thinking theology

Occasional Prayers for Lent

God of the wilderness, God of the journey, grant us the will to hear your Holy Wisdom. Walk amongst us in this community. May your Presence stir us to vision and action, that we may extend your Christ wherever there is need for hope and healing.

Loving and faithful God, receive our prayers and the deep sighs of the Spirit within us. Heal us, free us, empower us that we may be your people of promise, now in this time of our lives.

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Prayers of Contrition
Leader: Let us open our hearts to the healing power of the Christ among us.

People: My sisters and brothers, I confess to you that I have not always treasured the gift of life that I have been given. I have forgotten that these hands are meant to contain love and mercy for myself and others. I have forgotten that these feet walk a holy path, encircling and hallowing your earth. I have forgotten that these ears are designed to hear forgiveness and healing; these lips are called to speak of hope and reconciliation.

Leader: Let us open our church to the healing spirit of repentance.

People: We confess to the world and to each other, that we have failed to follow the ways of Jesus and have been distracted by culture and custom. We have not always welcomed the strangers into our midst, we have not always loved the outcast or forgiven the offender. We have allowed ourselves to forget that we are your ministers of grace and your witnesses to new life. We commit ourselves to the Way again, crossing barriers of institution and history to reach out to others in compassion. Amen
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Merciful and just God, our iniquities have risen higher than we can stand and our guilt has filled the community. To a long pattern of sin in history, we too have succumbed. Yet, O Holy One, you always open a space for us that leads to the gateway of life. You have not forsaken us, but offer us your love and mercy. Show us how to mend what we have broken, restore what we have taken, repay what is not ours. And then you will show us the path of life where there is sorrow no more.

Mother 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.

Storm Maker, Tide Bearer, you sweep open the dusty corners of the soul, shaking away the skeletons of our yesterdays. Blow through us with the Spirit of transformation, granting to your daughters speech with wisdom, and to your sons, wisdom with speech. May your compassionate love be revealed whenever two or three are gathered in your name.

Author of new creation, thanks be to you for the windows of possibility, for sunlight on rain-spattered stones, for the green of spring at the edge of winter, for a child’s twinkle in an old person’s eye, for all the signs of resurrection in this life. For all that lifts my heart and turns me back to you.
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A Great Thanksgiving

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. And this time of pausing, teach us to choose the pathway of your Beloved and grant us what we need to follow him.

At the time of Passover, your Beloved Jesus became the Christ in the world. We remember the gift of that life 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.

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.
All: 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, looking at his people, he said for them to receive the sign of the bread. Looking at them all, he said, “This, my body.”

All: 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 of the new understanding, which is offered for many.”

All: You are the vine; we are the branches. 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)

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

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