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!

*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.

“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!

“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!”

“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!

“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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Epiphany 7 – Year B

“Your sins are forgiven!”
Pardon me?
“Your sins are forgiven!”
What do you mean?
“Your sins are forgiven!”
Who are you to tell us this?
I’m not telling you.
Christ is.
God is!
“Your sins are forgiven!”
Our sins are forgiven?
Thanks be to God!

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