
God hear our prayer that they would be lifted up.
May this broken world be made whole, may healing flow.

Ever-present God, on this day when we mourn and grieve,
we join our hearts in prayer with all those whose hearts are heavy with grief:
for family members they can not visit in this time of pandemic precautions...
for those who have died of COVID-19...
for those who have been driven to despair and have given up on life...
for those who are lonely and isolated...
for those who share the Psalmist’s cry Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani.
My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me...
may all those who carry today a load of pain, of grief, of anxiety, of fear,
know that they are not alone, that they are held in a love that will never let them go.

God of Passion, the story we tell today reminds us of commitment,
of devotion to your vision for the world,
of Passion for the Kingdom.
Plant in us, we pray, that sort of passion and devotion.
Strengthen us to have to ability to offer of ourselves for a greater cause.
Give us the wisdom to know how best to advance your Kingdom
and help heal the broken-ness of the world

God of the Cross,
God who is with us in life and in death and in life beyond death,
we pray all these things in the name of Jesus, the crucified Messiah,
who challenges us to follow The Way that leads to Your Reign,
even though the path goes to a cross on a hill and a tomb in a garden
and a mystery that brings new hope.
Amen

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Prayers of the People for March 21

 God of hope, of life, of resurrection we live and move and love in you.
We open our hearts and souls to you this day,
trusting that you are at work within and around us, writing the law of love on our hearts,
trusting that you are leading us to a place of new, transformed life, life beyond death
We look at the world around us and know that we need that word of hope and promise.
We see the broken-ness all too clearly.
We see the lack of love in our news feeds as we read about the shooting in Atlanta
an incident steeped with racist and sexist overtones.
We look at a year of living with pandemic restrictions
and some days we struggle to find the hope that lies beyond COVID-19.
Bring us hope, remind us that life wins.
Write your law upon our hearts, weave it into the fabric of our being,
transform us with life in abundance.

God who has created and is creating,
we look at the world around us and we are awestruck.
And so we open our hearts in prayers of awe:
for the beauty of the sun at rising or setting...
for the dancing of the Northern Lights...
for the sign of spring, carrying the promise of new growth bursting from frozen ground...
for birdsong, and wind in the trees, the sounds of nature in all its fullness...
For all those things that leave us speechless and awestruck,
God hear our prayers of WOW!

God who was there as we were formed in our mother’s womb,
God who filled our lungs with the breath of life and heard our borning cry,
God who is present in our every breath,
you share our joys and our sorrows.
You weep with us, laugh with us, celebrate with us.
You see and hear our fears and anxieties and worries.
Today we lift up in prayer all those who struggle.
The ones we know and love, the ones we can barely stand, the ones we have never met.
We pray with those who find themselves wrestling with dis-ease of body, mind, or spirit...
We pray with those who are anxiously waiting for their vaccine appointment,
with those forced to self-isolate due to a virus outbreak,
with those who are ill with COVID...
We pray with those who are lonely and isolated...
with those who are grieving...
with those who face financial worries...
May all those who struggle know that they are not alone,
that they are held in a love that will never let them go,
that there is life and hope, transformation and resurrection awaiting us all.
God hear our prayers for help

At the same time, God of life and love and those in abundance,
we pray with all those who sing and dance and celebrate this morning.
The ones who experience the promise of new life in a baby’s cry...
the ones who have seen love shining and active in the world...
the ones who have found new ways to connect with loved ones and rebuild relationships...
the ones who have met blessings expected or surprising in their daily activities...
For all those things that bring joy into our lives, God hear our prayers of thanks.

God of transformation, of resurrection, of new life and new hope,
God who is writing law and love on our hearts,
we share these, and all the prayers of all our lives in the name of Jesus,
our rock and redeemer, our teacher and guide,
the one who teaches us how to live as citizens of the Kingdom
Amen.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

For March 21, 2021 -- Lent 5B

CALL TO WORSHIP
May the Peace of Christ be with you!
And also with you!
In a world still turned upside down, where physical distancing is still the rule and norm,
we still gather for worship, sharing this virtual space in real time, linked by bits and bytes, cables and modems.
As people who seek to follow The Way of Jesus Christ,
we gather to listen, to be renewed, to have the new covenant engraved deeper in our hearts.
Looking forward to the time of casting seed into the ground, where it will be transformed into flowers and food,
we continue to follow that path that leads to the cross, to the tomb, to a transformed life that lies beyond them both.
Come, let us worship together.

OPENING PRAYER
Gardener of life, you call us to this time together.
Here you plant seeds of hope in our hearts, here you lead us into transformation.
As we pray, and sing, and listen, and ponder this morning,
stir the soil of our lives, water the seeds in our hearts, reveal new life in our midst.
We gather as ones who follow Jesus, we pray in his name, and we share words he once taught his friends...

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
Rule-maker, you offer us guidelines for how we should live.
And while we sometimes rebel, against the rules, sometimes we see them as gift and challenge.
Covenant-maker, you call us to live in mutual support with each other and with you.
We try to live up to our part in the covenant, even though sometimes we know we miss the target.
Life-giver, you offer us transformation, renewal, and abundant life.
Help us to feel your Grace and embrace the transformation and new life we find in living as people of the covenant you have written on our hearts.
...time of silent prayer...
God has written the law of love on our hearts, woven it into the fabric of our very being. God challenges us to live as people of the covenant. And when we miss the target God says again “I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more”. We are forgiven, we are invited to new life, we are beloved children of God.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

COMMISSIONING
Our time of worship draws to a close. Our time of service continues.
Beyond our computer screens, outside our windows, there is a world that needs our presence.
Go now, carrying the law of love in your hearts, go out and water the seeds of hope that lie waiting to germinate and grow.
We go as gardeners, we go as seeds ourselves, we go to live transformed lives.
And go knowing that God: Parent, Child, and Spirit; the Great Gardener of Creation, goes with you to bring forth new life.
Thanks be to God. Amen

 

Monday, February 22, 2021

For February 28, 2021 Lent 2B

CALL TO WORSHIP
May the Peace of Christ be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, you are invited into this virtual space.
Sitting in front of TVs and phones and computers we gather to worship with our friends in faith.
Let us open our hearts and souls to God!
We come to celebrate God’s presence.

Opening PRAYER
Source of life and love, we open our lives to you.
In this unending season of COVID-19 we seek your comfort and your wisdom.
As we listen for your voice during this time of worship,
remind us who we are called to be, empower us to live into that reality.
As we strive to follow Jesus, to live as citizens of your Kingdom,
keep us bold both when the way is easy and when the road is darker and more challenging.
We pray in the name of Jesus, who leads us on the road, who calls us to be ready to offer our lives, and who teaches us to pray saying...

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
God is the time now? Is the Kingdom of God alive here in our midst?
If so, help us to repent, to change direction, to believe in the Good News.
God you call us to follow Jesus on The Way, even though it may lead us to difficult, even dangerous places.
We want to. Really we do.
But to be honest that whole “lose our lives to save them” thing seems a little...odd, hard, unsettling.

God you challenge us to be bold for the Kingdom, for a renewed vision of a changed world.
When we are unsure we can be that bold, strengthen us, when we have trouble seeing the vision, open our eyes.
God of Grace, you tell us that the time is now, that the Kingdom is alive in our midst.
God of Grace, you lead us in The Way, when it is easy and when it is difficult.
God of Grace, help us to live fully, to offer of ourselves, to see beyond our preconceptions and fears.
We pray in the name of Jesus, our teacher, our guide, our source of hope. Amen.

COMMISSIONING
The time is here!
The time is here when we will share the Good News that the Kingdom of God is at hand
As our worship concludes, we commit ourselves to live for God’s Kingdom.
Taking the risks that come with this commitment, opening ourselves to renewal, pledging to follow a new path.
Take on this commitment knowing that God, known as Parent, Child and Spirit is with you every step of The Way.
Thanks be to God. Amen.