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 9th April 2017 – Palm/ Passion Sunday

Son of David,

You are welcomed

with shouts of praise,

songs of wonder,

and garments strewn to prepare the path of entry

to the Holy City.

You are welcomed

for the stories You will tell

that create a world of compassion

and equilibrium

for all to find their place within.

You are welcomed

as the healing You offer

transforms the lives of those

who have been burdened and excluded.

You are welcomed,

and yet it is Your welcome

that has made place and space

so that are included

in the heavenly procession.

 

The path You have worn,

Christ of Crowds

is not an easy path to walk,

and at time the branches of temptation have wound themselves

around the plans and relationships

we meet.

In sorrow we call to mind the places we have tripped

and in our hurt

have scarred and marked

those who would walk with us.

 

Welcoming Spirit,

You call us back to the crowd,

and restore us for the task of serving in Your name.

Amen

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 (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 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 20th November 2016 – Christ the King

Call to Worship

Leader:     God is our refuge and strength,

ALL:          A HELP IN OUR TIMES OF TROUBLE.

Leader:     We will not be afraid, even when all is changing around us;

ALL:          FOR GOD CALLS THROUGH THE STORM AND ANXIETY

OF LIFE.

Leader:     In this holy citadel, the Lord hopes to make us glad;

ALL:          AND AS A NEW MORNING DAWNS, THE HOPE OF NEW

BEGINNINGS AWAIT.

Leader:     The Lord is with us;

ALL:          LET US BE STILL AND KNOW THE PRESENCE AROUND.

Leader:     Let us worship the Lord.