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.

Sunday 31st July – Pentecost 11

I’ve been on holiday for a fortnight, hence the recent silence.   This week, and for another four, I will be frustrating to those who are following the RCL Lectionary.   For tomorrow and August I’m moving to the Narrative Lectionary and focussing on 2 Corinthians.   This week’s theme is “Consolation”.

Call to Worship

Grace and peace from God

and from the Lord Jesus Christ

surround this place

and all of life.

Blessed by God with mercy and comfort,

we gather in our experience of laughter and joy,

sorrow and pain,

to grow in hope and love,

and then console beyond our own frame

that others may know the love of Christ.

 

With the experience of ordinary living

and this day,

we come,

to be issued of the Lord’s grace and mercy.

Then may we rise anew,

called to lives that speak of Christ.

 

Let us worship God…

 

Opening Prayer

Blessed Creator,

who gathers all within a loving embrace,

You are to be praised

for the hope and mercy

brought into human experience.

When doubt and cynicism cloud vision,

You shed light,

capturing imagination

so that fresh thought

may give way to new innovations.

We praise You

for our experience of love and kindness

found in the thoughts and words

of others.

We praise You

for the fresh dawn of each day

that urges us

to begin anew.

 

Consoling Presence,

You know the thoughts that stir,

and the actions taken,

and so we acknowledge

that we do not always respond in love.

Forgive us for our hardness of heart,

and free us to live

withering to offer compassion.

 

Empowering Spirit,

as we walk in the grace of God,

call us to offer mercy to all

in Christ’s name.

Amen.

 

Dedication of Offering

Rejoicing in Your presence,

Comforter of hearts,

we look for ways

in which we can offer a little of our life and love.

We bring these gifts

from our working lives and talents,

thankful for all we have,

and willing to share

that others may find

the comfort of the living God.

Amen.

 

 

Prayers of the People

Rejoicing:-

Rejoicing in Your presence, living Lord,

we thank You for what we know of You

because others shared their experiences of faith.

We thank You for those who taught and told stories

of a living, hopeful presence

of God revealed in Jesus Christ,

so that peace and love would reign

within our own lives.

 

Teaching:-

No matter our age

there are always opportunities to learn.

As we give thanks for inspiring moments,

we remember those

for whom the simmer months

allow time to reflect on working lives.

We pray for children, young people and students,

teachers and lecturers,

as they delight in the creation around.

We give thanks for fight shared in holidays clubs and Messy churches,

and we seek the encouragement

to act upon the moments when we know we are to share our own faith.

 

Peace:-

In this unsettled world

we pray for peace.

We remember the people across the world this week

whose lives have been shaken by terrorism.

We pray for life lost in the actions of others,

and we pray for the perpetrators.

We pray for families mourning loved ones,

or waiting hopeful news.

And we long for peace.

Peace that comes from recognising the sacred nature of life,

and respecting differences,

while searching for common purpose.

 

Love:-

If our common purpose is to love and value

all human life,

then stretch our hearts,

that we may become the hands and voices

that bring comfort and justice

to those who are hungry,

homeless and hurting.

 

Power:-

We pray for those who are seen as powerful,

for governments, monarchs and heads of state,

that they may seek after the best for all people

and Your creation.

May they learn graciousness at Your hand

that values those

whose needs are often ignored.

In Your embrace,

may the troubles of our world find rest

and Christ’s love reign

in all of life.

Amen.

Sunday 3rd July 2016 – Pentecost 7C (2)

Opening Prayer

Mothering Creator,

In Your embrace

we rejoice.

You draw us close to You

that we are warmed,

and fed and nourished

by the nearness of Your presence.

Your voice bills and coos

until the noise to the world evaporates

and only the stillness of You being surrounds.

Comfort flows like a river,

swelling with our tears and sorrow,

and then moving us from the pains we experience

to new moments of learning and discovering.

We rejoice

in Your embrace.

 

And lest we get to settled,

in the tide of change of life

You call us to our responsibilities.

You have offered an invitation

to be the stewards of all that surrounds,

and so we remember those times

when we have not played our part.

Creation may be beautiful,

but conserving what we need

becomes less of a priority

when ease and convenience suit us better.

Making other welcome may enrich our lives,

but it proves difficult

if it unsettles our expectations of position

As  those who long to assured of Your love

we recognise when we have failed to live lovingly.

 

Silence

 

Patient Parent,

You hurry into our lives

and while your rebuke may unsettle us,

You offer forgiveness

that urges us back into the world,

in the name of Jesus Christ,

Our Lord and Saviour.

Amen.

Sunday 26th June 2016 – Pentecost 6C (2)

O Holy Refuge,

You are the shelter,

and under Your canopy

we are protected from wind and rain,

from cruel blow and thoughtless taunt.

In the inheritance we receive from You,

You provide everything we need.

In the darkness,

You bring light,

as You speak to our hearts.

You do not abandon us,

but seek us out

with good things to enjoy.

 

Loving Presence,

we seek You shelter

from our world,

with worried thoughts,

excited hopes,

and anxious fears.

In our desire to seek the best for ourselves,

it is not always easy

to place our trust in You.

Our selfish needs,

our sense of purpose,

our ambition,

all place walls around which Your Spirit

laps,

tearing at our resilience

until we remember to whom we belong.

Forgive us when we do not see the bigger picture

of a world in need,

or Your desire to use us as the hearts, hands and voices

of justice, fairness and wholeness.

 

Silence

 

Spirit of Promise,

You invite us to renew our promises to You,

that the kingdom of heaven

may reach into all of life,

in Christ’s name.

Amen.