Monday, April 13, 2015

For April 19, 2015 -- Peter's Dream, Opening the Circle of Faith Wider

People of God! Gather together for worship!
We come in this Easter Season to celebrate the promise of new life.
People of God, gather together for worship!
We celebrate the diverse family of God, with whom we gather to celebrate God's presence.
And so we turn to our friends and neighbours, our brothers and sisters in faith, to share the Peace of Christ.

God of life in all it's wondrous diversity,
we come from many different places, many different tasks, many different realities.
Here in this place you call us together.
Here we worship together, naming what makes us united, celebrating our diversity.
During this time of prayer and song and word,
challenge our ideas of who is welcome in the community, open us to draw the circle wider.
This things we pray in the name of the Risen Christ, who taught his friends to pray saying...

God you call us to embrace each other as part of one circle,
but we insist are drawing lines that keep some in and some out.
You tell us that what you have called clean, we should not call profane,
but we find ourselves unwilling to live that out.
You tell us that in you the old dividing lines don't count anymore :no more male or female, Jew or Gentile,
but we find comfort in knowing who fits and who doesn't.
God of grace,
move in our hearts, opening us to be channels of your abundant grace and love.
...time of silent prayer...
There is a wideness in God's mercy. God draws the circle wider than we can imagine – keeping all of us inside the line. This is Good News!
Thanks be to God!

We have gathered to celebrate the God who welcomes us all into the circle.
Now we go out into the many other circles of our lives.
Into those circles we carry a precious precious gift:
the love of God, the word of acceptance, the promise of welcome.
Go now with the knowledge that God: Parent, Child, and Spirit, Three-in-One goes with you
Wherever we go. We are not alone. Thanks be to God

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Prayers at the Foot of the Cross (2015)

(sung response Voices United #411 “O God We Call")

Gracious God, on this day of earth-shaking death we gather with the women at the foot of the cross.
We see again the tragedy unfolding and we sing....

God of life, you created a world bursting with possibility.
Within that world you call us to live as people of the Way,
keepers of the covenant,
living lives of love and justice and mercy.
You challenge us to see your light shining in each person we meet,
remembering that we are made in your image.
You invite us to live in your arms, feeling your presence at all times.
But too often we do not take up that invitation.
We turn away, intentionally or accidentally,
we do not open ourselves to your presence and wisdom.
And so we sing....

God of hope, in Christ Jesus you tried a new thing.
You came to live among us, as one of us, sharing our world.
But the world could not see what was happening.
And Jesus of Nazareth ended up on a cross.
We remember the story.
We remember the anguish shown as Jesus expressed feeling your absence.
A feeling we know too well at times.
And so we sing...

God of justice and mercy, today we remember.
We remember a story from long ago.
We remember too that injustice is not bound by any time period.
And so we pray with those who have been broken by the world today:
the ones living under threat of bomb blast or gunfire...
the ones huddled in alcoves and doorways, with no place to sleep for the night...
the ones who go hungry so that their children would eat...
the ones who are lonely, forgotten, unvisited...
the ones who know the pain of waiting for a loved one who is missing from the family circle...
In our own brokenness we pray for the broken of the world as we sing...

God of bright light and deep darkness,
Spirit of Life and Love moving within and among us,
the one in whom we live and move and have our being,
with the story we tell today we enter the time of darkness and uncertainty and waiting.
We wait with hope for the light to climb over the horizon of tragedy.
And we trust that we do not wait alone.
And in the depths of the shadows we sing...

Monday, March 16, 2015

For March 22 -- Looking at the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

May the Peace of Christ be with you
And also with you.
We have been called together in this place
To celebrate God's presence, to listen for God's wisdom, to be renewed as God's servants
As we gather to worship, let us greet each other with God's peace...

God of life, who calls us to be the church,
we gather together as a community to listen for how you are speaking to us today.
God of justice, who calls us to live lives of love,
we gather as a community of people who try to understand what that means day to day.
God of promise, who calls us to be people of hope,
we gather as people who are looking for signs that the Kingdom is being made real in our midst.
In this time of worship,
refresh us, challenge us, renew us.
We pray in in the name of the one who taught about the way of love, who challenges us to serve each other, and who taught us to pray by saying...

God, when we look around we see so much need.
And we wonder how best to respond.
God we hear your voice in the old stories.
Challenging us to feed the hungry, to visit the lonely, to comfort the suffering.
Not in search of reward or payback,
but simply because it is the loving thing to do.
God of grace, we hear the voice, we understand the challenge,
but we find it hard to live out. God of grace, give us the grace to live the way of love.
...time of silent prayer...
God challenges us to be people of love. In grace God helps us along the way. In mercy, God works with us through our mis-steps and our mis-understandings. We are forgiven, set back on the path, and urged to try again. This is Good News.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

Monday, March 9, 2015

FOr March 15, 2015 -- Looking at the Day Labourers and the Generous Landowner

God you meet us where we are, when we are ready.
Maybe in the light of dawn, or the heat of mid-day, or in the last hours of sunlight.
Whenever we meet you, whenever we pick up your invitation, you say:
Come, join in the labour, I have work for you.
And when the day's labour ends you say:
here is your payment, here is what you need for today.
In our worship, in our songs and prayers, in our lives,
open our hearts and souls to the wonder of you mercy, your grace, your justice.
This we pray in the name of Jesus, our rock and Redeemer, who taught his friends to pray saying...

Our time of worship, a break from the busy-ness of life, draws to a close.
And we return to the world where we live and serve, where we share God's love in word and deed.
Go from this place as agents of justice, as carriers of grace, as workers in the vineyard.
We go to share in the preparation of the Kingdom.
And as you go, remember that you do not walk alone.
The one who has called us saying “Come, I have work for you” is with us always.
Guiding and supporting. Parent, Child and Spirit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

For February 8, 2015 -- Jesus Feeds the Multitudes, Peter Walks on Water

In a world of storms and winds and want.
God calls us to trust, to listen, to step out boldly.
As the storms of life are raging,
we gather to worship the God who stands by us.
As people who trust that the Peace of Christ can calm the storms,
we share that peace with our neighbours...

OPENING PRAYER (uses words from the hymn “Stand By Me”)
God of life, God of the wild wind and the still calm, we gather for worship.
When the storms of life are raging, stand by me.
God who calls us to step out into the storm, to take risks in faith and trust,
When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea
Thou Who rulest wind and water, stand by me
In this time of worship remind us that though the storms may rage we are held in your arms.
So that we would have the courage to step out of the boat.
We pray in the name of the One who stilled the water, the One who taught his friends to pray saying...

God of grace, the wind blows, the snow piles up, the waves threaten to overwhelm us. And yet you would have us say:
It's time to see what I can do to test the limits and break through... Let the storm rage on
God of challenge, you call us to step out of the boat, out of our safe places, to take risks for the Gospel.
But we are afraid, we are sure we will sink and be overwhelmed.
God of grace, God of power, help us take the risk, overcome the fear, help us trust in your wisdom and power. Help us stand tall and proclaim:
Here I stand in the light of day let the storm rage on,
Walking on water, or maybe swimming, as we live out who you have formed us to be.
And maybe we we will find that the storm won't bother us anyway. Amen.

Our hour of worship comes to a close,
and now it is time to step out of the boat, to walk into the storm.
We go from this place with faith and trust,
those things that keep us going, that keep us from floundering.
We go to share the promise and possibility of life with the storm-bound world,
so that the peace that passes understanding would bring hope and calm.
Go with God, who stands by us as the wind blows and the storm roars.
Our rock, our anchor, always.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

For February 1, 2015 -- Don't Worry, Be Like the Flowers of the Field and the Birds of the Air

In a world which presents us with so many worries,
we need to be reminded to trust, to relax, to not worry so much.
As we gather we bring our worries, our anxieties, our fears.
May we set them aside for a time while we celebrate the presence of the One who helps us to relax.
As our time of worship begins, let us greet our family of faith with words and signs of God's peace...

God of life, we come to this place with many things on our mind,
concern about parents and children, anxiety about the economy, worry about our own health.
And yet through the voices of many you tell us:
Don't Worry, Be Happy.
In this time of worship,
remind us to let go of our anxiety, help us to re-focus our energy on our most valuable treasures.
And then when we have been fed and refreshed,
Lead us out to live lives a little bit more worry-free.
We pray in Jesus' name,

In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
God, the worries of life are so numerous.
Ain't got no place to lay your head...Ain't got no cash, ain't got no style
Sometimes we find it hard to let go, to open ourselves to trust.
And yet you continue to sing to us:
... when you worry your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down
So don't worry, be happy don't worry, be happy now.
God of grace, God who calls us to be like the flowers of the field and the birds of the air,
help us to trust, help us to let go, help us to relax.
So that we can all sing together:
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don't worry, be happy
I'm not worried, I'm happy

We have gathered, we have eaten, we have listened.
Now we head back out into the mission field, the world outside the church doors.
As we go, may we carry the peace that passes understanding, the Peace of Christ, with us.
To share with all we meet, to shape the way we live our lives.
And as we go, may we be secure in the trust that God
Parent, Child and Spirit, Love Incarnate in the world
Goes with us wherever we go.

Monday, January 19, 2015

For January 25, 2015 -- BLessings and Woes

Children of God! Gather together to worship!
We come to share the life of faith with friends new and old.
Children of God! Open your hearts and souls and minds and ears!
We open our very beings to let God speak and move in our midst.
Children of God! Your brothers and sisters in faith are all around you. Let us greet them with words and signs of God's peace...

Blessed are those who...
God of life, we give thanks that we have been blessed in so many ways.
But woe to those who...
God of life, we wonder if we are the hungry or the filled, the winners or the losers in the game of life.
Blessings and curses, praises and woes, all seem so intermingled.
God of life, help us to sort them out, help us to seek the path of blessing.
As we walk the road that leads to the Kingdom,
may we be open to the upturning of the world, ready to challenge the injustices we see, willing to risk the changes that Kingdom living brings.
And may we be graceful and grace-filled as it happens.
God of grace, God of blessings, God of the Kingdom, we pray and wait in hope. Amen.

Children of God! Our time of worship draws to a close.
And we prepare to return to the mission field, the world where we live and work and serve.
Children of God! As those who have been blessed,
we go out to share our blessings with others.
Children of God! In a world where there are winners and losers,
we go to share God's word of hope and promise for the Kingdom of Justice and peace.
Children of God! Go with God: Parent, Child and Spirit; One in Three.
We go secure in the knowledge that God is with us every step of the way. Amen.