Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prayers at the Foot of the Cross (2014 edition)

God of hope, God of promise, God of light
on this day we gather to hear a story that speaks of hopes dashed,
promises left unfulfilled,
of death and darkness crushing life and light.
Today we remember a betrayal,
a trial,
a conviction,
an execution.
We remember that when one speaks out against the powerful there is often a price.
We remember a story that took place long ago in a far away land.
And yet....

Today we remember that crosses and injustices are not only a distant reality.
We remember that the world still strikes back against visions that,
somehow, are “not right”.
And so...

As we remember the old story today, help us also to hold in our prayers:
those who are punished for doing or saying the right things,
those who are condemned and rejected for being who You have made them to be,
those whom the world has called expendable, whom Jesus calls “the least of these”,
the ones we are called to serve, to protect, to nurture – as if they were Christ staring at us.
As we recall the powers of the world, may we always remember those who are crushed by that power
...time of silent prayer...

God of life and death, God of hope in despair, God of light in the darkness,
today as we tell the story, may we be reminded of its truth.
Today as we hear again of how few remained to watch at the cross,
may we be challenged to think of when we take the easier road.
Today as we hear the anguished words “it is finished”,
may we remember that it is not finished,
may we remember that as people of faith, people who follow the one on the cross,
we have a duty and a calling to share and preach his vision of a world transformed,
to pray and yearn and work for the day when the Kingdom is full and real around us.
And accordingly...

Even as we mark the darkness falling on this day, in this moment,
remind us of the hope and mystery that:
light replaces darkness,
hope defeats despair,
and life conquers death.
As we await the dawning of a new day, may we be filled with the passion of Jesus of Nazareth,
the passion for a world that could be so much more than it is.
And, filled with that passion, may we live it out in our daily lives,
willing even to risk a cost equivalent to a cross outside the city gates.
We pray in His name.
Amen.

Monday, April 14, 2014

For April 20, 2014 -- Easter Day

CALL TO WORSHIP
Have you heard!?
Heard what?
The Great Exciting News from the women who went to the tomb!!
Tell us!
The Tomb is Empty! Christ is Risen!
Good News Indeed! HALLELUJAH!!!
This is the day that God has made.
We will rejoice and give thanks.

OPENING PRAYER
God of New Life, we gather to hear again the amazing news.
A story of hope over despair, light over dark, life over death.
God who shakes the ground on which we stand, we gather to ask ourselves what it means.
With fear we ponder the news that the world has been changed, yet we hear Your voice saying “Do not be afraid”.
God of Easter, in this time together,
fill us with hope,
remind us of the promise of life,
fill us with the songs of Good News.
And then when we leave this place,
may we be ready to shake the ground with words of hope,
may we be able to see angels around us bringing Good News,
may we be bold enough to sing and shout our praises to the world.
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Amen.

COMMISSIONING:
The earth has been shaken, the stone has been rolled away, the Good News has been shared.
The one who had been executed has been raised. Life and hope win out!
In the midst of our fear we have heard words of hope:Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised
Having heard the Good News we go out into the world,
to share the promise of Resurrection, to bring news that death has been defeated.
In the name of the God who created and re-creates us,
In the name of the Risen One who sets us free,
In the name of the Spirit that blows in and through us,
we live in God, who gives us life, and that in abundance.
This is the day that God has made.
We will rejoice and be thankful.
Christ is Risen.
Christ is Risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Christ Candle Responses for the Easter Season (2014)

LIGHTING OF THE CHRIST CANDLE
As the first rays of dawn spread across the sky, shining in the empty tomb, revealing the wonder of resurrection,
so may the glory of resurrection shine in our hearts, souls and faces, revealing hope and promise to the world around us.

Monday, March 31, 2014

For April 6, 2014 -- Looking at "Lead us, Not into Temptation..."

 OPENING PRAYER
God of life, we gather in this Lenten season, this time of preparation.
We walk together the road that leads to the cross. And as we walk we reflect on the world.
A world where we are beset by choices, by people laying temptations in our path.
So we open ourselves to you God, that we would be gifted with wisdom and strength.
In this time of worship,
open our eyes, our hearts, our souls.
So that we would see our options clearly, so that we can go back out to live faithfully in the world.
For we are people of faith, seeking to follow The Way of Jesus. Amen.


PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
Lead us, not into temptation...
Because, if we are honest, we know that we find temptation without any help.
But deliver us from evil...
When our feet have taken us down the wrong path, help us find the way back to wisdom.
Lead us, not into temptation....
God of Grace, help us see temptations for what they are, and give us the strength to resist, the wisdom to make healthy choices.
But deliver us from evil...
God of redemption, when we have fallen to temptation, help us to learn from the experience so that NEXT time will be different.
...time of silent prayer...
Here is Good News shared by St. Paul:
I am convinced that neither death, nor life, ... nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are flawed, we make bad choices, but we are also forgiven, we are accepted, we are not separated from God.
Thanks be to God who is Gracious. Amen.

COMMISSIONING:
We have gathered, we have listened, we have prayed, we have eaten together
And now it is time to continue living and serving.
We live in a world where temptation lurks around every corner.
But we live in a world where God also lurks around every corner.
Go now, trusting that God is there to lead and to deliver,
God will strengthen us in the face of temptation,
For we are never separated from God.
And that is a good thing. Amen.

Monday, March 24, 2014

For March 30, 2014 -- Looking at "Forgive us our Trespasses as we Forgive..."

OPENING PRAYER
God of forgiveness, we gather together to worship,
seeking to be reminded of the gift and challenge of forgiveness
seeking to be made ready to hear words of truth,
seeking to be reconciled with friend, with enemy, with neighbour, with You.
God of forgiveness, we gather to worship,
trusting that as we celebrate Your presence in our lives we will be transformed by Your life in our hearts
God of forgiveness, we gather to worship,
praying that at the end of this time together we can go back into the world to share Your love, Your hope, Your promise. Amen.

COMMISSIONING
As our time of worship draws to a close,
we prepare to continue our ministry in the world.
As people who believe in truth,
we go out to tell and hear the hard truths of life.
As people who have been forgiven,
we go out to work at forgiving those with whom we live and work.
As people who believe in healing,
We go out to seek reconciliation that heals broken relationships.
As people who trust that we are not alone,
We go out trusting that God: Parent, Child and Spirit, is with us each step of life's road.
Amen

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

For March 23, 2014 -- A service looking at "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done..."

OPENING PRAYER
God of life, God of hope, God of change,
we gather here to worship, to celebrate being in your presence, to be filled with hope, to be inspired as to what could be.
God of guidance, God of challenge,
in our time of worship push us to think beyond our boxes, to be open to be conduits for Your love and hope.
God of challenge, God of hope, God of life,
when this time of worship is over lead us back into the world,
where we live, where we serve, where we pray,
waiting for Your Reign to break in to full reality. Amen.

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,
Words we pray every week, saying them regularly.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done,
Words that hold up hope, words that hold up a vision, words that inspire us.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done,
Words we sometimes say without thinking, without contemplating what they might mean.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done,
Words that challenge us to view the world with different eyes, that challenge us to put our own will and desires aside in place of God's.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done,
God, when our own understanding of the world and our own wills get in the way, grant us the grace and the courage to mean those words.
Gracious God, work through our mis-understandings and our mis-steps. Push us all to that day when the Reign of God is experienced in full flower in our midst. So that we may honestly pray:
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
So be it.
Amen.

COMMISSIONING:
As worship ends, we continue with our ministry,
we go from this gathering into the world where we live and love and serve.
We go into the world looking for hints of the Kingdom's in-breaking,
pledging to shine light on them, to bring them further into sight, to celebrate them.
Go with God: the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Go with God who is with you always.
Thanks be to God, who leads us to the Kingdom. Amen


Monday, March 10, 2014

Christ Candle Responses for Lent

Our faith story opens with the words “Let there be light”. Our weekly worship begins with the lighting of a candle.
May this candle remind us of the light that cannot be overcome, no matter how dark the road may be.