Sunday 6th August 2017 – Narrative Lectionary

These are for the third week in the Sacraments Series – Psalm 65 & 1 Corinthians 11: 17-34

 

Opening Prayer

Praise awaits You, O Lord,

from Zion

to the ends of the earth.

Praise pours forth from our lips

as You enrich

the world around us

with water,

and bring fruitfulness to seed, plant and creature.

As summer fades,

the harvest of the handwork of summer

paints the canvas of fields and gardens.

Praise pours forth

for the strength of the seas,

roaring their disruption,

as land patterns shift and form at Your command,

and passengers are caught in the waves,

playing, working, captured in nets.

Praise pours forth,

as night follows day,

and carousing becomes the bird song of the morning,

telling of the wonder

that will be explored in the dawning light.

 

Bickering and criticising are easy patterns for our thoughts and words.

We notice the flaws, blemishes and problems

long before beauty seeps in under our skin.

We hurl angry words

full of contempt

for our situations,

failing to notice those in need around us,

or a world that does not know easy access to food, wealth, and compassion.

When praise does not fall from our lips,

You choose to draw closer,

until selfish human passion

gives way

to the dignity of humility.

 

Silence

 

In forgiveness,

You Saving Grace,

overwhelm us.

You look past all we have failed in,

and welcome us,

accept us,

and make room for us to share Your story,

revealing heaven in the darkest places of life.

Amen.

 

 

Prayers of the People

Liberating Lord,

we have gathered this day

to express our praise and thanksgiving

in Your presence,

for Your are the one

who wipes our tears

and salves our blemishes,

recreating us

for Your purpose.

You are the one

who places bread upon our tables

and invites us to eat

that we may know fulness and plenty

to share.

You are the one

who quenches our thirst

with the burst of grapes,

that we may sing and shout of Your wonders,

calling all to find their hope in Your embrace.

You are to be praised

for making space at the table

for the lost and the least,

when others would pass by.

 

Gathered round Your table

You call us to notice and to pray for each other,

and for the world in which we are placed.

Caught in an eternal moment,

our thoughts are trapped in time

with knowledge of home and news

that You welcome in prayer.

 

In the midst of this holiday season,

we pray for those who are not with us

but instead refreshing themselves

for the passage into autumn and winter.

While some will have enjoyed the scenery of local shores,

we pray especially for those

who are holidaying and living in the heatwave of the continent.

While the heat rises around them,

may the inner heat of anger be quelled by you.

In the scarcity of water,

may compassion dwell,

recognising the needs of all around.

 

As the school summer holidays enter their final week,

we pray for those who are awaiting exam results.

May we rejoice in achievement,

but also recognise effort and attempt.

Calm fraught hearts and minds

to see new opportunities and possibilities

when expectations are not met.

 

In this place of hope and plenty,

we remember those whose tables will be empty today,

whose futures will not be certain,

whose ambitions cannot be achieved.

Open our eyes to look beyond our own experiences,

to challenge the governments and companies

who do not offer support and education

to all.

 

As our praise rings,

may it sing with the voices of the past,

who have sung of Your love

and lived out Your grace.

May we follow their path to Christ.

Amen.

 

Offertory Prayer

Christ of the broken bread,

and the red wine,

You have offered these gifts

that we might discover Your creation

within our very being.

The work of our hands,

the gifts of our talents

are placed upon Your table,

ready to be blessed

and broken

for sharing in the world.

Amen

 

Sunday 30th July 2017 – Narrative Lectionary

This week is the second of the Sacraments series of readings, Psalm 84 and Romans 6: 1-11.

Opening Prayer

It was You,

Artist of Creation,

who placed your hands into the seas

and pulled from the depths

the sandy shores and rolling fields,

the bleakest deserts and rumbling jungles.

It was you who used and prodded

at the earth,

until the mountains soared

and the valleys sank beyond unfathomable view.

It was You

formed the human frame

and breathed life within it,

and made a space and place

in which the wonder You were shaping

was to be caressed with care.

It was You

who still offered love,

who kept the gates held wide,

who reframed promises,

always laying new paths that would bring

Your children back to Your embrace.

It was You

who walked amongst all You had made,

ensuring that those who were ignored

were brought to sight

and seen for the value You had placed within them.

It is You

who has soaked us with Your waters

and in each splash

retells You love

that we might meet You nestled

at the heart of who we are.

 

Choosing to live

as those who are still cast out,

we run and hide

unless You see the naked cruelty of our actions,

unless You hear the temptations we declare with our words.

 

Life-giving Spirit,
You swoop through our lives

and revive the seeds of hope within us,

replenishing Your world with the presence of Your kingdom.

Amen.

 

 

Prayers of the People

How lovely is Your dwelling place,

O Lord of hosts!

We would boldly sing these words,

for within this precious space

we sense the beauty of Your presence.

Yet You remind us that You are not held within a precious space

but within and outwith the life of the world.

How lovely is Your dwelling place,

You invite us to sing,

and to see ourselves

and the world in which we live

in new light.

To recognise Your beauty

as You rest within each one of us

and stir within

sharing with and meeting that beauty

in others.

 

It can be difficult to see the beauty

of a war-torn land,

or famine starved people.

The images of women, men and children

settled in ramshackle dwellings,

and scrapping at bowls and the ground

for minuscule amounts of food

remind us of the comfort and wealth in which we live.

You call on the beauty within us

to value all life,

and to seek ways in which small changes

to our daily activities

may make changes for others.

 

Politicians haranguing each other,

journalists point out the weaknesses of those in public view

are not pictures we would hang within our homes.

We prayer for the beauty of respect,

for the valuing of differing viewpoints,

and the building of community.

 

In a world where images matter,

we pray for those who cannot see their own beauty –

for the instagram generation

who do not always recognise the manipulated images of media,

and long to shape themselves

to an unachievable shape or form.

May we offer signs of Your beauty

hidden within us all.

 

How lovely is Your dwelling place,

that offers rest eternal

for those we know and love.

We give thanks for those of who have offered signs of Your beauty

in their living,

and who have encouraged us in our faith.

May our encounters with the community of creation

bring forth the beauty of You

within us all,

and allow Your kingdom to be present in all of life.

Amen.

 

Offertory Prayer

Living God,

with our giving we step into Your living waters,

hoping that our gifts

may challenge conflict and bring peace,

ease hunger and offer signs of growth.

We place them in Your keeping

long for all to live full lives

in the presence of Christ.

Amen.

 

Sunday 23rd July 2017 – Narrative Lectionary

Its summer and once again I’m abandoning the lectionary for five weeks.   I’m also playing with the time schedule of the Narrative Lectionary to fit around what is happening in congregational and community life.   This week is the first week of the Sacraments readings and so we are using Psalm 46 and Acts 2: 37-42.

Opening Prayer

Graceful Actor,

Graceful Word,

You greet us in this moment and place.

In the voices that chatter, sing and soar,

You whisper and beckon,

drawing us closer that Your love

will settle our thoughts,

and fill our hearts.

The joys of this week

are to be captured

and in the conversation

the dancing of the Holy Spirit

is noticed and celebrated.

The sadnesses

shared,

as Christ calls us to compassion,

and to welcome tears and hurt

that our lives might be shaped

around a community built

on an understanding of the wholeness of our being

placed in You.

 

But hurt at times can cause us to hit back,

and so we turn to You in our brokenness

remembering those times

when angry words and cruel actions

have scarred the lives of those around us.

Let us not forget

our inaction,

in those moments

when we feel the circumstances will overwhelm us

and we ignore those who are in need of our care.

 

Lord of Grace,

Your Spirit sweeps through our lives,

and calls us back to walk with Christ,

enabling love to become the action

that makes You present in all we do.

Amen.

 

Prayers of the People

Creator of all of life,

we praise You the fullness of our encounters

of Your presence in our lives.

We thank You for the time we have a congregation

to grow in our love

and commitment to serve You in new and unusual ways.

You have inspired us

with those who have made their home

within our lives,

and so we give thanks for those

who have offered commitment and leadership

as ministers and elders,

and we thank You for those

who have offered their abilities and talents

to offer a church that welcomes all.

 

In word and sacrament,

You have brought to our attention

the trust

that we can place

in the One who offers eternity and wonder.

We remember those who have been baptised within our church community.

We pray for children, young people, those of middle and older years,

and remember the seeds of faith that have been sown.

At times of baptism our focus is so often on young life,

and so our prayers are drawn to the young across our world

and remember the vulnerability of youth,

those with no home, nothing to eat,

a lack of care.

 

In the agony of growing and learning,

we think of all those who find themselves outside the law,

and we pray for prisoners.

We long for all to offer respect,

and in that longing

we hope for places that rebuild a sense of self and purpose.

 

Growing calls us into relationships,

and we remember those

who make commitments to others,

either in marriage or civil partnerships.

We give thanks for love shared,

and the hope it inspires within us all.

 

As life ebbs,

and bodies weary,

our abilities and skills change

to encompass all we have known and encountered.

We pray for those who struggle with each day

as illness, sorrow, and loneliness lap at strength

and challenge vision for the future.

We remember those facing death

and those who mourn,

and give thanks for all those who have touched our lives,

encouraged us in our abilities,

and brought clear signs of Christ’s presence.

 

Eternal One,

who meets us in many ways,

may we continue to find inspiration

in the ordinary and extraordinary moments You offer.

Amen.

 

Offertory Prayer

Giver of all,

in word we hear of Your wonder,

in song we have sung to Your glory,

in trust we offer our gifts

for the fullness of Your action,

in hope we return to the world

to show signs of Christ’s love.

Amen.

 

Sunday 1st January 2017 – Christmas 1/Epiphany

We’re marking Epiphany here, because it is too late by next week.   All the decorations will be down.   It also means an easy Sunday as I’ve found some meditations that will work.   This is the opening prayer.

 

Glorious Presence,

who has awakened our hearts

with the light of stars,

and dazzled our imaginations

with the possibility of heaven,

You shine into this dawning new year

and cast Your rays across the world

that new vision may settle

into life.

Bringing hope and love

You are turning over the old ways

and announcing the possibility of change

and determination

to seek after the best for all people.

With signs and wonders

You stir up

the settled view,

disrupting the convenient

for the challenge of alternative patterns.

 

Clothing ourselves in the comfort of darkness,

we hide away our bad habits

lest people see us at our worst.

We close our minds

to welcoming difference.

We linger in the familiarity of past memories,

afraid of an unknown future.

 

You make us brave with starlight and wonder,

and it is Your loving tenderness,

Lord of all nations,

that reminds us

of Your on-going work in our lives.

Incomplete and uncertain

we place our lives in Your hands.

Amen.

Sunday 20th November 2016 – Christ the King (2)

Filler of the Holy Spaces,

who draws us towards the light and warmth of Your city,

You invite us to shelter within Your embrace.

Within the nurture of creation,

the salve that stills

the tumultuous tides of our emotions and anxieties

caresses our skin and thoughts.

Tumbling from anger and tears,

You cool the quaking thoughts

that calm words may be spoken.

Surfing the foaming waves of misunderstanding,

You point towards the the shallow tides

for pause and reflection

that common ground

and a grasp on the pervading reality

might burst into sight.

In the uproar of our world,

You are the firm fortress of truth and hope.

 

In the dimming light of winter,

gloom pervades our thoughts,

and at times we fail to look for Christ’s light

and instead wallow

in our misunderstandings

and misplaced trust.

Too quick to come to ponder on words or thoughts before us,

we make snap decisions,

and run headlong into hurting and miscalling others.

Too willing to point out the faults of others,

we fail to recognise how we have let others down.

Then terrified and afraid

of the reception we will receive

we withdraw and hide away,

until all we can do is turn to You

and hope for Your love to cast its light

upon the possibility

of a different day,

found in Your grace.

 

May we know the coming of Your days.

May we be lead to fruitful and abundant living,

that declares the presence of God

in our words and activities.

Amen.

Sunday 14th August 2016 – Pentecost 13 (Narrative Lectionary on 2 Corinthians)

Still off on my adventure in 2 Corinthians, but here are those that I have written.

Call to Worship

In living within the world

we find our resolve tested

and our faith faltering,

as who we are in Christ ripples through

the actions of our hands,

the words of our mouths,

and the thoughts of our hearts.

In coming to this place

we seek after the energising Spirit of God,

to restore the flavour of Christ

at the heart of our being

so that His words,

His enlightening presence may make us

bold and challenging

in the mercy and love we show.

 

Let us worship God…

 

 

Opening Prayer

Treasure of Heaven,

whose hands have worked and shaped

the clay of earth

to bring life and form;

whose imagination played

with light and colour,

with gas and solid,

bring into being

the wonder of creature and nature;

whose resting delights

in all that is made:

we praise You.

In the uniqueness of each part of creation,

You cause us to wonder

at some new knowledge

to be found of Your.

In the pattern and uniform

we are reminded of Your constancy.

In the diversity of our days

you draw us through our dependence

on Your grace and mercy,

and send us independently

to speak of Your love

and celebrate.

 

Like the clay from which we are formed,

we are easily shaped

by the hurts and scars

that living with others can cause.

In the heat of anger and frustration

our hearts are hardened

and we lash out,

afraid of the vulnerability we feel.

Broken by experiences,

we place our hands upon the treasure of faith within,

and seek the healing of Your forgiveness.

 

Silence

 

Lightening our hearts and imaginations with Your presence,

Compassionate Creator,

You remould us for Your purposes

sending us to bring Your healing in the world.

Amen.

 

 

Offertory Prayer

Source of life and renewal,

who provides for all our needs,

in our praise of all we have been given

we make our offering.

May all we give

be used in the glory of Your name

that others may be drawn into Your embrace

and know Your love

shown in Christ.

Amen.

 

 

Prayers of the People

 

Creator God,

In our frailty You do no abandon us,

instead You have made us a people of relationship.

In Your image and design,

You demonstrate the intertwining of hearts and lives,

and as we explore You

as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,

as Lover, Beloved and Love,

we discover that at Your heart

that living is enhanced by the mutuality

of being with others.

We rejoice in the relationship we have with You,

from loving parent,

to insistent friend,

to critical companion.

We thank you for the friendships that sustain us,

for the people who encourage us forward

and those who are willing to tell us

when we have got it wrong;

for friendships that have marked the signposts of years

and those we are still to make;

for those lost in the midst of time.

As we remember the weakness of our humanity

overcome by the friendships and relationships

we have shared,

we offer the hand of friendship in prayer.

This prayer continues in an intercession on “friendship” found in “Moments of our nights and days” by Ruth Burgess

 

Amen.

Sunday 7th August 2016 – Pentecost 12 (Narrative Lectionary on 2 Corinthians 2: 1-10)

Week 2 of the adventure from the RCL and I’m struggling for inspiration.   I’ve done a bit of adapting of other people’s resources for writing this week.   However this one is mine.

 

Ever-present Love,

active in all of live,

we praise You.

We praise You in the sunshine,

as the external warmth heats our skin

and causes the blood within our frame

to pulse with new energy

as we enjoy the possibility of the day.

We praise You for the drizzle,

and the pouring rain,

for even in the bleak damp,

Your warmth within courses into our imaginations,

and sends us on new journeys of growth.

We praise You for the blowing gale and the gentle breeze,

as cobwebs of past ways of being

are blown apart

to allow Your light to settle

on the vision of the tomorrow You have planned.

We praise You,

for Your Spirit cannot be captured in one moment,

one activity,

one season

or one experience.

Instead Your constancy is offered

in the changing pattern

of the design of Your creation.

Inspire us with the energy that moves from past to present to future.

For all our imagination,

Forgiving Lord,

we find ourselves caught on one picture,

one way of being,

one event.

Not always willing to forgive the wrongdoing of others,

we look for retaliation or vengeance,

believing that it evens the score.

Instead it robs us of the possibility of building relationships,

and weakens our love of ourselves and others.

With Your grace,

You open the shuttered windows of our hearts,

and through wide the doors

to a new day with You.

In Your grace

may we be willing to live as Christ calls us to love,

open heartedly accepting our own faults

and those of the world around us,

and seeking to bring mercy

to every part of our experience.