Friday, 31 May 2019


Acts 1:9-11
When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

The Risen Ascended Christ invites us to this table
Find Jesus in the bread that is broken
Find Jesus in the wine that is poured
Find Jesus in each other
All are welcome
Come and eat with the Risen Ascended Christ

In the days after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples in different places, in different ways. As he had done throughout his ministry, he unpacked for them all that he taught.
He explained the love of God in the darkness  of death and in the light of the resurrection.
He forgave their betrayal and denial.
And he commissioned them to go into all the world and make disciples.
It is the Risen Ascended Christ who feeds us here today, who unpacks scripture for us and who send us into the world to be disciples today.
So as Christ taught, we take bread, symbol of his broken body.
We take wine, symbol of his blood poured out.
We feast together, remembering him.
Let us give thanks

Prayer of thanksgiving
Lord Jesus, as you gathered your disciples around the table on the night before you died, you knew they did not understand.
They did not understand your teaching.
They did not understand this memorial you set before them.
And, even in the light of all that has happened and all the ways you continue to teach us, often we do not understand.
But we thank you for the mystery of faith, that:
Christ has died
Christ is risen
Christ will come again.
Lord, in all our misunderstanding, help us to know that you are present with us.
Not just in this place but everywhere.
Not just in these people but in all people.
Not just in this meal but in every meal, be it at a table, on the street or in the dirt.
And so we bring to this table all those we have encountered this week, friends and strangers, near and far, those we acknowledged and those we walked on by and those in whom we failed to see your face.
Forgive our blindness and keep on confronting us with your love that knows no bounds, that makes no distinction, your love that meets us here.
As we remember you in bread and wine, may we remember that by your Ascension you commissioned us to reveal your presence in all the world.
Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts. May they become for us your body and your blood and may we become for you your risen presence in the world.

Christ’s body is broken for the life of the world
Christ’s blood is poured out for the healing of all.
We do this to remember him.

Prayer after communion
As you have welcomed us to this table, may we go and be a welcome for others.
As you have taught us again of your love, may we go and be love for others.
As you have nourished our souls, may we go and be nourishment for others.
As you breathe your peace into us, may we take your peace into all the world.

Risen, ascended Christ, keep on nudging us in our everyday with the demands of discipleship and keep on calling us to recognise you and honour you in all.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

For the healing of the nations

Revelation 22:1-7
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
“See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."

The trees drip with gold,
a feast of early morning sunrises 
stored up over a season,
now seeping out in every leaf across the land: 
a thanksgiving, healing for the nations
And wheat,
a butterscotch carpet
caught in a dervish
of wind and rain and light 
maturing into a feast of bread:
a thanksgiving, healing for the nations
And a table, ready
prepared for a banquet, 
not of harvest grain,
but of the fruits of justice
where all are fed
from the harvest:
For the healing of the nations
The Lord of the harvest welcomes us 
and bids us feast at this table 
where love comes together
For the healing of the nations

Jesus noticed the things around him
ripe fields, fruit out of season, harvest potential 
He spoke of those things as he taught,
meeting people along the road, on the shore, in the town.
He used what he saw to turn our attention to God, 
present in all things,
- the Lord of times and seasons
visible in everyday 
On the night before he died, Jesus took bread, 
forged from grain from the ripe fields 
and wine, drawn from the fruit of the vine and, with these ordinary elements, he instituted this sacrament.
Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it and shared it among friends
He said: This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.
Jesus took wine, poured it out and passed it around
He said: This is the new relationship with God made possible because of my death.
Eat this bread, drink this wine and remember me.
And so, today, we take common things that are special in God's eyes and, following Jesus' command, we share these to remember him.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
God you walk among us still, 
noticing the ordinary, 
uplifting the lowly, 
investing all with significance and worth.
You give us so much
for which to be thankful.
You bestow great gifts of life, love and faith 
more than we can imagine or believe.
As we embrace the abundance of your gifts,
may we be courageous and generous,
sharing and helping others through all you have given.
Help us to use your gifts
to sow the seeds of change and hope 
wherever there is poverty, injustice, abuse, violence or racism.
Help us to use your gifts
to sow seeds of love and care 
wherever there is hate, depression, loneliness, bereavement or sadness.
Help us to use your gifts
to sow seeds of comfort and compassion 
wherever there is anxiety, stress, illness, intolerance or pain.
Help us to use your gifts to gather up the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations
until all your children find roots 
through which they can 
grow and develop, 
encouraging one another
finding ways to be seeds of change and hope in this world today.
Send your Spirit on these gifts that we use today 
and as we share bread and wine, 
as we remember you in this sacrament, 
may we be renewed in our love and commitment, 
your servants whose names are written on your forehead,
whose ways are held in your light 
and may we find nourishment to allow us to continue on your path 
for the healing of the nations

(Taking bread)
This is the body of Christ, broken for you
Take, eat and know healing for the world.

(Taking wine)
This cup symbolises the new relationship made possible with God
Drink this, remember Christ, and be renewed in love and service

Prayer after Communion
In response to the generosity of God, 
let us respond to the work of the harvest 
Let us plant a word of peace,
a word that speaks truth into power and brings peace
Let us plant a word of justice
that will grow into a movement that will set people free.
Let us plant a word of plenty for the hungry and the poor 
that will provide the feast that God ordains.
Let us plant a word of compassion
a word that grows through every policy every rule
every law and always seeks to bring life.
Let us plant a word of love
that offers a way of belonging and renewal
a place called home that carves for us a way 
to the tree of life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Listening for other voices, sharing alternative truths

Acts 2:1-4
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Come all of you who are weary of what life lays on you
Come and receive the gifts of God's Spirit
Come all of you whose faith has been diminished
Come and receive the gifts of God's Spirit
Come all of you who need a shot of transforming love today
God's Spirit meets us here at Christ's table in gifts of bread and wine
And all are invited to feast on the life changing gifts of God.

Throughout his ministry, our Lord Jesus, lifted up the weary, healed the sick, bound up the broken hearted and brought new life to all.
As he shared a last meal with his disciples, he spoke to them again of the meaning of death and resurrection so that, in the days to come, they might make sense of all that was happening.
He took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them, saying:
This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.
He also took the cup and said: This is the new realtionship with God, made possible because of my death. Drink it all of you in remembrance of me.
It was much later, long after the Spirit came, before the disciples understood Jesus' words of life.
And still, today, we struggle to understand all the gifts of God.
And yet, in obedience and faith, we do this to remember him.

Prayer of thanksgiving
O God, in a world so full of alternative facts, help us to discern your truth.
In a world so full of bluster and noise, help us make out the clarity of your call.
We thank you for your gifts - gifts that, beyond all hope, have remained - your faithfulness, your love, your newness of life, your empowering Spirit.
As world powers attempt to divide and diminish, may we remain strong in your love, assured of what is right and just and reminded that your will for all people is good.
May we trust in your power to overcome evil, your love to drive out fear and your goodness to restore all creation by a just and equal sharing of all the earth's resources. And, believing, may we be prompted to act by the power of your Spirit working in us.
May we know those tongues of fire descending on our hearts and lives, empowering us not just to speak but also to listen and understand the voices of others in whom your Spirit rests.
And, as we gather at this table, may we bring with us all our brothers and sisters, the living and departed, the prosperous and the downtrodden, the powerful and the powerless, the seen and the invisible, may we hold space for them as we take our place at this the table of our Risen Lord.
Send your Holy Spirit on us and on those for whom we hold this space and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that all may be transformed. And,  in sharing these everlasting gifts may we know afresh the outpouring of your Spirit causing mayhem in our carefully ordered lives, for the honour and glory of God, Parent, Christ and Holy Spirit.

(Taking bread)
This is the body of Christ, broken for you to transform your brokenness into wholeness and healing.
Do this to remember him.

(Taking the cup)
This is Christ's blood poured out for you that your sins might be forgiven and that you might be restored to oneness with the Triune God who holds all creation in love.
Do this to remember.

Prayer after communion
God you have shared your life with us, may we share our lives with others.
As you have poured your Spirit upon us, may we be renewed from the inside out, may your love bubble up through us until we can no longer remain quiet in the face of hatred and indifference.
In the power of your Spirit may we go from here to change the world, to restore your kingdom here on earth, for the Glory of God.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

God of second chances

Luke 13:1-9
At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ 

God calls us to turn around and gather at this table
The God of second chances invites us to find a place here
So come to this table where God offers a fresh start
and where our God of infinite patience waits to turn our lives inside out.

Jesus shared so much with his disciples
Stories, friendship, teaching, food.
He constantly surprised them by confounding popular wisdom
He often turned things on their head
And, just when they thought they'd got it,
He would make them think again.
Sharing a traditional Passover meal with his disciples
the night before he died
He took bread, blessed it and said:
This is my body broken for you.
And then, after supper, he took a cup of wine, saying
This cup is the new relationship with God 
made possible because of my death
Do this to remember me.

And so we remember Jesus today by sharing these gifts.
Let us first give thanks

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Gathered here today, we give thanks to God for being a God of surprises
A God who constantly challenges us to think again
- to hold back from making harsh judgements.
A God who encourages us to see everything in a different light
A God who is always prepared to give us another chance to turn around and find our way back to love.
As we take our place at this table, we find ourselves cheek by jowl with that great company of saints, the living and the dead.
Those in whose company we are at peace and those whose company makes us uneasy 
Those we expect to find here and those whose presence surprises us
We come, bringing with us all those who are left out, excluded,  forgotten.
And we pray for all who suffer today.
Those fighting for survival in the midst of war
Those forced to flee their homes, their countries and their loved ones
We pray for those who fear strangers and are unable to welcome those who are different
We pray that we, as people of the world, along with our leaders can work together for peace and justice and an equal sharing of the earth's resources.
Give us the will to make space for one another, to always expect and hope that things and people can change and to know that we are always held in your love.
Send your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts of bread and wine and, as we do this to remember you, feed our resolve to change the world with you.

(Taking bread)
Christ who calls us to turn around meets us here in bread, his body broken for the life of the world
(Taking the cup)
Christ who offers us a way back to God, meets us in this wine, symbol of a new relationship with God

We do this to remember him.

Prayer after communion
God you have welcomed us to this table.
You have offered us a way back and another chance
May our welcome here today make us more open to welcoming others
And may all that you have taught us here spill over into our everyday.
Knowing ourselves loved by you, may we love one another and be prepared to keep on turning around to follow the path you reveal until you are glorified here and everywhere, now and forever.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Born in us today

Luke 2:8-20
The Shepherds and the Angels
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Come and see- 
The baby Jesus, now grown
invites you to be part of the story - 
to share at this table
and to wonder at the gift of God
born among us this day

Jesus, promised by prophets
Longed for by the oppressed
Dreaded by kings
Heralded by angels
Born in a manger
Sought out by shepherds
Lived life among the poor and lowly
the outcasts and the strangers
He taught and preached and healed
and gathered friends around him.
Around the table, at supper,
He took bread and broke it, saying:
This is my body broken for you.
He took the cup and said: 
This is the new relationship with God
made possible because of my death
Do this when you are together to remember me.
And so, today, even as we greet the baby God born for us,
in Bethlehem, house of bread - 
we take this bread and this cup,
symbols of the love he has for us
and we share to remember him.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
God as we celebrate your birth today,
as we remember that humble shepherds were among the first to greet you,
we thank you for your life lived among the ordinary.
We see you, O God, in ordinary people and in the strangers and outcasts.
We see you in the poor and the homeless
in the lonely and the oppressed.
We see you in the prisoners and in the refugees.
We see you in the persecuted and the downtrodden,
in every place where love is withheld 
For you are love.
And, as we gather at this table and share in this feast to which you invite us,
we bring with us all those who are left out in the cold today,
those who are excluded because they do not conform
those who have been too badly hurt to want to seek company
and those who long to belong but don't know how.
May we find space to be inclusive, to be open to others, without judgement,
even and especially when we are unsure.
May we err on the side of generosity
for you are a generous God
whose arms embrace and welcome all.
You made your dwelling among us
May your living alongside us change the way we live.
And as we share in these your symbols of love, 
send your Spirit on us and on this bread and wine
that as we carefully unwrap your gifts 
we may be filled and changed by the wonder of love born anew in us.

Here is bread, torn and offered to you - a symbol of Christ's love today

Here is wine, poured out for you - a sign of the lavish gift of God.

By these signs, remember God born for us - light and life for the world.

Prayer after Communion
God, present in the manger, journey with us through life.
Pierce through the glitter and the tinsel and bring us back to the starkness of your love
born for us today, present with us always.
And, with these symbols of God with us may we fill our world with light and with love
For Christ is born and lives in us, today and always.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Dreams and visions

Joel 2:12-13, 28-29
Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
God’s Spirit Poured Out
Then afterward
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

Come to this table all you who dream
and you who plan
You who have visions
and you who like cold, hard facts
Come to this table where God invites you
to know grace and mercy and love
served up in bread and wine

God came in Jesus
to reveal the signs all around
of a different way of living
A way in which we each honour one another
A way in which we love each other
A way in which we make space for the other
Jesus used ordinary things around him
to show us the way of love.
The night he was betrayed,
He gathered his daiciples around him
and shared supper with them
teaching them, even in that last meal
lessons in love.
Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and shared it, saying,
This is my body, broken for you
He took wine and passed it around his disciples,
a new relationship with God made possible
And said: Do this to remember me.
As we follow Jesus' example here today, let us first give thanks.

Prayer of Thanksgivng
God we thank you that, in Jesus, you showed us
that the kingdom of heaven is near
His birth, his life and death, his rising to life
brings hope - not for some distant world of justice and peace
but for our ability, with God's grace, to know the world we long for
the world you long to see for all your people, here and now.
And so as we take these ordinary gifts of bread and wine
that you make special
may we know that you take our gifts too
and use them to make a difference in our world.
So, this Advent, we offer you our hands and our feet
our voices and our intellects
our everyday work and pursuits
asking you to transform all that we offer
in the work of your kingdom
that transforms the world around.
Give us insight and inkling, resolve and direction
to see your kingdom come
bringing life and light in every darkness
and joy and peace in every corner of the world.
Send your Spirit on us and on these gifts of bread and wine
that as we share communion with God and with one another
we may know love born anew in us
and peace that passes all understanding.

This bread is a symbol of the life of the kingdom
Take, eat and live out incarnation

This wine is a symbol of the possibility of relationship
with God and our neighbour
Drink it resolving to repair division

We do this to remember Jesus

Prayer after communion
God you have fed us with the bread of life
May we go and enhance life for others
You have allowed us to drink of the wine of the new kingdom
May we herald in that kingdom in this place today
And, in every encounter we have in the world
may we live out God with us today and always.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Confounding conspiracy

Daniel 6:6-28

So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.
Daniel in the Lions’ Den
Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously. The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, “O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Then they responded to the king, “Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the interdict you have signed, but he is saying his prayers three times a day.”
When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him. Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”
Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!” A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, so that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no food was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
Daniel Saved from the Lions
Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?” Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. The king gave a command, and those who had accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: “May you have abundant prosperity!
I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:
For he is the living God,
enduring forever.
His kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion has no end.
He delivers and rescues,
he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth;
for he has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Plotters, conspirers, those who thrive on the misfortune of others
Come to this table
The faithful, the gentle, all who feel put upon or used
Come to this table
Bystanders, onlookers, those who observe but don't get involved
Come to this table
Christ who took on flesh, who encountered all of these
invites you to eat at this table
to be fed the living bread
and to be changed from the inside out.

Foretold by prophets all through the ages
Longed for by the oppressed down through the years
Looked for in the stars
Sought in the palace
The living God took on flesh
and dwelt among a people unprepared
to be confronted with the word of life.
The Son of God walked among prophets
confronted the authorities
sat down with the outcasts
ate with sinners.
And, the night before he died,
He taught his friends about life and death
and gave them a sign by which to remember him:
He took bread, gave thanks and shared it among them saying:
This is my body, broken for you
Do this in memory of me.
He took the cup and, sharing, said
This cup makes possible a new relationship with God
Drink this and remember me.
And so we, the righteous, the sinners, the outcasts, the prophets,
do as our Lord Jesus commanded.
We take bread and wine and, with God's blessing, share in this sacramental meal.

Prayer of thanksgiving
God as you look upon us now
seeing into our hearts
As you look upon us 
missing no one and nothing
As you look upon us in love
remind us that none of us are beyond your redemption
or out of the reach of your saving grace.
You welcome all to your table
The sinners, the outcasts, the persecutors, the oppressors,
the spiteful, the meddlers, the do-gooders, the conspirators,
alongside the faithful, the perplexed, the hurt and the downtrodden.
You welcome all.
And you feed us with the bread of life.
You welcome us to your table
with love and forgiveness and with comfort and understanding
and your unconditional acceptance 
of us just as we are
thaws our hearts
heals our hurts
and changes our lives.
Send down your Spirit on these gifts before us
So, that as we taste your goodness here
we may make space
at our tables 
and in our lives
for all those forgotten or rejected
by society today
and be moved to share
all you have given us
for the sake of your kingdom.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

(Taking bread)
Here is your Lord, approaching you with arms outstretched in welcome
His body broken for you

(Taking wine)
Here is your Lord, offering you a new relationship with God
Love poured out for you

Do this to remember him

Prayer after Communion
Lord we have feasted on your goodness
Take us now into the world
filled with your love
inspired by your giving
ready to share all that we have received from you.