October 19, 2014–(In)dependence

Gracious God,

We are an independent lot, Lord.
We each have our own opinions
and our own ideas
of how the world should work–
of how each other should be.

We seek our own light
and our own truth.

Everything can be customized
and tailored to suit.
Even our spirituality.

But in spite of all that,
and against our better judgement,
we gather together as one body
these Sunday mornings.

This ‘gathering’ is an act of cultural defiance–
a protest against rampant individuality
and consumerism.

We gather collectively as an act of trust
that your presence is in, around, and among us.
We hold to the promise of your faithfulness and love
that when two or three are gathered, you will dwell among us.

And so gathering together like this displaces our egos
and opens our hearts and minds
to the Spirit’s leading
to compassion.

As our individual prayers  are read aloud before the congregation
they are transformed into the collective prayer
and hope of us all.

So we ask you to hear the prayers of this gathering.
[read aloud the prayer cards]

And we acknowledge those intimate thoughts,
concerns and hopes that feel
too tender of fragile to speak aloud.

We trust those to your presence too.
[pause for silent prayer]

Hear our silent prayers!

Bind us together
as a collective
and move our hears and minds
towards a good that is greater than our individual egos.

Open us to your leadership–
to learn a new way.

Inspire us by your faithfulness and love
and renew our hearts
through contemplation
towards action
for the love of our neighbors
and this world.

Blessed Be.

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Filed under Faith, Grace, Holy Spirit, Justice

September 14, 2014– HOPE

Gracious God,

We gather together today
aware of your presence in the cool breeze
which awakens our senses
and refreshes our outlook.

It is easy–far too easy–God, to be weighed down
by the news of terrorism,
war,
domestic violence,
abuse–
some of which seems foreign and far off–
others of which are known far too personally.

Your refreshing cool breeze
reminds us of our hope:
that things can change;
that permanence is illusion;
that nothing is final.

Remind us, Divine One,
as we lift up our concerns to you,
of this hope which grants us buoyancy
and refuses to let us sink.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

Hope floats on the wings of your Spirit.

So remind us daily
of the presence of your Spirit
in, among, and around us.

Hope is a commitment and spiritual practice
that must be renewed daily.

Hope not only sees, but actively works for good in the world.

It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably and justly.

Hope motivates us on our spiritual paths
as we practice the living traditions of Jesus:
who welcomed those in need of hospitality;
who cared for the least among us
and made them his priority;
who considered the price of grace
and offered it anyway.
And who never gave up hope.

Blessed Be!

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August 31, 2014– Labor Day

Gracious God,

You’ve given us this sabbath
as a break from our work,
and as such, you grant dignity
both to our labor and our rest.

Help us to learn from your example
to value those under our employ–
both their labor and their rest.
To uphold their dignity
through just practices in the workplace,
and through fair compensation.

Help us to be mindful of each other’s needs
and to recognize that
the needs of one are the needs of all.

Hear us as we lift up the needs of this congregation:

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And hear us in our silence
as we uphold those things only pondered in our hearts.

[pause for silent prayer]

Remind us that justice is a commitment renewed daily.
All day long it works for good in the world.
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and a desire for blessed peace and rest.

Help us to devote our ways
to the living traditions of Jesus,
who welcomed the poor,
cared for the estranged,
and who sought justice
and practiced mercy.

Blessed Be.

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Filed under Justice, Labor Day, Public Theology, Sabbath

August 24, 2014–Sanctuary

Gracious God,

We gather in the quiet and calm
of this sanctuary
in this week
feeling war-torn and weary:
from the news
from our work
from our relationships.

We gather each week in need of safe space–
in need of refuge.
In need of time and space to sit
and to re-set.

We need your sanctuary.
We need your peace.

And coming together, we trust that as we share together
our burdens grow lighter
when many help shoulder their load.
And our joys run deeper
when they are acknowledged and celebrated by the community.

So we lift up our joys and concerns now:

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And we have learned together to listen as a community
to our silences.
Our silence betrays some of our most pressing concerns
and our most private and intimate thoughts.

Hear our silent prayers:

[pause for silent prayer]

Lord, let our desire for peace
function as a call to action,
instead of a retreat into ourselves.

Remind us that our peace is
inextricably linked to justice.

Send us as agents of your peace,
your grace,
your mercy,
and your justice.

Amen.

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August 10, 2014– Seeing as Jesus sees

Gracious God,

We are a people who love war.
We say we want peace,
but too often we are at war with ourselves,
with our neighbors,
with those whose thinking differs from ours.

We are quick to judge,
and slow to grace.

Our own broken lenses skew our perspectives–
whether we are staring in the mirror,
or out our own windows.

So we gather together as a community of faith–
trusting in your presence in and among us–
to open our hearts and minds
to clear our vision
that we can begin to see
each other as you see us.

As we lift up the prayers of this congregation,
instill in us your love,
your grace,
and your peace–
towards ourselves and towards each other.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And help us to acknowledge the silence that often speaks louder that words.
Hear our unspoken prayers as well!

[pause for silent prayer]

Teach us to listen–
to ourselves and each other–
in our silences.

And remind us that love is a commitment
renewed each morning.
It works for good in the world.
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and a longing to be peaceable.
It breaks us open to vulnerability
and strengthens our resolve
to walk in the living traditions of Jesus:
to see the stranger and greet them with open arms;
to care for those in need;
to welcome the disenfranchised.

Teach us how to best love
and best live out your peace.

Blessed Be!

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Filed under Grace, Inclusion, Peace

July 20, 2014–Teach us to learn

Gracious God,

We gather today to learn.
Open our hearts and minds
and soften our critiques
so that we can hear each other
and attend to our own growth.

Fill us with your grace
as we hear the prayers of this congregation:

[read aloud prayer cards]

Our prayers reflect our trust and our hope.

And for those sweet inexpressible moments
we offer up our thanks;
And for those agonizing moments of pain
we offer up our trust.

Hear us in our silent prayers.

[pause for silent prayer]

Our silence reflects our trust and our hope.

Remind us, O God,
that new every morning
is your love.
All day long it works for good in the world.
Stir up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably with our neighbors
as we devote our ways to walking
in the living traditions of Jesus.

As we learn from each other
and open ourselves to the disenfranchised
and care for the vulnerable.
Teach us to desire justice
and extend your grace.

Blessed Be.

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Filed under Change, Grace, Hope, Justice

July 13, 2014–Disagreements

Gracious God,

We are an opinionated people.
And we gather together both in spite of our differences
and because of them.
Teach us to celebrate those differences
and to not take disagreement as an ‘affront’.

Our uniquenesses carry with them unique joys and concerns.
We lift these up
In order to better know and care for one another.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And Lord, sometimes our differences make it difficult
to utter aloud our joys and concerns.
Instead we hold them close at heart.
Hear those prayers of silence as well.

[pause for silent prayer]

Remind us that you provided for us
the means to “work out our own salvation”.

You trust us.
Help us to learn to trust one another more fully.

We acknowledge that trust is a commitment renewed daily.
It works for good in the world
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and is borne out of our desire to live peaceably.

Help us as we walk alongside one another
in these living traditions of Jesus
as we welcome the excluded
and work for justice
and care for the vulnerable
and learn how to best love one another.

Blessed Be.

 

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