Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People December 3, 2017

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Based on Mark 13:32-37

Thank you, Eternal One, for this glimpse into the future. Around Christ’s table we see the plans you hold for our world begin to unfold. We who are so many and so varied, share at this table so simply and completely, and are fed so fully, that we understand there is indeed a possibility that one day all might live content, together.

As the weeks march on toward Christmas, keep us expectant and watchful for the signs of Christ’s coming. If there are barren places in our lives, where fuller life once flourished, then let us watch for the tender shoots of fresh life to arise from them. Let us trust that the life you offer us is not subject to ultimate death. Instead, tenaciously, resiliently, when all seems lost, it will arise, green and new and imperishable.

So help us face the chaos of life now with an eye to its subtle patterns that reveal your presence and ultimate purpose. Help us wait with open and expectant hearts. Keep us in the race, trusting you will see us through to the finish, and that your future will come and your purposes be fulfilled among us one day.

We have learned to trust in your timing God, for you offer us sustaining gifts, large and small, every day - especially the gift of love, come to the world as Christ. And so we await Christ’s coming gratefully and hopefully. Hear us as we sing together now the words of his prayer… The Lord’s Prayer.

Pastoral Prayer - Novemebr 26, 2017

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Based on Matthew 25: 31-46

We offer you our gifts today, God, in faith and trust. In this season, as days shorten, as darkness in our world seems to strengthen, remind us to watch and wait in hope, for you have shown us again and again, that no darkness can prevail against the dawn, no loss is beyond redemption, and through your help, and no exile is eternal. We trust that the calculus of possibility we employ is not your own. We trust in your broader vision.

Yet we acknowledge that so much of this life is beyond our understanding, Wise God. Is there justice to pain? A purpose to be served by hurt, hardship and heartbreak? Must loneliness and longing be part of existence? All our efforts to make sense of life’s mysteries inevitably draw us back to you. For your thoughts and your ways are higher, deeper, greater than our own. Teach us that what we do not now understand need not keep us helpless or hopeless. Show us that amid injustice we may work for equity and fairness. Show us that tragedy is never life’s final word – but presents itself as a challenge for us to meet, to overcome, to transform. Show us that even loneliness and longing prove that there are places of our hearts both tender and receptive, which in time will find comfort and joy.

When we face trials, if we are tempted to concern ourselves with our own needs and desires alone, help us to look beyond ourselves. Open our ears to the voices that speak their needs, and let us work to help them be met. Open our eyes to scenes of life we’d rather not see, and help us to make life livable for those who struggle with it daily. Open our hands and hearts, God, to give of our resources. You have gifted us with more than we need. Let us learn to distinguish our needs from our wants, and offer the surplus of our rich blessings to those whose needs are far from well met. Let us offer our wealth, our time, our caring concern, our love, our hope, a kind word of encouragement, a warm smile, a simple statement of faith. Help us appreciate that insignificant though our efforts at reaching lovingly to the world may appear to us, no effort given in love is ever lost or wasted. For when we have helped the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the lonely, the sick, then we have done as much to your Son, our Christ.

Let us be guided through all our difficulties by Him whose life we treasure, whose death we mourn, whose resurrection we celebrate. Keep us prayerful, for he has taught us to pray, saying, Our Father …