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 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.