Tag Archives: liturgy

Christmas in July: The Prayer of the Angels

I have the joy of serving as liturgist for a conference at Massanetta Springs this week, and tomorrow in worship, we will hear the Christmas story.  Turns out the song of the angels was just what I needed on a steamy July week, and I hope it sings to you as well.

Massanetta Font

Glory to God in the highest heaven,  and peace on the earth God loves.

That was the prayer of the angels, O Lord,

and that is our prayer as well.

Glory to you in the highest heaven,

and peace on the earth you love.

 

We pray for peace indeed, O Lord,

peace that is not the absence of conflict

but the presence of justice and love;

Peace that is not bound by our attempts at compromise

but is stretched across the world in the fabric of your love.

Glory to you in the highest heaven,

and peace on the earth you love.

 

We give you thanks for that earth, O Lord,

and for all the good things in it:

For the mountains which hint at the beauty of your reign;

For the waters which carry the message of your grace;

For the fruits which teach us the sweetness of your love;

For the animals which show us what it is to be joyful;

We give you thanks, O Lord,

For friends and family united by blood or spirit;

For the church seeking to be your body;

For your spirit, guiding us all along the way.

Glory to you in the highest heaven,

and peace on the earth you love.

 

Peace, we pray, O Lord, for the earth and all people in it.

Where there is strife, make peace rain with the waters.

Where there is violence, show us how to start again.

Where there racism, convict us, challenge us,

forgive us, and transform us.

Wherever we are broken, love us into wholeness.

Glory to you in the highest heaven,

and peace on the earth you love.

 

We pray all these things boldly in love,

in the name of the one who was Love for us. Amen.

 

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Good News: Prayers of the People

These prayers were written with last week’s lectionary texts in mind: Jonah 3:1-10 and Mark 1:14-20.

 

IMG-2702

Liturgy writing is a very colorful process.

Holy God, living word,

hear the prayers of your people.

We give you thanks for wonders great and small:

for warmth in winter,

for peace in chaos,

for family, for health,

for words of hope,

and showers of mercy.

 

Proclaim your good news to us once more,

and help us to repent, believe, and follow.

 

We give you thanks for the stories of faith:

for the scriptures that point to your love for us.

For John, Simon, Andrew, and James,

who left their nets to follow you;

For the story of Jonah, Ninevah, and the king,

who bear witness to your loving mercy;

For all the saints of our lives today,

who have entrusted the faith to us.

Move us, O God, from prayers of thanksgiving

to lives of thanksgiving.

Move us, O God, from breathing with every prayer

to praying with every breath.

 

Proclaim your good news to us once more,

and help us to repent, believe, and follow.

 

As we lift a prayer in thanksgiving, O God,

we lift another in worry.

God whose mercy knows no end,

hear the prayers of your people.

We pray for all who are ill this day:

whose bodies are weary with disease or injury.

Breathe healing upon them, O God,

Breathe healing upon us, O God.

 

Proclaim your good news to us once more,

and help us to repent, believe, and follow.

 

You created the world good,

and we pray for the places where news is bad.

For countries, cities, neighborhoods, and families

torn apart by violence or fear:

Breathe peace, O God.

For your church around world,

seeking to serve you in a new way:

Breathe new life, O God.

For all who are seeking hope, direction, or community:

Breathe your spirit, O God.

 

Proclaim your good news to us once more,

and help us to repent, believe, and follow.

 

In the name of the one who embodied your love,

the one who always invites us to follow,

Amen.

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Completely: Prayers of the People based on Psalm 139

Psalm 139 has always been one of my favorites, and today’s lectionary gave me a chance to reflect on it. May these prayers remind us all that we are known and loved, completely. 

atgt snow

Oh Lord, you have searched us and known us.

  You know when we sit down and when we rise up;

you discern our thoughts from far away.

  You search out our path and our lying down,

and are acquainted with all our ways.

 

We praise you, O living God,

For you know us completely and love us completely.

 

You have created us good and holy,

lending your image in the act of creation.

Again and again, we have fallen away,

and you have brought us back with words of grace.

We have hidden from mystery of your presence,

and you have found us, again and again,

and repeated the call, “Follow me.”

 

You bring peace into the chaos we create;

You bring hope into the webs of doubt we spin;

You bring your holy spirit into the corners of our lives.

 

Even before a word is on our tongues,

  O Lord, you know it completely.

You hem us in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon us.

 

We praise you, O living God,

for you know us completely and love us completely.

 

We pray for the world wrapped in your love,

for the people and places dear to our hearts,

and for the ones known only to yours.

 

For those who are cold, whether in body or in spirit:

Bring the warmth only you can provide,

and move us to us to share the warmth we can provide.

For those who are hungry, thirsty, grieving or ill:

Bring the comfort only you can provide,

and help us to share the comfort we can provide.

(Continue with prayers for your specific community.) 

 

Hear our prayers, O Living God,

for you know us completely and love us completely.

 

On this weekend of marches and commemoration,

we give thanks for the life of your prophet Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As we celebrate his legacy, O God, let us recognize yours.

Convict us of the ways we support injustice through our action or inaction,

and empower us to work for your reign of justice, peace, and dignity for all.

 

Where can we go from your spirit?

  Or where can we flee from your presence?

If we take the wings of the morning

  and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead us,

  and your right hand shall hold us fast.

 

In the name of the one who was Love made flesh,

Amen.

 

 

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A Mighty Love: Prayers for Reformation Sunday

A mighty fortress are you, O God,

Creator, redeemer,

Protector, provider.

 

The earth is yours, and all that is in it.

We give you thanks for the bounty of our lives,

and the abundance of your creation.

Move us to recognize your gifts, O Lord,

and challenge us to share them.

 

A mighty fortress are you, O God,

Creator, redeemer,

Protector, provider.

 

A mighty love are you, O God,

Parent, teacher,

Comforter, friend.

 

You walk with us through joy and heartbreak,

and you bind us together in holy community.

You poured out your grace in the life of Christ,

and we witnessed your love in his resurrection.

 

Move us to know the depth of your love,

and challenge us to share it.

 

A mighty love are you, O God,

Parent, teacher,

Comforter, friend.

 

A mighty Spirit are you, O God,

Reformer, sustainer,

Challenger, change-agent.

 

On this Reformation Day,

we give you thanks for the saints of our faith,

who have followed your leading at any cost:

For Mary, John, and Peter,

who were there to tell the news of the first Easter Day;

For Paul, Lydia, and Chloe,

who built the church on the foundation you laid;

For Martin, John, and Marie,

who dared to lead your people in Reforming;

For all the reformers since,

who have dared to challenge the status quo.

 

A mighty Spirit are you, O God,

Reformer, sustainer,

Challenger, change-agent.

 

As we remember the Reformation 500 years ago,

do not let us sit idly and reflect on the past.

Move us to follow your Holy Spirit

into the leading of the future.

 

Help us to be your church, reformed and still being reformed.

Help us to be your people, formed and still being formed.

 

Glory be to you alone,

Soli deo Gloria.

 

Move us to be people reformed and reforming,

standing on the cornerstones of our faith:

Scripture alone, Christ alone,

Faith alone, Grace alone,

Glory always, to you alone,

Knowing that we are never alone.

Amen.

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Prayers from Matthew and Esther: For Such a Time as This

These prayers were written with Matthew 10:34-49 and Esther 4:1-17 in my mind and my transgender friends in my heart.

Let us pray.

Speak to us this day, O God,
and humble us to hear your word.
Make us still enough to notice your presence,
Quiet enough to hear your voice,
Brave enough to speak your good news,
and wise enough to follow your spirit.

So often we pray to you for life:
to preserve life, to prolong life,
to guard life, to begin life.
Today we pray something else.
We pray for courage to lose our life for your sake,
and we pray for the wisdom to find it.

As Mordecai challenged Esther to be faithful at all costs,
make us hear the voices of people oppressed,
whose stories challenge our way of life.

We pray for your children everywhere:

For your people who are suffering,
Discriminated against because of their race, gender identity,
sexuality, or religion.
For your people who are fearful,
Faced with losing their access to healthcare or treatment.
For your people who are isolated,
Living in the shackles of addiction or abuse.

Holy comforter, challenger, redeemer,
We know that you are in our midst.
Help us recognize your spirit on the move,
and empower us to join your work.

Help us be your church, reformed and still being reformed.
Help us be your people, formed and still being formed.
Help us boldly share the news of your love,
For such a time as this.

Amen.

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Holy Holy Holy: A Prayer from the Lips of Isaiah

Refrain: Holy are you, Lord of Hosts. Holy, holy, holy.

God of mercy we pray to you,
With all our joys and all our burdens.

Holy are you, Lord of Hosts.
Holy, holy, holy.

Your power is beyond our imagination;
Your grace is beyond our comprehension;
Your presence is beyond our senses;
Your goodness is beyond our wildest hope.

We give you thanks for the movement of your spirit:
In the church and in the world,
In the past and in the present,
In our lives and in our neighbors,
In our hearts and in our minds.

Holy are you, Lord of Hosts.
Holy, holy, holy.

Even as we praise you for your power and your might,
We carry the weight of a hurting world.
Where there is pain, breathe your comfort.
Where there hunger, help us share our bread.
Where there thirst, splash living water.
Where there is weakness, help us know your strength.

Hear the prayers of our hearts,
O God our maker,
and hear the prayers we dare not put to words.
Lift them into your being,
Lift our hearts to your presence.
Into our lives, breathe your love.
Into our silence, breathe your mercy.

Holy are you, Lord of Hosts.
Holy, holy, holy.

In the name of Christ,
In the love Christ,
In the grace of Christ, we pray.
Amen.

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Common Ground: Liturgy from the Garden

A few years ago, I planted my first vegetable garden. I fell in love with the way the soil felt under my fingernails, with the looks of surprise on neighbors’ faces when I brought them fresh vegetables, and, of course, with the taste of a freshly picked cherry tomato, still warm from the summer sun.

I often find metaphors in the garden, and, luckily for me, so did Jesus. This liturgy was written for Central Presbyterian Church, based on the lectionary gospel for this Sunday: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23.

 

Garden

My happy place

Opening Sentences

Listen, O people, for the word of God,

Giving seed to the sower and bread to the hungry.

Listen, O people, for the word of God,

Growing trees in the desert and fruit in the wilderness.

Listen O people, for the word of God,

Planting faith in the weary and hope in the desperate.

Listen O people, for the word of God,

And worship God with gladness.

Prayer of Confession

God the maker of all things good,

Have mercy upon your creation.

We gather on Sundays to nourish our faith,

But we find the seeds scorched in the light of Monday morning.

We want to bear fruits of compassion and kindness,

But we  fall into selfish habits,

and our discipleship withers.

Forgive us, God of mercy.

Shower us with your grace, and free us to try again.

The Affirmation of Faith draws from several of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s writings. While his words are not explicitly about gardening, they ring in my head every time my hands are in the soil. Weeds in one corner of the garden mean weed seeds in every corner. Earthworms in one place means good soil in another. Pesticide in one place means poison in every place. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. 

Affirmation of Faith Adapted excerpts from the writings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We believe that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

We refuse to believe that we are unable to influence the events which surround us.

We refuse to believe that we are so bound to racism and war,

that peace, brotherhood and sisterhood are not possible.

We believe that we need to discover a way to live together in peace,

a way which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.

The foundation of this way is love.

We believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.

We believe that what self-centered people have torn down,

other-centered people can build up.

By the goodness of God at work within people,

we believe that brokenness can be healed.

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