A Christmas Eve Litany

This was used last year (2016) for the opening of the Christmas Eve services in the congregations of the Lunenburg Lutheran Parish, in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  It’s for three voices, and probably most effective when done at the start of the service, before anything has been announced or sung.

It is attempting to be real.  Therefore, some will perceive it as dangerous.  But such is the way with Incarnation…

Feel free to use (and let me know how it goes!), or simply reflect on it for your own devotional practice.

Pax….

*******************

A Christmas Eve dramatic reading (2016)

1 – In the towers of power,

2 – The people of power play their games,

3 – Treating people like pawns in a chess match.

1 – Expendable.

2 – Replaceable.

3 – Forgettable.

1 – Un-named.

2 – Un-noticed.

3 – Un-important.

1 – Valued only when it’s time to vote.

2 – Needed only when it’s time to pay taxes.

3 – Called upon only when it’s time to go to war.

1 – Consulted only if it will benefit the tower,

2 – And the power people inside,

3 – And their never-ending power games.

1 – Passing laws that others must obey.

2 – Passing laws which benefit the power people.

3 – Passing laws about who counts,

1 – Who is included,

2 – And even more importantly,

3 – Who is NOT.

1 – Making speeches about who is OUT,

2 – Who doesn’t BELONG,

3 – Who doesn’t FIT

All – With US!

1 – In the towers of power,

2 – The people of power play their games,

3 – Listening to money,

1 – Listening to themselves,

2 – Listening to their cravings

3 – For more.

All – For MORE!

1 – More power,

2 – More wealth,

3 – More control.

1 – But wait.

(Pause)

2 – Because,

(Pause)

3 – Something has happened.

(Pause)

1 – GOD has happened.

2 – OUTSIDE the towers of power,

3 – OUTSIDE the power games of the power people,

1 – OUTSIDE of strength,

2 – OUTSIDE of wealth,

3 – OUTSIDE of control.

1 – God has happened,

2 – In weakness,

3 – In helplessness,

1 – In love.

2 – In love,

3 – In love.

1 – Come to claim the expendable.

2 – Come to embrace the replaceable.

3 – Come to remember the forgettable.

1 – To name the un-named.

2 – To see the un-noticed.

3 – To be with the un-important.

1 – To live among God’s chosen,

2 – Those outside the tower,

3 – Those excluded from power.

1 – God has happened,

2 – To the casts offs,

3 – To the lepers,

1 – To the foreigners,

2 – To the refugees,

3 – To the children,

1 – To the addicts,

2 – To the misfits,

3 – To everyone who is outside.

1 – To proclaim that they belong.

2 – They matter.

3 – They are welcome.

1 – A baby is born.

2 – Outside.

3 – And angels sing.

1 – Outside.

2 – And shepherds rejoice.

3 – Outside.

1 – Where God has happened.

2 – Where God is happening.

3 – Where God comes.

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Prayers of the People for August 6, 2017, Pentecost 9

Filled with promise, and empowered by love, let us offer our prayers to God.

[Short pause]

God of truth, you are truth.  May our lives reflect your claim on us.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of truth, you reveal who you are in every sunset, in every leaf, in every human encounter.  Open us to your presence around us.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of truth, you show us who you are in Jesus.  Keep us faithful to what we have received from him.  At the same time, keep us mindful that it is your truth, not ours, that saves.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of truth, you speak to your church in the familiar and the unfamiliar, in the comforting and the challenging.  As we listen for your voice, keep us open to hearing other perspectives.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of truth, you are present where we do not expect, where we do not look, even where we do not believe.  Show your love and compassion to those whose lives are filled with pain and illness, with denial and doubt, with anger and hopelessness.  We especially remember [NAMES, AND] those we name before you.
[Long pause]
Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of truth, you are truth.  May our lives reflect your claim on us.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

Trusting the promise of unbounded love, we pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for July 23, 2017, Pentecost 7

Filled with promise, and empowered by love, we offer our prayers to God.

[Short pause]

God of promise, your presence with us changes everything.  Open our eyes to the possibilities which surround us.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of promise, your presence with us changes nothing outside us.  Give us the courage to be changed.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of promise, your presence with us reveals opportunities which seem impossible, and provides occasions for moving into unfamiliar territory.  Give us the faith to trust the journey.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of promise, your presence with us calls many of our expectations into question.  Give us hope that, in spite of our stubbornness and fear, we can continue becoming your welcoming community.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of promise, your presence with us gives meaning and purpose to all of our days.  Give us faith to trust your presence in the middle of our difficulties, our challenges, our heartbreaks.  We pray especially for [NAMES, AND] those we name before you now.
[Long pause]
Use us to remind others that they, too, are being held by your promise.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of promise, your presence changes everything; not be altering circumstances, but by providing a reason to hope.  Help us cling to that promise, for the sake of everyone else.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

Trusting the promise of unbounded love, we pray in the name of of Jesus, who taught us to pray, Our Father in heaven,….

Prayer of the People for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, July 2, 2017

Filled with promise, empowered by love, and inspired by hope, we offer our prayers for the world, the church, and all in any need.

[Short pause]

God of creation, for our planet home, and for the resources it provides, we offer our thanks.  For the abuse of this good gift which we perpetuate, we ask forgiveness.  For the wisdom and courage to change direction, we ask your guidance and strength.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of the nations, for the
Aboriginal people of this LAND/AREA/REGION,
OR
NAME OF THE LOCAL ABORIGINAL PEOPLE of this LAND/AREA/REGION,
(e.g. Mi’kmaq people, first to inhabit this unceded and unsurrendered territory);
for their continuing presence among us, and for their witness to another way of being in the world, we give thanks.  For the oppression and continuing neglect of them to which your church has been party, we ask forgiveness.  For an increased desire and ability to work for right relationships between all people, we ask your inspiration.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of this nation, for 150 years of struggle, for immigrants from everywhere who have enriched this mosaic country, for the Parliamentary system of government which gives us a voice, we give thanks.  For the abuse of power which comes so easily to all of us, for self-serving priorities which demand that others make the sacrifices, and for turning a blind eye to thousands of years of history which came before Canada, we ask forgiveness.  For the willingness to examine ourselves, and for the openness to welcome other voices, we ask for your grace.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of the poor, for the resilience you give to single parents who continue to get up in the morning, for the hope that miraculously springs from the dry ground of chronic unemployment, and for the determination to make a difference that you inspire in the most unlikely corners, we give thanks.  For our acceptance of the status quo, and our avoidance of hard questions and difficult answers, we ask forgiveness.  That we may embrace the discomfort of giving up our privilege for the sake of each other, we ask for increased faith.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of the church, for the promise of your good intentions for this good creation, for the story of your oppressed people freed by your outstretched hand, for the coming of Jesus who lived your presence in the midst of an occupied and exploited nation, we give you thanks.  Acknowledging that we have too often sided with the rich and powerful for our own benefit, regardless of the cost to those we are sent to serve, we ask forgiveness.  That we may cling to your promise that repentance is possible, we ask your help.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of our days, we give thanks for your presence among us.  Open our ears to hear your call, open our hearts to love more fully, and open our hands to share the abundance of your gifts.  Keep us on the path toward the world you envision.  We pray all this in the name of Jesus, the Christ.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for June 25, 2017, Pentecost 3

Filled with promise, and empowered by love, we offer our prayers to God.

[Short pause]

God of conflict, God of peace, to follow Jesus is to acknowledge that disputes will come, and at the same time trusting your presence with us in the middle of them.  Give us the faith not to be afraid of the challenge.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of conflict, God of peace, you have walked with your people through all their days, all their decisions, all their struggles.  Increase our trust that you never leave us alone.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of conflict, God of peace, some of our difficulties are a result of faithfulness to your leading, and some of our difficulties are self-inflicted.  Keep us humble, that we might discern the difference, and respond appropriately.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of conflict, God of peace, we are painfully aware of the divisions between nations, between peoples, between communities, between family members, and even within ourselves.  Send us your reconciling Spirit, and then send us as reconcilers to your hurting world.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of conflict, God of peace, this good earth is unhealthy, and we know this in our own lives, in our own bodies.  Bring healing into this sick world, including the lives of [NAMES AND] those we name before you.
[Long pause.
Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God of conflict, God of peace, guide us and support us through our ups and downs, that we might faithfully point to your love, whatever comes.  Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

Trusting the promise of unbounded love, we pray in the name of of Jesus, who taught us to pray, Our Father in heaven,….