Sunday 25th January 2015 – Epiphany 3B

This week it’s a Call to Worship, Opening Prayer and Offertory Prayer.

Call to Worship

The Lord is our rock

and the stronghold of our faith,

and our souls can take rest in Him

for he saves us from our own wants and wills.

When we grow frustrated with the world around

and angry with the lies of those

who tear at the integrity of others,

it is the Lord alone

who can turn the words of hurt

into the blessings

that transform our world.

Let us rest our weariness in the Lord,

that we may not be shaken

from the steps we are invited to walk.

Let us trust the living God

with the contents of our hearts

and seek refuge.

Then may His breath inspire

richness in the talents we share,

so that we become strong in our love,

forthright in our praise,

and fervent in our cries for justice.

Opening Prayer

In every emotion,

Your voice is hear calling us to know

that we are Yours,

Compassionate God.

In the midst of human sorrow

You hold the hands of those who weep,

and bring warmth to the hands and arms

of those who will hold and encourage.

When joy is overwhelming,

You are part of the bubbling brook of laughter,

and the stilling presence

that calms

and brings rest

so that ordinary life can be lived.

In every time and age,

Your voice

brings fresh challenge,

new insight and wisdom,

ensuring that the creativity of the Gospel

steps boldly

into places and situations

and the invitation

to know Your presence

casts new light

on all that once was known.

God of impetus and urgency,

the call You make to Your disciples

looks for a response.

It comes with urgency and passion

to step out boldly in Your name.

Forgive us for our reluctance

and uncertainty in all You call us to be.

Silence

God whose forgiveness brings courage to our lives,

may we respond with humility and trust

as we allow Your presence

to echo from all we say and do.

Amen.

Offertory Prayer

In our hands and voices,

You have place Your presence

to stir our world

to be a place where justice and hope

reign in the hearts of all.

These gifts we bring,

not just from our pockets,

but in our actions and thoughts,

come full of joy

and with the anticipation

that Your kingdom will be present

in all life.

Amen.

Sunday 18th January 2015 – Epiphany 2B

Nearly all my own this week, although the Prayer of the People has an opening borrowed from David Adams.   It is Homelessness Sunday in the UK today, and so I mention it in the Prayer of the People.   We will have a bigger focus on Homelessness in February when there are plans for worship that focusses on Homelessness and Poverty and includes thoughts from our young people.

(Call to Worship, Opening Prayer, Offertory Prayer and Prayers of the People.)

 

Call to Worship

Searching through the long dark night of the soul,

and calling into the hidden shadows of our hearts,

the Lord seeks us out,

and calls,

“Come and see.”

It is an invitation

to nestle in the presence

of the One

who knows

the inner secrets of our lives.

An invitation

that releases us

from the expectations of others

to live as Christ as called us to live.

 

“Come and see”,

and greet the Lord

in the words and music,

the sound and silence

of worship.

“Come and see”,

and recognise the living presence of Christ

in the hands and eyes

of those we meet each day.

“Come and see”,

notice the world in need of the Lord’s care,

and the ways in which we may play our part.

“Come and see”,

words that become the invitation we will offer

in Christ’s name.

 

Let us worship God…

 

 

Opening Prayer

Whispering voice of the darkness,

the Lord who calls

from the deepest night,

You know the comings and goings of creation

for you have made every part.

This creation is marked

with Your love,

for each cell and atom

is shaped and formed by You.

Your Spirit enlivens life

by ensuring

that colour, sound, and scent

bring different hues,

vibrations,

and fragrances

that tell of the variety of Your nature

and the diversity

of all You would make.

It is Your voice

that calls each of us

to play our part in your story,

for You have made us for Your purpose

of revealing love

in the challenging

of worldly ambition.

 

It is our own ambition and self-centredness

that can keep us from responding to Your call.

We fail to hear You

in the voices of those calling for help.

We ignore Your invitation to play our part

as we choose to do what suits us best.

We hide away our talents

not wanting to stand out or alone

when You have seen just the part we could play.

Release us from the anxiety

of  all we fail to say and do,

into the assurance of the future

You have set before us.

 

Silence

 

O God,

who searches us

and knows us,

may Your presence rise in our lives

and lead us towards

the opportunity

to make Christ known in the lives of others.

Amen.

 

 

Offertory Prayer

Generous God,

You know every part of our lives

and You call us to respond to You

knowing in what way we may serve.

In this moment,

we give thanks for all we have been given

and from the all

offer some of who we are and what we have

so that others

may hear Your invitation to
“Come and see”,

and find fulfilment in the presence of Christ

in their lives.

Amen.

 

 

Prayers of the People

Lord,

as you called the disciples,

open our ears to Your calling,

open our eyes to Your presence,

open our hearts to Your love,

that we may hear You,

and hearing You may love You,

and loving You may serve You,

finding our freedom in Your presence.

We give You thanks,

O Lord,

for You have called us to know You and proclaim You.

Lord make us worthy of our calling;

may we be faithful to You in our discipleship.

We pray that each on their calling may seek to do Your will;

that your church mat be attentive to Your word and seek after You,

that we may share in the mission of Christ to our world.

Gracious God,

You call us to play our part in so many different ways

and at times we need help

to sift through the noise

to hear the clarity of Your invitation.

Today across the faith communities of the United Kingdom

You have offered an invitation to focus on homelessness,

and to seek Your presence in the live of those

in need of help,

and those who may be the source of help.

So in our prayers today,

we stop first to think of those

who are the homeless of our town.

We think of those we might readily pass by,

and those who are the hidden homeless.

We pray for those

who will make their bed a park bench in the depths of winter,

or who find themselves moving from sofa to sofa,

or B&B and hostel.

Help us to understand

that sometimes the decision

to live outside the expected norm of our world,

is thrust upon others,

as family fallout,

abuse,

depression and the toll it takes upon family and work,

redundancy and job changes,

release from prison and no support,

all play their part in the way people live.

Call us to see how we can be part of the process of change,

with voices that offer hope,

and hand that offer compassion.

We think of the homeless around the world,

and remember that it happen

to people of every age, race and gender.

Focus our eyes

on the scrapyard villages

formed from the wreckage and rubble

of storms.

Help us notice those,

we are not supposed to see,

as abusers hide their victims

and the scars,

and traffickers

manipulate the movement

of their power and hold over others.

Call us to see

how justice can invade

so that our voices challenge

the wealth of our world,

and instead bring the wealth of justice to all life.

Lord of vision,

You call us to bring others

to be inspired by the possibility of life with You.

May our desire to serve You

reach into the political choices we make,

and ensure that the leaders we choose

seek after a fairer world,

where all are valued for the gifts they bring.

Amen.

Sunday 4th January 2015 – Epiphany

A Call to Worship and an Opening Prayer.   For the Prayers of the People, I have reworked something from “Shine on, Star of Bethlehem” compiled by Geoffrey Duncan for Christian Aid and CAFOD.

Call to Worship

Arise and shine,

for the light of the world is in our midst

and beckons within our lives

to follow.

Throwing back the thick darkness

of our anguish and fears,

the Lord sets a path

that leads individuals

and nations

to the dawn of fresh possibilities.

 

Let us lift up our eyes,

to take in the breadth of those

who sit around us

and the world of which we are part.

Let us delight

in the creation

as the riches of the Lord’s presence

lead us into new experiences

of people and places.

 

Let us proclaim our praise of God.

 

Let us worship God.

 

 

Opening Prayer

Star of heaven,

who guides all people

to find a place of wonder

beneath Your blazing beams,

within Your presence all generations flourish.

You who have an interest in all,

take delight in upholding those

who have been cast down

or ignored by governments,

systems,

and neighbours.

Like rain falling,

You wash away the pain of hurt

and encourage instead

growth in Your light,

and unsettle the status quo

with the possibility of change.

 

Transforming Presence,

at the start of a New Year,

in the presence of Your light

we recall the dark shadows

we would choose to hide in.

We bring our memories of ignorances,

the fall outs and failures,

the hurts we have felt at others misunderstanding of us

and the situations we are in,

and seek the power of your forgiveness

so that we might step out anew with You

and discover a new path

on which You invite us to set our feet.

 

Silence.

 

With new found humility

may we take courage from the knowledge of Your loves of us

and live as those restored to Your presence.

Amen.