Friday, 2 September 2016

God chooses you (Deuteronomy 30; Luke 14)

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Luke 14:25-33

The Cost of Discipleship
Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

Invitation
This is the table of our Lord Jesus Christ who chooses you to dine with him in this place today.
Choosing you, he invites you to find, at this table, strength to carry your cross.
So come all who are hesitant and dithering.
Come you who are sure and committed.
Choose Christ who has chosen you.
Choose life, symbolised here in bread and wine.

Narrative
Jesus constantly laid before his friends, choices:
The choice to remain or to follow
The choice to listen or to ignore
The choice to be blind or to see
The choice to be sick or to be whole
The choice of life or of death.

His disciples chose life - they followed, they listened, they saw, they were made whole.
And even though they often faltered or dithered or forgot, Jesus didn't give up or let up - he kept on holding out forgiveness and newness of life.
And so, the night before he died, he gathered his friends around a meal, spoke to them again of the cross and invited them to remember him by choosing to share in this feast together.
He shared bread, symbol of his body, broken for the life of the world.
He shared the cup, symbol of a new relationship with God.
This table bears those symbols today.
Before we share, let us give thanks.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
God we thank you that you never impose yourself on us but gently, persistently invite us into relationship with you.
You invite us to choose life over death, to take up our cross and follow Christ.
May we choose life for the sake of the world.
God we pray for our world in all its pain and suffering.
We pray for all those who, every day,  are forced to make hard choices or for whom there is no choice.
Those forced from home and family by war, by oppression, by danger, by evil or natural disaster.
Show us how to restore the voices of those who are silenced along with the freedom to choose for those who find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
May your cross symbolise the way of suffering carved out in love that transforms pain and renews life. May we always be willing to bear another's burden, to lift up the suffering and to know the blessing of travelling together.
We pray for refugees, for migrants, for all seeking a place to call home. May we choose to open our hearts to make room, to share the road and to know ourselves taught by those whose learning is wrought through pain and hardship.
May we choose life for the sake of the church.
God we thank you for all those who have gone before us on the journey of faith. Those on whose shoulders we now stand. Those who surround us as we share this feast. May we always make space for others around your table, where there is love enough for all.
Give your church boldness and wisdom to proclaim the God who invites all people to choose life.
May we choose life for our sake and the sake of the communities in which we live.
As we go about our everyday lives give us courage to serve and to be served.
Be with those whom we know who grieve, who have lost the joy of living. Help us to put ourselves aside and sit with them until we are ready to continue the journey together with you.
So, choosing God, as we come to this table today, may our choice witness to the hope we have in you. Send you Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and of wine that they may become life for all.
Feed us here with strength to take up our cross and follow you every day.
Amen.

Fraction
(Taking bread)
This is Christ's body broken for the life of the world.

(Taking the cup)
This cup symbolises Christ's shed blood reminding us of forgiveness and newness of life.

By these we remember Christ who took up the cross and offered life to us.

Prayer after communion
God who has fed us and confronted us again with our oneness with all the world, strengthen us to take up our cross and follow you, gathering up along the way all those who falter and fall, all those who dither, those who are blind or sick and want to be whole. We who have choices, everyday may we choose life with you, life in all its fullness for the sake of the world and the kingdom of God.
Amen

Friday, 25 March 2016

Unfinished (Mark 16:1-8)

Mark 16:1-8
The Resurrection of Jesus
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Invitation
Jesus has gone from the tomb.
At this table, we celebrate resurrection in company with the women who went to anoint his body.
Amazed, terrified, stunned into silence, here we release their story: Jesus is risen.
Jesus is risen and feasts with us here as we remember him.
There is a place at this table for you who are frightened.
There is a place at this table for you who are weary.
There is a place at this table you who have no voice.
There is a place at this table for you.
Take your place and meet the risen Christ.

Narrative
Our Maundy Thursday services retold the institution of this sacrament: How Jesus, the night he was betrayed, gathered friends around him to share the Passover meal and, after supper, took bread, broke it, blessed it and shared it with them saying:
This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.
He also took the cup, saying: 
This cup is the new relationship made possible because of my death. Drink this in remembrance of me.
Jesus instituted this remembrance before he was betrayed, denied, abandoned by his friends and killed.
We celebrate because he rose again, demonstrating that God's love is greater than evil and God's grace brings forgiveness for all.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
God, here in this sacrament, instituted by Jesus before his death, we celebrate all that confounds death and the evil that stalks our world. We celebrate love, forgiveness and grace.
We celebrate good news that cannot be hushed up, stories that overcome terror.
We celebrate Jesus - his birth, his life, his death and resurrection. We celebrate all that he taught and all that he modelled in his living and dying.
As we look in despair at the evil that continues to stalk our world, may we be hopeful, audaciously hopeful that love continues to have the last word and that there will always be good news stories to be told in every time of darkness and hopelessness.
God we pray for victims of terror, for those who mourn, for those who are homeless, for those forced to flee for their lives. Give us compassion and the willingness to meet others in generosity of spirit, sharing all that we have and being open to receive all that others bring to our lives, sharing our common humanity as children whom God calls beloved.
At this table, O God, as we greet Jesus, risen and going on ahead of us, may we be anxious not only to remember him but to follow him into all the world.
Send your Spirit on us and on this bread and this wine, that as we share this feast we may also share Christ's breath of life and of peace with which to bless our homes, our communities and our world today.

Fraction
The body of Christ, broken for you, that you may remember him
The blood of Christ poured out for you that you may know a new relationship with God.
These gifts of God, given for the life of the world.

Prayer after communion
Risen Lord Jesus, here you have fed us with life and with hope. May we not remain silent or afraid, but take these gifts into your broken world, knowing that death does not have the last word, that evil is not stronger than love, that your forgiveness and grace is sufficient to heal and transform every darkness.
So may your life bring hope and healing for the nations and peace against the odds.
Amen.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

All about love

Mark 12:28-44
The First Commandment
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
The Question about David’s Son
While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David?
David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’
David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.
Jesus Denounces the Scribes
As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
The Widow’s Offering
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Invitation
Come, dine.
Jesus invites all to this table.
The rich and the poor.
The proud and the humble.
All who live in abundance.
All who live in scarcity.
Jesus calls us, who are not far from the kingdom
to share at this table where there is love and nourishment for all.
Come, dine at the table of our Lord.

Narrative
As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem, he taught his disciples about life and death, about suffering and triumph, about loving God and loving each other. He asked and answered questions and did all that he could to prepare those he loved for what lay ahead.
And, on their last night together, the night on which he was betrayed, he gathered his disciples around a table, shared supper with them, and instituted this memorial, the sacrament that we share in memory of him.
Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, saying: This is my body, broken for you. Take, eat, to remember me.
After supper, he took the cup saying: This cup is the cup of salvation, making possible the forgiveness of sin and a new relationship with God. Drink this to remember me.
Here we have symbols of Christ's body broken for us and Christ's blood poured out for us.
Let us give thanks to God.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength. And love your neighbour as yourself."
Jesus, Son of God who is love, as we gather round your table to follow your instruction to remember you in bread and wine, may we be called back to remember all the other things you taught us:
To love God and one another.
To share what we have.
To live humbly, at peace with one another.
As we approach your table we confess that we have failed to heed your teaching here in this community and we have failed our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
So, before we share these holy symbols of love that you prepare for us, we bring to you our prayers of confession and our prayers for those we have not loved as you love.
Lord forgive us for all those times we have tuned out the evening news programmes or skimmed over the newspapers because we have become hardened to stories of war and conflict, to suffering and distress.
We are familiar with stories of hunger and homelessness, unmoved by images of desolation, accepting of tented cities housing refugees and resigned to places of beauty being raised to rubble.
God forgive us that we can so easily dismiss injustice, inequality and racism, that we can so easily distance ourselves from brothers and sisters in Christ who look to us for help.
Break our hearts as yours is broken for all your children who suffer today.
Show us, who live in comfort, that the needs we see around the world meet us on our doorsteps too.
And, as our hearts are broken, may we respond with love and compassion, giving of ourselves as you gave.
Send your Spirit now on this bread and this cup. 
As we break this bread, may we remember your broken body and our broken world.
As we share the cup, may we remember your blood poured out for us along with the bloodshed throughout our world today.
And, in our remembering, may we be broken and poured out to serve the world in which we live, the world, near and far, that you call us to love and to serve.
For then we will truly remember you.

Fraction
This is the body of Christ broken for you and for all humankind.
Take, eat and remember in love.

This is the cup of salvation, Christ's blood shed that we might know a new relationship with God.
Drink this to remember the promise.

Prayer after communion
Lord Jesus we have remembered you at your table, sharing in your broken body and blood shed for us. May these symbols of everlasting love shatter and inspire us so that we cannot be the same but are moved to share your love until it hurts with all your children throughout the world.
Nourished by your gifts to us, may we see clearly how and where you want us to serve you in the world and, in the strength of your love may we truly love one another by serving one another in the name of the One who created us, who redeems us and who sends us out into all the world.
Amen

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Re-discovering Advent

2 Kings 22:1-10; 23:1-3
Josiah Reigns over Judah
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.
Hilkiah Finds the Book of the Law
In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying, “Go up to the high priest Hilkiah, and have him count the entire sum of the money that has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people; let it be given into the hand of the workers who have the oversight of the house of the Lord; let them give it to the workers who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house, that is, to the carpenters, to the builders, to the masons; and let them use it to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the house. But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”
The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” When Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, he read it. Then Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workers who have oversight of the house of the Lord.” Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “The priest Hilkiah has given me a book.” Shaphan then read it aloud to the king.
2 Kings 23:1-3
Josiah’s Reformation
Then the king directed that all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem should be gathered to him. The king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him went all the people of Judah, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. All the people joined in the covenant.

Invitation
Come to this table to begin a journey of rediscovery today
At this table, rediscover Gods word made flesh
At this table, rediscover God's light rekindled
At this table, rediscover God's welcome for you
Come, rediscover God's love made real in bread and wine

Narrative
To a world hoping and longing, God sent the Christ child to bring light
That light became a refugee, forced to seek grace and safety from strangers
That light survived to teach and heal, to tell stories and share wisdom
That light, the Son of God, gathered around him friends to whom he entrusted
the light of the gospel, friends who sometimes let the light burn brightly and who sometimes let it dwindle, friends in whom he never stopped believing
And so we gather around this table today, as Jesus did the night he was betrayed.
We gather to share bread, symbol of Christ's body broken for us.
We gather to share the cup, symbol of Christ's blood poured out for us that we might know salvation.
We gather, friends of Jesus today.
In some here, Chrsit's light shines brightly, in some it is but a spark
Still, Christ believes in each of us.
So as you share this feast, may the light of Christ be rekindled in you.
Let us give thanks to God

Prayer of Thanksgiving
God we thank you that you never stop believing in us.
And you entrust us with your light.
In gratitude, deep gratitude, may we take the light you offer us here into every corner of our world.
Into the darkness of food insecurity
Into the darkness of homelessness
Into the darkness of poverty
Into the darkness of the refugee camps
Into the darkness of radicalisation
Into the darkness of terrorism
God, wherever your light is needed today, may your people, to whom you have entrusted it, be torch bearers, gently rekindling sparks that have been extinguished, fanning into flame love that has been broken and hope that has been crushed.
May we recall and celebrate the light of your love for the world.
May we bring to this feast all who dwell in darkness praying for the healing touch of your light.
Send your Spirit now upon us and upon this bread and wine that we use.
May we who share this feast proclaim your love and shine your light in all the world today.
Go before us, our light and our salvation.

Fraction
This is the body of Christ broken for you to bring light into all the world
This is the blood of Christ poured out for you bringing healing in the darkness.
We do this to remember the light.

Prayer after communion
God as you have offered us in this feast your light and your love, may we be strengthened for the journey and carry others with us into the glorious light of your love that lasts forever.
Amen

Friday, 4 September 2015

With all the saints

 
Hebrews 11:1-16, 12:1,2
The Meaning of Faith
​Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
The Examples of Abel, Enoch, and Noah
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.
The Faith of Abraham
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”
All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Invitation
By faith you are invited to come on a journey
A journey that takes you into God's story
Into the heart of that long line of saints whose stories we have shared in this place
By faith, the risen Lord Jesus invites you to gather around this table and to share in this feast 
that is part of the story of faith and of hope and of love.
Come, be a part of this story today.

Narrative
Listen again to the story of this sacrament.
Our Lord Jesus, the night he was betrayed, gathered around him those disciples with whom he had shared his journey.
He sat at table with friends, those with whom he fished, those with whom he had taught, those he'd  called from their nets to be about God's business.
As they shared supper, they recalled stories of their life together and they began to write a new story.
After supper, Jesus took bread. He blessed it and broke it and offered it to them, saying: This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.
He took the cup and told them: This is the new relationship with God made possible because of my death. Drink this cup and remember me.
Today, this bread and this cup become part of the story of faith.
We share them to remember the life and death of our Lord and the new relationship we have with God because Christ makes us part of the story of faith.
So let us give thanks.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
God we thank you for the stories of faith.
Those written long ago.
Those still being written today.
We thank you that you place us firmly in that story, with that long line of saints, of the past, the present and the future.
You invite us to co-author with you the next part of the story.
So we thank you for this table and for this sacrament by which you remind us of your love and your invitation to go on a journey.
A journey that is unpredictable.
A journey that takes us places we might never have imagined.
A journey that takes us to the heart of God.
As we respond to your gracious invitation, we bring with us all those who journey today.
Those whose journeys have become more about survival than about living.
Those whose journeys have become flights of desperation rather than gentle meandering.
At this table, we embrace, in this story of faith, refugees throughout the world whose stories have touched and horrified us with their tales of desperation.
We pray for parents desperate enough to take their children into precarious waters because that is safer than staying on land.
We pray for families desperate enough to risk their lives by hiding in confined spaces, hoping to be transported to safety.
We pray for all those desperate enough to risk harm and scorn and rejection and even death to seek a better way of life for themselves and their family.
God may their desperation be our inspiration.
May we be inspired to care.
May we be inspired to take action, to do what we can to make a difference.
And may we be inspired to pray without ceasing.
Send your Spirit upon this bread and wine today that it may become for us a means of discovering your grace anew.
As we share today the bread of life and the cup of salvation may we be inspired to intervene as you did, to reach into and change the stories that are being woven all around us. 
To intervene with compassion and even with sacrifice to ensure that your saints today reach out and help one another on the journey that you continue to make with us and all your children.
A journey of faith that knows no borders.
A story of love that knows no limits.
God make us, your people gathered at this table today, part of that story that changes lives, changes governments, changes nations and changes the world.

Fraction
The grace and love of God is present today in this bread, broken for you.
Take, eat and remember.

A new relationship with God is offered today in this cup.
Drink deep and be inspired to compassion.

Prayer after communion
God in bringing us to this table, you have fed us with love and compassion and confronted us with the story of your children today, a story played out In so many ways through the ages,a story that won't be changed unless we step up and make a difference.
And so, with the food of your love barely digested in us, may we call on your strength to do what is right, what is just, what is loving.
May we step out in faith to write with you a new story in which all your people share in the resources that you have given, inspired by desperation to love and compassion.
Make each of us a part of that new story of faith and life that is your will for all people.
For the glory of God
Amen

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Bless the Lord


Psalm 113
God the Helper of the Needy
​Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
praise the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

Invitation
This is Christ's table where all are welcome
Those who are full of praise
Those who are full of woe 
Those for whom life brings joy
Those for whom life brings challenge
Whoever you are 
Whatever you face
Christ meets you here offering love and grace
Come to Christ's table knowing Christ welcomes you here.

Narrative
Christ walked with friends and strangers
along dusty roads and rocky shores
on beaches and hillsides
At bedsides and gravesides
He taught and healed, laughed and cried
Lifted people up or got down beside them
And, on the night he was betrayed,
he gathered some of those friends
around a table in an upper room. 
He washed their feet and taught them to serve
He fed their minds and bodies and taught them to share.
He took bread, blessed it and broke it, and told them:
This is my body broken for you.
And then he took a cup and told them:
This cup symbolises a new beginning with God 
made possible because of my death. 
Do this to remember me.
And so we take this bread and this cup 
and we give thanks to God for these symbols of grace.
Let us pray

Thanksgiving
God, like the Psalmist we praise you today
because you accept us just as we are.
The rejoicing and the grieving
Those who are content and those who are restless
Those who find life easy, those who find life hard
You know us and love us and hold out your arms in welcome.
And so we come, some with faltering steps, some at a run 
some in our own time, some dragged along by others.
We come and find you waiting on us.
As we bask in your welcome we bring with us
all who need to be fed today
Those hungry for love
Those hungry for knowledge
Those hungry for justice, those hungry for peace
Those hungry for shelter, those hungry for status
Those hungry for stability, those hungry for family.
At your table there is room for all and enough for all.
Those of this world- and the next.
And so we thank you that you call us sons and daughters.
You lift us from the places we have been and open up for us new horizons.
Send your Spirit on these symbols that we use here.
May our hearts and minds be open wide in wonder that such love and grace
And mercy and forgiveness is crammed into a sip of wine and a cube of bread.
And as we share together may we know at your table 
there is room for us and room for all.
And may we bless your name forevermore.
Amen

Fraction
In this bread, we know Christ's body broken for us
We share the feast together
In this cup we know a new relationship with God
We do this to remember him

Prayer after Communion
God we have been fed at this table
We have been nourished and encouraged
We have been cradled in caring and lifted in love
Help us now to go into all the world sharing the gifts we have been given
until all your world is fed.
Knowing your grace in simple things, may we simply live to hand on your love
as you have handed it to us.
May we carry your very self in us so that all may see you
 the God of the Universe making your home with us
Bless the Lord O my soul.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

On a journey

Hopes and dreams for the journey
A Communion Liturgy written for a RevGals event in Scotland

Prayer
God of familiar paths and new discoveries
We greet you here
God of ancient texts and fresh insight
We open our hearts
God embraced by some, rejected by others
We make room for you this day
As you make room for us.
Remove all that would keep us from recognising you as we worship you here
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Luke 24:28-35
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.


Two women walked the road
And as they walked
they talked - 
of death and resurrection
of hope and promise
of faith and discernment
of love and discipleship
Sharing a vocation
that is costly and demanding
Sifting through the detritus
for the jewels that are buried.
And between them
was the risen Christ
listening and encouraging
consoling and affirming
making his presence known
in the breaking of the bread of life
- the sharing of stories
of joys and disappointments
of comfort and longings
Souls laid bare
not seeking answers
or solutions
not even congratulations
or commiserations
But simply the sacred gift
Of listening
in which the work of healing is begun.

(This week has been a week of revelations, of companionship, of listening and of healing and now, as we share Communion together, let's hear Christ's invitation to us.)

Invitation
We come from North and South, from East and West.
Christ invites us to sit at table, one with each other and with God.

Narrative
Christ walks alongside us opening our eyes to the things of the Spirit
Inviting us to enter into a deeper relationship, a new understanding, changing us one step at a time.
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus shared super with his disciples, one who would betray him, one who would deny him and the others who would run away.
Knowing all that -  Jesus invited them into a new relationship made possible because of his death.
Today in the midst of our pilgrimage, Christ invites us to do the same.
To break bread and to share the cup in memory of him.

Let us give thanks;

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Walking and talking
Going ahead
Hanging back
Jesus meets us on the road
The road that is strewn with pebbles
The road that is full of pot holes
At times with strident steps
At times with faltering shuffle
Sometimes matching our pace
Sometimes slowing us down or moving us on
God we thank you for this time away from our daily routine
Sharing with strangers, now friends
We thank you for all the evidence of your presence as we have travelled
Breadcrumbs dropped along the way
For expectations met or exceeded
For hopes kindled or fulfilled
For challenges laid down or taken up
We bring to you those we have met on the way this week
Those physically present
Those we have carried in our hearts and minds
And those whose stories we have heard and shared
We thank you for causing our hearts to burn within us
as you have revealed to us new insight
as you have unlocked mystery
and upset our certainty,
uprooting, changing, bending and breaking
And now as we break bread together with you in our midst
send your Holy Spirit on these your gifts
May we be nourished and inspired to continue our pilgrimage
In the name of Christ our beginning and our ending
Amen

Sharing Peace
Gods peace is here, not to make us content, but to make us restless to find our way home.
Let us share the peace together.

RevGals Pheeto