Saturday, 30 November 2019

Staying awake

Matthew 24:42-44
Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Christ’s table is for all who are weary
Christ’s table is for all who feel unprepared
Christ’s table is for all who are woke
Christ’s table is for all who are ready
Christ’s table is for all
So come, you who feel overwhelmed
Come, you who feel way behind
Come, you who feel smug
Come, all of you
Christ invites us all to this table
To find rest
To find hope
To find peace
To find joy
All wrapped up in the gift of Christ - for all today.

In Jesus, God was born among us
Born into a particular time and place
Sent to a special nation
In Jesus God is born among us
Born for every time and place
Sent to every nation
Jesus countered political unrest
with a message of hope
Jesus  met violence and resistance
with words and actions that spelled out Peace
Jesus waded through expectations
and showed the way to real life and relationship with God and one another
People didn’t get him then
We don’t get him now
Yet, the night before he died, he gathered with his friends
Friends who misunderstood
Friends who misinterpreted his words
Friends who would run away when the going got tough
He gathered them around and fed them bread and wine, symbols of love in action
And he asked them to do the same, in remembrance of him.
Today we share this bread and wine set before us at Christ’s table here and we give God thanks.

Prayer of thanksgiving
God we thank you today for gathering us around your table.
You know we often don’t get you, we often misinterpret you and, when things get tough, we run away.
Yet you invite us here and sit with us.
You make us part of your kingdom.
And you continue to reveal to us what it means to be your disciples today, in these times.
In these times of political turmoil.
In these times of violence and unrest.
In these times when we will pin our hopes on almost anything that promises false hope.
In these times, O Lord, you remind us that your kingdom is already here and you invite all who are weary,  all who are hurting, all who are fearful, all who are running away, the displaced, the dispossessed, the refugee, victims of violence and war and earthquake and famine. Those forced to abandon all that they know and find no love in their neighbour.
So God, as we share here, we bring with us all those who are overlooked or rejected, all who have been abandoned or exploited. We bring our neighbours and ask that you will show us how to be all
that you created us to be, your children who love God and share our freedom and abundance with all who do not look like us as well as those who do.
God, at this table, confront and challenge, comfort and cajole, convict and compel us to follow you into all the world sowing seeds of peace and joy and hope in this season and in every season.
God send your Holy Spirit on us and upon these gifts we now share so that we may be filled and we may go and feed the world.

On the night before he died, Jesus took bread, he broke it and shared it saying- This is my body, broken for you
Do this to remember me

He took the cup, declaring a new relationship made possible with God, for all
For all
For all.

We share with those gathered here, with those who have gone before and with those who have yet to find their way to Christ’s table.
We do this to remember him.

Prayer after Communion
Lord you have fed us crumbs of hope
May we go and multiply your gifts bringing hope to the world.
Lord you have given us a taste of new life
May we go and quench the thirst of all those who long for justice
As you came to bring light into the worlds darkness may we shine brightly with that light that darkness can not overcome and with love that cannot be snuffed out.
May we be prepared to see your alternative kingdom come disrupting the world’s power and ushering in your peace and hope and joy in this place and this time for all your children throughout the world
Starting here today.
In Jesus name.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Reign of Christ

Luke 23:33-43
When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[ Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”]] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The crucified Christ invites us to dine with him
The reigning Christ invites us to take our place at this table
The forgiving Christ makes space for us here and now
So come
Know yourself welcomed
Know yourself included
Know yourself forgiven
Come and be fed by the one who gave all for us
Come and remember him

The night before he died, Jesus gathered his friends around to celebrate Passover. As they ate together, they told stories by which they remembered the origins of their faith. 
They remembered how God had rescued the people from Egypt.
They remembered how God led them through the wilderness.
They remembered how God taught them how to be the people of God in a new land.
They remembered how, in every place and time, God’s faithfulness accompanied them and enabled them to live in love and in hope
And Jesus added a new story.
A story of betrayal and denial.
A story of love and death.
A story of forgiveness and redemption.
And, knowing that around that table were those who would betray him, those who would deny him, those who would run away, still Jesus invited them into that new story of renewed relationship with God.
Jesus took bread, gave thanks and blessed it. He broke the bread and said: Take, eat, this is my body broken for you.
And he took a cup of wine, saying, This is the new relationship with God made possible because of my death.
Do this to remember me.
We have gifts of bread and wine to share today.
Let’s first give thanks.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
God we thank you that you journey with people in every age.
You journeyed with our mothers and fathers, our grandmothers and grandfathers.
You journeyed with all who showed us faith and helped us to make it our own.
You journeyed with those who worshipped here in the past, building a community of which we now call ourselves a part.
God we thank you for your faithfulness, for your inclusion, for your unconditional love.
And, as we gather at this table, where we know ourselves welcomed, we bring into this space that you make sacred all who feel abandoned today.
All who feel excluded.
All who feel unwelcome.
All who feel unloved.
In this place, O God, you - and we - make room for all.
God and lover of all creation, we pray for your world where it is hurting and for all whom you created in your likeness.
May we hold out light, love and justice wherever we go, the fruits of being known and loved by you.
May we be empowered to empower others.
May we be moved to make a difference in the world today, both near and far because of you O God, our hope and our Redeemer, reigning Christ.
And, as we feast on you here, may we share with these people, with this neighbourhood and with  this community the many blessings that you heap on us, feeding us that we may feed others.
God send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and this wine, symbols of your undying love and goodness for the renewal of all creation.
Transform these gifts and transform we who receive, for the sake of the whole world.

Gathered around an inclusive table, Jesus took bread, broke it and said:
Take, eat, this is my body broken for you.
Do this to remember me

After feeding minds and bodies, Jesus took the cup and said:
This cup is the new relationship with God made possible because of my death.
Drink this all of you in remembrance of me.

These are the gifts of God for the people of God.

Prayer after Communion
Christ who reigns over all, you have invited us, welcomed us, you have forgiven us, you have fed us.
May we now go into the world, into our neighbourhood, into our community with the food of love that feeds all and excludes none.
May we live alongside our neighbour, sharing the abundance you provide until all are fed, all are loved and all have a place to call home.
May the food by which you have fed and blessed us feed and bless your whole creation as we are made one in your love.
One Lord 
One hope
One faith.


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.