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.

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Sunday 31st January 2016 – Epiphany 4C (4)

Prayers of the People

Holy God,

we give thanks for those

who are channels of Your love

in ordinary living:

for those who have carried us in the womb,

and those who nurtured, treasured

and guided us.

 

You have sent to live amongst us

those who shape our faults

and embellish our strengths,

that through the tears and laughter shared together

we are enabled to love

because we know we are loved.

We thank You for the patience and understanding

of those around us,

as love teaches us not to be afraid.

 

Loving God,

who embraces the world in inclusive judgement and mercy,

we pray for humanity

with all its fear and division,

self deceit and injustice.

 

For bigoted groups

who feel so sure of themselves

that they exclude from their fellowship

all other races, cultures and religions;

And we pray for those

who are so unsure of themselves

that their lives lack any security or peace.

 

We pray for some faith communities

that turn in on themselves,

shutting out other opinions and behaviour.

 

We pray for communities

whose towns are shrinking

as they lose key services.

For businesses who resent cities,

or out of town shopping centres.

For urban communities

who are continually hit by job loses

and take over bids that push out long established and loved companies.

For those who always see the grass greener in another town.

 

We pray for arrogant and powerful nations

who manipulate,

dominate and exploit other countries;

For smaller nations

with much to offer the world

but are too reticent

or overlooked

in playing their part.

 

We pray for workplaces

where cliques and powerful groups

manipulate or bully others

for their own personal gain;

For those workplaces

where employers and employees work together

in good humour for the common good.

 

We pray for people who,

though ill or injured,

have swift access

to the best doctors, clinics, hospitals and surgery;

And for those

who remain on waiting lists,

or spend long hours simple waiting.

 

We pray for those this day

who find their faith strengthened,

their hope uplifted,

and their love deepened;

And for those

who are lost or anxious about the future.

 

Our Strength and Hope,

who draws all people into an eternal embrace,

may all experience the healing of Christ

and the freedom of Your Spirit.

Amen.

Sunday 31st January 2016 – Epiphany 4C (2)

Opening Prayer

 

In the womb,

You were shaping and moulding,

Eternal Creator.

You were whispering Your hopes and ambitions

of all creation might be

and our place within the masterpiece.

Instilling within each one of us

something unique

to be treasured as the part that makes us who we are,

and to be revealed

as age and wisdom

drew from within

our purpose

in the artwork of life.

 

In growing and learning,

we have been encouraged to seek You out,

that we may hear Your voice

and Your plans for us.

Encouraged by others around us

and by the impetus of the Spirit of Creation

we have found the living presence of Jesus

revealed in Scripture

and actioned in human life.

Each of our days offers new ways

in which the presence of Christ may be revealed

in our activity,

alone and with others.

 

When we are tired and awkward,

being unique and part of Your creation,

Wisdom of heaven,

becomes a burden we are not always willing to wear.

Standing on the precipice

of the our own feelings

and those around us,

our actions and words betray our selfish desire

to care for ourselves and those closest to us

over those we may not know,

and those we do that test our patience.

So we bring bewildered prayers

to ask that we might try again

to follow You.

 

Silence

 

Rock and refuge,

From Your forgiveness

we find the trust

that invites us to be all You have made us to be,

and to reveal Christ in every part of our lives.

Amen

Sunday 31st January – Epiphany 4C

Call to Worship

In the Lord,

we seek a place of refuge,

as a rescue from all that weighs us down is offered,

and an ear is turned to hear our pleas.

As our rock and place of strength,

the Lord is always with us,

leading us from challenging thoughts and people.

 

The Lord is our hope,

the confidence that listens and builds up,

with us from our shipping within the womb,

that in the first cries of birth

we may give praise to the Divine Presence.

 

Let us worship God…

Sunday 24th January 2016 – Epiphany 3C (2)

Author of life,

Each day is a new page

on which the story of the wonder of Your creation is told.

No pen and no words written,

and instead Your presence is revealed

in the unfolding pattern of creation,

and in the lives of ordinary people

who reach beyond themselves

so that Your presence might be revealed,

in love,

in mercy,

in justice and compassion.

In praise we notice the changing seasons,

the passion years,

and wonder at the different visions of You offered

in the transformation of all that surrounds.

The vitality of youth,

the vigour of spring,

speak of the excitement of the beginning of a new journey with You,

the promise that is yet to be revealed.

The coldness of winter,

the more sedate pace of age,

tell of life lived.

The summer heat sings with the labour of life,

and Autumn hosts the celebration of handwork.

In all of this story

You are the constant presence,

opening each new page of wonder

that we might meet Christ anew.

 

From the activity of the story

You call us to this place

to settle and be still,

that we might hear Your voice reminding us of the promises of faith.

 

When we have walked a different path,

and preferred another story,

that has not offered care of creation and of others,

may we seek forgiveness in You.

With the presence of Your Spirit,

may Your words continue to transform our lives.

Amen.