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.