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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Filed under Inclusion, Justice

June 7, 2014–Pentecost

O Divine Spirit,

We gather this Pentecost morning
drawn in by your Spirit
and its promise of new ways of speaking
and renewed understandings;
of youthful passion
and the wisdom that accompanies age.
You unite us across the most impenetrable boundaries
and open our hearts to one another.

Blow like a mighty rushing wind
across this congregation!
Sweep the dust from the corners of our minds and hearts
and grant us a fresh perspective
–a breath of new life
–a cool breeze for our fevered pace.
Alight on us anew!
And carry on your winds the prayers of this congregation!

[read aloud the prayer cards]

We breathe you in and out.
Even when we fail to utter aloud our concerns
we trust your presence with us.
Sustain our silent prayers on buoyant wings
and raise them up:

[pause for silent prayer]

Remind us, Holy One,
that the practice of the presence of the Spirit
is a discipline and commitment that is renewed daily.
It works for good in the world.
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably.
And to devote our ways to the living traditions of Jesus
who welcomed the excluded,
tended to those in need,
and challenged injustice.

Fill us with your grace!

Blessed Be!

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Filed under Grace, Holy Spirit, Inclusion, Justice, Pentecost

May 26, 2014– Our common destiny

God who unites–

We are individuals who gather together
with our own unique and different concerns and joys.
But we gather each  Sunday as a community
knowing it loosens our group on our private notions of the ‘self’.

Gathering in your name unites us in hope
that we aren’t alone in our experiences
or our concerns.

We gather as a people of hope
believing we can help shoulder each others loads
and dance together in celebration.

Hear the expressions of this congregation’s hope:

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And hear, oh God, the trust implied in our silence
when struggles are so burdensome we can’t bear to speak them aloud
or delights are so sweet we can but ponder them in our hearts.
Hear our silent expressions of hope!

[pause for silent prayer]

Remind us, Lord,
that hope is a commitment renewed daily.
It works for good in the world,
stirring up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably.

Hope invites us to follow in the the living traditions of Jesus
to welcome the excluded
to care for those in need
and to remember that we are never alone.

Blessed Be!

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Filed under Hope, Inclusion

April 18, 2014–‘Good’ Friday

Today we mourn.

We grieve for all those who have been unjustly accused;
unjustly prosecuted;
unjustly punished;
unjustly killed.

We pray for those we know who are perpetually put in these unjust situations.
We pray for our Latina/o friends,
our African-American friends,
our poor friends,
our gay friends
–for all our friends who are ‘suspect’.

We repent of participation in systems of such abuse.
God forgive me.
God forgive us.

Open our eyes!
Open our ears!
Open our hearts!

Teach us to be different.
And to love difference.

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Filed under Homosexuality, Justice, Poverty, Public Theology, Racism

April 13, 2014–Palm Sunday and Baptisms

Gracious God,

Our gatherings each Sunday are like pit stops on our spiritual journeys.
Sundays together are a time to pause
to collect ourselves
to assess our direction
and re-set our navigation;
to rest
to find renewal.
Open our hearts so that we can drink in the refreshment of the Sabbath–
never mistaking these rest stops for the final destination.
Remind us that we are pilgrims on the way.
We have not arrived.
And that we never walk alone.

Teach us to bear the concerns and celebrate each other’s joys along the way.

Hear the prayers of this congregation:

[read aloud prayer cards]

We acknowledge that there are burdens so heavy
we cannot risk speaking them aloud or even writing them on a card.
And delights so sweet we can only treasure and ponder them quietly in our hearts.
We acknowledge these prayers:

[pause for silent prayer]

Hear our silent prayers as well!

And on our journey together,
remind us that love is a commitment renewed daily.
It works for good in the world.
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably with our neighbors.

It helps us devote our ways to walking and journeying in the living traditions of Jesus
to care for the poor and most vulnerable
and to welcome the excluded.

Blessed Be.

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Filed under Palm Sunday, Sabbath

February 23, 2014

God of grace and mercy,

We gather today out of hope and good will.
We come together as a strange and wonderful amalgam of health and brokenness,
relying upon your divine spirit to strengthen and comfort us.

We lift up the joys and concerns of this congregation:

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And you know the intentions of our hearts:
you know those treasures and delights which bring unspeakable joy
and you know the fears and troublesome concerns which carry a fragility too delicate for words.
Hear us in our silence. Know our best intention.

[pause for silent prayer]

Recognize our silence as an act of faith–as a prayer–as well.

And remind us that new every morning is your love,
O great God of Light,
and you are always already working for good in the world.
Stir up in us a desire for service
and the peaceable life.
And to devote our ways to the living traditions of Jesus
to welcome the excluded
to expect the best from one another
to care for the poor and those in need.

Teach us how to best love one another.

Blessed Be.

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Filed under Health, Inclusion