A Reworking of Wesley’s covenant renewal

I am completely yours, God. 
Show me what I need to do. 
Place me with the people you will. Even if it hurts. 
Use my skills or set them aside as you need. 
Lift me up or bring me down. 
Give me what I need. Or don’t. 
Because I freely offer to you my whole self.

Holy One, 
my Creator, my Redeemer and my Sustainer, 
you are my God, 
and I am your child.

Let it always be so.

May these promises be blessed
by your wisdom and love.

Amen.

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From a series on Jesus’ Prayer / The Lord’s Prayer

Overview Sunday
Call to Gather:
One: To pray is to open our hearts.
All: To pray is to open our minds and our souls.
One: To whom do we pray?
All: We pray to the Ground-of-our-Being.
We pray to that which gives us life.
We pray to God – beyond, around, within.

One: And the world changes.
All: And we change.
One: With that change
All: we worship God!
Alleluia!

*Opening Prayer:
All: Offering our words to you,
is considered foolish by some,
misguided by others,
and laughable by a few.
But we come to talk with you, again.
To share our fears and our hopes,
our nightmares and our dreams.
Help us to say what needs to be said,
then to listen and to live –
Your love – alive in the world.
In Christ’s name we ask it.
Amen.

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”
Call to Gather:
One: Every name we have for God comes from humankind’s experience of God in our lives. As Paul reminded the people of Corinth, ‘right now, we see dimly’. We don’t have all the words to describe God’s relationship with us. We don’t have all the words to describe who we understand God to be.

But that doesn’t matter. Even if we never can find the right words – it doesn’t matter!

Because God loves.
Because God loves us.
Because God loves all creation.

So – with the words that we have – with the names we know – let us gather and worship God.

Opening Prayer:
One: Our Father.
All: Our Mother.
One: Shepherd
All: and Lamb.
One: Giver
All: and Gift!
One: God who loves me.
All: God who loves ALL.
One: For life.
All: Thank you!
One: For love.
All: Thank you!
One: For Christ.
All: Thank you!
Amen!

“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
Call to Gather:
One: When we profess our faith –
at baptism, at confirmation,
or when we pray Jesus’ prayer –
we offer ourselves –
our lives, our hopes, our dreams –
to God.
We say that we trust God to live in and through
our decisions, our moments, our days.
But what does that mean?
What does it mean for God to be “King”?
What does it mean for us to be part
of God’s Kingdom – in heaven and on earth?
Are we really ready to do God’s will?
Are we really ready to worship God,
with all of our mind, all of our heart,
all of our soul?

*Opening Prayer:
One: God, what do you want us to do?
Who do you want us to be?
Where do you want us to go?
All: How do you want us to live?
One: As children of your family,
as followers of the Christ –
All: as citizens of your kingdom?
One: To truly turn our lives over to you
is an awe-full task.
All: One that takes a lot of trust.
One: One that calls us to love –
especially when it is hard.
All: One that calls us to love you
with all of who we are.

One: But where will that take us, God?
All: Where will you take us, God?
And what if we’re too scared to go?

One: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
All: on earth as it is in heaven.”
Let it be so.

“Give us this day our daily bread…”
Call to Gather:
One: Have you ever wondered why many of us find it difficult to ask for help, even when we really need it? What is it about the way that we see ourselves, that makes us believe that we can do everything that needs to be done in life? It’s impossible!
Just as one example – I’m not a farmer, or a truck driver, or a grocery-store manager – without their help, I wouldn’t have much to eat.
We are part of an interconnected and interdependent world. That doesn’t need to frighten us.
We’re also in a deeply connected and important relationship with God. We gather as a community of faith to celebrate that connection – to sing, to pray, to worship.
But… what is it that keeps us from going to God to ask for help? Didn’t Jesus tell us to pray, “Give us the bread we need for today.”

*Opening Prayer:
One: We come to you with open hands and open hearts.
All: We come to you with open hands
and open hearts.

One: Asking for what we need.
All: Asking for what we need.
One: Asking for what our neighbours need.
All: Asking for what our neighbours need.
One: Asking for what creation needs.
All: Asking for what creation needs.
One: Knowing that you will give it.
All: Knowing that you will give it.
One: Life.
All: Life!
One: Love.
All: Love!
One: Laughter!
All: Laughter!
One: With all these gifts we worship you, God.
All: Alleluia, amen!

“And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…”
Call to Gather:
One: In the majority North American culture, today, one of the most difficult things for individuals and groups to do is recognize when they have done wrong, to ask forgiveness, and to work to live differently. Many of us have grown up with “I’m OK, You’re OK” or the phrase, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” We listen to the voices of corporations (like BP) saying, “It wasn’t our fault.” We listen to our own voices saying, “I didn’t mean for that to happen – it was with the best of intentions.”
But damage has been done.
Jesus of Nazareth recognized how living up to our mistakes – our faults – and the damage we do intentionally – is important to wholeness, integrity, and relationship. Relationship between people. Relationship between people and God.
So he invited us to give to God – the Creator of All – our disintegrity – our brokenness – our sin, knowing that God’s love is so overwhelming that we would be made whole.
We come together not to beat ourselves up… but to join together in celebration that God’s love makes us – and all Creation – whole.

*Opening Prayer:
One: Holy One, You say to us,
All: “Behold, I make all things new!”
One: But sharing our hurts and fears,
and sharing the hurts and fears
we’ve caused in others
is difficult.
All: Your love surrounds us.
Your love surrounds all Creation.
Your love changes us.
Your love makes us new.

One: In that newness we ask you to help us.
All: To help us forgive,
as you have forgiven us.

One: In that newness, we shout,
All: “Thank you, God!”
Amen!

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”
Call to Gather:
One: “Temptation.” The impulse to do something that we know we shouldn’t do. Some people suggest that it’s part of our brokenness. Others believe it’s simply part of being human – looking for the choices that benefit me in a tangible way (without thinking of the cost to myself or to others).
But Jesus, in his teaching and in his prayer, called us to think carefully about the damage we can do with our choices – damage to ourselves, damage to others, damage to our relationship with God.
Part of the reason we come together is to support each other in the daily walk of life – life that is filled with choices that can heal or harm. Part of the reason we come together is to celebrate the God who brought Creation into being, who walks with us in our choices, who loves us – no matter what!
Shout “Alleluia!” in celebration of God’s love!

*Opening Prayer:
One: Our Father,
All: Our Mother,
One: Shelter-From-The-Storms-of-Life –
All: we ask you to open our eyes.
One: To the dangers of the world around us.
All: To the dangers of the world within us.
One: Not to make us afraid.
Not to keep us hidden.
All: But to make us aware.
Aware of the needs.
Aware of the pitfalls.
Aware of all.

One: In that awareness,
with that awareness,
walking with the Christ –
All: We worship you, God!
Amen!

“For thine is the kingdom…”
Call to Gather:
One: What do we really think of God?
We come here each week, for a variety of reasons.
One of those reasons is to worship.
Not ourselves or each other… but God.
When we open our mouths to pray and sing songs of praise, do we really mean what we say?
Do we believe God is great?
Do we believe that God is wonderful?
Do we believe that God is glorious?
Do we really believe that God is worthy of praise?

If not… why not?

If we do – can we gather together, in joy and hope and excitement – and truly celebrate God? In this time, in this place – let us worship with all of our hearts!

*Opening Prayer:
One: In the quiet of the morning,
All: in the busyness of the day,
One: in the togetherness of the nighttime,
All: we praise you and thank you, God!
One: For your presence in all that is –
All: Alleluia!
One: For your presence in all that was –
All: Alleluia!
One: For your presence in all that will be –
All: Alleluia!
One: For your love!
All: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Amen!

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Season of Creation

Creation 1: Creation, Itself: Luke 14.1,7-14

Call to Gather:
One: In the beginning, before there was anything –
before there was beginning, itself –
God said –
All: “Let there be…”
One: And there was!
Light. Matter. Life.
All: Life of all kinds.
Plant life. Animal life.
Life in ways that we can’t even imagine.

One: And God said, “This is great!”
All: It was great.
It is great!

One: In the beauty of the earth, the fire,
the water, the air;
with the music of the spheres
filling our hearts;
with all creation living its joy!
All: We worship the One it said, “Let there be…”
Alleluia!

Opening Prayer:
All: God of all creation,
you are wonderful!
Thank you for everything
that you have called into being.
As we listen to the rhythm of life –
inside us and around us –
help us to feel your presence,
in every moment.
Thank you, God!
Alleluia! Amen.

Creation 2: Earth : Jeremiah 18.1-11
Call to Gather:
One: In the beginning, before there was anything –
before there was beginning, itself –
God said –
All: “Let there be…”
One: And there was!
Earth. Rock. Soil.
All: Granite and shale,
quartz and lodestone.
Molten lava.
Sheets and blocks,
pebbles and sand.

One: And God said, “This is great!”
All: It was great.
It is great!

One: In the beauty of the earth, the fire,
the water, the air;
with the music of the spheres
filling our hearts;
with all creation living its joy –
All: We worship the One it said, “Let there be…”
Alleluia!

*Opening Prayer:
All: God of all creation,
you are wonderful!
You are the solid foundation
we build our lives upon.
You are the soil,
in which we grow.
You are our God,
we are your Creation!
Alleluia!

Creation 3: Air : Ezekiel 31.1-10a
Call to Gather:
One: In the beginning, before there was anything –
before there was beginning, itself –
God said –
All: “Let there be…”
One: And there was!
Air. Wind. Breath.
All: Oxygen and nitrogen,
and all of the gases
life needs.
Air that sits.
Wind that moves.
Breath of life!

One: And God said, “This is great!”
All: It was great.
It is great!

One: In the beauty of the earth, the fire,
the water, the air;
with the music of the spheres
filling our hearts;
with all creation living its joy –
All: We worship the One it said, “Let there be…”
Alleluia!

*Opening Prayer:
All: God of all creation,
you are wonderful!
In the air that we breath,
move in us.
In the breath that moves the world,
give new life to all creation!
In the Spirit, alive in all, alive with all –
help Creation be
all you want it to be!
Alleluia!

Creation 4: Fire: Exodus 19.16-25
Call to Gather:
One: In the beginning, before there was anything –
before there was beginning, itself –
God said –
All: “Let there be…”
One: And there was!
Light and heat.
Fire and flame.
All: Melding and melting,
changing and creating,
combining the building blocks
to make all matter.

One: Light and heat,
fire and flame.
All: That brings life,
that takes life,
a force of nature.

One: And God said, “This is great!”
All: It was great.
It is great!

One: In the beauty of the earth, the fire,
the water, the air;
with the music of the spheres
filling our hearts;
with all creation living its joy –
All: We worship the One it said, “Let there be…”
Alleluia!

*Opening Prayer:
All: God of all creation,
you are wonderful!
You are present in the Holy Spirit’s
fire,
sometimes filling us up,
making us ready to go –
sometimes overwhelming us,
causing us to stop and be.
Let your fire burn in us, now,
God most holy!
Alleluia!

Creation 5: Water: Luke 8.22-25
Call to Gather
One: In the beginning, before there was anything –
before there was beginning, itself –
God said –
All: “Let there be…”
One: And there was!
Water. Standing and flowing.
Roiling and bubbling.
Calming and stormy.
All: The birthplace of all life.
The element that fills our bodies,
and refreshes our souls.

One: And God said, “This is great!”
All: It was great.
It is great!

One: In the beauty of the earth, the fire,
the water, the air;
with the music of the spheres
filling our hearts;
with all creation living its joy –
All: We worship the One it said, “Let there be…”
Alleluia!

*Opening Prayer:
All: God of all creation,
you are wonderful!
Your grace showers on Creation,
like the rain falls on us today.
Sometimes like a mist that surrounds.
Sometimes like a torrent that soaks.
Sometimes like a river
that carries us away.
Thank you for that grace.
Thank you for that love.
Thank you, God of All!
Alleluia!

Creation 6: Plants and Animals: Genesis 2.18-20
Call to Gather:
One: In the beginning, before there was anything –
before there was beginning, itself –
God said –
All: “Let there be…”
One: And there was!
Plants – single celled and many celled.
Growing in the water.
Growing on the land.
Reaching to the sun!
All: Life that moves!
No legs, two legs, many legs –
insects and animals,
fish of the sea,
birds of the air –
living, moving, being!

One: And God said, “This is great!”
All: It was great.
It is great!

One: In the beauty of the earth, the fire,
the water, the air;
with the music of the spheres
filling our hearts;
with all creation living its joy –
All: We worship the One it said, “Let there be…”
Alleluia!

Opening Prayer: Baba Yetu – on screen

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Proper 7 – Year A

We wander in the wilds, O God.
Sometimes sent by others.
Sometimes sent by ourselves.
Sometimes sent by you.

We wander in the wilds, O God,
and we are afraid.
Afraid that we don’t have the skills.
Afraid that we don’t have the resources.
Afraid that we are all alone.

We wander in the wilds, O God,
and we are afraid…
afraid for our very lives.
Help us, Holy God!
Open our eyes to your Presence!
Open our minds to your Grace!
Open our hearts to your Love!
Help us, Holy God!

As with Sarah and Abraham,
you are our God.
We are your people.
Now and forevermore. Amen.

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Proper 5 – Year A

Great God of all that is…
listen to us, we pray.
We open the newspapers…
and read about corruption.
We turn on the television…
and see death.
We surf the web…
and hear stories of pain.
Help us, we pray.
Help us, we pray!
Help us to hear Christ’s voice –
“She is not dead, but sleeping.”
Help us to hear Christ’s voice –
“Come, follow me.”
Help us to hear Christ’s voice,
“Mercy… not sacrifice!”
Help us to hear Christ’s voice…
and help us to live Christ’s love.
In this time and place.
In all times and places. Amen.

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Christmas Eve

On this Night of nights, God most holy, we give you thanks –
thanks for this time together…
thanks for our families – by blood or by Spirit –
who gather with us to celebrate.
We give you thanks that you created us to be in this world.
Before we were born, you knew us.
You watched as our very bones began to form.
You continue to watch us – and to love us –
each and every day of our lives.
Thank you, loving God.
Thank you, loving God.

Out of that love you have given us an extraordinary gift –
a gift that is difficult to comprehend –
a gift of lived love –
the Christ!
Infant, child, teacher, healer, prophet, saviour –
one of us – one with you!
Thank you, loving God!
Thank you, loving God!

Even as we give thanks for this and all your gifts to us,
we realize that we have not always lived your love.
There are times we have closed our ears
to your messengers’ words.
There are times we have joined with the crowd in condemnation.
There are times we have turned away from real need,
saying, “No room. No room!”
There are times we have buried the presence of the Christ
so deeply within ourselves that our sharing becomes almost impossible.
For these – and all the times –
we have separated ourselves from you, O God –
we ask for your forgiveness.
Even more than forgiveness,
we ask for your wisdom and strength.
That when we face choices which allow us to turn away,
we would choose instead to turn towards you
and your love.

Loving God, hear the prayers of our hearts…
(a time for silent prayer)
Knowing that we are a forgiven and forgiving people,
we lift up our prayers for all who are in need…
* we pray for parents who must make hard decisions;
* we pray for children who are hurting and alone;
* we pray for those whose bodies or spirits are in need of healing;
* we pray for…

God, hear our prayers.
And, in your love, answer.

We pray all these things,
sharing in the words that Jesus gave to his disciples
and gives to us: Our…

(First printed in “gathering: resources for worship planners” Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2007-2008)

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Proper 28 – Year A (Matthew 25.14-30)

For our playful times and our serious ones –
thank you, God!
For our moments of laughter
and our moments of tears –
thank you, God!
For hopes fulfilled and ones to come,
for pasts unfinished and dreams not yet filled –
thank you, God!
For the time you give us,
and the talents you challenge us to risk –
thank you, God!
For holding what we give you,
and keeping it safe.
For loving us, even when we do not love you…
thank you, God.
Because we don’t always live out our love.
Because we don’t always live out your call.
Because we don’t always use
what you’ve given us, to the best of our ability –
forgive us, God.
Because we are sometimes paralyzed:
by fear, by longing, by anger, by greed,
by ourselves and by others.
Because we are sometimes paralyzing,
those who need to be set free…
forgive us, God.
Forgive us, God.
Show us your wisdom, we pray.
So that, next time, we might live into You.
Hear the prayers of our hearts, beloved God.
(silent prayer)

For all those in need,
we ask your blessing.
For all those in fear,
we ask your blessing.
For all those who have nowhere to turn,
we ask your blessing.
And, more than that,
we ask that we might be your blessing
to them,
using the gifts you have freely given,
to share your Love with all.

Thank you, Loving God.
Thank you, Loving God.
Amen!

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