Thursday, November 20, 2014

BLue Christmas Liturgy

With 4 reflections yet to be written (the last one I am reusing from last year because, well, the message remains constant)

God Opens Our Hearts
Words of Welcome

Opening Prayer
God of hope,
we gather here today as those who have known both hope and despair, knowing that hope is what we need.
God of peace,
we gather together for a time of quiet in the midst of the busy-ness of the world.
God of love,
we gather together in a world where there is so much fear, seeking the power and promise of love.
God of joy,
we gather with hearts that are heavy, even as the world around us sings songs of joy and wonder.
God of light,
in this time of worship and reflection, ease the heaviness of our hearts, shine light into the shadows of our lives, renew our hope, and fill us with the peace of Christ, in whose name we pray and whose birth we await.
Amen.

Hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem #64 Voices United

God Speaks to Our Hearts
The Cloud of Despair
Reflection
The Candle of Hope

The Haze of Busy-ness
Reflection
The Candle of Peace

The Shadow of Fear
Reflection
The Candle of Love

The Gloom of Sorrow
Scripture Isaiah 61:1-4
Reflection
The Candle of Joy

Hymn Hope is a Star #7 Voices United or A Candle is Burning #6 Voices United (verses 1-4)

The Darkness of Winter
When Blue Christmas services first started to gain traction they were often held on
the night of the solstice, the longest night of the year (and many were in fact given
names like “Longest Night Service of Into the December Darkness). It was a way
to honour not only the reality of our days in this latitude but also the darknesses of
which we have spoken today.
Isaiah wrote “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who
walked in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.” There are times
when we are the people who walk in darkness. And so we come searching for the
light
Reflection
The center of our circle, the center of the season, the center of our hope. Christ the
Lord is Born! The Light of the World is come!
We have come to our last candle. We have come to the point when we are
reminded of where the hope, the comfort, of the season. The angel speaks across
the centuries of faith and tradition to reach into our own hearts, quelling the fear,
touching the despair with words of hope. “Do not be afraid..for to you is born a
Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”
John reminds us that the God who comes as a child is the God who has been from
the beginning, the Word that brings hope, light and life to a world. Today we
remember the promise of the Light that can never be overcome, no matter how dark
the world may get. Can we join with the angels, even if only with part of our
being or just for a little while, and sing Glory to God for the Christmas gift?
The Light of the Christ-Child
We light this candle to remind us that though we are sometimes the people who walk in
darkness there is a light that the darkness can not overcome. We light this candle to
remind us that while there are times when we are filled with fear for the future the angel
still calls out “Fear Not” for there is Good News.
May the light and warmth of this candle be a source of comfort to us. We are not
alone. Thanks be to God!


God Moves In Our Hearts
We Light our Own Candles
Invitation:
We live as people of hope. We live as people whose hope lies in the light that
shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not, will not, and can not overcome it.
During these next few minutes, you are invited to come forward and light one or more of
the tea lights that are here on the table. These lights may be lights of memory for what
was or hope for what will be, or both.

Prayers for the People
Lord's Prayer

Hymn: Silent Night # 67 Voices United

BLESSING
We have gathered today to share our shadows.
Here, in the shadow of God's healing love, we could name our griefs and sorrows and struggles.
Here we have lit candles to drive away the shadows cast by despair, busy-ness, fear, and sorrow.
We also have lit candles to remind us of what was and what could be.
Now we prepare to leave this place and return to the world. We carry with us the promise of light and warmth in the times of darkness and cold.
And may the light of the candles we lit this afternoon, shine in our hearts to remind us of the Light of the World, that can not be overcome.
Go with God: Parent, Child, and Spirit, the one who lights our path and shares our load.
Amen

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Advent Candles from 2004

Please note that the Unison Prayers in these came from the United Church Bulletin Covers for that year.

Advent Candles 2004
(Note, this liturgy utilized the prayers on the back of the Bulletin covers for Advent 2004)
Advent 1 (November 28, 2004) – The Circle
Reader 1: Today is the first Sunday of Advent, four weeks when we get ready for Christmas. This year, as we light our candles, we will think about some of the parts of our advent wreath.
Reader 2: We begin with the wreath itself. It is a circle. The circle has no beginning or end, which reminds us of God and God’s love.
Reader 1: Our lives are full of circles. Things like the hours of the day or the seasons of the year are circles that keep happening over and over again. We light this candle to celebrate the circles of our lives. (a purple candle is lit)
Reader 2: Let us pray as printed on the back of the bulletin:
Holy God, in this Advent season, may the circles of our love be unbroken, as your love to us is unbroken. Draw us close into your circle, that your church may be a sign of hope, and our doors may be open to new people and new possibilities. We pray in the name of the One who is alive forever: Christ, who is, and was, and is to come. Amen
Advent 2 (December 5, 2004) – The Evergreen
Reader 1: It is the second Sunday of Advent, our time to get ready for Christmas. Last week we lit a candle to celebrate the circles in our lives. (a purple candle is lit)
Reader 2: For us Christmas comes in the middle of the winter. In the winter it can be hard to find signs of growth and life outside. But then we see the evergreens, trees which always look alive and full of growth.
Reader 1: .Out Advent wreath is made up of evergreen branches to remind us that God wants us to be growing all the time. The branches also remind us that there is always room for life. We light this candle to remember God’s gift of life. (another purple candle is lit)
Reader 2: Let us pray as printed on the back of the bulletin:
Everlasting God, as the evergreen is alive in all seasons, may we always be alive to your presence, ever-mindful of the wonders of creation that we find all around us. Help us to find new life in times that seem cold and lifeless. Help us to have hopes for peace in the midst of turmoil and strife; For we pray in the name of Christ, who is alive forever. Amen.
Advent 3 (December 12, 2004) – The Holly
Reader 1: It is the third Sunday of Advent, Christmas is getting closer. Today we will light the third candle in our wreath. Already we have lit candles to remember the circles in our lives, and the continued life shown by evergreen branches (two purple candles are lit)
Reader 2: Sometimes people are sad at Christmas. They may miss someone who has moved away, or they may be remembering Christmases spent with someone who has died. It is too bad but sadness is part of life too.
Reader 1: Holly is something that reminds us that God is with us even in the sad times. Its sharp leaves remind us of the pain we sometimes feel and its berries are red like blood. We light this candle to remember the people who are sad this Christmas. (the pink candle is lit)
Reader 2: Let us pray as printed on the back of the bulletin:
God of Advent, you come to us in our joys and in our sorrows. Even as we rejoice in anticipation of the Chris Child’s birth, we know that this is a life that will lead to a cross. Gather us, hold us, and heal us, as we wait for you in this Advent season. We pray in the name of Jesus, who suffered and died, but who rose again and is alive forever. Amen
Advent 4 (December 19, 2004) – The Candlelight
Reader 1: Already it is the fourth and last Sunday of Advent, Christmas is almost here! Over the last few weeks we have lit candles and talked about the circles in our lives, about the continued life shown by evergreen branches, and about the mixture of joy and sorrow that makes up life symbolized by holly. (two purple candles and the pink candle are lit)
Reader 2: Here in Canada Christmas comes when the nights are the longest. We need extra lights to fill in when the sun goes down.
Reader 1: Long ago people didn’t have electric lights. Instead they used candles and lanterns. It is amazing how bright a candle can seem when there are no other lights around. We light our fourth candle to remind us that God’s light is with us all the time. (the last purple candle is lit)
Reader 2: Let us pray as printed on the back of the bulletin:
God of light, we give thanks for your gift of love – Jesus, the Light of the World. As the light of a candle’s flame fills an entire room, may your love fill our hearts and our lives. We pray in the name of Jesus, whose light is with us always. Amen.

Christmas Eve (December 24, 2004)
Reader 1: Finally, after all our waiting and preparing, the time has come. It is Christmas at last. Tonight we will light the last candle in our wreath.
Reader 2: So far we have lit candles to remind us of the circles in our lives, of the hope for continued life shown by evergreen branches, of the mixture of joy and sorrow that is part of life shown by holly, and of the light God brings to our lives. (all four candles are lit).
Reader 1: Tonight we light the candle at the center of our wreath. Just as Jesus birth is at the center of our Christmas, so this candle reminds us to keep Jesus teaching and love in the center of our lives (center candle is lit)

Reader 2: Let us pray, as printed in the bulletin:
God of promises and candlelight, tonight we wait with anxious hearts for the birth of a baby. Help us make room amidst all the hustle and bustle of the night to put the baby in the middle. We give thanks that he is born, the Prince of Peace. May his love always be in the center of our hearts, may that center guide our actions. We pray in the name of the baby in the manger, Jesus. Amen


A couple of old Advent Candle Liturgies.

Found these in my file while looking for something else....

Advent Candle Liturgy Option A
Advent Candle Liturgy – Week 1 (December 1, 2002) – Hope
Reader 1: Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the season when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. Each Sunday we will light a candle to remind us of what it means to prepare for Christmas.
Reader 2: This year as we light our candles we will be thinking about hospitality, what do we do to when we are having a visitor in our homes. This week we light the candle of welcoming and greeting. This candle reminds us that we need to welcome God into our lives. (Light a purple candle)
Reader 1: As we welcome and invite a visitor in we also need to have hope. We hope that our time together will help us to grow together in friendship and love.
Reader 1: Let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Advent, you enter our lives in many ways and many places. During this Advent season open our hearts to be welcoming and ready to greet all we meet. Help us to be ready and able to receive and to recognize You in the many ways You are revealed. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen

Advent Candle Liturgy – Week 2 (December 8, 2002) – Peace

Reader 1: Today is the second Sunday of Advent, the season when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. Each Sunday we light a candle to remind us of what it means to prepare for Christmas. Last week we lit the candle of welcoming. (re-light the first candle)
Reader 2: Once we have welcomed someone into our homes we often offer them a seat and something to eat or drink. We make sure that they are comfortable. This week we light the candle of attending and honouring. This candle reminds us of our need to attend and honour the times and ways that God is in our lives. (Light a purple candle)
Reader 1: When we honour each other and attend to each other’s need then we are working to bring God’s peace to reality in this world. Let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Advent, You have called us together to be peacemakers. During this Advent season help us to be attentive to one another. Be with us to comfort us and allow us to bring comfort to others. Let our hearts be filled with your peace as we flatten the rough places and straighten the curved paths in our lives and community. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Advent Candle Liturgy – Week 3 (December 15, 2002) – Joy

Reader 1: Today is the third Sunday of Advent, the season when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. Each Sunday we light a candle to remind us of what it means to prepare for Christmas. Last week we lit the candles of welcoming and attending. (re-light the first two candles)
Reader 2: Today we light a candle to remind us to play and sing together. Hospitality does mean attending to the needs of our guests but it also means that we need to rejoice and celebrate together. (Light the pink candle)
Reader 1: When we play and sing together we are allowing ourselves to share the joy of life. In that spirit of joy let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Advent, You have given us a playful spirit and You call us to enjoy life. Grant that during this Advent and Christmas season we will find many, many reasons to rejoice and play. Help us to remember that life is not always a serious thing. Awaken the awe-struck , innocent child within all of us. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Advent Candle Liturgy – Week 4 (December 22, 2002) – Love

Reader 1: Today is the last Sunday of Advent, the season when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. Each Sunday we have lighted candles to remind us of what it means to prepare for Christmas. So far our candles have reminded us to welcome others, to attend to their needs and to play and rejoice with them. (Re-light the first three candles)
Reader 2: Today we light the fourth candle of our Advent wreath. This candle reminds us of the blessing we get when we eat together. It also reminds us that in order to eat together someone needs to prepare and serve the meal. (Light the last candle)
Reader 1: It has been shown many times that to prepare a special meal for someone is a sign of love, love that is strengthened by eating that meal together. Remembering that love, let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Advent, in love you have called us together, in love you give us the gifts of food and fellowship. We thank you for these gifts and ask that during this Christmas season we would be able to share meals with our family and friends in that spirit of love. Grant that, having experienced your love in our own lives, we will be able to share that love with all we meet. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Advent Candle Liturgy – Christmas Eve

Reader 1: The time has come. After all our preparations Christmas is finally here. For the last four Sundays we have lighted candles to remind us of what it means to prepare for Christmas. These candles have reminded us to welcome others, to attend to their needs, to play and rejoice with them, and to join together in a shared meal. (Re-light the first four candles)
Reader 2: Tonight we light the last candle of our Advent wreath. This candle reminds us of the blessing we get from exchanging gifts with each other. As we light this candle we remember the gift that lies at the centre of our Christmas celebration. The gift of a baby lying in a manger. (Light the centre candle)
Reader 1: Let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Christmas, you come to us in so many surprising ways. On this Christmas Eve we ask you to come into our hearts, our homes, our lives. On this night we remember that you came not in glory but in a lowly stable; as a weak, helpless child. Lead us to find You in equally surprising places. Help us to remember to look for You and forgive us when we don’t recognize Your presence among us. We pray in the name of the one whose birth we celebrate, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Advent Candle Liturgy Option B
Advent Candle Liturgy – Week 1 (December 1, 2002) – Creation
Reader 1: Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the season when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. Each Sunday we will light a candle to remind us of some of God’s wonderful gifts as we prepare for Christmas.
Reader 2: Today we light a candle to remind us of God’s gift of creation. This gift is the one we can see all around us all the time. (Light a purple candle)
Reader 1: Creation is a gift given to us that we often forget. Let us remember that we need to treat this gift carefully.
Reader 2: Let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Advent, we remember your wonderful gift of Creation. We give thanks for the gift of light that started Creation. We pray that we would be able to keep that light shining strongly always. Help us to live respectfully with all that you have created. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Advent Candle Liturgy – Week 2 (December 8, 2002) – Exodus

Reader 1: Today is the second Sunday of Advent, the season when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. Each Sunday we light a candle to remind us of some of God’s wonderful gifts as we prepare for Christmas. Last week we lit the candle of Creation. (re-light the first purple candle)
Reader 2: Today we light a candle to remind us of the gift of the Exodus. This candle reminds us that God wants all of us to be free from captivity. (Light a purple candle)
Reader 1: The Exodus wasn’t only a gift to the ancient Hebrews, it is also a gift to us and to those around us. As the candlelight shines, let us always remember to share God’s freedom with others.
Reader 2: Let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Advent, we remember your wonderful gift of freedom. Just as you led the people of Israel out of bondage we ask that you would lead us into the land of promise. Remind us that we are free, that nothing can bind us or hold us back. Help us to share the light of freedom with everyone around us. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Advent Candle Liturgy – Week 3 (December 15, 2002) – Prophets

Reader 1: Today is the third Sunday of Advent, the season when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. Each Sunday we light a candle to remind us of some of God’s wonderful gifts as we prepare for Christmas. Last week we lit the candles of Creation and Exodus. (re-light the first two purple candles)
Reader 2: Today we light a candle to remind us of the Prophets. This gift from God helps us to understand how best to live in God’s way. (Light the last purple candle)
Reader 1: God sends prophets to remind people what is right and wrong. This candle reminds us that we are all prophets in our own way when we remind others how God wants us to live
Reader 2: Let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Advent, we remember your wonderful gift of Prophets and truth-tellers. In times when we have wandered off of the path we thank you for sending people to put us back on track. Help all of us to remember the importance of prophecy, of teaching each other to live in God’s way. Make us all both listener and prophet. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Advent Candle Liturgy – Week 4 (December 22, 2002) – Mary

Reader 1: Today is the last Sunday of Advent, the season when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. Each Sunday we have lighted candles to remind us of some of God’s wonderful gifts as we prepare for Christmas. So far our candles have reminded us about Creation, the Exodus and the Prophets (Re-light the three purple candles)
Reader 2: Today we light the fourth candle of our Advent wreath. This candle reminds us of God’s gift to Mary. This gift was the strength to give birth to a child under a cloud of suspicion and still sing for joy. (Light the pink candle)
Reader 1: Mary felt alone and afraid but God was with her. God gave her the strength to sing about her baby. This candle helps us to remember that God is with us when we are afraid, helping us to sing too.
Reader 2: Let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Advent, we remember your wonderful gifts to Mary. Thank you for her bravery and strength. Help all of us to be as strong as Mary when we are afraid. Give all of us the ability to share your Good News with the people around us. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Advent Candle Liturgy – Christmas Eve

Reader 1: The time has come. After all our preparations Christmas is finally here. For the last four Sundays we have lighted candles to remind us of some of God’s wonderful gifts as we prepare for Christmas. These have been the candles of Creation, the Exodus, the Prophets, and Mary (Re-light the first four candles)
Reader 2: Tonight we light the last candle of our Advent wreath. This candle reminds us of the mighty act that was that first Christmas gift. As we light this candle we remember the gift that lies at the centre of our Christmas celebration. The gift of a baby lying in a manger. (Light the centre candle)
Reader 1: Let us pray together as printed in the bulletin…
God of Christmas, we remember your wonderful gift of Christmas. We praise the gift of a baby, a Saviour. On this Christmas Eve we ask you to come into our hearts, our homes, our lives. On this night we remember that you came not in glory but in a lowly stable; as a weak, helpless child. Lead us to find You in equally surprising places. We pray in the name of the one whose birth we celebrate, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

For November 16, 2014 -- Words from Isaiah

CALL TO WORSHIP
In a world of many voices...
we hear God calling us.
Seeking a place of calm, a time to hear a different voice,
we gather to worship together
And as we gather, we turn to our neighbours and greet each other with words and signs of peace...

OPENING PRAYER
God of life, we come to celebrate your presence.
here we still our lives, we pause to listen.
God of life, as we gather in this place,
move in and among us, speak to our hearts and minds.
God of hope, in this time this morning,
help us to sort out the conflicting voices in our world, help us to hear the hope and promise and peace in a world where so many talk about violence and despair and fear.
And then send us out,
to share the hope, to proclaim the promise, to work for peace and justice.
We pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus the Christ, who taught his friends to pray saying...

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
God of Grace, in whom we live and move and have our being,
open us to your grace, fill us with your grace.
In the world there are many voices telling us of disaster or war present and to come.
It is easy to be filled with despair, to think there is no hope.
And yet there is another voice, your voice.
Reminding us of hope, calling us to trust, sharing a promise of peace.
God of Grace, through your grace,
tune our ears to your voice, help us remember that you continue to speak.
...time of silence...
God IS still speaking. God still sings the song of peace and justice, challenging us to hear through the background noise, inviting us to join in the melody and the harmony.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

COMMISSIONING:
Our time of worship ends,
our time of ministry and service continues.
Go now into the world,
to listen and to talk, to hear and to share.
Listening for God's voice among the many other voices,
sharing the love and hope of God with our neighbours
Go with God, who is still speaking to our hearts, minds and souls, words of love and power.
Keeping us strong and bold. Amen.

Monday, November 3, 2014

For November 9, 2014 -- What Does The Lord Require of Us?

CALL TO WORSHIP
Children of God gather in the presence of God!
Here we sit with friend and stranger, here we meet God anew.
As we gather we greet each other with the Peace of God, which passes all understanding.

OPENING PRAYER
God of life, God of Peace, God of Hope; we gather on this Remembrance Sunday,
praying for peace in a world riven by violence, praying for justice in a world torn apart by inequality.
We remember the millions who have killed and been killed for causes and nations,
and we echo the prayer “Never Again”.
In this time of worship,
reveal to us again a vision of a different way to live together, move us to a new attitude and a new set of priorities, create in us a burning passion for justice and righteousness.
And then send us back into the world,
to live the life of love in action, to feed and clothe and welcome, to be people of kindness, justice, and humility.
These things we pray in the name of Jesus, who showed us the path to the Kingdom, and who taught us to pray saying...

PRAYER FOR GOD'S GUIDANCE
God we join the voices of ages crying out:
What does the Lord require of us?
Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly with God
But what should we DO?
Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned
Oh. Well we can do that. At least we think so.
God calls us to live love, God calls us to share love, God calls us to build a world where justice rolls down like waters and peace like an ever-flowing stream.
We want to do that. But sometimes it is hard to know what to do.
And so God we ask:
Grant us the wisdom and humility to open our ears to hear your voice. Lead us in the ways of love. Guide us to make decisions that build justice and kindness in the world.
...time of silent prayer...
The God who spoke through Micah, the God we meet in Jesus of Nazareth, is guiding us always, prodding us to follow the path of wisdom, coaxing us to live and act in love for the greatest and the least of our neighbours.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

COMMISSIONING:
As our time of worship comes to a close,
we continue our living as people of faith.
Just outside our doors lies the mission field
the place where we share our hopes, our vision, where we pass on the love of God.
Go therefore, looking for the face of Christ in all you meet.
And may everyone we meet see the face and love of Christ in us.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

For November 2, 2014 -- THe Healing of Naaman

CALL TO WORSHIP
Children of God! Gather in this place!
We come to worship with our brothers and sisters in faith.
Children of God! Come to break bread together!
We come to worship with friends new and old.
As we gather together to share the Word and the Meal we turn and greet friend and stranger with words and signs of peace

OPENING PRAYER
God of community, as we gather together,
open our hearts, our souls, our very beings to feel your presence.
God of community, as we break bread together,
remind us that those things which bring us together are more important than those which divide us.
God of community, we come as people who know brokenness in our lives,
remind us of the love which surrounds us, restoring wholeness, naming us as clean, bringing us back together in community.
God of community, when this time of worship is ended,
send us back out to share the Good News of the Christ who names us clean, the love which will never let us go.
This we pray in the name of Jesus, the one we call Christ. Amen.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION AND CLEANSING
God, you created the world and said “it is very good”.
So why are we so quick to find fault with each other and ourselves?
God you offer us cleansing in a way that is so simple we can hardly believe it.
So why do we have trouble hearing that we are clean and acceptable?
God for those times when we lose our way,
those times when our motives or our actions are less than pure, possibly even unclean.
we seek cleansing, we seek to reminded that we are accepted in the community,
even when we aren't sure it is possible.
God of life, God of Grace, God of Renewal,
for those times when we are less than we could be, for those times when we stray from the path of wisdom, for the times when we fail to live out the goodness inherent in our creation, forgive us
...time of silent prayer...
Jesus looked at the unclean in his world with pity and said “I do choose, be made clean”. Christ looks at us in our brokenness and offers us cleansing, renewal, and health. We are a forgiven, cleansed, and purified people.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

COMMISSIONING:
We have immersed ourselves in the river of God's Love.
We stand soaked in love, with the excess dripping off us.
We have eaten at God's table.
Fed in body and in soul, we go to share the Bread of Life with the world.
As those who have been reminded that in God's love we are made clean
We return to a world where too many are made to feel unclean, unaccepted, unlovable; called to remind them that they too are clean, accepted and loved.
We go in God's name, confident of God's love, living in God's grace.
Thanks be to God!

Monday, October 6, 2014

For October 26, 2015 -- Solomon Asks for Wisdom

CALL TO WORSHIP
As children of God, who strive to live in God's Way,
we gather together in this place.
As people seeking to follow the path of wisdom,
we gather together in this place.
As people trusting that God flows around and through us, giving us wisdom,
we gather together in this place.
As we gather, seeing God in friend and stranger, we start by exchanging words and signs of God's peace...

OPENING PRAYER
God of life, we open our hearts, our souls, our very selves, to you.
In this time of worship move within and around us we pray.
God of life, we seek to know, to understand the world around us.
In this time of worship open us to the wisdom that lies beyond knowledge and intellect.
God of life, in you we live, we move, we exist.
In this time of worship fill us with hope and love, refresh us to return to the world where we live and serve and have our ministries.
This we pray in the name of Jesus, who taught us about the Way of Wisdom, and who taught his friends to pray saying...

PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10)
We stand in awe, asking, like Solomon, to be filled with wisdom.
...fools despise wisdom and instruction... (Proverbs 1:7)
We stand foolishly independent, unwilling to listen.
God we seek wisdom,
the knowledge of right from wrong, an understanding of how the world works.
God we seek wisdom,
but sometimes we equate facts and figures with wisdom, we think being smart and being wise are the same thing.
God we seek wisdom,
eyes to look deeper, ears to listen carefully, hearts open to the Spirit.
God of grace, God of glory, God of wisdom,
lead us on the path of wisdom, in grace help us grow wiser in your love and in your kingdom. Amen.

COMMISSIONING:
We have gathered, we have worshiped, we have opened ourselves to God's wisdom.
Now we go out into the world where there is a different wisdom.
Jesus called us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves as we journey in the world (Matthew 10:16)
As we try to avoid being eaten as sheep living among wolves.
As you go to live and serve in the world, carry with you the wisdom of love, the wisdom of hope, the wisdom of God
We go to share the alternative wisdom, the love of God, the hope of the Kingdom.
And may God: Parent, Child and Spirit, Wisdom and Hope embodied, go with you.
All ways and always. Amen.