Quakes & Tornadoes, Virus & Famine, and Sunshine & Storms

Across the waters,
the restless breath blew.
And God began to create.

Beneath the stars,
the earth was filled with quakes & tornadoes, virus & famine, and sunshine & storms.
And the people struggled to survive.

God loved the ones, 
created from the dust 
and God’s own breath.
And the people strived to be faithful.

Through the centuries,
God journeyed with humanity.
And our forebears failed,
to live up to God’s hopes.

Forgive us, our forebears cried.
We have failed even now.
Forgive us, we beseech you, God.
Guide us as we strive to live as you would have us live.

And one arrived who inhaled the breath of God,
Jesus breathes out God’s ways of grace and love.

Through Jesus, we can see the way.
Through Jesus a new earth begins to unfold.

Jesus tells us that the violence, the wars and hatred, pandemics and pestilence, the collapsing institutions, and the rapid change are but birth pangs of a new way.
The birth pangs are signs that love will win. 

Love always wins.
God’s love always overcomes.

Praise be to God whose love unfolds even in our time.
Praise be to God whose love is even now being born in our world. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Confession of Sin & Assurance, Genesis, Genesis 1, Genesis 1-2, Genesis 1-2:1, Mark 13, Mark 13:1-8, 24-37, narrative lectionary, New Testament, Old Testament

Morning Prayer

Creator of the mountains, the rivers, and the rolling hills,

You reached down to the dust and molded us in your image. You breathed your divine breath into us. You made us to be in relationship with one another and with you.

As our ancestors came of age, they told stories of walking side by side with you or of angelic visitors sent by you. Throughout our first sacred testament, the people — we — were faithful to you only to fall away. This pattern of back and forth of remembering to love and forgetting to love continues to this day. We do a good job of loving you and our neighbors only to turn our backs when it gets hard.

Still, your love and faithfulness to us — to your people of dust and divine breath — is steadfast. Thank you! Thank you! for your patience with us. 

God of microbes and humanity, of puppies and alligators, creator of hope and purveyor of wisdom, in this time of fear and anxiety, of pandemic and polarization we turn to you.

We turn to you in this inexplicable time. God, we’ve never experienced a global pandemic before. We don’t know how to do this. It is so easy for us to be fearful and, yet, we know that is not the way you created us to be. You tell us time and again in our sacred text, “Do not be afraid.” 

But it is hard. REALLY hard. Our anxiety threatens to separate us from one another. We forget our connectedness and hoard toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Help us to share that toilet paper. Help us to use this time of physical separation to reach out by telephone, or Facetime, email, or text to one another.

In the silence, perceive what is on our hearts. Hear the names of those about whom we worry and those who need your healing caress.


Holy one, remind us, nudge us, move us in this time to see just how connected we are as a human family. Move us to be responsible and trust that you journey with us in this time of pandemic. Remind us that we are called in the midst of this time to choose love — of ourselves and of one another.

In the name of the Human One, we pray.


Posted in Pastoral Prayer, Prayers

We Hear Your Words

We hear your words.
And twist them around.

We hear your words.
And sometimes use them to justify deviousness, to manipulate, to promote our own self-interest, and to harm others.

We hear your words.
Help us to hear and understand your words. Remind us that your words must always be acted upon out of love. For if they are not, we have not heard and understood your words. 

We hear your words. 
May our worship and actions expand your hope, love, and justice wherever we find ourselves. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Invocation, Mark, Mark 12, Mark 12:1-17, narrative lectionary, New Testament

That We Hear AND Listen

Jesus tells the disciples for a third time what is to come:
The Human One will be handed over…They will ridicule him, spit on him, torture him, and kill him. After three days, he will rise up.” (Mark 10:33–34 CEB)

And they still don’t hear him. 
They bicker over who gets to sit at his right hand.

Listen. In this hour, listen to the Divine.
God of all, Open our ears that we hear you. Open our spirits and minds that we comprehend your call. Help us to be and do as you will no matter the cost. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Invocation, Lent, Lent 2, Mark, Mark 10, Mark 10: 35-45, Mark 10:29-45, Mark 10:32-52, narrative lectionary, New Testament

Easy to Say; Hard to Do

Prayer of Confession

We confess it is easy to claim to follow you and much harder to act on it. Forgive us when we forget that Jesus showed us the way. Remind us that though it is hard, you make our journey possible. Thank you for your unending love and your relentless presence. Amen.

Assurance of Grace

It is hard, life that is. It is harder still to live as Jesus taught and showed us. It is easy to get sidetracked. And, yet, God never gives up on us. God never stops loving and pointing the way. This is Good News. We are beloved.

Posted in Confession of Sin & Assurance, Lent, Lent 1, Mark, Mark 10, Mark 10: 17-31, narrative lectionary, New Testament

It is not an easy path.

The call is made to each of us.
It requires much.

The call requires that we follow the ten commandments.
It requires more.

God asks for our whole selves. Christ asks that follow his teachings and example whit all we have and all we are.
It is not an easy path.

It is not but with God’s help…
With God’s help it is possible.

Come and worship the One who calls and the One who makes it possible. 
We choose to follow and with God’s help, we will live as we are called to live. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Lent, Lent 1, Mark, Mark 10, Mark 10: 17-31, narrative lectionary, New Testament

Ash Wednesday: We are Breathing

Call to Worship

Come into this sacred space and breathe.
Formed from dust, we are here. 
We are breathing.

Moment of silence.

Let go of the world that tells you to compete endlessly.
Formed from dust, we are here. 
We are breathing.

Moment of silence.

Like the disciples who argued who was greatest among them, we focus on earthly status, the rules of humanity. Release human ways. Breathe in the ways of Christ.
Formed from dust, we are here. 
We are breathing.

Moment of silence

The Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into [their] nostrils. The human came to life. (Genesis 2:7 CEB)
Formed from dust, we are here. 
We are breathing. 

Come. Begin the journey to the cross and beyond. Let go of the human proclivity to compete. Live as one people. Receive God’s breath and become like a child.
Formed from dust, we are here.
Animated by the very breath of God we are breathing.

Prayer of Invocation

Let us pray,
Creating spirit, hope of humanity, you have walked among us. You journeyed to the cross and overcame death. Be with us in our dustiness this evening as we strive to breathe deeply as you give us your own life force.
We inhale the divine breath.
We pledge our focus upon your ways. Amen.

Posted in Ash Wednesday, Call to Worship, Days of the Church, Invocation, Mark, Mark 9, Mark 9:30-37, New Testament
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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