Proper 13 – Year A (Genesis 32.22-31)

Sometimes, this book is so frustrating!
What book is that?
The Bible.
The Bible?
Yes!
Sometimes I read it
and it makes so much sense.
Sometimes I read it
and I struggle to understand.
Sometimes,
it feels like wrestling with God.

Exactly!
Instead of answers I find more questions.
What am I supposed to do?
Perhaps,
instead of seeking understanding,
we need to learn from the struggle.

So, all of my struggling to understand,
is important!
Perhaps,
in our wrestling with God,
we worship God.
Perhaps, like Israel,
in our worship and our wrestling,
we see God’s face.

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Proper 12 – Year A (Romans 8.26-39)

Your love, God, fills all of creation.
Because we know that, we bring our hopes, our
dreams and our fears to you.
Today, we look deep inside of ourselves,
and recognize all those things for which
we are thankful.
In love, we offer them to you.
(silent prayer)
For all your goodness, God
We give you thanks.
Today, we look deep inside of ourselves,
and recognize all of those things
we do that cause harm.
We recognize those things
we don’t do that cause harm.
We ask for your forgiveness.
We ask for your wisdom.
We ask for your help to heal
the harms we have caused.
For all your goodness, God
We give you thanks.
Today, we look outside of ourselves,
and realize the need that we see.
It can be overwhelming, God.
Help us, we pray,
to be your hands and your heart
in the world.
Help us, we pray,
to show that nothing can come between you
and your creation.
For all your goodness, God
We give you thanks.
Amen.

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Proper 12 – Year A (Romans 8.26-39)

Have you found God?
I didn’t know God was lost.
No, no, no! God isn’t lost!
We are.
No we aren’t.
We’re at St. Andrew’s United Church.

No, no, no – I mean we are lost souls.
We are?
Why are we lost?

We’re lost because of “The Fall”.
We’re lost because of our sinful nature.
We’re lost because we turn our backs on God,
separating ourselves from God’s love.
Really?
Are you sure about that?

Yes!
What about Paul’s words…
“Not death, not life,
not things present,
not things to come,
not powers,
not height, not depth,
not anything else in all creation,
can separate us from the love of God
in Christ.”

Oh. Right.
God’s love is with us.
God’s love is with all creation.
Yesterday, today, forever.
Nothing can separate us from God’s love!
Alleluia!

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Baptismal Formula

Ministers in The United Church of Canada are required to use the traditional trinitarian formula (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) at baptism. While this is wonderful in keeping us in sync with our sisters and brothers in the World Council of Churches and in the Roman Catholic Church, I’ve found some internal dissonance because of the exclusively male language. One of the things I’ve realized is that it is possible to add to the formula. Here is the formula I’ve been using for that past 10 or so years:

Child’s name, we baptise you in the name of God, the Father,
whose arms are open wide;
and in the name of God, the Son,
who teaches us how to love;
and in the name of God, the Holy Spirit,
whose wings will keep you safe.

Child’s name, 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 will walk with you all of your days;
and in the name of God, the Holy Spirit,
whose wings will carry you to places you can only begin to dream of.

Child’s name, we mark you with the sign of the cross,
so the world will always know – and you will never be able to forget –
that you are a child of God.

Welcome little sister/brother.

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