Lent 2 – Listening under the weight of the cross

Opening Prayer

God who knows us in our joys and sorrows, we bring these to you today.
In this time of quiet listening help us to know your presence in the paths we take,

In the gentle pain of endings:
Of friendships, of seasons in our lives, our own crosses.
We listen in the loud grief of losing those we have loved,
of hearing of the many traumas in the world.

Help us to know these many pains in the divine power of your son on the cross.
That grief is an invitation into closeness with your creation.
As we listen let us hear the overwhelming decibels of your glory
The majesty of a sunrise, of a stone rolled away from a tomb.
The new life of every morning, of every child,
every fresh beginning a celebration
of your renewing power in us and all of your creations.
In the name of the one who brings us new life, Amen.

Prayers of Confession

Christ who suffers our human pain we bring these to you today.
In the gentle mourning of our personal struggles,
our feelings of incompleteness, our anxieties of being less than,
our quiet sobbing at the end of a long and exhausting day
our loud cries of anguish in devastation as we come
to realise in our mind and body the truth of a deep trauma.

We hold these fragilities in the knowledge
that you held them when you walked amongst us
We admit that often it is a relief to turn away,
To coast along feigning naivety to our own pain and the suffering of others
We know our own patterns of filling our time with activity,
with distracting filler, shiny possessions and petty judgement of others,
and yet we bury ourselves in such spaces
rather than listen to the suffering in our lives.

God who mourns and feels our every thought
We confess that sometimes it just feels too hard
to take your invitation into suffering
We confess that we are not trusting of ourselves, of others,
of you to handle the grief we have
Help us listen to your love, to the sacrificial love of the crucifixion
Help us to recognise that you have always known our grief,
that you know the pain of all creation.
Help us to have faith and comfort in your transformative grieving.

Holy spirit, the strong winds of change
We confess that we sometimes prefer life to stand still
We lament that we do not allow endings in our lives because
We turn away from the possibility of renewal.
Help us to listen to your presence in change.
To see your spirit in others who take our hand
and teach us how to listen your presence all places
help us to know that you have been in all creation
That what may seem unknown for us, is always familiar in you.

Declaration of Confession

We pray for joy in the knowing of our sufferings and
the knowledge that you Christ, God and Holy Spirit
are always speaking so that we may listen.
Receive the gift of this tender love of us,
that in this our sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God. Amen

Prayers of the People

Mother and Father God hear the prayers of your people

Holy Lord, we are unfurling spirits made in Your likeness, formed to listen to Your creation.
We walk with you while you run with us.
Your creation and its gravity meets and holds our bodies.

Awaken our minds so that as we walk, we feel the earth come up to meet us.
Make us able to feel our feet on the pavements,
our arms in the sun, hear fat dollops of rain on the road.
Make us feel wholly alive in this life.

God you listen and watch under the weight of the cross.
You know this takes more than open ears and watchful eyes
– you know to listen means also to act

We pray for those who find this impossible;
for those whose lives are unable to be peaceful or free.
We pray for those in Ghouta, Syria and for those in other places of war.

We pray for our country’s decisions made in the name of international relations.
We pray for the people of China, where Xi Jingping leads a government
where systematic efforts control Christianity and freedom to worship God.
Where the government silences the voices of those who call out for liberty.
We pray for China’s Christians, those who fight for human dignity and rights
in that country and those working towards a just legal system.

May Australia, however imperfect we ourselves are,
be an influencer of human rights.
Our country’s and our own sins do not excuse
or exempt us from standing up for human rights.
Lord, may we all listen in your creation and
use the gifts you have given us of seeing listening .

Lord, we pray for Russia and the endemic corruption pervading its society.
We pray that your love and care for all people will move
into the corridors of power in a country where laws
allowing free expression have been disbanded and independent critics are silenced.

We pray for countries with the agency and power to come together
to quickly resolve tensions fuelled in part, by Russia’s unlawful air attacks,
its allegiance with Syria and involvement in the Ukraine.

In our own daily lives help us to slow down, to listen,
to be aware and then do something.
Gives us the courage to speak up and confront
and not be scared to call out others
when they pressure, bully, lie, ignore or walk over others.

Help us to do this in our daily, personal interactions,
not just walk away or via empty words or social media
so that weights are lifted in practical and real ways that make a difference.
Help us to remember the daily actions of Jesus
that lead to the Cross and that he acted daily.

Give us the strength to carry weight.
Help us to share the weight of hurt, unjustness and poverty.

Mothering God, we come to you now in our own silence prayers.  Amen