Looking into the face of Jesus …
The hope we have as we reach up to God
Singing the refrain from ‘She comes sailing on the wind’.
Prayers of Adoration
God, Loving Creator,
We reflect on what it means to be your children,
evaluating our attempts to grow in your image.
Your process is one of continual evolution,
Help us to move with the seasons and accept
that your world is not one of simple stories,
but infinitely smudged with beginnings and endings.
Forgive us for expecting instant perfection from others and ourselves,
encourage us to persist and learn from our experiences,
in the hope that what we reflect will gradually move closer to your example.
Jesus, living Word,
Through you we understand God’s empathy and love for us.
In this comforting knowledge, we are free to follow your call to love one another.
Forgive us from the times that, through fear or distraction,
we have not seen or listened to others with the intention of understanding.
Remind us of your example of vulnerability and selflessness
as we endeavour to nurture our love for others.
Holy Spirit, centre of our being,
Your presence calms us as the world turns relentlessly,
enabling us to keep our balance.
Forgive us for thoughtless words and actions
as we allow ourselves to be swept up in the tumult.
Let us seek your in our panic and guide us towards peaceful outcomes.
As we continue onwards, day by day endeavouring
to find our way as children of God,
believe the Good News that comes from God:
In Christ we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God. Amen
Amelia Ware, offered for worship, Easter 3, 15/4/18
Prayers of the People
Recently, I came back from a short trip to Tasmania that I took during my Uni break.
Everything there felt new and exciting. To me it felt like a giant playground waiting to be explored.
We walked through a swamp gum forest at dusk and found ourselves surrounded by a collection of marsupials, staring at us from where they were as we walked on by. Some hopped lackadaisically across the track.
I saw the biggest and straightest tree I had ever seen – bigger than any imagining of the faraway tree. It went up and up and up until the perspective was so extreme, the vanishing point took away its top. I cannot comprehend its 78m of height.
We saw waterfalls and speckled species of mushrooms, robins with proud pink chests trying to convince their hoppity friend on that close branch that they should come a little closer.
We saw blue-winged parrots and families of people really trying to stick out their hike as a united unit.
And in this landscape that we had never seen before, we were like children again. And how good it felt to be surprised and our attention diverted by every new offering made by God’s kingdom. To see the world fresh at every turn was good. Our eyes were made new by the perfection of God’s creation.
God’s creation is good. It holds us and we fit within it exactly where we were always meant to. We fit between the roots of trees and under the canopy of stars above us. Our place is here, at the feet of God’s kingdom.
Let us pray
Nurturing God, through curious minds, let us see that we belong among the things we find most special, most loveable and most needing of nurture.
Mothering and Fathering God, help us to see the world with clear eyes – to recognise the beauty in others, to see, empathise and show compassion to those who feel like their place is on the outside.
We pray for those beyond doors that divide. Help them to know this will not be for always. We pray for those who we cannot see but who we know need peace. We pray for those on the Gaza-Israel border and those implicated by decisions made by the very safest people in the US, Russia and Syria. Lord, bring peace. Let children be children. Let people grow up slowly and safely.
Compassionate God, we pray for those where being oneself places them or others at risk. For LGBTQI+ communities everywhere, we pray that others may see diversity as richness.
Make us ask questions, like those that never stop running from a four-year-old’s mouth. Show us what it means to be curious. Give us the energy to be focussed on what would be kinder, what would be the harder but right decision. Give us the excitement, normally the domain the children, to realise our world is full of things that can delight. Even an insect is full of infinite scales of wonderment.
Help us to feel loved and enveloped by you Lord, a God that loves without conditions. A God that loves us from our birth as children to our passing back to the soil.
In Jesus’ name,
Olivia Potter, offered for worship, Easter 3, 15/4/18