Monthly Archives: May 2014

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.

Prayers of the People for the Fifth 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 reality, our broken reality, our longing reality.  Speak your new life into our lives, that we may become signs of your presence.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, we come to you with questions and complaints, yet we do not always want to hear your responses.  Open our ears and our hearts, that we may welcome what you give us.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, open our eyes to see who you are for us, so that we may be free to reach out with your love and concern for the world around us.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, inspire compassion for the sick and hurting, that we may be vehicles of your care.  We offer our special prayers for those who need them. [Long pause] To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, we are confronted with changing situations, changing perspectives, changing ministries. Remind us of your constant love, your perpetual care, your faithful presence. 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 Fourth 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 Resurrection, Hallelujah!  You are our shepherd.  You care for us, and feed us, and lead us into ministry.  We thank you for the opportunities you provide.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of Resurrection, Hallelujah!  You are our constant companion.  Take away our fear of change, our dread of those who are different, our apprehension of losing control.  Set us free to embrace life as it is.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of Resurrection, Hallelujah!  You are doing new things around us, building human community in the quiet interactions of life.  Open our eyes to see you alive and active, that we may demonstrate your love in our quiet interactions.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of Resurrection, Hallelujah!  You are bringing your reign to our world.  Inspire hope in the face of hunger, terror, war and death.  Fill us with the Spirit of outrage, that we would become active participants in the expectation-shattering, life-bringing work you are doing.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of Resurrection, Hallelujah!  You promise that, even in the valley of the shadow, you are there.  We pray your presence on those who need our prayers, especially those we name before you now.
[Long pause]
Remind those who are abandoned, wounded and sick that you walk with them, and Lord, remind them through us.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of Resurrection, Hallelujah!  You come when we are empty.  You call when we are exhausted.  You move when we are stuck.  You are not the kind of Saviour we expect.  Help us, not just to believe, but to follow where you lead, wherever you lead.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

With thanks for all your life-giving 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 Third Sunday in 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, we thank you for meeting us on the way, for meeting us in our grief, for meeting us when we are not even looking for you.  Open our eyes to your surprises.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, we thank you for the gifts you provide which strengthen us on our journey – the gifts of family and friends, prayer and. quiet time, word and sacraments.  Open our eyes to your presence.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, we thank you for not abandoning us to our doubts and fears, and for staying with us through all our valleys.  Open our ears to your promise.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, we thank you for coming in the middle of changes and challenges, for appearing in the unexpected and undesired.  Open our hearts to trust.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, we thank you for taking the journey with those who experience violence, hunger, homelessness, illness, separation and death, especially those we name before you.
[Long pause]
Open our hands to share your love.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

God of life, God of new life, we thank you for travelling with us.  Open us to see what we need to see, to hear what we need to hear, and to serve those we need to serve.  To you, living Christ,
We offer our prayer.

With thanks for all your life-giving 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.