Tuesday, October 10, 2017

For October 22, 2017 -- the Call of Samuel

In the hustle and bustle of life we hear a whisper.
Urging us forward, challenging how we see the world.
In response to the whisper we gather with the community of faith.
Here we say “Speak God, your children are listening”
God has called us together
Here we seek to understand how God would have us live.
As we gather for worship we turn to the members of our faith family and greet each other with words and signs of Christ’s Peace.

Loving God, we open our hearts and souls to you.
In this time of worship whisper in our ears,
fill us with a Word to share with each other
and give us the courage to share that Word.
Then, we pray, lead us back into the world,
to share the promise of love, to share the vision of the Kingdom
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Word made flesh, who taught his friends to pray saying...

God we grow comfortable, and we seek rest.
But you continue to whisper in our ears.
We hear the whisper but we fail to understand what it is,
or we fail to help others know what they hear.
Then we wake up, we realize the truth and we listen.
But sometimes the words are hard, and we would rather pretend we did not hear them.
God of grace, God of wisdom,
open our ears to hear hard truths.
God of grace, God of wisdom, God who calls us to action,
give us the courage to share hard truths with the world around us.
God of grace, God who knows us deeply,
touch our hearts, calm our fears,
hear our confession for those times we choose not to listen and for those times we choose not to respond.
...time of silent prayer...
God is gracious and forgiving. God continues to call us until we respond. When we slip or miss the mark God calls us to learn and to try again. We are forgiven, and in God’s grace we are called forward.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Our time of worship draws to a close
and we prepare to go back to our living and working and serving.
As you go, keep your ears open for the whisper,
where God’s voice intersects our daily life.
And when you hear it,
we commit ourselves to listen and to respond.
Go with God, who has created and is creating; with Jesus, the Word made flesh, who redeems and makes new; and with the Spirit who sustains and strengthens us
Always, wherever we go.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Christ Candle for Fall 2017

The Psalmist writes: “Thy word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path”
As this flame shines in our gathering, so may God’s Word of hope and love shine in our hearts.
Guided by God's Light, we center ourselves for worship.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

FOr September 17, 2017 -- To Go with JAcob's Dream

God we gather for worship,
here we sing and pray and listen, we might even dream.
God we gather seeking your comforting presence,
to remind us that we are not alone, to share a blessing.
God we gather to be changed,
to be moved from lives of fear to lives of love.
God we gather to be sent back out,
to share the blessings of life, to remind folks that you are with them, to declare “surely the Lord is in this place”.
We offer these prayers, we offer ourselves, in the name of Jesus, who teaches us to pray saying...

God of grace, like Jacob we sometimes use trickery and deception for personal gain,
assuming that we need to look out for ourselves first.
God of grace, like Rebekah we sometimes plot against others to support a favoured one,
seeing our own agenda, our own hope, as the best way.
God of grace, like Esau we are sometimes overcome by our anger and plot revenge,
because life is unfair and we feel that we have lost something precious.
God of grace, like Jacob we sometimes find ourselves bound by rules that do not allow us to correct the wrongs done to others,
and so withhold blessings that should be shared widely, increasing anger and hurt.
God of grace, we acknowledge our shortcomings and open our hearts and souls to your grace
even as we pledge to live differently, to put aside deception and anger, to work for the advancement of all.
God of grace, in and through your grace and mercy,
forgive us, empower us, move us forward as your beloved children, each of us with our own blessing. Amen.

Like Jacob, we are people on a journey,
sometimes fleeing from danger, sometimes heading home.
As we journey, we meet other travellers.
Sharing with them the words of comfort we have gained along the path.
And when we find shelter,
we offer a safe place to those who continue to journey.
Journey with God, who guides us, who supports us, who comforts us, who blesses us
Wherever we go. Thanks and praise. Amen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Litany of Hope for July 2, 2017 -- #Canada150

we look at where we have come for, we see where we are – the positive and the negative,
and we ask what comes next.
God of our future,
we dream of what yet will be, we dream of who we could become
...looking into a future of possibilities
we commit ourselves to live as people of The Way, people of love.

WE dream of abundance,
a country where all our neighbours have what they need for safe, healthy lives,
a place where food, shelter, education, safety and employment are provided to all
...looking into a future of possibilities
we commit ourselves to live as people of The Way, people of love.

WE dream about the land,
seeking a time where we learn how to balance ecology and economy
envisioning a nation where we do indeed live in respect with creation.
...looking into a future of possibilities
we commit ourselves to live as people of The Way, people of love.

We dream of leadership,
trusting that Canada has a place in your global community
hoping that Canada can be a force for peace and justice
...looking into a future of possibilities
we commit ourselves to live as people of The Way, people of love.

We dream of reconciliation and right-relations
for relationships that are rebuilt
for respect between members of the various communities that make up this national
for open and truthful naming of injuries both old and new, and then actively working towards the healing of those injuries
...looking into a future of possibilities
we commit ourselves to live as people of The Way, people of love.

We dream of the Kingdom,
even as we know that the Kingdom is larger than our country, we trust that the Kingdom includes our country
we dream of the day when the values of the Kingdom: peacemaking, unconditional love, community, hospitality, generosity, compassion, and passionate justice are embraced as Canadian values
as those who carry the name of Christ, as those who hear Christ’s call for transformation
and looking into a future of possibilities
we commit ourselves to live as people of The Way, people of love.
God of the past, the present and the future, help us live as people of hope for a better future.
And the people all said AMEN

Monday, June 19, 2017

Litany of Lament for July 2, 2017 -- #Canada150

God of possibilities,
we know that we have not always lived up to the promise that lies within us
as individuals, as communities, as a community of communities, we have injured each other, we have failed to live as people of love
...remembering that we have not always been the nation we could be
we lament, we confess, we repent, God hear our prayer.

God who calls us to live with respect in creation
we know that in our hurry to make use of the land we have not always been good stewards
forests have disappeared, fisheries have been depleted
humans take the space that once was shared with many other species, and drive them into far corners
the detritus of our industrial culture has changed the landscape
and we still wonder if we can find the balance between economy and ecology, if we can stop injuring and start repairing the land we love
...remembering that we have not always been the nation we could be
we lament, we confess, we repent, God hear our prayer.

God who calls us to love and serve others
we are not always good neighbours
the people who welcomed our predecessors to this land have been mistreated in word and deed
instead of celebrating who they were and are we have tried to turn them into good “proper” people
we have made promises and then broken them, leading some to wonder if the promises were made in good faith
we have invited others to come and enrich the nation and then expected them to be “like us” when they got here, or forced them to leave behind their own cultures and ways so they could “fit in”
we have forgotten that the rule of love is to accept others, we have forgotten that beauty lies in diversity,
at times we have forgotten to love, we have expected to be served more than to serve
...remembering that we have not always been the nation we could be
we lament, we confess, we repent, God hear our prayer.

God who challenges us to seek justice and resist evil
we look at the news: local, provincial and national and we lose heart
stories of people cast aside, stories of missing women, stories of justice denied
we challenge the system even while we are all too ready to benefit from the same system, and our resistance loses teeth
we grow complacent, not seeing the very real struggles faced by our neighbours
we begin to wonder if we can make a difference, if the effort is worth the pay off
...remembering that we have not always been the nation we could be
we lament, we confess, we repent, God hear our prayer.
God of grace, as we hear the laments of our selves and our neighbours, move us to cry out for justice, push us to help re-build the country into the nation where love and justice are the rule and norm.
And the people all said AMEN

Litany of Gratitude for July 2 2017 -- #Canada150

God made known in creation;
for rocks and trees and skies and seas..your hands the wonders wrought
for sweeping prairie skies and waving grasslands,
for striking mountain peaks and deep valleys,
for lakes and rivers, for forests and tundra
...for all these gifts
God of all to you we raise words of gratitude and praise

God who is present in the new things of life;
for those brave adventurers who struck out to explore a new place
for the people they met along the way who offered wisdom, and guidance and support,
for those who set the wheels in motion so that something new and different could begin, something that would grow from a notion into a nation
...for all these gifts
God of all to you we raise words of gratitude and praise

God of community;
for the people who have challenged us to become a better, more caring community
for those who have helped us learn that we can be a community even while not being the same
for those who have stood up to speak for the members of our communities who were being abused, or oppressed, or simply ignored
for those who have made us better, those who have helped us draw the circle of what it means to be “Canadian” wider
for all our neighbours, near at hand or living many provinces away
...for all these gifts
God of all to you we raise words of gratitude and praise

God who calls us to make use of your gifts;
for lumber shaped from forests to build ships and houses and cities,
for gold and iron and copper and other minerals mined from the rock
for coal and oil and natural gas, giving energy for us and the world,
for the fruit of the earth, the food which sustains and strengthens us
...for all these gifts
God of all to you we raise words of gratitude and praise
Gift Giving God, we thank and praise you for the wonders of your love we see around us.
And the people all said AMEN

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

For June 25, 2017 -- Working with Ruth 2

The God who casts the seed,
is the God who gives the growth.
The God who gathers the grain,
gathers God’s people together.
We are part of God’s family,
and we have gathered for worship.
Come! Sing, pray, listen, reflect.
We celebrate God’s presence among us.
As we gather for worship, we greet our brothers and sisters with words and signs of Christ’s peace...

God of the harvest, God of abundance,
even the gleanings of your love fill us to overflowing.
God who has called us together today,
move within and among us, allow us to know oyour presence and hear your voice.
God who calls us to be your people, God who challenges us to care for each other,
in our time together reawaken in us the desire to serve, to share your love as we share the gleanings of our lives.
We pray as those who bear the name of Christ, who pledge to follow his path, and who pray as he taught his friends...

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien, You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien (Lev 23:22. Lev 19:10)
God we hear your command to provide for those who are vulnerable among us.
When she got up to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, “Let her glean even among the standing sheaves, and do not reproach her. You must also pull out some handfuls for her from the bundles, and leave them for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.” (Ruth 2:15-16)
God we hear how Boaz went above and beyond what was commanded.
God of grace, there are days,
times when we find ourselves standing in emptiness, wondering what we can find to sustain our souls
God, when we face the times of scarcity,
remind us to look, that we could glean the grace that overflows wherever you are found.
God, when our cups are full,
remind us to be like Boaz, passing the abundance to those who are struggling.
And in all these things,
May we find and share the grace that passes all understanding. Amen.

We have gathered. We have sung, prayed, listened, reflected..
Now we go out to live and serve.
God calls us to search the world for the gleanings of grace that have been left for us to find.
God calls us to ensure that we share from our abundance so that others can glean together a living.
We are the gleaners, we are the harvesters, the givers and the receivers.
Thanks be to God, from whom all blessings flow.
Go with God who creates, redeems, and sanctifies.

Monday, June 12, 2017

For July 2, 2017 -- A service reflecting on #Canada150

(note: this service will also include litanies of Gratitude, Lament, and Hope.  These are yet to be written)

We gather here on land that is covered by Treaty #8, specifically the traditional land of the Beaver in the traditional territory of the Cree.
We thank them for their care for this land before our ancestors arrived. We pledge to work with them as we share this land into the future.

From a variety of backgrounds, different countries, different cultures,
we are drawn together.
We share a belief that God is with us,
and we gather to worship.
With the rest of the country us we celebrate our national birthday,
with the rest of the country we reflect on our shared story,
with the rest of the country we wonder what the future will bring.
We open ourselves to God’s presence,
as people of faith we invite God to be a part of our future as individuals, as a nation, as a church.

God of many faces, languages, places, names;
we gather to worship as one of the communities that makes up your global community.
God of our past, our present, our future;
we reflect on our past as a nation – the good and the bad,
we look at our present as a nation – the joys and the struggles,
we dream about our future as a nation – the possibilities and the challenges.
As we sing and pray and reflect,
awaken in us the vision of what this community of communities could be
send us out committed to ensuring that the love we see in Christ is a part of how we help to build the nation we want to live in.
We pray in the name of Jesus, who calls us to look beyond ourselves and our boundaries to experience the breadth of your love. Amen

This is God’s land, and we are people of God.
We are called to care for the land, to care for our neighbours.
We go back into the world,
to live in The Way of Christ,
to work for reconciliation and rebuilding of relationship,
to help build a community and nation where love is the guiding principle.
Go with God, who creates us anew,

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

PRAYER FOR THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT (to be used Pentecost Sunday)

Spirit of life and love, blow into our lives.
Empower us, fill us with hope, lead us to be people of of the Spirit.
Though our spirits may be willing, sometimes our flesh is weak,
and our actions show the power of the works of the flesh.
Idolatry, impurity, envy, anger, dissension, carousing, licentiousness...
things that try to take control of our lives.
In your grace, strengthen us,
so that the Fruits of the Spirit would flow through our actions and our lives.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..
help us make these the touchstones of our lives.
We pray in the name of the Risen Christ.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

An Easter Prayer (to go with the story of the Emmaus Road)

God of Life, when the world falls apart,
we sometimes seek to run away, to go back to a safe place.
God of Hope, when we make these journeys of despair,
we turn and find a stranger walking beside us.
God of Peace, you ask us to share our fears and hopes, our dreams and anxieties.
And then you push us to see the world in a new way.
God of Easter, you move within us, opening our hearts,
so that they would burn as we talk about questions of meaning.
God of Resurrection, you invite us to the table,
where our eyes are opened,
where understanding dawns,
where we see you present
and we understand the reality that Life Wins.
In the name of the Risen Christ,
we pray, as we strive to live in his Way. Amen

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

PRAYER OF COMMITMENT (for an Annual Meeting Sunday)

(This prayer references and indeed quotes both A New Creed and A Song of Faith, parts of the Doctrine section in the United Church of Canada's Basis of Union)

God, you call us to be the church;
to celebrate your presence, to explore how to live lives based on love and justice.
God you call us to be the church,
to proclaim the Good News of the Risen Christ, to be made ready to live and serve.
God we acknowledge that the church has not always lived up to its vision
and so we pray that the Holy Spirit would reorient it and us
helping us balance faith and tradition,
so that the church might be a blessing to the earth.
God you call us to sing of a church with purpose,
faith nurtured and hearts comforted,
gifts shared for the good of all,
resistance to the forces that exploit and marginalize,
fierce love in the face of violence,
human dignity defended,
members of a community held and inspired by God, corrected and comforted,
instrument of the loving Spirit of Christ,
And so we sing of your mission O God,
pledging ourselves anew to answer the call to be the church in the world. Amen.

Monday, February 6, 2017

For FEbruary 12, 2017 -- John's Question of Jesus "Are you the One"

God of the table, you call us to break bread together.
As we gather for worship we open ourselves to your presence.
God of community, you call us to share our lives with each other.
In this time of prayer, song, listening and eating
reveal your self present among us.
God whose kingdom is growing in the world,
help us see signs of the kingdom in places we expect and in places that surprise us
This we pray in the name of Jesus, teacher and guide, preacher and saviour,
 in whom we see you active in the world. AMEN.

We have gathered, we have eaten, we have prayed,
and now we go out into the world where we live and serve.
We go out with eyes open to see God in ways that surprise us.
We go out to tell others what we have seen and heard and experienced.
AS we go we share the promise of faith:
God is with us, in this place, in every place.
Go with God.

Call To Worship for February

The Peace of Christ be with you
And also with you.
We have been called together in this place and time
Here we celebrate God’s presence,
here we explore what it means to live in God’s way,
here we share our lives and faith with each other.
As we open ourselves to worship, we turn to our neighbours and greet each other with words and signs of Christ’s peace....

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Prayer to begin a Presbytery meeting

God who calls us to be the church,
God who calls people to leadership within the church,
God who challenges us to be the church in times of change and transition
we who have been called and selected as leaders in that part of Christ's body which we call Northern Lights Presbytery have gathered here in Beaverlodge.
Over this weekend we will talk together, eat together, pray together, listen together as we strive to understand how you are calling us to be the church in this time and place.

God who speaks through the prophets and sages of old, saying “behold I am doing a new thing”;
we gather this weekend to discern where you would have the church go,
we gather at a time of transition, knowing that the “way we have always done it” will no longer work,
and so we pray for wisdom, trusting that you move within and among us.
Open our ears to hear your wisdom, even when that wisdom may sound harsh.
Open our eyes to see the face of Christ in each other, even in the midst of disagreement.
Open our minds to new understandings of what the church could be.
Open our hearts to feel your love flowing through this gathering and through this church we love and serve, even though there are days it frustrates and confounds us.
Open our souls to trust that we are not alone.
Open our wills to be ready to let go, or to hold on, and grant us the wisdom to know when to do both.

God of life and love, when our meeting is over we will return to our various homes and ministries.
May we carry the love we find in this gathering back to those places.
May we carry hope for an uncertain future, secure in the knowledge that you walk with us.
May we leave this place ready to be people of Love, to live the Kingdom life of Love, to share the Kingdom promise of Love.
We pray as followers of the man from Nazareth, Jesus, our teacher and guide, our rock and redeemer, the one we call Christ and Messiah, whose life, death, resurrection, and passion for The Way shows us the path to the Kingdom.