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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Advent 3 – Advent Candle Lighting – Luke 1:39-55 – “Wonder”

Call to Gather/Advent Candles:
One: Wait. Watch. Wonder. Waken.
All: This is the Advent of our Christ!
One: Wait. Watch. Wonder. Waken.
All: This is the Advent of our God!
One: And so we wonder.
All: And so we wonder.
One: We wonder where mystery has gone.
We wonder where miracle is hidden.
We wonder if we still have the ability to wonder.
To hope.
To dream.
We wonder if the song of a woman
born to poverty and powerlessness,
but carrying in her body and arms
One who would change the world,
could be true.
Today.
Now.
Where are the people who wonder?
All: Here.
One: What are you wondering on?
All: A baby.
A child.
The Christ.

One: How long will you wonder?
All: 20 days.
Nine months.
All our lives.

One: How will you wonder?
All: With hope.
With love.
With each other.

One: With God?
All: With God’s love, filling our lives!
One: Alleluia.
All: Alleluia!
ALLELUIA! AMEN!

Candle Lighting song: “Come Let us Walk” Music: Bruce Harding (c) 2010. Words: Isaiah 2:5

Opening Prayer:
All: Turn us, God.
Turn us around
to see the wonder
of your Presence.
In each other,
in neighbour,
in the stranger.
Turn us, God.
Turn us around.
Turn us upside down.
As we wait.
As we watch.
As we wonder.
Make us new,
in your Love.
In Christ’s name we ask it!
May it be so!

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Advent Candle Lighting – Week 2 – Mark 1:1-8

Call to Gather/Advent Candles:
One: Wait. Watch. Wonder. Waken.
All: This is the Advent of our Christ!
One: Wait. Watch. Wonder. Waken.
All: This is the Advent of our God!
One: And so we watch
All: And so we watch.
One: We watch a world that speaks without listening.
We watch a world that seems filled with despair.
We watch a world that seeks for something.
We watch a world in which we live,
and act, and have our being.
Is that all we see?
All: We see a world in which God moves.
We see a world embracing love.
We see a world dancing with the Spirit.
We see a world opening its eyes.

One: What are you looking for?
All: A baby.
A child.
The Christ.

One: How long will you watch?
All: 28 days.
Nine months.
All our lives.

One: How will your eyes see?
All: Through hope.
Through love.
Through each other.

One: With God?
All: With God’s love, filling our lives!
One: Alleluia.
All: Alleluia!
ALLELUIA! AMEN!

Candle Lighting song: “Come Let us Walk” Music: Bruce Harding (c) 2010.

Opening Prayer:
All: You’ve sent prophets, God.
You’ve sent grandmothers and grandfathers.
You’ve sent teachers and leaders.
You’ve sent people to speak love.
You’ve sent us.
Help us to watch.
Help us to see.
Help us to understand.
Help us to feel.
Help us to know,
in the birth of a child,
in the wisdom of a teen,
in the laughter of an elder,
that you are with your world.
Always.
Help us, O God!

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Advent Candle Lighting – Week 1 – Mark 13:24-37

Call to Gather/Advent Candles:
One: Wait. Watch. Wonder. Waken.
All: This is the Advent of our Christ!
One: Wait. Watch. Wonder. Waken.
All: This is the Advent of our God!
One: And so we wait.
All: And so we wait.
One: In this world that hustles and bustles,
in this world that bangs and clatters,
in this world that moves without ceasing,
in this world that expects things to be done
yesterday,
where do we find a place to wait?
All: Here.
One: What are you waiting for?
All: A baby.
A child.
The Christ.

One: How long will you wait?
All: 28 days.
Nine months.
All our lives.

One: How will you wait?
All: With hope.
With love.
With each other.

One: With God?
All: With God’s love, filling our lives!
One: Alleluia.
All: Alleluia!
ALLELUIA! AMEN!
(rb)

Candle Lighting song: “Come Let us Walk” Music: Bruce Harding (c) 2010 Evensong Worship Resources.
(The candle is lit as we sing.)

Opening Prayer:
All: God of quiet waiting,
God of new hope,
help us, we pray.
Let your Spirit lift us.
Let your love ground us.
Let your peace challenge us –
to wait with you,
even as we wait for you!
Come, Blessed Christ,
come again into our lives!
Today.
Tomorrow.
Every day to come.
Amen!

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A baptismal liturgy for All Saints’

Introduction of the Family & Candidate for Baptism
An introductory statement. For example:
One: For the past four years, P1 has been celebrating God’s presence and Christ’s love with us, since he came to Canada from the Philippines. Last year, his wife, P2, and first son were able to join him, here in Canada and – along with their newest child – they’ve been with us since that time. Today, they bring the youngest member of their family – NN – for baptism.

Let us come together in thanksgiving and celebration that N is part of God’s creation, and that he is part of this part of the family and household of God! Alleluia!

All: Alleluia!

Blessing of the Water & Light
(A child from the congregation comes forward to pour water in the font. A young adult brings the Christ candle to the font for the blessing.)
One: Holy God, you moved over the void –
and into the chaos you said a word,
“Light!”
All: With that word
you blessed all creation.
With this light
you bless all creation.
Alleluia!

One: Holy God, with that light we could see
the waters that roiled and boiled.
All: The water that gave birth to all things.
The water that gave birth to us.
These waters that celebrate
new life in Christ!
Alleluia!

One: With your love –
All: Bless this light!
One: With your love –
All: Bless this water!
One: With your love –
All: Bless this child!
May it be so!

Questions & Promises of the Parents:
P2 and P1, you came to talk with me about baptism, and about why it is important to you that your child be baptised. So that the entire community can understand your desire, I would ask you these questions.

What is the name of this child? NN

Do you bring NN to be baptised? We do.

Do you believe in God, who has created and is creating? We do.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh,
and that Jesus came to the world to reconcile it and make it new? We do.

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit,
and that the Holy Spirit remains in the world,
teaching us what it means to be part of
God’s family and household –
and, for us as Christians,
part of God’s family and household in Christ’s love?
We do.

Will you do everything in your power to teach N. what it means to be part of God’s family and household in Christ’s love? Will you love him and care for him, to the best of your ability and beyond, each and every day of your life?
We will, God being our helper!

Question & Promise of the Congregation
You have heard P1 & P2’s responses.

So now I turn to you, sibs in Christ’s love, to ask you a question and to ask you to make a promise. If, when the time comes, you do not believe you can make that promise in good conscience, I would ask you to remain silent.

But –
if you are ready to live it out –
then let P2 and P1 and N.
and God –
hear it with a shout of joy!

Will you do everything in your power to teach N. what it means to be part of God’s family and household in Christ’s love? Will you learn with him and from him, and will you love him and care for him as a child of the Creator and a sibling in Christ?
All: We will, God being our guide!

Is there anyone here willing to take on the specific responsibility of praying for N., by name, each and every day of your life? Please, come forward and join N.’s family at the font! (Those taking on a ministry of constant prayer for N. come forward.)

All Saints’ Remembrance:
Today is All Saints’ Sunday – a day when we remember all of our sisters and brothers who have entered into God’s house through death. While we celebrate that they are in God’s presence, we continue to miss them, here, in this community. In baptism, we remember that we are connected with all of God’s people and with all of Christ’s disciples throughout history – those who have already lived, those who are living now, and those who are yet to be born. We are all that “great cloud of witnesses” who can never be separated from God’s love.

As a reminder that they have taught us many things about God’s love, we name them now – brothers and sisters, grandmothers and grandfathers in faith:
(The community calls out the names of those who have died since the last time of remembrance.)

Their love is part of God’s love. God’s love is neverending.
God’s love is present with us. Their love is present with us.
Alleluia!
All: Alleluia!

Baptism & Blessing
NN –
we baptise you in the name of God the Father,
whose arms are open wide (handful of water is poured on the baptised person’s head),
and in the name of God the Son,
who walks with you all of your days (handful of water is poured on the baptised person’s head),
and in the name of God the Holy Spirit,
whose wings will keep you safe (handful of water is poured on the baptised person’s head).

(The family is invited to lay hands on the baptised person’s head and shoulders, the rest of the community standing is invited to lay their hands on celebrant and the family.)
NN
we bless you in the name of God the Mother,
whose arms will hold you close;
and in the name of God the Child,
who teaches us how to love;
and in the name of God the Holy Spirit,
whose wings will carry you to places you can only dream of.

We mark you with the sign of the cross (water is used to make the sign of the cross on the baptised person’s forehead)
so the world will know, and you will never be able to forget,
that you are a beloved child of God.

Welcome (little) brother/sister!

Congregational Blessing (sung):
(As the congregation sings a blessing appropriate to the context and family, the family walks down and back up the aisle for the congregation to see the newly baptised person.)

Presentation of Bible, Candle & Certificate
(At St. Andrew’s the congregation gives an age-appropriate bible to the baptised person. If they are an infant or child, we ask that the parents read some of the stories to their child, like they would read other storybooks. The baptised person is also given the baptismal candle and certificate.)

One: Go in peace, to love and to serve the Lord!
All: Thanks be to God!

(The family is seated and the service continues.)

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From a service that explored Scripture…

Call to Gather
One: (holding up the bible) What’s this?
Two: A Bible.
One: Ok. (pause) What’s a Bible?
Two: Well… it’s a…
One: Obviously, it’s a book. I get that part.
Two: Actually, it’s not really a book.
One: No?
Two: No. It’s a library of books.
One: A library?
Two: A library.
A library of stories told, and thoughts written.
A library of wondering about God,
and a library of trying to find answers.
A library, written by many people,
over 1500 years…
and one that has lasted another 2000.

One: Why is library here, on this table?
All: Because it’s important to us.
Because in it,
we see stories and dreams,
hopes and wonders,
the Spirit moving,
the Christ teaching,
and the Creator changing the world.

One: In this library.
All: In that Bible.
Two: When we share the stories,
when we listen and learn,
when we talk and love…

All: We worship God!

Prayer of Approach
All:In the words,
and in the spaces between them;
in the stories that are told,
and the stories we imagine,
speak to us, God!
For you are God,
the creator of all things.
The one who loves,
with an overwhelming love.
As the days get longer,
and the cross gets closer,
help us to read, remember and live
Your 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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For Luke 18:9-14

One: With our lips (touch lips)
All: we give thanks!
One: With our hearts (touch heart)
All: we give thanks!
One: With our minds (touch head)
All: we give thanks!
One: With our lives (swish from head to toe)
All: we give thanks!
One: For our lives within – (both hands to centre)
All: for the world around – (big round earth)
One: We give thanks, (cupped hands)
All: Loving God! (crossed arms)
Alleuia, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA!
AMEN!

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Proper 23 – Year C

I’m hurting.
So are we.
I’m afraid.
Like many in the world.
I don’t know what to do.
A great number are lost and searching.
Where can we go for help?
Where can we go for guidance?
Where can we go to know
that we are loving and lovable?
Where can we go?
We can go into God’s love.
Hurting or whole, we are immersed in God’s presence.

Hurting or whole?
Hurting or whole,
we are invited into God’s healing love.

Thanks be to God.
Thanks be to God!

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