A Prayer at Christmas

This is a version of a prayer offered at the First Presbyterian Church Orchestra Sunday on December 16, 2018. The song reflects the carols and anthems we sang in worship.

God of song and of hearing,

When we sing that the star “to the earth it gave great light”

Help us to hear you guiding us toward what you want for us. guiding us to what is good and just and true.

When we sing “mighty dread had seized their troubled minds”

  Help us to hear you telling us that fear does not come from you, help us hear the angels assuring us fear is not God’s and that you bring goodness and truth to our world, and we can rejoice in your truth.

When we sing that Christ had “no crib for a bed”

Help us to hear you asking us to be impassioned to make sure that no child is left with out a bed, or shelter, or sustenance. Christ came to us to be one of us, and to show us the ways we are called to make the world better.

When we sing of “tidings of comfort and joy”

Help us to hear you offering us comfort and joy, and asking us to share them with our fellow people everywhere.

When we sing of silent and holy nights

Help us to hear you asking us to remember that not everyone’s Christmas is calm and holy, that many people suffer illness, pain, relational strife or fear in these days, and the privilege of quiet is not available to everyone, and for some it only brings loneliness and sadness. Help us to be agents of your care and community.

When we sing of “peace on Earth and mercy mild”

Help us hear your call to make peace manifest in a world full of war, strife, violence and fear. Help us to be makers of peace and doers of justice.

When we sing of “Jesus now in flesh appearing”

Help us to hear you remind us that Christ came as one of us, God’s presence with us, but also as a vulnerable child so that you might know us better, might show your love all the more, and that we are called to show your presence in our midst.

When we sing Ave Maria

Remind us that our sister Mary was a girl, a normal woman just like us, she is holy and blessed because she said yes when you called in her life. May we offer you our ‘yes’ too.

When we sing gloria in excelsis deo

may we remember that we are always able to offer you praise, may our praise be unending and our gratitude for your gifts in our lives.

We sing, we pray all these things in the name of the one who comes in a manger, and changes us forever, Jesus Christ who taught us to pray

Our father…

World Communion 2018 Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

World communion 2018


The Lord be with you. And Also With You.

Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord. It is right to give our thanks and praise.


It is truly right Oh God, that we give you our gratitude and our praise, for we owe everything to you. You created this earth and all the universes spinning, and you called it good. You created us good, and at every turn we fail to live up to the goodness you have created us to be, but you are faithful still.


Today we celebrate at this table together, your people unified across time and space, with Your people in every part of creation. This meal is always one of unity, and yet, in our faltering, distractible way, we forget one another, or never meet one another, or misunderstand one another when we gather here.

  • We forget that it is your table and not ours, and so we are not welcome to exclude any who you invite.

  • We forget that it is your hope that all might be nourished here not just in spirit but in body as well, and that this table reaches out and fills every table where bodies and souls are fed.

  • We forget that we need to be at peace with one another when we gather here, and that the meal we share here invigorates us anew to go out and to do the hard work of peace and justice that are ours as your children.


We forget because these are times, as have been so many other times, that find many of us, here in our nation and around the world, held captive by terror, rage, prejudice and hate. Times that make us scared to be good neighbors, scared of our own family and community, and all the more scared of what we do not understand. Instead of giving that fear to you and finding a way toward justice and connection, we remain frozen, held hostage to the story our world tells us, a story full of lies and half truths, that aims to keep us all alien from one another, to keep fear at the center of our lives, for fear is easy to manipulate, it is easy to claim power over the fearful, and in our times, fear and power rule the day.


...help us to tell a different story...a beloved story...one we already know so well it dwells in our hearts...the story told by so many of your faithful ones who have come before us...a story that reminds us that fear and worldly power and death cannot win, do not have the last word, will not succeed in the end..


And so remind us with your hope-filled story, God of Grace,

  • To welcome all- the abused, the ignored, those who are different from us, those whose ways of life, language, culture, or time, are foreign to us, for yours is a table of unity in diversity.

  • To feed and care for all- those who, in our estimation, deserve it or do not, for your table is abundant beyond our wildest dreams.

  • To be doers of justice and lovers of peace- for you call us to this sacred calling, in all parts of the life of your world.


Help us to dream again O God, and to dream so big it scares us toward your hope and away from our fear.

Even when things are terrifying and hard.

  • Help us to dream when we face war and strife and sojourns in lands and times that are strange to us. For we know our forefathers and mothers faced such times too, and with you they survived and thrived and found a way toward hope and peace.

  • Help us to dream when we face choices that are hard, for your prophets come to help us, just as they did for our matriarchs and patriarchs, to tell us what is your truth, even as we seem incapable of hearing it and believing.


Help us to dream when we despair, when things seem so dire we cannot find a way through to you, you send us Jesus,

  • the son of a young mother and an adoptive father,

  • a man who was ridiculed for including those the world didn’t like and harmed,

  • a teacher who taught in ways it was hard for his community to accept,

  • a revolutionary who called his neighbors to do better in the face of empire and long history of powerlessness,

  • a God who would condescend to live as one of us, enjoying the joys and overcoming the hardships of life as a man,

  • a sacrifice made to offer us all a new life and a renewed hope,

  • a resurrected Lord who offers hope and love instead of domination and seperation of people one from another.


Help us to dream the dreams you have for us.


Spirit of this living and present God, Be with us today in the sharing of this holy and abundant meal. Join us and empower us to show the power of this meal to all who we meet, not because its power has overpowered us, but because it has empowered us to be your agents and friends, sharing your truth with all we meet. Be with us in these elements, simple and timeless, the elements of life itself, that nourish us from the smallest cell to the whole of the world.


And Thank you for these elements, from the earth and water and sun that sustained them, to every set of hands from the field to this table that brought them to us. We offer you gratitude and pray Goodness for the good creation and, for all those who brought this goodness to us.


Finally, primarily, we offer you thanks for Jesus Christ, our brother, friend, teacher, model, God and Lord who brings us together here, and everywhere, again and again to learn what it is to be a blessed community in your name, and to be your children. Who taught us long ago and again in this moment to pray together the prayer he taught us...our father...


Pastoral Prayer September 30, 2018

Pastoral Prayer for September 30, 2018


A prayer to go along with the story of Esther and my sermon Ester, Jesus and Believing Women

Gracious and merciful God

Who created us “for such a time as this” and so that we might know that “any who are not against us are for us”

...What does that mean?

These times are difficult

For many who have already been abused these are scary days, and bring up painful memories, asking those already hurt to live that abuse in mind and body again and again without aid.

For those who do not know those hurts, theses are confusing times and for some it is hard to know who to believe.

For us all it is hard to know what to do in the face of days like this.

So if you have created us for these days, tell us what to do.

You tell us, in the words of Jesus, to not just turn from sin, but to excise it from our midst.

But sometimes trying to be your people and to leave sin behind us we despair.

For the world is so big, the fights so loud, the pain and illness and busyness are just too much. Those we love struggle with illness in mind and body, with bodies that are not in working order, are in need of jobs, are tired and busy and overwhelmed. We journey with them, or know these struggles ourselves and yearn for your peace and care.

Then, this is when Jesus says we are to offer one another a cup of water. Sit together and be your people once again.

We are to comfort the pained, accompany the lonely, believe those the world call liars or just ignore, welcome the stranger, honor the child and play with the elders.

In your upside down kin-dom Oh God of fierce wonder, all things are right, we are salty and do not falter, we are kind even in our criticism, we are loving even to those whose ways we cannot understand. We know you, and so we are the salt of the earth, not passive and afraid, but courageous and defiant of the world asking us to live its ways.

It is in the presence of this Kin-dom that we know joy. The joy of new life, of children born and seasons changing, the joy of beloved community, the joy of living our calling and doing what we know is good and righteous. So we thank you for these moments of Joy, seasons of joy. Might they be abundant and visible to all and bring joy to a fearful world.


In Jesus Christ you promise us love and care, you promise us too that it is our job to offer them as well. And so Gracious Creator, send us out with minds and bodies renewed, reliant on your Grace and the assistance of your community, to do your will in this messed up, mixed up, angry world. So that we might do justice, love gracious mercy, and walk humbly as your people. For we know that it is Jesus who tells us your kin-dom can be ours here and now when he teaches us to pray together...our father...

A prayer for Reformation 500 Sunday

Reformation pastoral prayer

October 29, 2017


Re-forming God,

We come together today to worship you here. We come here to say yes, to say thank you.


We say thank you  that You sent us leaders 500 years ago named Martin, John, Theodore, Heinrich, and Johannes and many others in those days. These are the ones whose contributions to the church we remember today when we focus on a time when your church listened and changed, changed how it functioned, who it welcomed, how it welcomed them, where it could be in your world and who could steward it for you. Because of them The Church changed, and some lost their lives, their livelihoods, their homes and their families so that it could change and follow you in a new way. We give you thanks for their sacrifices, their vision, and their leadership.


But that was not the first time the church changed and people sacrificed. We also remember today the call of women and men throughout history who were brave and loving enough to do what you called them to do even when the world ridiculed or derided them for doing it.  For Abraham, for Hagar, for Sarah, for Jacob, for Joseph,  for Moses who fought an empire, for Ruth and Naomi who went to a strange place for love, for prophets who spoke your truth even when no one listened, for poets and teachers who made sure we would still know your story Today.


And for Jesus Christ the ultimate reformer/transformer who came and changed us all, who showed us love, who challenged the status quo, and who died because the world did not want to change, and ultimately who rose and reins because you and he are one, and know what is good and what we need. For all his followers and friends named and unnamed who began the church as we know it once he was gone. We say thank you.


Just as those reformers 500 years ago were not the first, they are not the last either. Be with us just as you have been in every age as we muddle our way through seeing what you need and want for us. Those who call us to reform, reimagine and replace pieces of the earthly church to better follow you by continuing, as those reformation forefathers did, to make the church more welcoming, safer, more empowering and better place for all of God’s children, and particularly those the world would harm are a blessing to us all. They are too many to name, but their gifts and their challenge to our petty ways are vital to who we are, their persistence and clarity give us hope. So give us all the vision to see new paths, the courage to walk them, and the solidarity of one another to show love and grace even as we change. Teach us to say yes to what is good and right and belongs to you, and no to the ways the world tells us not to love or to act in love for one another.


And be with all of those whose re-formation is one of body or mind, of individual struggle, of internal call and personal need. We cannot know all the ways each of our siblings is in need, but you do God of Grace, so help us to be a balm to those in need and a guiding presence when we can help.


Be with us as we move with excitement toward new ministries in this church, toward the calling of a new Pastor, toward new ways we can serve the Norman community and the world with our hands, our hearts, and our finances.


Give us the grace to love one another even in change, to work together in peace and not against one another in enmity. Give us the vision to see who you are calling to do your work in this context, as our new pastor but also as elders, deacons, trustees, and in other roles in your church here and now. Show us who you have for us to serve, and who might best serve as a leader.


Be with your children all over the world who hunger-


Who hunger for food with empty bellies,

Who hunger for righteousness under unkind, power hungry leaders,

Who hunger for peace in war-torn places,

Who hunger for companionship in lonely places,

Who hunger for justice in every place,

Who hunger for you. Who need you.


We all need you, our leaders need you, those who re-form us by challenging the world’s ways need you, those who are more comfortable with the way things are need you, Those whose power is threatened by change need you, and everyone caught in between the powerful and the reformers- each one of us needs you. We all need you, we all need your love and peace. Help us to find them today and every day in the words of scripture and the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who taught us to pray...our father...

A Pastoral Prayer for PRIDE and Trinity Sunday

Here is a variation on the prayer I offered yesterday. Its not exactly the same, as I generally do some part extemporaneously and then forget what I have said.

 

Three-in-one God,

  You are a mystery.

    How can three be one?

       How could God be human?

          How can we reflect your image when we are such a flawed people?

 But you are indeed three- Creator, Christ, Spirit

       Jesus Christ was indeed a man who dwelt with us while also wholly God Yourself

           And we, your flawed people, indeed reflect and are the in-dwelling of your image.

           All of us.

 

Knowing these mysterious things we come to you in prayer today. Trinity Sunday,  when we remember that God is beyond our understanding and are called to serve God even though we cannot fully understand. 

Be with us in a world of so many broken places, disagreements that make more broken places when we could instead lead to conversation, connections and understanding of the joy of Your diversity in our midst.

Be with all in this week when many of our LGBT+ siblings begin a month of celebrations of the right to love whoever one loves, and the opportunity to live the truth of being embodied just how you created each of us.

Be with us all and help us be better because we know that there are also too many places, and too many of your beloved children, who find nothing but pain, exclusion, fear, violence and death when they try to tell the truth about who you have made them, and the joy of who you have given them to love.

 

Give us courage Lover God,

To let others tell their truth to us, even when we do not understand it. 

To tell our truths in love even when the world doesn't want to hear them.

To listen for the voice of the Spirit in those we love and those who you alone know and love.

God who is relationship,

     you send us to love...

        you send us to meet and know one another....

            you send us to meet You...

                    allow us love anew today....

                          to see love in each face around us...

                               in this room and in the world.

Give us anew, baptized lovers of God who are beloved of God, your love to share and the mandate to share it with all. Every single one. Those we love, and those we don't know. Those we hold close, and those who we want to silence. Give us the discernment to know when one we love is not safe to be with, and the clarity to protect ourselves in those moments. Give us the Joy of love unbounded when we meet one who loves us well in return for our love. Give us the vision of seeing your Spirit in whoever you put in our path. 

We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, for you Yourself, for the Spirit of Truth. We, those who carry the image of love within us, pray together today the prayer our brother in love and in Spirit Jesus taught those he loved to pray...

 

Our father...

Ascension Day Pastoral Prayer 5/28/2017

God of holy times, on this Ascension Sunday we ask

where are you going?

Where are we going?

In-between times are hard for we do not like not knowing, or seeing, or holding onto things that are important to us. 

We miss those who have gone before us, and we envy you getting to have those we love who have died, and we so easily forget that we will know them again.

We hurt one another in our fear of the unknown- where are you? who are we?

We hurt one another in our fear of the unknown...where are you? Who are we? How can it all possibly be redeemed?

In a bombing in Manchester, in a racist and xenophobic stabbing in Portland, in a domestic shooting in Mississippi, in political upheaval and marshal law in the Philippines, in individual and massive tragedies in cities and towns and nations all over the world we mourn, we fear, we rage,  and we search for answers. We search for you.

In the ascension of Jesus we have a story, a heritage- not just of who the person of Jesus Christ is for us, but how we are to be as his people. We are to be wholly where we are, to celebrate joy, to pray, and to be with each other. In doing this we will know the Spirit, we will see our call and live it.

Gods kingdom is and will be ours, it will not be easy, it is not easy, but it will be right. We will give and know forgiveness. 

And so, Loving God, help us to keep this enigmatic way, the way of the ascended Christ. Make us participants in your glory- showing your love, sharing our faith, manifesting your hope- here and now and in all the days to come as witnesses to your presence and The Way. We are yours, you are ours, and in you we can know peace that passes understanding if we only reach for it. We know all of these things because of our brother Jesus who taught us to pray...Our Father...

A Pastoral Prayer for Mother's Day

This prayer was first offered May 12th 2013 at Welshire Presbyterian Church, and has been used and shared in worship since.

A Prayer for Mothers

 

We pray to you Mother God today for all mothers.

In our world a mother is a complex thing: a person who cares, teaches, learns, struggles, loses patience, has endless comfort, love and care for their children. 

We give thanks for mothers of new babies. Who’s every thought and move is consumed with love and care for their little ones. Give them peace and clarity in these early days. Help them in the fear of not being enough, and rejoice with them when they rejoice. 

We give thanks for mothers who knew the time was not right and gave their new little ones into the arms of another, so that they might be safe and well cared for. Heal all the pain of their situations.

We give thanks for adoptive mothers, who knew their hearts had space for more love, and that your world and people had need for a caring touch, loving heart and stable home for a child who did not have the freedom of those gifts before their relationship.

We give thanks for mothers of toddlers, whose every moment is consumed with motion, words, messes and learning. May you give them rest, creativity and fun every day. Help them when their children struggle with health, developmental struggles or physical struggles. Help them to know you are there, with them, loving their children for just who they are, even as the world may say they are “not normal”.

We pray for peace and comfort for those who wish they were mothers. Whose bodies do not cooperate with their dreams, or whose circumstances mean they cannot or have not conceived. Be with them and heal the empty spaces that their hearts hold, and help them to see whatever it is you have in store.

We pray that you remind us all that children are a gift and a blessing to your church, in their motion, noise, questions and struggles. Your church is not the world, and we should love them and do a better job of meeting them where they are, and seeing what they see, what you see in them…that they are perfectly your children just as they are.

We give you thanks for the mothers of children. Whose time and hearts are filled with crayon drawings, firsts, growing brains and bodies. Give them the tools to teach and the patience to learn with their young ones.

We give you thanks for mothers who do all the work, those who teach and care and struggle alone. Who are mother and father to their children, and have too many rolls to fill. Hold them close in their exhaustion, keep them in your presence as they make a way in hardship, and rejoice all the more with them when there is peace and joy and love. Help your people to be a support, a relief and a home to those whose strength is what helps their children thrive. 

We pray for healing for those mothers who have lost their children, whatever age they were, may your presence and your people be a balm to their broken hearts.

We give you thanks for the mothers of adolescents, whose time and energy is spent in the in-between of childhood and adulthood. Be with them; be in their words and actions as their children look to them most for how to be your people.

We pray for all those mothers who are separated from their children. Be with those whose relationships are toxic, broken or painful that they might find your peace in the situation and find the path that is best. Be with those who are separated by war, strife, financial difficulty or personal belief, heal these relationships and help the world to be a more loving place.

 We give you thanks for the mothers of teenagers. Mothers who are beginning to learn who their children will be, who see their children’s’ potential and attempt to teach a way toward self-sufficiency. Be with them as they fret, praise, nag, love, question and care for those who both try to hold on too tight and also let go far too soon.

We pray today that you are with those whose mothers are now with you. They leave behind a hole in the spirit that can only be eased with your help. Whether they were lost yesterday or 20 years ago their place can never be filled in our lives.

 We give you thanks for mothers of adults. Who have the privilege of watching their children soar, and the heartbreak of watching them fall, and the enigmatic joy of watching them do it all on their own, even as they sometimes return home with laundry, questions, laughter and wisdom of their own. 

Be with every family, every mother, every father and every child today. We take joy in the relationships we have with our mothers, and we pray for your presence where we need it every day. You are our mother, Parent God who holds us close, rejoices in our success and weeps with us in our pain, protects us sometimes even when we don’t want protection, and gives us freedom to make our own mistakes even as you know they will both hurt us and help us grow. You are infinitely patient, infinitely caring and infinitely loving,

We are your children, often ignorant of your power and irreplaceability in our lives. As your children we are incredibly blessed, grace-filled and protected. We give you thanks for this reality in our lives as we pray with our brother Jesus as he taught us how to pray to you…Our Father…

Prayers for Illumination

Prayer of Illumination that I offered and saved in my days as Transitional Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Welshire Presbyterian in Denver, CO

7/28/13

Lord who is the Word that dwelt among us and is amongst us, Open our minds and hearts and imaginations to hear you and know you in the reading of scripture today. The power of the Spirit is with us, guiding us, and we pray that it might show us a new thing. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

10/6/13

Dear God, May the words read here today, the words preached and the hearing of them be an act of praise, worship, focus and devotion to you. In Jesus' name we pray amen.

 

3/9/2014

Dear lord, May the words we read, and the thoughts they bring, be our offering of praise, understanding and prayer to you this morning. Amen.

Prayers of Call to Confession, Confession, Assurance, and Peace

These are the prayers I offered and saved in my days as Transitional Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Welshire Presbyterian in Denver, CO

6/23/13

Call to confession:

Our hearts long for God, and we know we fall short of God’s glory, so let us now confess to God the ways we have individually and collectively fallen short of God’s Grace. Please pray with me...

 Assurance:

The God of David, the father of Jesus knows all that we are. In God’s love and grace we know that we are indeed cleansed from all our sin, and sustained by the Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ, God’s ultimate sacrifice, we are forgiven. Thanks be to God!

 Peace:

Knowing that we might find peace in God’s presence and love, let us share Christ’s peace with one another…the peace of Christ be with you all.

 

7/21/13

Call to confession:

Knowing that God will protect us, give us strength and love, while we persist in falling short of God’s glory, love and hope for us, let us now join together to offer God those times we need Christ’s help to be the people and the Church we are called to be. Pray with me:

 Assurance:

The mercy of God is unending, the love of God is all encompassing, and the peace we share in Christ is fathomless. Knowing this, know that we are forgiven, today and all days. Thanks be to God!

 Peace:

Knowing the peace of Christ is in each of us, let us share that peace with one another. The peace of Christ be with you all…

 

8/4/13

Confession:

Lord, you know our inmost being. You know all that we are, all that we know, all that we think, and all that we believe. When those thoughts, beliefs, ideas and be-ings turn from you, we long to be placed back on Your path. We pray that our lives might be a never-ending offering to you, and that our sin might lead to more ways to learn and grow closer to your hopes for us. Cleanse us of our sin; turn our thoughts and feet ever toward Your Way. We pray this together in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen.

 

8/18/13

Call to confession:

We come to worship to praise God, but also we remember our own faults and problems. Let us now turn to God in confession together:

 Assurance:

Jesus is the way the truth and the life…acknowledging this we know that in Christ we have grace, love and forgiveness. Thanks be to god!

Peace:

Knowing Christ loves us each and every one, let us now share Christ’s peace with one another. The peace of Christ be with you all…

 

9/15/13

Confession:

Ever-present, ever-lasting God,

In you we live and move and have our being. You have made us for yourself so that our hearts are restless until they find rest in you. We attempt to find peace for ourselves and we come up short. But trying to let go and find your peace in relationship with your presence can be perplexingly hard. Bless the effort we make in faith to find your peace, so that we might know your faith within ourselves. In your Son Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

Assurance: (A variation on a standard Assurance from the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship)

The love of God, the Peace of God, the Care of God are from everlasting to everlasting. I say to you in the name of Jesus Christ we are all forgiven. Thanks be to God!

 

Peace:

And knowing that God’s peace, and Christ’s peace is within each of us, let us share that peace with one another. The peace of Christ be with you!

 

9/29/13

Call to Confession:

Please pray with me as we confess our faults and failings to God.

Confession:

O God, our source and judge and Destiny. Today we will not hide our wrong doings from you, we confess that we have left vows unfinished, good purposes forgotten, opportunities left unfulfilled, and duties unmet. We have spoken impatiently or unkindly, and done ungenerous things, we have desired what we should not, and lived for things that will die, we have ignored you, who are our life and peace. In your mercy forgive us, show us compassion and heal us. Set us anew on your path, and help us to hear your voice. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Assurance: (A variation on a standard Assurance from the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship)

Who is in a position to condemn, to blame? Only Christ, And Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ advocates for us, and Christ prays for us. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life is gone, a new life has begun, here and now, know you are forgiven! Thanks be to God!

 Peace:

And now, since God has forgiven us in Christ let us share Christ’s peace with one another. The peace of Christ be with you all…

 

10/20/13

 Confession:

Listening God,

We often find it easier to talk about you than to you. And when we do talk to you we find it easier to talk than to listen for your still small voice, and we find it easier to listen than to act once we hear your call. Forgive us our failures to talk, to listen and to do. Your love is never ending, and that scares us, pardon our fear, our inattentiveness and our inaction. Move us in your direction and break down our defenses. This we pray through Jesus Christ the ultimate listener and doer. Amen.

 Assurance:

The love of God is indeed from everlasting to everlasting. And because of this I can with full confidence say to you that we are all forgiven. Thanks be to God.

 Peace:

In God’s love let us now share the peace of Christ with one another. The peace of Christ be with you all.

 

12/15/2013

Confession:

As we return again and again to God in need of God’s grace let us now turn to God confessing the ways we fall short of what God hopes for us. Let us offer the unison prayer of confession:

 Assurance:

We know that every moment of our lives is known to God. We know that the coming of Christ into the world set us free of shame and doubt of God’s grace, so let us now share Christ’s peace with one another knowing we are recipients of God’s grace and freedom. May the peace of Christ be with you all.

 

12/22/2013

Call to Confession:

We now come before God to confess our darkest moments, those actions and thoughts we know would not bring God the joy we wish our lives to offer.

 Confession:

God of grace and truth, in Jesus Christ you came among us as light shining in the darkness. We have not welcomed the light or trusted your good news to be good. We have often closed our eyes because your light is too brilliant for us, and then see little hope and expecting less. Forgive us our doubt and our wandering, renew our hope that we might find the fullness of the grace you offer each moment. In the life and grace of Jesus Christ we pray, amen. 

Assurance:

And now knowing that God’s light shines into our darkness, let us now share God’s light in Jesus Christ with one another. The peace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you all…

 

3/30/2014

Confession: (adapted from the PC(USA) Brief Statement of Faith)

In a broken and fearful world the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of people long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom and peace. We daily fall short of these calls on our lives, and turn against our neighbors and our God in fear in anger or in apathy. May our lives find a way to live into the courage the Spirit provides.

 Assurance:

The grace of God is from everlasting to everlasting. In every situation and shortcoming we can rely on God’s grace. Knowing this, may we find peace. Amen.

Prayers of Opening Worship or Call to Worship

These are the prayers I offered and saved in my days as Transitional Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Welshire Presbyterian in Denver, CO

7/21/13
 
Gracious God, join us in this place, as in every place. Be with us this morning as we worship you and remember the gifts of your protection in our lives. We worship you in spirit and in action today, be with us in our praise, our singing, our silence and our speech. We pray in the name of your son Jesus. Amen.
 
9/15/13
Dear God,
Be in this place today as we worship. Be in our hearts and minds and spirits as we worship and praise you this morning. Let the concerns of the world be present as offerings of care and hope to you, and give us your work as we pray and sing and praise this morning. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
 
9/29/13
Dear God,
Listen to your children praying, bring your spirit in this place. As we worship this morning hear us, and help us to hear you in each breath, word, note and in our silence. We pray this in the name of Jesus who heard you better than anyone. Amen.
 
10/20/13
Dear God,
We come this morning to worship you. We come from many activities and distractions, from worthwhile actions and wasted moments to this place to bring you praise and prayer. Join us here, we pray, so that we might know and remember your presence in our lives now and when we leave this place. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
 
12/15/2013 Advent music Sunday
God of all,
 
We thank you for the gift of music. As art, as talent, as recreation, we give you thanks of the gift of Jesus’ entrance into our lives and this season of anticipating his coming into our world, join us here this morning in worship as we come to you again in need, in celebration and in worship. In the name of Jesus Emmanuel we pray. Amen.
 
12/22/2013- Longest Night Worship
God of darkness and light,
 
We worship you today. We know that with you darkness cannot overcome light, and that you are even there in the darkness. Join us in worship and bring us once again out of our shadows into your light. Help us to find new hope and peace each moment we join together to worship. In the name of Jesus our brother, we pray amen

 

a prayer book begun...

In 2013, when I was the Transitional Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at Welshire Presbyterian Church in Denver CO, I began to hear from those who attended worship that they appreciated the prayer and liturgy I offered there. Since then this has been a common response to my prayer, and as one who has spent my ministry career so far as a director or Associate Pastor, I spend more time in worship praying than preaching. So this response was welcome, but at the time it was a surprise. Some of the prayers from that time that I will post were published to Welshire's website or newsletter, because people asked for them, others I have kept and used in other church or worship contexts. The words included are my own unless I indicate that inspiration began with someone else's writing and cite them. 

Epiphany Pastoral Prayer 1/1/17

Pastoral Prayer 1/1/17

This prayer was given along with the sermon Magi On The Way

Creator God, together we start a new year, full of unwritten stories and new opportunities.   

Together we pray that we can embrace all that the next twelve months have to offer us.    We ask that you continue to be with us, and that your presence be felt in all things.   We ask that you extend onto each of us the wisdom, the strength, and the courage to meet each new day and each new challenge head on and full of eagerness.  Give us the courage to accept the clean slate you offer.

Let this year be filled with things that are truly good.   Let us look beyond the mundane or the struggles and see the blessings that wait for us.  Bless us with the warmth of strong relationships, the strength to help those in our community that need help, and the courage and humility to accept it ourselves.

As we consider those around us who begin this year fighting sickness, disease, fear for safety,  or other battles of mind, body and spirit beyond our comprehension, help us to meet them with hearts full of compassion.   Let us find the way to reach out when our gifts give us tools to help, to listen intending to understand when we see someone who is ‘other’, to act when we see wrong being done, and to stand together with those who Christ came to save- everyone. so that in each of us there is a strength that eases pain, and reminds all that there are people who care, and will fight right alongside those who are most vulnerable and need the presence of God most dearly.

Let all things be new this year.   Remind us that you are a God of fresh starts.   Let us become new creatures again, beginning today in this moment.   Let the ministry of all of your children, and of your church be not confined within these walls or the small circles of our lives, but rather be directed throughout our community and our world.

Remind us that it takes only one person,…one person willing to step out, speak up, and take a risk…  Remind us it takes only one person to change the world.   Help us to be the people who choose to do just that.   Help us to be the people who are willing to let our light shine, no matter the cost.

Together, we celebrate you in praise and prayer, and we do so as one voice, one people, and one church. We celebrate and rejoice in the name, the story, and the presence of Jesus Christ, our teacher, who taught us to pray saying...our father…

Adapted from (https://jesseleeproject.com/2012/01/17/a-new-year-pastoral-prayer/)

 

Longest Night Worship 2016

Here is the liturgy I used for Longest Night worship December 21, 2016

Preparation for Worship

As you enter this time of worship, bring your heart as it is- especially if it is lost, broken, alone or in darkness. This is a time to offer a voice crying out from the darkness we all find sometimes. As you enter this time please meditate on the scripture, songs and poems in the booklet and feel free to light a candle for any need you have. Light a candle for every loved one lost, holiday celebrated alone, relationship broken or day spent wandering. Bring your whole self to this place and this worship. God will join you, and will hear you.

Words for Silent Meditation before Worship

Use the poems, prayers and song lyrics in the Meditation booklet to center for worship.

 

Solo                                   Longest Night Of The Year                                    Mary Chapin Carpenter

They say that spring will come again
No one knows exactly when.
Still the sun's a long lost friend
On the longest night of the year.

We stare into the firelight
While December beats outside
Where the darkest hearts reside
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight
Let the candle burn all night
Tomorrow welcome back the night
It was longest night of the year

I used to think the world was small
Bright and shining like a ball
Seems I don't know much at all
On the longest night of the year

We press our faces to the glass
And see our little lives go past
Wave to shadows that we cast
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
'Twas the longest night of the year

Make a vow when Solstice comes:
To find the Light in everyone
Keep the faith and bang the drum
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
'Twas the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
After the longest night of the year

Advent Prayer

Lord, by your presence,

Light up the past that we might learn from it with thankfulness.

Light up the present that we might live with love.

Light up the future that we might prepare for it in hope.

As we watch and wait and pray, may we be always ready to encounter the Lord who is already and always with us. Amen.

 

Scripture reading Revelation 21:3-7

 

Candle lighting

Lighting the first candle: A candle burns, a sign of love, God of Mary come to us again, may the light of your love be born anew in us.

Lighting the second candle: A candle burns, a sign of your Word. God of the prophets, come to us again, may your word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

Lighting the third candle: A candle burns, a sign of faith, God of messengers, come to us again, may we have faith that renews our lives, may we live in the light of your promises.

Lighting the fourth candle: A candle burns, a sign of hope. God of hope, come to us again, may your hope live within us burning as a light in our lives.

Leaving the christ candle unlit: A candle left unlit, a sign of our need. God of presence, be with us in the darkest moments of our lives, renew us in love, faith and hope in the darkest nights we face. Remind us that Christ is with us even when we feel totally alone.

 

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

6 O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight. [Refrain]

7 O come, Desire of nations, bind
all peoples in one heart and mind;
bid envy, strife, and discord cease;
fill the whole world with heaven’s peace. [Refrain]

Litany of intercession

Voice One: all around us are the sights and sounds o f Christmas, Gentle God: the laughter of parties, the songs of carolers, the shouts of children sledding down hills, the music in every store. But deep within us we carry our pain; our grief walks with us every step we take; loneliness is a shawl we drape over our shoulders on empty nights. So, in this time when every night stretches into eternity, we come to you, bringing our gifts: not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but grief, bitterness and loss.

Voice Two: we have come from different backgrounds, from different families, from different faith traditions. But we have all lived in the land of shame and wandered the far country of despair. We have stood on the side of every room we have gone into, hoping against hope that someone would ask us to dance but finding the wall is our only friend.

Voice Three: in a season when so many people don’t have enough hours in a day to get all their lists checked off, their cards mailed, their presents wrapped, we have all the time in the world: to remember the loss that has stolen the joy of the season; to grieve over a job, a dream, a loved one; to sit in the shadows of our homes, too weary to turn on the lights; to wander the streets lit by lights on all the houses, but not by the Light of the world.

Voice Four: our fear of the future, our remembrance of the past, our pain that is difficult to bear and harder to release, our emptiness which cannot be filled with platitudes, our hands which cannot hold the ones we wish to embrace: all make this a season of long nights.

All:     Be with us in our loneliness,

                    in our longing.

                   In our loss,

                         in our lives.

               In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Silent prayer

ANTHEM                                             Night of Silence                                              Daniel Kantor                                                                Youth Choir                                                 Franz Gruber

Cold are the people, winter of life,
We tremble in shadows this cold endless night,
Frozen in the snow lie roses sleeping,
Flowers that will echo the sunrise,
Fire of hope is our only warmth,
Weary, its flame will be dying soon.

Voice in the distance, call in the night,
On wind you enfold us, you speak of the light,
Gentle on the ear you whisper softly,
Rumors of a dawn so embracing,
Breathless love awaits darkened souls,
Soon will we know of the morning.

Spirit among us, shine like the star,
Your light that guides shepherds and kings from afar,
Shimmer in the sky so empty, lonely,
Rising, the warmth of your Son’s love,
Star unknowing of night and day,
Spirit we wait for your loving Son.

Assurance of acceptance

One: The God who sent Jesus Christ to the world, but also to foreign kings, to migrant shepherds and to a teenage mother, is a God who loves the mess of who we are at every moment.

All: may we all find peace and connection in the light of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen.  

Prayer for Illumination

God of our darkest moments, join us in the shadows, find us in the darkness, and help us to see the light of your presence even in those dark moments.

Scripture reading Matthew 2:1-6

Meditation The Shining of a Star

Communion

Charge and Benidiction