Call to Evening Prayers (and Conversation)

Come.
Be present.
You’re among friends.

Rest. 
Take a breath.
The day is ending.

Perceive.
God is here.
And you are God’s beloved.

Posted in Call to Worship, Sabbath

Called to Embrace Our Essence

In the pre-church they argued over whether you had to become a Jew first to follow Jesus.
Human boundaries started springing up almost from day one. 

Paul reminded them that rejecting their essence as a Jew or a Gentile was not the path to following Jesus. 
Following Jesus, we are called to embrace our authentic selves and that of others.

We struggle to this day with this simple truth. Whether gay or straight, trans or cisgender, stranger or born in this place, we are beloved by God. Our ancestors can come from Africa or Europe, Asia or the Americas and we can still be full-fledged followers of Jesus.
Open our hearts and eyes to the path of extravagant welcome and love of Jesus. Make our actions like that of the Christ who embraces the image of God within all of us. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Galatians, Galatians 1-2, Galatians 1:13-17; 2:11-21, narrative lectionary

Open

Open our minds.

May they be fertile soil for your word and ways.

Open our hearts.

May they be filled with love of neighbor & a passion for justice..

Open our hands.

That we use them to build a world of compassion & hope.

Amen

Posted in Call to Worship, Church Meetings, opening prayer

Impassion Us With Desire to Include All Voices

In the early church a complaint arose as it does when human beings worship together.
With the Holy Spirit’s guidance the people came to an agreement. Striving to be one people, they chose participation in God’s expanding love in the world.

In the world a conflict arose as it does when human beings live with one another. 
Falsehoods and lies spread in the community against others. And Stephen was stoned to death.

Let us pray,
Guide us to see complaints and conflicts as opportunities to listen to one another. Impassion us with deep desire to hear and include all voices that we might live into the one human family you created us to be. Amen.

Posted in Acts, Acts 6, Acts 6:1-7:2a, 44-60, Acts 7, Call to Worship, Invocation, New Testament

Lenten Prayer During Pandemic

Divine Energy,

We have been unsettled this year,
And we don’t like it.

Routines shattered routines,
Keeping us from friends and family.

Yet for most of us, 
Our privilege has kept us whole, 
While around us others have suffered.

Deeply embedded racism, 
inadequate safety nets for the poor,
vindictiveness among neighbors, 
and a politics of selfishness,
Led to death and suffering.

As we yearn for,
As we move toward,
A semblance of normalcy,
Keep our eyes and hearts on
The poor, the immigrant, the oppressed.

Disrupt our desires to live unaware
of the pain and suffering in our fragmented world.
Motivate us, to love and act as Jesus taught.

Amen.

Posted in Prayers

In a Time of Pandemic & Insurrection

In this scary time of pandemic and insurrection, focus us on what we can do. When our neighbors are in need but we are unable to solve their problems, focus us on prayer, on love, and on doing what we can. As your people, we remain imperfect and, yet, desirous of living into the ways of Jesus, our teacher. Guide us to do what we can and strive to do more all while forgiving ourselves for what we do not or cannot accomplish. Amen.

Posted in Prayers

May We Do the Same


She wept as her only son’s body was being carried away.
When he saw her, Jesus had compassion.

He wept as he sat outside the hospital while his wife was inside dying of COVID-19.
When he saw him, Jesus had compassion.

She was too empty to weep or even get out of the bed. Loneliness and isolation overcame her.
When he saw her, Jesus had compassion.

Anger boiled over as facts became fluid. Hatred stirred, and hope faded.
When he saw them, Jesus had compassion.

The front line medical and grocery workers alike were exhausted from the tension, the fear, and daily risks.
When he saw them, Jesus had compassion.

Jesus had compassion. Out of his love and compassion, Jesus acted to bring hope and healing.
May we do the same. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Luke, Luke 7, Luke 7:1-17, New Testament

Wiggle Room for Love

We create walls and rules around you and your expectations. In time, we find ourselves worshiping the walls and rules instead of you.
Make our walls and rules porous so that we might have the wiggle room to love.

Keep our hearts and minds focused on your kin_dom and dreams for us. When we create structures, help us to make them tools for fulfilling your calling. 
Remind us that boundaries can be useful tools but they should always provide the wiggle room to love abundantly and do justice concretely. 

You require love of neighbor, care for all peoples, and actions in our fragmented world. You are serious about these expectations.
And, yet, you offer us grace as we strive to fulfill them. 

You offer wiggle room if it means one of your people experiences love and justice. 
For this we are grateful. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Luke, Luke 6, Luke 6:1-16, narrative lectionary, New Testament

Joining the Mission of Christ

The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism, “This is my son in whom I am delighted.” After this, Jesus went into the wilderness where he was tempted by power, by earthly pleasures, and by the Devil.  

Returning home, Jesus proclaimed the nature of his ministry to the folks at home and then went outward to do that ministry in the world. As his followers, we, too are called to carry good news to the poor, liberation to the oppressed, and release to the prisoners.

Let us pray, Holy One, give us inspiration, hope, clarity, and the tools we need to continue the mission of Jesus. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Luke, Luke 4, Luke 4:14-19, Luke 4:14-30, New Testament

A Prayer When the Capitol is Stormed

God of Justice & Love,

The images! The events! 
We are frightened! We are disturbed!
How can this be happening here, O Lord?

We believed we were better than this.
We have degenerated from polarization to uncivil acts.
How, O Lord, can this be our nation?

Having committed our lives to you,
we find ourselves unsure what we can do, 
and, so, we turn toward you at this time.

Calm us,
but more critically,
calm the minds and bodies bent upon destruction and violence

Move our leaders 
and systems they control
to bring these events under control.

Touch our hearts with your love
and likewise, soothe and soften the hearts
of those with whom we disagree 
especially those who stir up the populace for their own ends.

Lead us and our fellow citizens
to find ways to turn from this path
of horror and disunity.

Guide us, all of us, to a willingness,
in the following days 
to face our national demons.

Lead us to learn
and grow as one human family.

In the name of the Christ, 
Amen.

Posted in Prayers
Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

All materials by Tim Graves unless otherwise noted. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

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