Sunday 26th November 2017 – Christ the King

Opening Prayer

Come, let us worship and bow down.

Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker,

for Your are our God,

and we are the people of Your pasture,

the flock in Your care.

 

You have drawn us here

to meet with You,

and with the tenderness of the Holy Spirit

we are brought into Your nearer presence

that we might be stilled and calmed,

challenged and engaged,

made ready for the task of discipleship

in which You seek us to engage.

 

In the activities of the week

and the headlines of the news,

our need of You has been invigorated.

Within our community and our church

we have met the worries and fears of others,

and we have found ourselves to be in need

of the words of life

that only come from You.

So in faith we declare You

the Crown our our lives –

the One in which all the winding threads

are bound together,

to become an ornate tapestry of hope and joy.

 

As we worship and bow down,

as we kneel before You,

our Lord and Maker,

You have guided us on each step.

You are the shepherd of our live,

who anticipates our needs

before we recognised,

pouring grace into our thirst and hunger.

 

Patient shepherd,

hear the voices of the flock

who often stray from You care.

Lost in the world,

we have used money and power

in the hope of replacing Your presence.

We have not trusted in Your languishing of love,

and placed our trust in material things.

We have not cared for those

who stand in difficult places.

As we worship and bow down,

we seek Your care

and the recognise the need for restoration.

 

Silence

 

Loving Shepherd,

we are not worthy of Your love,

and yet You love without restriction.

Teach us to follow You,

and to welcome You in the face of others.

Amen.

 

 

Offertory Prayer

Shepherd of all,

You gave in love and richness

that the nations would be drawn into Your presence

to understand humility.

In the depths of our pockets and the depths of our hearts

we are overwhelmed,

and yet in humbleness

we bring the gifts of our life and work

so that Christ’s gift can be shared

wherever light is needed.

Amen.

 

Prayers of the People

Crown of our hearts,

we thank You

for Your presence in all our activities,

and for the people we have been placed amongst.

In the richness of relationships

found within family and friends

You enrich our skills of celebration and negotiation,

and empower us

as those who are to notice struggle

and demonstrate compassion.

 

On the closing Sunday of the Christian year,

we look towards the promise of a new year of faith.

Stirring the memories of all that has been discovered, shared and offered

in this year,

the possibilities of the future are awakened.

 

In Christ’s name we offer our prayers

MAY THE SPIRIT GIVE US WISDOM AND VISION

 

We pray for the Church in Scotland and across the world,

as congregations long to serve the communities in which they are placed.

We recognise the changing demographic the people in worship

and look for ways in which to revitalise the life and worship

of congregations,

to inspire and offer welcome

to those who seek an encounter with the Holy Spirit.

In a season where schools begin to explore the Christian story

in the retelling of the Nativity,

we long for doors to be opened

for engaging with people of faith.

Encourage us to a better understanding between church communities

that we can be inspired by our differences,

and encouraged by our similarities.

 

In Christ’s name we offer our prayers

MAY THE SPIRIT GIVE US WISDOM AND VISION

 

We pray for those who are in need of care,

for patients in hospitals,

and residents in care homes,.

We remember the staff who offer care and support

with dignity and respect.

We think of those who live on the margins of our communities,

and find themselves vulnerable

because their need is not immediately recognised.

For those who find no hope of joy or comfort

in the weeks that lie ahead.

 

In Christ’s name we offer our prayers

MAY THE SPIRIT GIVE US WISDOM AND VISION

 

We pray for our planet:

for peace so that our lands are not torn apart

and people displaced;

for a respect of the natural resources

and a willingness to live with less.

 

In Christ’s name we offer our prayers

MAY THE SPIRIT GIVE US WISDOM AND VISION

 

And as we draw our prayers to our close

we remember those

who have touched our lives,

because in Christ’s name

they offered protection, support and love.

Amen.

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Sunday 24th September 2018 – Pentecost 16A

Call to Worship

Praising the Creator,

the songs of joy and hope

ring through our lives,

as we take pleasure

in the created world around

and in the tasks we do

as we discover more of who we are

and the abilities within each one.

 

Praising the Creator,

stories are shared

that speak of the moments

that have been difficult,

when we have been alone or bereft;

when we have failed to seek what is best for all

and chosen the easy road for a few.

 

Praising the Creator,

there is wonder

in discovering the generosity

of the One who made us,

as our faults are smoothed

and the rough path evened.

 

Praising the Creator,

let us worship God.

 

 

Opening Prayer

Gracious King of heaven,

You are to be praised

for ever and ever.

Your story

and presence within all of life

are to be shared with all,

as we wonder at the shape and form

of all that surrounds,

and wonder at Your patience

and generosity in the creation You have made.

In the friendships that support of lives,

in the food upon our tables,

in the festivities of each passing day,

Your goodness and abundance

are joyful received,

and celebrated.

 

Compassionate Companion,

in praising You

we notice the slowness of Your anger

and the richness of Your love,

for while our faults may cause a blemish

in the passing of each day,

You are faithful in Your promises.

As Your love pours into our lives,

our eyes are drawn to those ways in which we fail You:

the jealousy we feel at the abilities of another;

the greed we carry as we ensure we have enough;

the anger we hold when we feel we have been harshly treated.

Focus our eyes on Your generosity

that in seeking renewal with You

we may turn our lives towards You

and reflect Your love in all we seek to do.

 

Silence

 

Faithful Host,

You have made a space for all

within Your kingdom,

and You lift up those who are bowed down

with the weight of the world.

As we find forgiveness in Your promises

may we be emboldened

to live Your truth

as shown in Christ.

Amen.

 

 

Offertory Prayer

Inspired by the abundance of Your grace,

and Your generosity in loving us,

we bring our gifts to share.

While we might limit where love is shown,

You inspire us with the opportunity to grow towards the kingdom

when we welcome others in Your name.

Amen.

 

 

Prayers of the People

Giver of all good things,

you nourish us with goodness,

and bring out the best within all You have made.

 

Inspire us with love,

so that rather than trying to outdo one another,

we might instead take pleasure

in the hope we meet in the abilities of another.

Teach us to be patient,

and generous in our dealings with one another.

 

Inspire our country with prophets who speak the truth,

pointing out and standing against

the injustices that exist between individuals and communities.

We pray for those

who are the prophetic voices of our communities,

for journalists and political activists

who ask difficult questions

and search for the truth

where the lives of others are not valued or supported with respect.

May we find within ourselves

the power to be prophetic

whenever we are aware

that the values of Your kingdom

are not being lived within our lives.

 

We pray for generosity amongst the nations of our world.

The Autumn chill that surrounds us is more than the changing of a season,

instead it represents our hands being tied

as we struggle with how to respond

to the crisis we see across the globe.

As winds and storms continue to battle across the planet,

we pray for communities

that have been laid low in recent hurricanes;

for families displaced

and livelihoods lost.

In the chill winds and storming tempers

of Presidents and Supreme leaders,

we seek the warmth of Your patience

to break the battle of wills,

and ease the aggressive rhetoric.

In the chill of Europe’s reception to the possibilities of Brexit

may You throw wide the doors of communication

and encourage engaging and lively conversation.

 

Inspire our lives with generosity.

Here within this building

let us learn to value each other’s gifts and talents,

to offer them freely,

and to welcome those offered by others

even if we think they compete with what we do.

Help us to remember and learn from the gracious presence of Christ

show in the lives of those

who made us welcome

and encouraged us

to show glory to Christ

in the living of faith.

Amen.

Sunday 17th September – Pentecost 15A

 

Opening Prayer

Keeper of our souls,

we praise You

from the inner workings of our being,

remembering the wonder

of faith placed in You.

You who formed humanity from the dust of the earth,

care for and protect,

knowing the vulnerability of the patterned frame.

Your love is generous,

every aware of the flaws

that are to be tended,

and with compassion

cradle Your creation

to Your heart.

 

Your creation does not always share

the slowness of Your anger,

instead full hardy, and bull-like

we scurry into battle

for the wrong-doings that have marred our days,

keen to find a perpetrator.

We are much slower

in noticing the cruelty we inflict,

as we accuse, deny and denigrate.

Harbouring these pains

we call out to You

that we might called to the shores of Your love and be restored.

 

Silence

 

River of forgiveness,

who pours through our lives,

washing away the marks that mar

and encouraging the shoots of new life to grow,

may we live as those

who has found their life in You.

Amen.

 

 

 

Offertory Prayer

In Your holiness,

in Your presence,

Creator of life,

we meet Your warmth

and recognise the blessings and riches

of the lives we live.

In all we give

we respond to Your generosity

and with our hearts,

our actions,

and our lives

seek to offer others

the wonders we enjoy.

Amen.

 

 

Prayers of the People

Passionate Creator,

who cares for the weak and strong of faith,

You know the inner workings

or our hearts and thoughts

and sense the lulls and highs

of the tumbling human existence.

We thank You for Your presence with us

as You pour the healing balm

into situations

where flaring tempers

might tear apart families and lives.

We thank You for your presence with us

holding onto us,

even when we can find no threads

of connection

that allow You

to settle within our lives.

 

In our prayers

we remember those

whose lives rely on the thin threads of existence

for hope and happiness.

We remember those who carry the weight of debt.

No debts are easy to bear,

and so we think of those in this country

who have fallen into debt

in the hope of a better life,

only to find themselves further crushed by interest rates

and changing economic circumstances

that have not allowed for wages rises and job opportunities.

And we think of those

who are the last link in the chain

of the burden of the economic debt of their country,

and so find suffer because of

poor health, education and living standards.

We pray for courage for those who must stand up

against injustice,

and guidance for those

who seek to provide help to those in most need.

 

We think of those whose families have been torn apart

because forgiveness does not come easy,

and so discord, division and bitterness

have become the flavours of conversation.

May Your Spirit seek out moments

for reconciliation and forgiveness.

Where the kindly words of family members offer no hope,

may the wisdom of mediators

show redeeming moments.

We pray for Your human family,

and the discord that is sown

throw the thrust for power and wealth.

In the temperamental waters around North Korea,

may opportunities arise

to cool the temperature of politics.

In the rising worry of terrorism,

let us remember those who have been injured in the recent attack on London,

but may we also continue

to value the diversity of others

as we discover new moments of Your love in action.

Amen.

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.