The prophet Samuel says ‘Surely this may be the one!’
God says ‘Don’t look at the outside.  God looks at the heart.’

Samuel 16:1-13

Prayers of Adoration & Confession

Eternal God,
Creator of all that is good.
Your vision for our world is greater than we can imagine.
Creation grows in response to your relentless love,
even though we are unaware.
You see the potential in all of your creation,
And are revealed in the beauty that surrounds us.

Loving Spirit,
Working within us and through us
You move in ways that surprise us
Miraculously turning the small and insignificant
into something strong and life-changing.
You nurture hope in the face of difficulty,
Give strength to those who are afraid,
And comfort those who mourn.

Humble Christ,
Born in a stable to a family on the run.
Your way of living and dying turns the world upside down,
And shows a new way which frees all who are held down or anxious.
You give salvation to all who suffer,
And challenge and inspire us to work for a better world.
Eternal God, Loving Spirit, Humble Christ,
We ask forgiveness for a world that denies justice for all people.
A world where money and prestige are more important
than food and shelter for all.
A world where power leads to violence and exploitation
instead of compassion and mercy
A world that leaves us in despair,
leaves us feeling small, powerless, and without hope.

Eternal God, Loving Spirit, Humble Christ,
call us away from our ordinary tasks, and away from sorrow.
Set us on new paths to follow you with passion.

Sisters and brothers, hold on to this:
God does not see as mortals see, but looks at our hearts.
Christ came, with words of wisdom and compassion for all who suffer.
Remember the good news of the gospel:
through Christ, our sin is forgiven!
Thanks be to God. Amen

Natalie Sims, offered for worship, 17/6/18, Pentecost 4

Prayers of the People

God of all light,
God of the pin-drop night,
God who shines in the darkest of corners,
Yet who sometimes seems to hide your face when we seek it most…
God, of love,
God of hope,
God of surprise who breaks unexpected
on the shores of our days like waves of joy,
Then pulls away, away, away…

We lament our broken humanity.

Lament it in this world of your creation
Lament it in the hard places,
Lament it in the fist of greed that slams upon the lives of the vulnerable.

But most of all we lament the silence and the absence when we cry out,
When one of yours is hurt or crushed or bruised by hatred and ignorance.
Where are you then, O God?

Are you with those torn by war in Yemen,
Suppressed and silenced in North Korea,
Abused and spat upon in Alabama or St.Kilda
because of the colour of their skin?

The cross says you are, somehow, deeply enmeshed
in the fibre of our lives and suffering.
We pray for those for whom a night without tears is cause for joy.
Be present, be known, be freedom and peace to all who cry out;
to all who cry.

Are you with your church, caught up as we are in our orthodoxies and certainties,
torn apart by trust betrayed, at times timid about our place in the world,
yet held together by the faithful and fearless
who continue to light the way through their giving lives?

Your Spirit poured out at Pentecost and
present throughout the ages says you are,
travelling with us as we stumble forward in the name of your Son.
We pray for the community of your people connected and alive,
animated by your love,
passionate for the truth emblazoned across our hearts,
hopeful, hearty travellers following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Be our centre,
be our heartland,
be the soil into which our roots are deeply planted.

And here, dear God, here where we are,
here in our homes and in our streets,
the narrow laneways and parklands
where we walk and play, hopeful and unafraid,
are you here with us, do you walk with us,
share our cheerful hours, dream our hopeful dreams,
pace with us the silent hallways of our fears?
‘Yes’, comes the quiet word – ‘yes’.
‘Lo, I am with you always’.
We cling to the comfort of your words without fully knowing their meaning;
cling because we must, hold tight because we know there is no other way –
you have shone your light across our path and beckon us on.

We pray for our community, then,
for all the joy it brings, for all the sorrow too.
For the tragic loss of Eurydice Dixon, struck down on our doorstep.
We pray for all who knew her and now grieve for her loss –
touch each one with healing love;
For the one who enacted evil upon her –
bring repentance and forgiveness through your grace;
For all who hesitate and worry,
fearful and uncertain about where we walk and connect with each other –
flood us with the confidence of your presence
each halting hour, each hopeful day.

Loving God,
We lament, we hope, we trust, we move,
listening for your voice,
resting in your love.
Be with us, each one, as we go from this place.

Peter McKinnon, offered for worship, 17/6/18, Pentecost 4