Sunday 28th May 2017 – Easter 7A – Ascension Sunday (4)

Glorious God,

we worship You

for while the heavens are beyond our grasp,

You have chose to dwell within our lives.

In Your presence majesty is revealed

as all are offered welcome and love

around the heavenly table.

You have revealed the depths of Your love

in the life and death of Jesus Christ,

and the soaring heights in the resurrection and ascension.

 

We come in prayer to sit between

the life and purpose of Christ,

and seek the intention of our tasks

that that our words, thoughts and actions

may declare Christ’s presence

in all of life.

We pray today for those

who are awaiting transforming change

that will give them a sight of a different future

than the present that they inhabit.

 

We remember those who are prisoners,

and remember the different circumstances in which people find their freedom removed.

Praying for those who have perpetrated crime,

knowing that circumstance and nurture are not always easy for some,

and hoping that the life to which people return offers new ways of being.

Praying for political prisoners,

we recognise the discontent that was riled against,

and seek a world where all are treated fairly.

Praying for those imprisoned

and used and abused

by those who see their bodies as commodities,

we long for compassion from the perpetrators

and freedom for those who hurt.

Praying for those who are imprisoned by ill-health and physical ability,

may their needs be met,

that they may know life in all its fullness.

Amen.

Sunday 23rd April 2017 – Easter 2A

Offertory Prayer

Presence of the Creator,

we thank You for the fullness of joy

that we find in life with You.

Always beside us, always faithful,

our hearts long to spill over.

These simple gifts of our time and talents

are an expression of our trust in You,

and an offering of our willingness

to share what we know with others.

Amen.

 

Prayers of the People

Lord of laughter,

You have been heard

in the giggle of an infant

surprised by the wind blowing

or the sun shining,

or the passing object.

You have been heard

in the snigger

of a youngster

wrestling through the grasp of humiliation.

You have been heard

in the chuckle

of adults,

amused by their experience of a day.

You have been heard

in the bellying aching roar,

that speaks of friendship,

warmth,

and comfort.

We thank You

for the burst of laughter that surprises us,

and knocks us from our foolish pride

and thoughts of loneliness.

 

When the laughter fades,

and doubt surrounds,

may Your marks remind us You are with us.

 

We pray for the doubts of our communities

as we face not just local elections,

but national elections.

At a time when we have grown tired with decision making,

may Your marks reinvigorate our thoughts

and make us passionate about lacing faith

in the choices we make.

We pray for those who will be campaigning,

and those who must listen.

Encourage respectful dialogue

where people are willing to listen to the difference

and find a path

that places the poorest and most ignored at the centre of our conversations.

 

We pray for our world.

There isn’t much laughter

as news reports speak of shootings and bombings,

or people who are hungry or have no home.

We remember those who have been hurt or harmed this week

across the world,

and for their families.

We think of those who are grieving,

whose tomorrow’s seem to offer no laughter.

Enable us all

to seek out those in need of friendship,

as Your promise of new life

grows within us.

 

In these days of Easter celebrations,

we remember those who have been celebrating birthdays and marriages.

We pray for her majesty the Queen

as she celebrated her 91st birthday.

We give thanks for her continuing faithful service to our country,

and the inspiration that she offers to others

with her faith.

 

As laughter has shaped our lives,

we give thanks for those

whose open expression of faith and doubt

has shaped our lives towards You,

Christ our Saviour.

Lead us through our doubts

to the high points of faith

so that we may be renewed in our service,

and invigorated in our practice.

Amen.

Sunday 20th November 2016 – Christ the King (4)

The Christian year draws to a close,

Chosen One of Heaven,

and we praise You for the experience

of the fullness of human life

found within Your story.

Within each fragile moment,

the eternal promise

of God’s revealing light

challenges preconceptions

and sparkles with the hope

of what different thoughts and actions

might reveal.

Standing at the feeding trough, knowing the hatred of Herod,

starlight spoke of the alternatives for leadership.

Sermonising on a hillside, sensing the urgent hunger of the crowd,

sunlight enhanced the warmth of community.

Sitting at table, with the threat of betrayal,

candlelight dappled the hope of forgiveness.

Hanging on a cross, with the agony of death pulling at flesh,

darkness embraced the loneliness and pain of loss.

Running through a garden, filled with excitement at the unexpected,

dawn startled with new hope and possibility.

 

Response:  Let us not be afraid

FOR WE HAVE SEEN THE WORKS OF THE LORD.

 

King of Heaven,

You do not cast Your eye across this world at a distance,

but with the Holy Spirit

make Your passage though

the changing light of day and night,

and the activity of our lives.

On this day we we celebrate Your leadership,

and the alternatives to absolute power,

we pause to reflect upon

those who lead with our world and lives.

In the uncertainty of our time

we pray for those who must make decisions

about with whom and how we trade,

or how to maintain peace,

or the battles that are worth fighting.

We pray for our Government, and for the European Union,

for those across the world

frustrated with politicians and political decisions.

 

Response:  Let us not be afraid

FOR WE HAVE SEEN THE WORKS OF THE LORD.

In the warmth and light of this building,

and in our homes,

we have sensed the presence and assurance of God.

We remember those who feel the cold,

not only physically,

but within their Spirit;

those who feel that they live at a distance

from the love of God.

We remember those who have no roof under which to shelter,

and no walls behind which to hide.

As you embolden our Spirit,

we pray for the people of Aleppo and Syria,

for those living in war zones,

with less food each day

and a lack of medical supplies.

As we light candles of hope,

may we offer the assurance

that people are not forgotten,

and continue to seek ways for all to live life to the full.

 

Response:  Let us not be afraid

FOR WE HAVE SEEN THE WORKS OF THE LORD.

 

Hearing the words of the criminal on the cross,

we mark the beginning of prisoners week

with an acknowledgement

of all our failings.

We remember those who are in prison,

and the lives of the families who support them.

Heal those who have been wounded by the activities

of others, especially the victims of crime.

Help us to forgive one another.

 

Response:  Let us not be afraid

FOR WE HAVE SEEN THE WORKS OF THE LORD.

 

Amen.

Sunday 30th October 2016 – Pentecost 24 (2)

Prayers of the People

For the welcome You offer,

and the generosity You inspire,

Son of God,

we give You thanks.

On the journeys we have made,

You have walked with us,

offering companionship and guidance.

You have lifted us up when we felt low,

and joined in the songs

that have spoken of encouragement, celebration and love.

We thank You for those who have made us welcome,

in their homes and in their lives.

For quiet meals with family and friends,

when stories of the past have allowed us to notice You around us;

for celebrations and fellowship,

where You have led the dancing

and spilled through the laughter.

 

May Your welcome spill into our meetings with the world,

ever-present Christ,

and remind us to see the world

with Your love and longing.

 

When politicians and world leaders meet,

may they walk as You would walk.

Enable them to hear the voices of the crowd,

the competing values,

the reps and aspirations,

and through the noise and clamour

may Your presence of God spill forth,

as talks focus on the need for peace,

the ensuring of the equity of the sharing of resources,

and the hope of the valuing of all life.

Open the eyes of those in power

to those who are ignored because they have been pushed to the edges of community life.

We pray for the vulnerable:

physically because of ill health

and politically

because of lack of wealth or status.

 

Teach us the value of taking time to watch the crowds around.

Too often we get caught up in the noise and the values

of the world in which we live.

We long for the wealth or freedom

to keep up with those we believe are important.

Or we join in the jeering voices,

and mock those who would not live as we do.

Take us to the edge of the crowd,

or have us climb to a height

where we are able to see the world differently

and notice

all we are missing.

We pray for journalists and reporters

who tell the story of our world,

that You enable them to point out the people and places in need of care.

For the police and community support workers,

who touch the lives

of those we view as trouble makers,

that their stories may allow us to see those we distrust in a new light.

For bankers, tax officers, and financiers,

that their knowledge of budgets and economics

may offer a challenge to poverty.

 

As we remember those who have shared their faith with us

and allowed us to meet the presence of Jesus in their lives,

may we give thanks for all they encouraged within us,

and welcome Your presence

as Your story is retold in our lives.

Christ of all people,

may you continue to seek out the lost,

and lead them and us

into the kingdom of God.

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 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 19th June 2016 – Pentecost 5C

Call to Worship

Drawing around the bones of humanity,

Divine Presence,

protects and warms

the precious life within the flesh.

From all that we may fear,

the Strength of the Lord stands firm,

a constant source of hope and courage.

 

This source of Love

does not despise the variety of the creation,

nor turns away for those

who others might call outcast.

Instead the healing grasp of the Lord

encompasses all,

incorporates all,

and welcomes all.

 

In the presence of overwhelming welcome

may we praise the God,

who longs to satisfies

all manner of hungers.

May we praise the Lord

who remember us,

and beckons us to kneel

within the temple of grace

and find our belonging.

 

 

Opening Prayer

Almighty and Everlasting God,

Eternal and Intimate Presence,

You draw near to Your creation,

bursting through the barriers

of expectation and convention.

You are the Lord

of those who are pushed to the margins

of communities,

and the bold spirit

that pushes them to the fore

that we might meet Your presence

in those who have been ignored.

In you all are one,

and creed, gender, nationality, and responsibility

become but words,

for You teach us not to be afraid,

for You are the sustaining hand

that provides for all our needs.

In praise,

we settle in our places,

and with praise

we will worship,

so that praise becomes the words upon our lips

and the action of our hearts,

as the experience of knowing Christ in song and story

permeates into daily tasks.

 

Comforting Saviour,

You confront the many voices within each of us

and speak to the hurts and pains we inflict and cause.

Help us to acknowledge

the divisions we make

as we allow humanity to stand in opposition

when love should prevail.

 

Guiding Spirit,

leading us from our old practices

to new life in the knowledge of God’s hope for us,

we long to live as those

transformed by the presence of Christ.

Amen.

 

 

Offertory Prayer

Enfolding Creator,

with every breath

You spur us into life in all its fullness,

and in Your excess we give You thanks.

You inspire us to share,

and from our wealth

of talent, time and resources

we give

that others may meet the presence of Christ

in the ordinary moments

of each day.

Amen.

 

 

Prayers of the People

God of many names,

we thank You for the variety of images

that allow us to explore Your nature

and that enable us

to know You as our own.

You are the soaring eagle

that leads us to new thoughts and ideas,

to new adventures.

You are the mother hen

who gathers her chicks under her wings

that they may know worth and security.

You are the potter at the wheel,

moulding and shaping our lives

that we may be vessels of your love.

You are lady Wisdom,

calling in the market place

with guidance in all each day brings.

 

God of many names,

You come to challenge the many voices.

of our world

that set nations at war with each other,

humanity quarrelling

and seeking the best for individuals

rather than the common good.

 

We pray for Your church,

and the breadth of opinion contained

across congregations and denominations.

All seeking to demonstrate our faith and understanding,

at times we can seem fractious

in our meetings and plans.

May Your Spirit continue to guide and inspire,

if others are to meet You in our living our of Your story.

 

Leader: O Lord, our Strength

ALL: LORD, HASTEN WITH HELP AND COMPASSION

 

We pray for politicians and those involved in public service,

people who recognise the value of personal relationship

when it comes to making changes and grasping needs.

In these days since the traumatic death of Jo Cox,

there is a growing recognition of the vulnerability

of meeting with others.

We pray for Ms Cox’s family,

and those who have been touched by her presence.

We thank You for the gifts and talents she offered

in her actions.

We pray also for the Referendum this week,

that Your voice speaks to our hearts

and invites us to make choices

where people flourish and grow.

 

Leader: O Lord, our Strength

ALL: LORD, HASTEN WITH HELP AND COMPASSION

 

In a week where there has been a growing recognition

of the hostility and discrimination

that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community experience,

we pray that that new knowledge will continue

to tear at the divisive walls

that suggest that difference is a flaw.

We remember those who lost their lives

in the discriminating shooting of last Sunday,

and we pray for their families and friends.

We think of those who were in the club,

whose lives are now marked by the fear they felt,

and the lack of respect

they encounter for being who they are.

Cast out the demons of our prejudice

and bring us to new knowledge of what it means

to be made in the image of God,

in bold technicolour.

 

Leader: O Lord, our Strength

ALL: LORD, HASTEN WITH HELP AND COMPASSION

 

We praise You for those

who inspire us to live in relationship with each other,

and thank You for those who have gifted

with the example that places justice and mercy

at the centre of our lives.

 

Leader: O Lord, our Strength

ALL: LORD, HASTEN WITH HELP AND COMPASSION

Amen.