Prayers of the People for Easter Sunday, 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, because of Easter, your light breaks into our darkness; your love breaks down our fear; your presence breaks open our lives. We praise you. To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, because of Easter, each day contains the promise of resurrection. May we grasp every opportunity to share your compassion. To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, because of Easter, we no longer need to respond to changes out of fear. May we experience the joy of newness every day. To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, because of Easter, every part of life is bursting with possibility. May we be willing to confront the power of poverty, of hunger, of neglect, of war and all brokenness, trusting your life-giving promise. To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, because of Easter, death does not have the last word. Use us to extend your healing touch to those who are sick, your strengthening touch to those who serve, and your compassionate touch to those who suffer in any way, especially those whom we name before you now.
[Long pause]
To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, because of Easter, we can live now, we can live today, we can live in the present. Guide us on our way. 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 Maundy Thursday, 2014

We pray for the world, the church, and all in any need.

[Short pause]

God of life, God of love, Jesus took the place of the lowest slave, and washed the feet of his friends.  Open our eyes to the wonder of simple service.  Christ who heals all brokenness,
Make us your willing servants.

God of life, God of love, you call us to serve the people around us.  Help us see the gifts you provide which can meet those needs.  Christ who heals all brokenness,
Make us your willing servants.

God of life, God of love, no part of life is beyond your gracious concern.  Increase our awareness of your presence, that we may point to you.  Christ who heals all brokenness,
Make us your willing servants.

God of life, God of love, in Jesus you enter the darkest parts of life.  May our lives be a demonstration of your healing promise in this world, and in this community.  We pray especially for those people and situations which command our special awareness.
[Long pause]
Christ who heals all brokenness,
Make us your willing servants.

God of life, God of love, strengthen our faith; overcome our resistance; enable us to reach out in love.  Christ who heals all brokenness.
Make us your willing servants.

We offer all these prayers, as well as the deep yearnings of our hearts, to you, gracious and merciful God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for Palm Sunday, 2014

Trusting the promise that God will hear our prayers, we offer our concern for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and all people according to their needs, saying, “Hear us, O God,” and responding, “Your mercy is great.”

[Brief pause]

God of love, God of life, you call your people to challenge the assumptions and expectations of our world. Guide us as we struggle with our own assumptions, and strengthen us to grow into the loving people you desire. Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of love, God of life, Jesus entered Jerusalem at a specific time and place.  You call us to our community in this time and place.  Help us respond to your call.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of love, God of life, Jesus inspired hope in the hopeless, and anticipation in the oppressed.  Help us embrace our role as peacemakers in this warring, conflicted world.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of love, God of life, Jesus inspired fear in the powerful.  Keep us faithful in the face of adversity and opposition, that we may point to you in all places and circumstances.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of love, God of life, you are not far from all who hurt, all who are sick, all who are poor, all who are dying.  Use us as your compassionate, healing hands, to touch all whom we name before you.
[Long pause]
Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of love, God of life, in the face of changes and threats, of dangers and unknowns, remind us of your constant presence.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

We offer all these prayers, as well as the deep yearnings of our hearts, to you, gracious and merciful God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2014

Looking to God for healing and direction, we offer our prayers for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and for all the needy, saying, “Hear us, O God,” and responding, “Your mercy is great.”

[Short pause]

God of life, God of new life, you are present now, in the middle of our messy lives.  Give us faith to trust your promise.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of new life, you call us to a life of letting go, a life of service, a life of risk.  Fill us with the courage to step out.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of new life, the threat of death terrifies us, immobilizes us, and blinds us to your presence.  Free us from our fear, and make us new.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of new life, you call us to be your partners in giving life to the lifeless, hope to the hopeless, and fullness to the empty.  Show this congregation how we can unbind the people around us.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of new life, you come to all who are broken, cut off, isolated and dying.  Use us to restore health and wholeness to those whom we name before you.
[Long pause]
Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of new life, death no longer defines us, no longer limits our relationship with you, no longer restricts our interactions with others.  Help us live into this freedom.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

We offer all these prayers, as well as the deep yearnings of our hearts, to you, gracious and merciful God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Reflections on Lazarus

The Gospel reading this coming Sunday is John, chapter 11, the raising of Lazarus (read it here).

A few thoughts….

This is not a story of comfort. This is a political story, in which the status quo is overthrown.

In a world in which the ability to inflict death is seen as the ultimate form of power, a story in which death is overcome is the ultimate threat.

In a world in which the inflicting of death is understood as the ultimate form of punishment for behaviour that is utterly beyond the pale, calling someone out of death and back into life will be perceived as the most hostile act of rebellion against the powers that be.

In a world in which death is the reserved prerogative for a select few (i.e. the government), someone who is capable of challenging and overturning that prerogative will be viewed as public enemy number one.

In all the gospels, but most especially in John, the machinations of the powers that be are shown in their true colours: as small, pitiful and ultimately powerless against the love that is God.

It should surprise no one, therefore, that Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, would become the target for the wrath of the powerful.

It should also surprise no one that, in those places and times in which Christianity has had a recognized societal impact, the powers that be would do all they can to pull the Gospel’s teeth, and recast this story as one of comfort for a future sky kingdom, and downplay the challenge to the status quo which is really at the heart of this story.

The raising of Lazarus is , in reality, a politcal manifesto, in which the powers of the world are rendered null and void, and the victory of God’s love, light and life are demonstrated.

Prayers of the People for the Third Sunday of Lent, 2014

Looking to God for healing and direction, we offer our prayers for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and for all the needy, saying, “Hear us, O God,” and responding, “Your mercy is great.”

[Short pause]

God who welcomes all, Jesus received a misunderstood woman.  Enable us to be open to all who are outcast or different.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, you have made us your people through baptism into Christ.  Help us share the welcome you have given us.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, no one is outside your loving care.  Strengthen us to break down the barriers between people.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, you do not wait for us to come to you.  Motivate us to go out and look for opportunities to share your concern and care.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, we pray for all those who need our prayers: the dying, the outcast, the persecuted, the sick, and all those we name before you.
[Long pause]
Make us instruments of your healing.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God who welcomes all, inspire us with your love, to be your loving people in this place.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

We offer all these prayers, as well as the deep yearnings of our hearts, to you, gracious and merciful God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for the Second Sunday in Lent 2014

Looking to God for healing and direction, we offer our prayers for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and for all the needy, saying, “Hear us, O God,” and responding, “Your mercy is great.”

[Short pause]

God of life, God of the journey, you called Abraham to leave, to go, to move out.  Give us faith to walk with you.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, we desire security, we crave certainty, we want to know results beforehand.  Help us let go; help us trust your presence.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, you have promised to be with us on the way, regardless of our route, regardless of our wrong turns, regardless of our destination.  Free us from our fear.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, you accompany us wherever we go.  Use us to share your concern, your compassion, your presence and your promise with those who are on the road with us.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, nothing separates us from your care.  Be with those who need our prayers, whom we name before you.
[Long pause]
Assist us to reach out to the sick, the shut-in, the lonely, the unemployed, the addicted and the outcast, that all may know your love.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

God of life, God of the journey, you walk with us.  Give us the faith to trust, and the courage to step out.  Hear us, O God,
Your mercy is great.

We offer all these prayers, as well as the deep yearnings of our hearts, to you, gracious and merciful God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.