Following! A Prayer

Creating One,

You created each of us in the divine image. 
We are the dust of the earth and your very breath. 
Thank you for this unimaginable gift.

You embedded us with free will.
And gave us love of You and one another as our guidepost.
Thank you for trusting us with free will, may we be worthy.

We live in a world of beauty, simplicity, and intricacy.
We live in the world you created for us and every creature in it.
Thank you for this place to call home, move us to care for it.

Thank you for all that you have given us,
Your breath.
Free will.
A world.
And one another.

In the silence we share our gratitudes.


Loving, Compassionate One,

We are struggling.
It is hard to live into your dreams for us.
Our world is not as you taught us to make it.

Remind us of the foundations of our being:
love of You and love of one another.

Turn us toward one another:
Nudge us into a life of radical community.

And when we lose focus on love:
Regular communion with you grounds us.

In the silence, we share our concerns for those 
within this particular community and beyond.


Today, God, we choose you.
We choose to love our neighbors 
in just such a time as this. (Esther 4:14)

We commit to live faithfully to,
Do justice, embrace love, and walk with humility (Micah 6:8)


Posted in Esther, Esther 4, Esther 4:14, Micah, Micah 6, Micah 6:8, Old Testament, Pastoral Prayer, Prayers

A Morning Prayer

Gracious One,

God of joy, of transitions, of confidence, and doubt. We turn to you this morning grateful for sunshine and spring. It reminds us of the resurrection of Jesus after his horrendous death at the hands of Rome. At the hands of human beings just like us. 

Forgive us our dark sides, the many ways we find to hurt one another. We confess that which is not reflective of your dreams for humanity.

[pause of silence]

God of our grief-filled struggles and worries, you know what is on our hearts. You know how hard our lives can be. You even know that which is buried deep within because… because we simply cannot face it. Touch us deeply with your healing this morning.

[pause of silence]

God of our empathy, compassion, and our ability to heal, move us to reach out to one another with your tenderness. In this fragmented world move us toward wholeness. Wholeness within ourselves and the oneness of humanity.

[pause of silence]

God of relationships, we are reminded that the Holy Trinity models for us the unity you dream for us. One and three. Individual and together. We know we are only our authentic selves when WE are one. Accepting this, we share silently and audibly names of others.

[time of silence, sharing of names]

God of spring resurrection and the harshness of winter, thank you for your always presence within us, between us, and in all of creation. Amen.

Posted in Days of the Church, Easter, Eastertide, Pastoral Prayer, Prayers, Seasons of the Church

Speak Our Name, In-Courage Us

Mysterious One,

We sit now before the open tomb.
You have done the inexplicable.
The world is not as we thought.

In the silence of the garden,
our humanity – our grief, anxiety, 
our hopes, and confusion – swirl about us.


As we sit in the garden of deep feelings,
help us tend to that which requires weeding.
Forgive us our failure of imagination, 
and the inability to perceive you right before us.

Speak our name, Divine One.
When all we understand is a stolen body,
call our name, Incarnate God.
Rabbouni! Teach us! Guide us! Lure us!

Show us the way to do justice, 
open us to loving our neighbors faithfully, 
while walking humbly as your disciples.
Place the names of the forgotten,
on our tongues and hearts.


As we return to the world
of greed, hatred, violence, 
of power-seeking, and selfishness,
In-courage us to to love and 
do justice in every moment.

Resurrection is possible,
disciple us into making it so.


Posted in John, John 20, John 20:1-18, New Testament, Pastoral Prayer, Prayers

Truth in a Time of Mistrust and Mythology

The journey continues. 

We continue putting one step in front of the other. 

Our mind wanders.

Our thoughts drifts as we seek to make sense of a world of conflict and mistrust.

We put one foot in front of the other. 

Stumbling over a changed path, we remember what WAS and what WILL-BE.

As we journey, we seek the truth in a world of mythology and mistrust. 

We cower when we see unknown travelers on the horizon.

Jesus answered, “…I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37b CEB)

With each step we consider the truth of the teachings of Jesus.

Take a deep breath, close your eyes.

Do you not perceive it?

[moment of silence]

The Spirit is with us in the NOW.

She dances before us luring us to the WILL-BE.

Rooted in the Spirit, we are open to new paths. 

Our pilgrimage continues.


Posted in Days of the Church, John, John 18, John 18:28-40, Lent, Lent 4, New Testament, Seasons of the Church

Denial, Fear, Yet Continuing

The journey continues. 

Already, we’ve hit some bumps.

Already, there are unexpected curves.

Think back to past trips completed. 

We had some tough times, kept going, and found hope in Christ’s teachings.

Sometimes we had no idea what to do next yet we trusted God’s luring Spirit. 

And sometimes we fell away. Sometimes we even denied the path before us.

Again we are on a path we’ve never journeyed. There are rocks, ditches, and surprises. 

Like Peter we are angry, afraid, and unsure. Like Peter we grieve what is not to be. 

Like Peter, God filled us with the WAS and shows us the path to the WILL-BE.

Take a deep breath, close your eyes.

Do you not perceive it?

[moment of silence]

The Spirit is with us in the NOW.

She dances before us luring us to the WILL-BE.

Rooted in the Spirit, we are open to new paths. 

Our pilgrimage continues.


Posted in Call to Worship, John, John 18, John 18:12-27, Lent 3, New Testament, Seasons of the Church

A Prayer in a Time of War

God of Humanity and Creation,

We turn to you aware that you share our heartache about the many schisms in our nation and world. We ask for healing that we might cease fighting and arguing over the inconsequential and keep our focus on your dreams for humanity. Forgive our own selfishness, greed, and pettiness. Forgive our failure to see the amazing all around us. Open our hearts and minds that we can be the people your divine breath animated us to be. 

Please be with our leaders both formal and informal that they might be guided by your ways. With mud, heal the wounds of those whose authentic selves legislated out of humanity. Move us to stand up beside them and uses our voices and bodies to unify humanity.

Confident that you know our feelings of anxiety this morning about the war in Ukraine, we pray for peace. Provide a salve that will lead to grace and respect among the leaders of the world. 

For those who yet suffer from the COVID-19 virus and those whose lives have been upended in small and in significant ways these two years we pray. We yearn for a salve that guides us through the next stages of this pandemic with our decisions based on inclusiveness and the love of all our neighbors.

As we remember that every human being carries your divine image our thoughts turn to specific people and issues.


Response: God, hear our prayers.

We now pray the prayer that Jesus taught us,

Our creator…

Posted in Pastoral Prayer, Prayer of the Day, Prayers

Rooted in the Spirit, Open to New Paths (Call to Worship)

The journey begins again. 

Pack your bags.

What shall we carry?

Take the memories and stories

Of those who came before.

Then why do we go?

We go because now is not then.

We go because God beckons us.

Why do we carry the past?

Our stories, our faith made us. 

We need our WAS to make the journey.

What else do we need?

Take a deep breath, close your eyes.

Do you not perceive it?

[moment of silence]

The Spirit is with us in the NOW.

She dances before us luring us to the WILL-BE.

Rooted in the Spirit, we are open to new paths.

Let our pilgrimage begin.


Posted in Call to Worship, Lent, Lent 1, Seasons of the Church

Breath & Spit

So YHWH fashioned an earth creature out of the clay of the earth, and blew into its nostrils the breath of life. And the earth creature became a living being. (Genesis 2:7 IB)

Breathe into me, O God.

Breathe life into our humanity. Motivate us to be people focused on your ways. Take the dirt upon which we walk and of which we are made and make it divine.

he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smeared the mud on the man’s eyes. Jesus said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (this word means sent). So the man went away and washed. When he returned, he could see. (John 9:6-7 IB)

Heal our bodies with the sacred earth and your own hands, O Christ. Remind us that, filled with divine breath, you show us how to live as God desires for us.

We must do the deeds of the One who sent me while it is still day— for night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5 IB)

Gather us in. Be among us, motivate us, and breathe your life into us. We are but dust but dust is powerful when animated by you. Amen.

Scripture Readings in this Call to Worship from: Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Bible (p. 20). Sheed & Ward. Kindle Edition. 

Posted in Call to Worship, John, John 9, John 9:1-41, narrative lectionary, New Testament

An Ash Wednesday Liturgy and Gathering

Opening Words

Recognizing we are made of earth and God’s breath, we gather this evening to confess our human frailty while acknowledging the divine within one another. We lay before God the mistakes and choices we’ve made that separate us from God’s hopes and dreams for humanity.


Divine One,
Your son told us, “that whoever doesn’t enter into the sheep pen through the gate but climbs over the wall is a thief and an outlaw.” (John 10:1 CEB)

Huddling in the sheepfold, the temptations beckon us toward hatred, bigotry, selfishness, greed, woundedness, and war-making. They call to us to climb over the wall with them.

We confess we’ve sometimes allowed separation from you and one another manifest in our lives.

Tonight we will lay down our anger, frustrations, anxiety, grief, greed, and yearning that keeps us from following you. We gather to acknowledge our imperfections and ask for your grace.

Like the sheep, we listen for and recognize your voice of love, embrace. Your tone of insistence that we are all worthy is clear to us. Open our hearts and minds that we see not only the dust from which we are formed, but your breath which animates us.

And you, whisper in our ears, “I am here. I am within you and within your neighbors. Remember and be re-membered.”
This evening as we gather, we confess our mistakes and intentional failures. We repent and turn back to you for you are our God.

Scripture: John 10:1-18 CEB

I assure you that whoever doesn’t enter into the sheep pen through the gate but climbs over the wall is a thief and an outlaw. 2 The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The guard at the gate opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 Whenever he has gathered all of his sheep, he goes before them and they follow him, because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger but will run away because they don’t know the stranger’s voice.” 6 Those who heard Jesus use this analogy didn’t understand what he was saying.

7 So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.

14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.

17 “This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.”

Hymn: Jesus, Remember Me

Worship Stations
walking the labyrinth
prayer candles
meditation reading
imposition of ashes

God reached down scooped up a handful of earth from the mud and formed you. God looked at you and knew the form needed one more thing. And, then, God took God’s own breath and breathed life into you. You are created in the image of God. Amen.

The Lord’s Table

Come to the Table of Grace, the Table of Forgiveness, the Table of Hope. The Table which leads to a changed world through changed hearts

Words of Institution

Hymn: Eat This Bread

Closing Prayer

Balm in Gilead
Cuando el Pobre

Posted in Ash Wednesday, Days of the Church, John, John 10, John 10:1-18, New Testament

Be Nourished & Transformed

“Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”(John 6:35 CEB)


What does it mean to believe?

Believe the teachings of Jesus.

Is that all it means?

Believe. Support. Embrace. 

Take into yourselves.

So it is to show we believe through our actions?

Believe. Absorb. Gulp. Eat.

So it is filling ourselves with the life, actions, teachings, and love of the Christ. 

Believe. Eat the bread of life. Let it nourish and become a part of you.

So it is to fill ourselves with the very essence of the Christ, the bread of life. 

That’s it. Believe. Support. Embrace. Absorb. Gulp. Eat. Be nourished and transformed.


Posted in Call to Worship, John, John 6, John 6:35-59, narrative lectionary, New Testament
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All materials by Tim Graves unless otherwise noted. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

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