Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Son: Narrative Lectionary Lenten Links of Prayer

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Invitation to be Found by Mike Williams

Feel free to use/edit. Credit to the original author (i.e. based on prayer/prayers written by Rev Mike Williams) appreciated.

Luke 15:1-32 and Psalm 119:167-176 or Psalm 119:176

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 119:157-176)

The sum of God’s word is truth. The righteous ordinances of our God endure forever.

We rejoice in God’s word like those who find great spoil                                                                               

We come together today to praise God and to find the peace granted to those who love God’s law.                                                                                                                                       

We hope for the Lord’s salvation and love the Lord’s decrees.                                                                                                     

In this time of worship let our supplication come before our Lord, who gives understanding from God’s word.                                                                                                           

Let our lips pour forth praise and let us sing of God’s promise.

Let us live to praise our God and let God’s ordinances help us in our worship.                                           

For we have gone astray like lost sheep, but the Lord has sought us out, and sent us God’s Son so that we might once more remember God’s commandments.

Prayer of Invocation

Holy Father of prodigal children everywhere, as we come into your presence today, we praise you for the assurance of your love. We thank you for gift of your Son who comes to us with stories of redemption and forgiveness. In this time of worship, pour out your Spirit upon us, that we may hear the promise of your grace. Fill us with compassion for your world. Help us to celebrate with those who come to life by finding you. Amen

Call to Confession

No matter how familiar we are with them, the stories of Jesus continually catch us off guard. Whether we think of ourselves as righteous, dutiful children, or as sheep who have gone astray, Christ reminds us of our continuous need for him. Let us now acknowledge our shortcomings, and remind ourselves of God’s grace, by praying together the prayer of confession…

Prayer of Confession

Great Shepherd, we come to you today recognizing that, like lost sheep, we have gone astray. You have given us your word and called us to live by your commandments. Yet, seeking greener pastures, we have squandered the riches you have given us and lived lives focused on ourselves. We have also failed to see the needs of others and refused to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Remind us, O God, of the gift of your Son. Empower us with your grace, and call us to rejoice as sheep who have been returned to your fold. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Sisters and brothers, the promise of Gospel is that we have a shepherd who will never stop looking for us. Christ comes to us and brings us home once more, leading us into the presence of the God who loves us. Jesus assures us that grace is real. Indeed, he tells us “there is joy in the presence of God over one sinner who repents.” Know that you are forgiven and be at peace.

Passing of the Peace

The father of the prodigal son called everyone together to celebrate the return of the child he thought he had lost. In the same way, let us celebrate together the forgiveness we have received through the passing of the peace.

Communion Prayer:

Gracious God, like lost sheep we wander far from your love. We chase after things that do not satisfy and end up far from where you would have us be. We find ourselves spiritually dying from hunger. In your mercy, O God, you have not abandoned us to our own wills. Although we are not worthy to stand before you, you have sent your Son, the good shepherd, to pursue us and call us back to the fold. In this moment we ask you to pour out your Holy Spirit on these elements. Make this sacrament a foretaste of your heavenly kingdom where there is bread enough to spare. You are always with us and have given us everything. Let us now celebrate with you and all the angels of heaven as repentant sinners who once were lost, but now are found. This we ask, trusting in your precious name, Amen.

Offering Prayer/Prayer of Dedication

Generous and giving God, you have reminded us of your prodigal love. You have bestowed upon us blessings beyond measure. We praise you for your kindness and for the chance to return a portion of that back into your service. Take what we have given and let it be a symbol of the compassion that you have for your world. Use it to fill those who have little, and guide those who are lost. Pour out your Holy Spirit on these tithes and offerings, so that your grace might be known throughout the world. Amen.

Prayer Station by Rev. Shea Zellweger

Psalm 119:167-176

167 I keep your rules;
I love them greatly.
168 I keep your precepts and rules,
for you are aware of everything I do.
169 Listen to my cry for help, O Lord!
Give me insight by your word!
170 Listen to my appeal for mercy!
Deliver me, as you promised.
171 May praise flow freely from my lips,
for you teach me your statutes.
172 May my tongue sing about your instructions,
for all your commands are just.
173 May your hand help me,
for I choose to obey your precepts.
174 I long for your deliverance, O Lord;
I find delight in your law.
175 May I live and praise you!
May your regulations help me!
176 I have wandered off like a lost sheep.
Come looking for your servant,
for I do not forget your commands.

water

 

Guide:

Read the psalm once, and ponder it for a moment.

Place a cup in the sand.

Read the psalm a second time, this time paying special attention to verse 171.

Pour water from the pitcher into the cup as you say (aloud or silently) “May praise flow freely from my lips.” Just as freely flowing water quickly fills the cup, so freely flowing praise can quickly fill our lives.

Read the psalm a third time as a song of praise.

More Narrative Lectionary Lenten Themed Prayers  

#rejectedsermontitles Really Your Thoughts and #Prayers? That’s all you got?

Context:

At the beginning of the week, and saw that the passage was about prayer. Thank God, because no matter what happens this week, I know that it will apply.

Then the African-American caretaker of an autistic man was shot……

I am the mother of an autistic child. Right now he is small and cute. When he flaps his hands giving “exclamatory hands” to excitement or frustration, its not very threatening, and if he does throw a tantrum he is still small enough that I can pick him up in a worse-case-scenario.

As the mother of an autistic child I can say, I don’t care who this police officer was aiming for, this was a terrible action.

So what am I supposed to do, pray?

What can others do for me and my son, pray for us?

Sermon:

Prayer is often used as a comforting action–but that is not its only purpose.

When you pray for someone, you are placing them in God’s hands. You are enacting love. You are opening yourself to be in relationship with them.

Whenever there is a harsh disagreement in the church congregation, session (board of leaders) or the Presbytery (our higher governing board). I will be the first to raise my hand and call for prayer.

And I’ll tell you what it is difficult to immediately stop and pray, the temptation is to continue arguing, the temptation is to prove that I am right, and that you should be listening to me!

This is exactly when prayer is needed, though, because you are trying to focus on God, to change your own individual perspective. Prayer is an act of Holy Imagination, where the world is viewed as the beginning of what God wants for us. God’s priorities and love are given voice and precedent over our own perspective. True prayer, opens oneself to actively love others, and that love is changing. That action is one in which we practice persistence to build a practice and discipline of prayer.

Time after time the most effective antidote to bigotry and prejudice is not education or knowledge. Its not about who is on the “right side of history.” Its having a relationship with someone who is different than you. Its knowing and loving a queer person or a person of color or one who is trans, female in leadership, or living in poverty.

Love is dangerous, because love changes your perspective.

Praying for someone is looking at them and loving them. Praying for another person an act of loving God, one where you recognize the other person as a child of God.

Just as Jesus looked at Martha, and then loved her, and then spoke to her last week.

So too are we called to love each other. Prayer is a discipline by which you practice seeing the world as God wants it to be, so we are more equipped and enabled to bring that world into being. Praying for one another is loving them through all the joys and hardships and struggling to find community with them, especially when we disagree.

Prayers are so much more than a comforting platitude, prayer is one of many disciplines by which we are able to get things done.

Lord teach us to pray….

 

#faClothing #Fast! The End

Well, I have finished my clothing fast (which was supposed to only be 10 items of clothes, but due to clothing that looks alike was prob really 12 or 13)

I just read an article about a woman who wore the same outfit to her office everyday.

Clothing can help you look dependable.

Its easier not having to pick clothing.

I was forced to do more laundry, because I needed clothing

Packing for a conference was easy.

But I did not get all of my other clothes away…my laundry room is still a mess, because wearing the same clothing did not sufficiently motivate me to get everything else organized.

Yesterday I gloriously wore Jeans, a red undershirt and a collared peach castle overshirt from my Grandfather…

I love to layer clothing.

Today I am fangirling Beauty and the Beast. I have a maroon belle top, with yellow yoga pants (to match), Beauty and the Beast Flats from Hot Topic and a Beauty and the Beast Rose Locket. The shirt is from my parents, the necklace is from my sister thru etsy, the shoes are from my husband. My pants are from a shopping trip my dad and I made after I was done being pregnant and wanted clothes that fit.

It helps that I am on vacation this week so I can really REALLY wear what I feel like wearing.

I’m thinking about my clothing, who they are from, why I like them.

I like to think that I look a little offbeat and artsy (maybe even childish), it is a good signal about who I am.

And yes wearing a nice set of sweaters and plain shirts are practical, but they are surely boring (even if they are red or patterned in such a way to be flattering, I chose clothes I hoped I wouldn’t absolutely hate by the end of the process).

I don’t know if I walk away with deep insights, but I do think that changing patterns, trying things from a different way are VERY VERY important. And seeing as how I am not one to wear the same thing over and over again, this was a kind of discipline to try on a different kind of practicality.

My mom likes to joke that other people’s ideas of simplifying are not the same as hers. For example if you are baking everything yourself and hand creating each ingredient, the ingredients are simple but the process is more complex than buying pre-made things.

Its true on some level, having to do laundry more and decide which clothing I can stand to wear when and having only one semi-nice outfit (the other two involved yoga pants) meant I wore the same thing to two session meetings, a Presbytery meeting and some other meeting that I’m not recalling right now….

It true that I wore my one long “hipsterlike” sweater to the playgroup to show that I was normal/cool almost every week.

What I wear does, in some sense, reveal where I am.

Also, I am aware of some of the atrocities of what goes on in the clothing industry, and think that my choice in clothing will help me to process that better.

Its an interesting thought…wonder how this will change my thoughts on how to “wear” Christ in different and expressive ways in life…..

Clothing #Fast: #lent

So for Lent I am fasting on my clothing.

for so many reasons

1. I am very attached to my clothes

2. I own too many

3. Laundry is not my strongpoint

The deal is you pick a certain number of outfit clothing (i.e. you can wear socks, underwear and coats) and stick to it for 40 days.

Confession: I don’t know if I could do this if Sundays counted, I tend to wear “dresses” on Sunday and don’t feel like I could wear the same thing every Sunday.

I chose 10 pieces, because the suggested 6 didn’t really include sweaters and brrrr!!!! its been cold and I’ve def. been layering and wearing sweaters inside and outside (i.e. just not as a coat accoutrement), so 3 pieces a day instead of 2 makes 9. Then there is the fact I have three small children. I sometimes get spilled or even peed on, so I feel like having a random piece of clothing for such emergencies is wise.

so here’s what I have

1 pair of black nice pants

2 pairs of yoga pants

1 blue sweater

1 black/gray sweater

1 tunic black sweater

1 red long sleeved shirt

1 black and white work blouse.

1 black sleeveless shirt (with lacy straps)

So far I’ve been doing it for a week and I’ve kept up with the laundry and I think I’ve already worn all of the different combos.

I also had the awkward moment when I wore my “really” nice clothes for the session retreat on Sat and had another Session meeting on Weds (about the budget…eeek!)  that I was running and I didn’t want to wear the same thing/but I wanted to look professional. I ended up wearing the black shirt, the blue sweater and big silver earrings.

So far so good, I’m hoping this will give me an excuse to wash and put away ALL the clothes I own, and maybe give away some more, but so far its just made me keep up with doing everyone else’s laundry so my stuff is clean (altho I’m not to folding yet).

Here Goes 30ish more days….

Everyday Faith

Everyday Faith

“Faith, as Jesus describes it, is just doing your job, just doing your duty, not because of any sense of reward but simply because it needs doing. Faith, in other words, is doing what needs to be done right in front of you and this, Jesus says, the disciples can already do. Folks who feel daunted by discipleship need to hear that sometimes faith can be pretty ordinary. That’s what Jesus means, I think, by saying that if they had the faith even of a mustard seed, they could uproot and move a mulberry tree — that it really doesn’t take all that much faith to be, well, faithful.”

“Faith, Working Preacher, isn’t an idea, it’s a muscle. And the more we use that muscle, the stronger it gets.”

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