Prayers of the People for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Since God has promised to hear our prayers, we offer our concerns for the world, the church, and all in need, saying, “Let us pray,” and responding, “Hear us, God of love.”

[Short pause]

For the people of this world, that, instead of being seen simply as sources of income, we may come to see each other as authentic human beings and valued partners, created in God’s loving image, let us pray,
Hear us, God of love.

For native people in our community, whose land we share, that we would be open to hearing their stories, let us pray.
Hear us, God of love.

For ourselves, that we would stop drawing lines around people; that we would no longer include some and exclude others; that we would be open to the gifts of those who are different from us, let us pray.
Hear us, God of love.

For the church, that we would be open to the realities which surround us; that we would respond to the promptings of the Spirit; that would become enraged at injustice, and engaged in the struggle for a better world, let us pray.
Hear us, God of love.

For those people who need our prayers: the homeless, the hungry, the sick and the dying, especially those we name before God.
[Long pause]
And also that we would be the means by which God would spread hope and healing to these people, let us pray.
Hear us, God of love.

For this congregation, as we embark on a new adventure, that we would remember who we are, that we would cling to the promise of God, that we would support each other as we make the journey into God’s future, let us pray.
Hear us, God of love.

We offer these prayers, as well as the unspoken desires of our hearts, to you, loving God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Prayers for the Celebration of a Covenant

This Sunday the congregations of St. Philip Lutheran and Maranatha Lutheran churches are celebrating the first anniversary of our Covenant Partnership.  These prayers reflect this celebration and emphasis.

————————————————————————————————————————-

Since God has promised to hear our prayers, we offer our concerns for the world, the church, and all in need, saying, “Lord, in your mercy,” and responding, “Hear our prayer.”

[Short pause]

God of covenant, you have reached out to us, making us your baptized people.  Continue to guide us as we live into our covenant with you, and with each other.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of relationship,  you walk with us in all of our interactions.  Open our eyes to see the loving possibilities which surround us.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of partnership, you have brought these two congregations together, and blessed us with one year of ministry.  As we give you thanks, show us more opportunities to share your Good News in this community.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope, no one is pointless; nothing is without purpose.  Enable us to trust your promise that all people are loved by you, that all people are blessed by you, that all people are capable of sharing you.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of healing, nothing separates us from your care.  Therefore we ask you to send us to the sick and suffering, the lonely and bereaved, the poor and outcast, so that we may share what you have given us.  We especially pray for those we name before you now.
[Long pause]
Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

God of covenant, you have reached out to us, making us your baptized people.  Continue to guide us as we live into our covenant with you, and with each other.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We offer these prayers, as well as the unspoken desires of our hearts, to you, loving God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for Trinity Sunday, 2014

Since God has promised to hear our prayers, we offer our concerns for the world, the church, and all in need, saying, “Let us pray,” and responding, “Hear us, God of love.”

[Short pause]

God of mountain tops, you come to us through all of life.  You call to us in joy and in pain.  You make us your own.  Strengthen our faith, so we may respond to your invitation.  Let us pray,
Hear us, God of love.

God of faith and doubt, we struggle with our beliefs.  We are inconsistent in our actions.  We forget your promises.  Remind us that your love does not waiver, and that you go with us always.  Let us pray,
Hear us, God of love.

God of heaven and earth, we go nowhere without you.  Open our eyes to the opportunities which surround us – to point to your presence, to welcome the stranger, to live in your light.  Let us pray,
Hear us, God of love.

God of all nations, no one is beyond your compassion and care.  Enable us, in the face of division, to look for unity; in the face of hatred, to work for acceptance; in the face of illness, to bring health; in the face of death, to trust your promise of life.  We especially pray for those who need our prayers, whom we name before you now.
[Long pause]
Let us pray,
Hear us, God of love.

God of promise, you call us to make disciples.  You give us more than enough.  You go with us.  We celebrate your call.  Help us respond.  Let us pray,
Hear us, God of love.

We offer these prayers, as well as the unspoken desires of our hearts, to you, loving God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for Pentecost Sunday, 2014

Since God has promised to hear our prayers, we offer our concerns for the world, the church, and all in need, saying, “Hear us, O God,” and responding, “Come, Holy Spirit.”

[Short pause]

God of creation, you speak all worlds, all people, all things into existence, and invite us to join your song.  Inspire is to sing you with our lives.  Hear us, O God.
Come, Holy Spirit.

God of the common good, you give us gifts so that we may take part in your on-going creation of life and community.  Remove our fear so we may join the dance.  Hear us, O God.
Come, Holy Spirit.

God of the church, you call all the baptized to share your concern for the world and people around us.  Strengthen our faith to reach out beyond what is comfortable, and embrace all that you are doing.  Hear us, O God.
Come, Holy Spirit.

God of life, you send us to all in need: all who are sick, all who are isolated, all who are different.  Use us to touch anyone who needs your healing, especially those who mourn in the community of Moncton, New Brunswick, the victims of violence in the Holy Land, and those we name before you now.
[Long pause]
Hear us, O God.
Come, Holy Spirit.

God of all, we thank you for Alice, and for all who remind us of your grace-filled presence.  Teach us again what we need to know and do, so that we may play our part in your great symphony.  Hear us, O God.
Come, Holy Spirit.

Trusting the promise that we will be heard, we offer these prayers, as well as the unspoken desires of our hearts, to you, loving God, in the name of our living saviour, Jesus the Christ.
Amen.

Thoughts about Easter 7

The first reading for this coming Sunday.

Acts 1:6-14

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.  They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?  This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.  When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

This passage strikes me as a wonderful description of where we spend most of our lives – In Between.

We live In Between our baptism into Christ and the culmination of our hope.

We live In Between the promise of the reign of God and the fulfillment of that promise.

We live In Between “In the beginning” and the final “Amen.”

We live In Between the Alpha and the Omega.

The question for us is not, as the disciples tried to ask, when will all of this happen? When will we no longer be In Between?

The question is, How are we to live IN this “In Between”? How are we to live as people who have received a promise, but who have to wait for its fulfillment?

The disciples, for all their failures, get this one right. They gather, they pray, they support each other, they go through the In Between together.

One thing we might need to remember is that, even though Pentecost eventually came with all of its Spirit-driven hurricane-like impact, the disciples were still In Between. The Spirit came, but the church was still only “on the way.”  It had not arrived.  We still haven’t.

And that’s ok!

We are called to embrace the In Between.  Even as we have been embraced IN the In Between.

Prayers of the People for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, 2014

Celebrating the gift of new life in Christ, we offer our prayers for the world, the Church, and all in any need, saying, “To you, living Christ,” and responding, “We offer our prayer.”

[Short pause]

God of life, God of new life, you are the beginning and the end, but you are also the “in between”. Give us faith to trust your presence at all times. To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, you do not call us out of our reality; instead, you call us to embrace the “in between.” Give us faith to follow you, even when we are unsure. To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, our whole lives are lived “in between.” Give us faith to let go of needing answers, needing security, needing control. To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, you call us to serve those who are experiencing the “in between” times of life. Give us faith to reach beyond our fear, and to touch others with your sustaining love. To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, your promise comes to those who are sick, those who are isolated, those who are angry, those who are afraid, those who are forgotten, those who are dying. Give us faith to share your hope with all who are “in between,” especially those we name before you.
[Long pause]
To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, you are with us where we are, especially when we are “In Between.” Help us entrust all of our times to your loving hands. To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

With thanks for all your gifts, we pray these prayers, as well as those hidden in the depths of our hearts, to you, loving God, in the name of the risen Jesus.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, 2014

Celebrating the gift of new life in Christ, we offer our prayers for the world, the Church, and all in any need, saying, “To you, living Christ,” and responding, “We offer our prayer.”

[Short pause]

God of life, God of new life, you come to us in the middle of our brokenness, in the middle of our loneliness, in the middle of our fear.  Help us trust your love.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, you call us to a way of life in which light shines in darkness, life comes out of death, and hope comes out of despair.  Help us show your love.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, you do not burden us with rules and regulations, with impossible tasks and unachievable standards.  You come to us; you accept us.  Help us share your love.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, you call us beyond ourselves.  Strengthen our faith to reach out to those who need welcome, to listen to those with no voice, and to care for those who are ignored.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, your love calls us to the sick, the shut in, the shut out, and all in need.  Use us to touch those who suffer, including those we name before you.
[Long pause]
To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, you have freed us for service.  Show us where to go.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

With thanks for all your gifts, we pray these prayers, as well as those hidden in the depths of our hearts, to you, loving God, in the name of the risen Jesus.
Amen.