Pentecost

During Pentecost (which we might take to be up until Trinity Sunday) we recall first and foremost the gift of the Holy Spirit. Firstly in the coming of the Spirit on the disciples fifty days after Easter -related in Acts 2, and then on the Spirit’s presence and action in the Church and the world.

Together with all in Christ, we wait
Come Holy Spirit; soak into our deepest being
We pray together with all your people
Come Holy Spirit; breeze through our staleness.
We will hear the scriptures together
Come Holy Spirit; fire up our imaginations for good
We will rejoin you in the world
Come Holy Spirit; spice us with the savour of Christ

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that we may be equipped for every good work
Psalm[s] and reading[s] are announced and read. When all have been read:
Reader: God has sent forth the word
May it not return empty.
A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used.
We affirm our loyalty to God as we say:
What we have received
is not the spirit of the world,
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand
what God has freely given us.
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,”
except by the Holy Spirit.

[1Cor 12:3b ]
Collects may be said.

We did not receive a spirit that makes us slaves to fear
We received the Spirit of adoption
Your Spirit testifies with ours that we are your children:
By your Spirit we cry “Abba! Father”
Appreciations of God’s goodness and greatness may be shared…
Your Spirit hovered over the unformed creation, and overshadowed Mary as the Christ was enwombed, and now your Holy Spirit flares up among us assuring that we are your children, intimating at our core your delight in us,
Our God In heaven, father and mother to us:
Hallowed be your name!

Creator God, release your Spirit to brood over the desolations of human society; deformed by discordant voices, and damaged by overweaning desires.

Send forth your Spirit: And renew the face of the earth.

Everliving Lover of our souls, you draw all people to yourself, wooing us Spirit to spirit. We remember before you the work of the gospel as it goes forth not to return empty .

Send forth your Spirit: And renew the face of the earth.

Passionately faithful God; may the eternal flame of your Spirit burn in our souls and warm the lives of those whose lives we touch in person, process or in prayer.

Send forth your Spirit: And renew the face of the earth.

Let there be justice, let there be peace and let there be healing

       …prayers or biddings may be voiced here the leader ending with

Send forth your Spirit: And renew the face of the earth.

Be the wind in the sails of our lives and as we are blown forward by your Spirit may we know your comfort and provision
…prayers or biddings asking for God’s provision may be added here the leader ending with
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of our worlds.

There have been times when we have quenched your Spirit in our self-serving or grudge-bearing

We ask your help so that we might truly repent
and know
and offer
joyful forgiveness,

Blow upon us your peace-making breeze:
And renew the face of our lives.
Make our hearts clean, O God
And remake a right spirit within us.
Let us attend; Christ breathes upon us the peace and forgiveness of God.
We take a deeper breath in as take to heart our forgiveness.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because God has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
God has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.

[ Luke 4:17-19 and Isaiah 61:1-2 ]
As we seek to walk in the Spirit, let us pause before the likely events and involvements and the unpredictable happenings that face us.

Since we live by the Spirit,
let us keep in step with the Spirit.
[Gal 5:25 ]
Now to you who by the power at work within us are able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to you be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
[Eph.3:21]

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Lent

During Lent we reflect on our need for God’s grace and mercy and we commit ourselves to growth in holiness and wisdom.

Remembering we are dust and to dust we shall return, we turn from our waywardness to cultivate Christwardness.
What is it that we seek?
We seek God’s way in the wilderness.
Let’s seek with all our deciding
Amen. God be our wisdom.
Let’s seek with all our affections
Amen. God be our centre
Let’s seek with all our attitudes
Amen. God be our vision.
Let’s seek with all our resources
Amen. God be our mainstay.

Tested and tempted in the desert, scripture revealed and steered Jesus’ resistance and direction. May we learn and inwardly digest the Wisdom of God we hear.
Let us attend!
Psalm[s] and reading[s]. There may be a time of quiet and/or shared reflection. A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used.
Jesus call us to faith in Him.
….pause for reflection
Lord, we believe,
help us in our unbelief.

The Song of Christ’s Glory (or some other canticle can be chosen)
Though in the form of God,
Christ did not regard equality with God
as something to be held.
He emptied himself,
taking on the form of a slave.
Jesus was born in human likeness;
and found in human form.
He humbled himself
and was obedient into death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God highly exalted him
giving him the name above every name.
So at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

[From Philippians 2]

We will give God thanks:
You are our help and our God.
You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast faithful love. You seek us out in the darkness of our sin, and exchange beauty of reconciliation for the ashes of our rebellion.
…other appreciations of God may be added.
Our God in heaven, father and mother to us;
Hallowed be your name.

We have been led into deserts of dried-up meaning and conflicting desires. We petition for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, that they may be filled
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.
We find ourselves in a world of precarity and danger, we cry out for the vulnerable and marginalised that they may find respite and dignity.
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.
In a world replete with prideful powers and vaunting ambition, we remember before God those who make decisions affecting the lives of others that they may grow in wisdom and compassion.
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.
In a world needing the ministry of angels in many guises, some unawares, we lay out the needs and concerns known to us.
Further concerns may be voiced here.
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.
In a world where there is bread enough for all, we bring before you those who do not have and pray for the will and means of supply, globally and locally
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.

Seeking first your kingdom & righteousness may all things needful be added to us.
Prayers for needs may be voiced….
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
We recognise ourselves in the fractured and frail failures of the stories of God’s people. and we pause to reorient ourselves towards love of God and neighbour.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
Our love has been as the morning mist, as the dew that goes early away.
God be gracious;
Lord, have mercy
Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth
Our love has been as the morning mist, as the dew that goes early away.
God be gracious;
Lord, have mercy
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Our love has been as the morning mist, as the dew that goes early away.
God be gracious;
Lord, have mercy.
[Cf. 1 Cor 13:4-7; Hosea 13:3)
O Soul be joyful; our merciful God stretches out a loving hand to you.

Make us instruments of your peace:
and let your glory be over all the earth.
…pause to reflect on the coming day…
Tempted to breaden stones:
May your Word give us life.
Tested by intimations of invincibility:
Make us wise in your ways.
Trialled by the seductions of power:
Keep us true to you.

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There is a commentary on this order and its contents.

Epiphany

The season of Epiphany starts on 6 January and ends on 1 February. It highlights Christ’s revelation to the world and fulfilment of the desires of the ages. The biblical themes recalled are the visit of the Magi, Christ’s Baptism and the first miracle ie changing of water into wine.

Let us pray that the flame of God’s loving presence may spring up in our hearts and transform us by the knowledge of divine glory.
A light or lights may be lit as the following prayer is said by all:
We take refuge in the Divine Light,
The Flame of Truth
The soul’s Ray
We take refuge in the Embodiment of Glory
The Lamp of our path
The Essence of love

              [Based on a prayer from the Church of South India]

As we hear the scriptures read, may they lead us to the Christ, and may we find in Jesus the fulfilment of all our searching.
Psalm[s] and reading[s].
Blessed are those who hear the word of God
And do it.
Quiet and/or shared reflection. A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used.
At Jesus’s baptism, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’
We see and testify that this is the Son of God.
[See Matthew 3:17 & John 1:34 ]

The Nunc dimittis (The Song of Simeon) may be said or chanted together.
Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

[ELLC translation of Luke 2:29-32]
Hallowed be your name, Father, through the Son in the Holy Spirit;
as in the beginning, so now and for ever. Amen.

Be exalted O God, above the heavens
And your glory be over all the earth.
Your loving-kindness is higher than the heavens
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
       …expressions of praise and thanks may be made silently or aloud …
Our God in heaven, father and mother to us, Hope of the nations, Fulfilment of the desires of the ages
Hallowed be your name
Concerns and biddings for the good of the world and God’s desires may be mentioned here or after the following petitions.

In a world needing wisdom to read its own stars, faithful God,
glorify your name.
Among those who are excluded and held at the margins, faithful God,
glorify your name.
In the search for meaning and fullness of life, faithful God,
glorify your name.
In the naming and framing of new knowledge, faithful God,
glorify your name.
       …other petitions may be made…

In pursuit of God’s just and gentle ways, we find ourselves in need of means and sustenance
       Pause to recognise our needs
As you provide for us, sustain us and equip us to serve you,
faithful God,
glorify your name.

We turn again to recognise that our ways have too often not followed God’s agenda and we have strayed from God’s priorities.
       …. Pause to bring our wrongs repentantly to God…
As we turn from our sins and turn to Christ this day,
faithful God,
glorify your name.
We have failed to extend to others the courtesy of the forgiveness and forbearance we ourselves enjoy and rely upon.
… we recall before God our sense of being wronged and release forgiveness …
As we forgo our claims on others for revenge and recompense for wrongs
faithful God,
glorify your name.

As we seek to be guided by the star of Christ’s coming and be faithful to our baptism, let us reflect on what challenges to our faithfulness and integrity the coming hours may bring, and pause respectfully before the many unknowns of our future.
Pause for recollection.
Today into our lives we weave
The ways of God with the air we breathe.
Facing times of trial and stress
We call upon God’s power to bless.
When we pass through joyful things
We make to God our thanksgivings.
All who in body or mind we meet
may God through us both touch and greet.
In every task and deed that’s done
We weave the purpose of the Son.

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Christmas

Christmas prayers reflect the theme of God becoming human. Traditionally, in the West, Christmas starts after sundown on 24 December and lasts until 5 January (Twelth Night) and the season of Epiphany begins on 6 January. However, there is a mismatch now between wider secular society and the Church’s year. In wider society Christmas seems to end or at least come to a climax on 25 December. So it may feel helpful to start to pray the Christmas office earlier in December and finish a day or three after 25th.

O God open our souls
to awaken to your presence
O God open our minds
to hear your call
O God open our hearts
to know your love
O God open our lives
to be fully alive in you and to our neighbour.

As we hear the scriptures read, may they lead us to the Christ and may we find in Jesus the fulfilment of all our searching.

Psalm[s] and reading[s]. There may be a time of quiet and/or shared reflection. A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used.

Blessed are those who hear the word of God
And obey it.

A song from scripture based on the Magnificat (The Song of Mary)

My soul proclaims your greatness O Lord;
my spirit rejoices in you O God our Saviour,
You have looked with favour on your lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call us blessed:
Almighty, you have done great things for us,
and holy is your name.

You have mercy on those who fear you
You have shown strength with your arm

and scattered the proud in their conceit,
casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.
you have filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel,
remembering your promise of mercy,
the promise made to our forebears,
to Abraham and his children forever.

Based on the ELLC translation of Luke 1:46-55

Glory to God in the highest:
and on earth -peace and goodwill.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

…expressions of of praise and thanks …

O God, you have done great things for us
And holy is your name.

Your heavenly will be done in all created beings!
May your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
Father, may your will be fleshed out:
on earth as in heaven.

Concerns and biddings for the good of the world and for God’s desires may be mentioned here or after each or all of the following petitions….

Your will is for the liberation of creation in bondage to decay
Father, may your will be be fleshed out:
on earth as in heaven.

Your will is for peace and justice,
Father, may your will be be fleshed out:
on earth as in heaven.

Your will is for all to come to a knowledge of salvation
Father, may your will be be fleshed out:
on earth as in heaven.

Concerns and biddings for the good of the world and God’s desires might be mentioned here if they haven’t been before.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
Into what will sustain our life in you, lead us.

… reflection and requests for daily bread and provision.

We look to you to supply our need.
Be our provider and strength.
Father, may your will be be fleshed out:
on earth as in heaven.
Forgiving God, we have held onto your gifts and stayed aloof.

God forgive us
And Let grace live within us

Sharing God; we have resisted your life within us.

God forgive us
And Let grace live within us

God who first loved us, help us to love others by forgiving

God forgive us
And Let grace live within us

There may be silence to reflect on forgiving. After an appropriate interval, words of forgiveness may be said.

As we seek to live embodying the values and commitments of God’s just and gentle Rule, let us reflect on likely forthcoming challenges to our faithfulness and integrity, and let’s recognise our future has many unknowns to wrongfoot us.

We are called to bear Christ into our world. With Mary we ask, how can this be?

Pause for reflection.

We take to heart the Angel’s reply:
The power of the Most High will overshadow you; with God it is possible:
Let it be to us according to your Word.

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Advent -run up to Christmas

Advent traditionally begins the Church’s year and starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. However the timing of Advent has varied through Church history and still does (in the East it is 40 days, like Lent). So it may be good to think about using this form of prayer from mid-November and perhaps be open to moving onto the Christmas form a few days before Christmas day if this better suits the context. This season majors on the themes of Christ’s return and the consummation of creation at the End of all things.

We hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and all our ways are before you.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
We long for your salvation, O God,
and your lore is our delight .
               [See Psalm119]

Pause to recognise God’s presence.

My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
and in your word have I put my hope.

     Psalm[s] and reading[s].

The word that goes out from God’s mouth
shall not return empty,
it shall accomplish God’s purpose,
and succeed in what it is sent to do.
              [Isaiah 55:11]

Quiet and/or shared reflection. A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used…

A song of praise based on The Song of Zechariah often known as the Benedictus may be said or sung.
Blessed are you, Lord God of Israel;
you have come to your people and set us free.
You have raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
born of the house of your servant David.
Through your holy prophets you promised of old
to save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us;
to show mercy to our forebears
and to remember your holy covenant.
This was the oath you swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship you without fear,
holy and righteous before you,
all the days of our life.
In your tender compassion, O God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Based on the ELLC version of the Benedictus

O Lord, open our lips
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
As with your name, O God,
so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is full of justice.
Hallowed be your name!
              [See Psalm 48:9-10]

…when any further expressions of praise and thanks have been shared:

Our God in heaven, father and mother to us:
Hallowed be your name

‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’
[Revelation 21.3-4]
Bring in your Reign, O God;
Let your vision prevail.
A day is coming and has already come when all good hopes will blossom and wickedness will die back never to be remembered. Just and merciful God, hasten that Day and in this age give us a foretaste of your kingdom. Bring in your Reign, O God
let your vision prevail.
Concerns and biddings for the good of the world and God’s desires may be mentioned here or after each or all of the following petitions
In that day, death and mourning, crying and pain will be no more and God will wipe away every tear. Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.
In that Day, of the increase of Christ’s government and peace there shall be no end. Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.
In that Day, your Spirit will fill all things and all shall know you. Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.

As we walk the path of your Dream of a healed creation, may we know your hand supplying our needs.
… recalling of needs in silence or aloud
As we ask for daily bread. Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.

Give us this day the courage and insight to forgive others as you forgive us our trespasses.
… a moment of silence for recollection and response to this call …
in our forgiving and being forgiven,
Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.

As we seek to forge a new future living the new life of Christ, let us reflect on what challenges to our faithfulness and integrity the coming hours may bring, and pause before the many unknowns of our future

When we are tested by temptation
strengthen us.
When our commitment to your Love is put to trial,
save us.
When evil ensnares
free us.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
now and forever. Amen

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honour
and power and might
be to our God for ever and ever! Amen!
[from Revelation 7:12 ]

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