thinking theology

This Sunday, I have added an update of an ancient liturgy that is not priestly, but communal. In these challenging times, together yet apart, we may want to look to the simplicity and hope in our origins and in the good news as understood by Jesus, the faithful Jewish prophet, martyred by the imperialistic regime of Rome.

Collect
Beloved and Holy God,
the bones of this age — disease and famine, war and deceit — fill our hearts with fear and despair. Help us to turn these bones into the compost of new beginnings. May we step out of the valley of death into your assurance of eternal life. Let us believe that we will leave the depths to see the morning of a fresh, new world. In the name of the Jesus who died with us so that we might believe in your Life.
Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Maker of all,
our feet feel the soft blue clay of spring, our eyes greet the green shoots budding on the trees, our hands yearn to sprinkle seeds. And yet we are mired in a time of contagion and paralysis. Help us to remember that we are the Body of Christ, connected by water and blood, in your womb of life. As we offer our souls and bodies, let us hold each other in hope and in love.
Amen.

Prayer after Communion
Generous God,
you have made creation so that we must share in the struggle and could share in the blessings of life. May this time of pausing help us all to give thanks for the glory and complexity of this world. May we find new ways to be your church, to be a just and healing presence in your church, to be your Christ in hope, sacrifice, and resurrection.
Amen.

The following resource is downloadable and free for use as you join in prayer with friends or family, whether in person or virtually.

Apart and Together in Virtual Prayer

Another kind of prayer that is the same, but different: sitting at a window perhaps, begin by remembering what gifts life and awareness of being are. For me, the trees hold my gratitude and remind me that my roots are deep in the earth and my branches reach out in love and joy. Then I think about those I love and cradle them in my heart. Then, I reach out into the world, to the places of hurt and I imagine them being healed or comforted, imagine connecting them to the winds of the sky and the burrowing under the earth. Finally, I reach out to the Maker of all, the One who connects and is connected to all, and I let myself be healed and loved too. I let the rain of compassion wash my face and the clouds of healing carry away what is spent so that new life may begin in me and in all that is. Blessed be The Holy One who is apart and yet inside us all.

Lent 4: Chaos into Order

Collect
Loving and forgiving God,
we bring you our fears and doubts. Help us to see these truths that you have placed before us: change is required for some kinds of institutional healing; this holy earth holds everything necessary for abundant living; compassion, generosity, hospitality, forgiveness all have the power to create safety and peace for all. As we meditate on your word and on the way of life to which Jesus leads us, may we find renewed purpose, and grace in living. Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Gracious God,
you have provided for us in abundance and you cradle all the earth in your loving embrace. Receive our work, and our faith, as a holy offering of appreciation for your grace and healing. Amen.

Prayer after Communion
Holy Maker,
who weaves chaos into order, who forms new life from that which is spent, we give you thanks. As we consider your handiwork, may our humility stir us in service to each other and to a renewed way of life. May we trust our vision when it is centred on the loving Way of Christ. Amen.

Lent 3: By Every Well

Collect
Holy and loving God,
to you we bring our doubt and fear. We hesitate because we forget that you travel in our midst. Your spirit opens doors of possibility. Your Beloved teaches us courage in the face of adversity. In all things, we praise the sustaining hope that you have provided for us through your Word in story and in the person of Jesus, our Anointed One. In his name we pray. Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Gracious God,
we offer you these gifts that you provide for us to share. Bless them and bless the work that we do in your name so that you will know us in every wilderness and by every well of insight. May we be safe haven and a community where all may find a place to belong. Amen.

Prayer after Communion
Holy One,
we give you thanks that you have called us into the household of faith. May we ensure that the door is open for all, and that there is always another place at the table. In humble gratitude and trust in you, we travel into the world in the community of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Lent 2: The Journey

Collect
Holy One,
you call us to journey beyond our own imaginations. You draw us beyond the limits of time and experience. You ask us to stretch our dreams so that the Spirit can show us new paths and possibilities. May we follow faithfully all our days. Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Gracious God,
we bring you these gifts from your holy earth, and the wealth that is ours to share. Bless us with vision and holy dreaming as you enfold us in your dream of peace and justice for all. Amen.

Prayer after Communion
God of abundance,
who wills goodness for all creation. May these holy acts and words inspire us to live with the compassion and clarity of Jesus, who showed us how to be human. Amen.

Propers for Lent 1: Year A

Preamble
I think of Lent as a time of unburdening our souls, our communities, our earth. Thus, this discipline begins with a daily reflection on how we can pay attention to the possibility of healing in these areas. For communal worship, we need to reflect on how our lives attach meaning to our shared devotions, and, conversely, how those shared devotions affect our Christian practice and reflection for the week.

Lent 1

Collect
Gracious God,
you share your divine life and freedom with us. Help us to choose the path of wisdom and kindness, that we may be your sign of true humanity. Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Generous God,
the world is your garden. We offer these gifts from your abundance. May they become food for us and for all, as you bless us now. Amen.

Prayer after Communion
Loving God,
you have put signs of your presence everywhere in the world. For those who come to this table and receive this sacrament, may they become aware of your grace within, becoming grace that is revealed to those who seek. Amen.

Prayers for use throughout Lent

Prayers of the People
Holy One, without you, the tasks before us leave us without purpose or power. In the light of Christ, together in the vast company of all saints, we lift up the places of our ministry.

 (silence)

For the indigenous people of the world, who struggle against the lingering, but potent effects of colonization. For the Churches’ work in reconciliation and solidarity; for signs of change, for increasing awareness and the light of truth, we pray.
Holy One, open our minds and hearts.

For all places of social hurt and harm; for an end to famine and poverty; for safety and protection of the children of the world; for an end to violence against women and all gender violence,
Holy One, open our minds and hearts.

For all who work for peace and healing, justice and restitution, remembering especially the work of (PWRDF, KAIROS, Melanie Delva, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Doctors Without Borders, and local groups….)
Holy One, open our minds and hearts.

For our church of …, for our willingness to risk and learn and act for the sake of Christ calling. For our spiritual growth and for the faith growing amongst us,
Holy One, open our minds and hearts.

For those for whom we celebrate…,
and for those with whom we share concern…,
Holy One, open our minds and hearts.

Let us acknowledge those ways in which we recommit ourselves to the work of Christ by freeing ourselves for the work at hand.

(leads into Prayer of Confession)

Prayer of Confession
Maker of all,
judge of your people, we come before you in sorrow and shame for our actions as your people.
In the cause of justice, we have been silent, but we have acted to protect ourselves and secure our own ground.
In the work of compassion, we have grown cold but we have demanded fulfillment of our own needs.
On this day, may we begin again to serve you with integrity and to be the healing body of your Beloved in the world.
Forgive us and help us to forgive ourselves.
Heal us and help us to heal each other.
Teach us so that we might learn from each other.
Holy One, reconcile us to you that we may believe in the possibility of peace.
Amen.

Absolution
The Holy One calls us to return and be renewed in love. As we offer ourselves in humility and trust, let us also be open to healing and to be alive in the Spirit of liberation, in the name of the Trinity of love.
Amen.

Great Thanksgiving for Lent
(You may use sursum corda according to your tradition or the one provided.)

May you abide in the love of the Holy One.
We lift our hearts in trust.

The Spirit stirs us in awe and wonder.
We give our lives in love.

It is a gift to us to offer thanks and praise.
We exist within the sphere of God’s love and creation.

God our Creator, we offer our thanks as we greet each other around this table. We remember that you blessed human life with the Divine Presence in many traditions and with many names. But always it is in the ordinary signs of life that your Sacred Presence is revealed. In stinging sandstorms and in Arctic blizzards, your people have sought you, only to lose sight of you again. You call us in famine and in feast to recognize your abiding love that wills abundant life for all. At this time of pausing, teach us to choose the pathway of your Beloved and grant us what we need to follow Jesus.

At the time of Passover, your Beloved Jesus became the Christ in the world. We remember the gift of that life, the time when we learned the power of naming and challenging, the power of healing and solidarity. Jesus showed us how to see our community as one family, the lifeblood of the faith.

One night in Bethany, Jesus sat down with his family and friends. A woman prophet anointed him with oil to recognize the unique gift of his life. 

We remember this woman, the first witness to resurrection within this life.

Before his trial, while everyone was eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it. Then, beholding at his people, he said for them to receive the sign of the bread. Looking at them all, he said, “This, my body.”

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
For in the one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body.

Then Jesus took a cup of wine, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and all of them drank from the one cup, like one family, one blood. And he said to them, “This, my blood which is offered for many.”

You are the vine; we are the branches, full of the sap of divine life.
May your joy abide in us so that we may be one family, offered for love of the world and chosen to bear the fruit of justice and peace-making.

And Jesus prayed to God, “As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes, I bless myself, so that they too may be truly blessed. I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their words, that they all may be one.” (John 17:18-20)

May we all be one in purpose and many in inspiration.
May we all be one in compassion, although diverse in understanding.

Breaking of the Bread
In the desert, you feed us, By the well, you bless us.
At your table we are renewed

Blessing
May you experience the love of God healing you and showing you the beauty and strength with which you were made. May the Holy Trinity of Creation: Maker, Beloved, and restless Spirit cause you to hunger and thirst for fulfillment in peace and joy. Amen.