Prayers of Adoration & Confession

Creator God, maker of Heaven and Earth,
how can we see you in the changing of the seasons?
You fill our eyes with wonder as we follow your patterns,
woven with hope of renewal and new life.
We confess we are not more devoted observers,
allowing our attention to be diverted from your messages.

Jesus, who walked among us,
how can we hear you in the voices of others?
We cherish the love shown to us in your humanity
and seek to love others through your example.
We confess that we are often too preoccupied
to listen with true understanding and compassion.

Holy Spirit, gentle guide,
How can we sense you in the depths of our being?
We are grateful to be made malleable,
able to change as we grow and learn.
We confess to resisting the pressure of your hand,
to not letting ourselves be formed in the ways you desire.

God of enduring love,
we acknowledge that we are not always aware of your presence in our lives.
Forgive us for not listening for the sound of your voice,
for the times we have not been watching to see what you would show us
and for those situations where we have not acted as you were calling us to.

Declaration of Forgiveness

As we observe this time of Advent year after year, through the seasons of our lives,
we remember God’s greatest message of love to us was sent in human form.
Through Jesus, we know that God loves us, forgives us,
makes us whole, desires to give us life in all its fullness.
Receive this good news and live in peace. We are forgiven. Thanks be to God.

Amelia Ware, offered for worship 3/12, Advent 1

Prayers of the People

Christmas Bowl Story
Amba had to flee her home in the Congo with her husband and their two sons. They now live as refugees in Ethiopia. While life there is secure and safe, they are restricted in what they can do. Amba says, “We can’t find work and school fees are high so it is hard to make ends meet and provide for our family. I haven’t achieved much in my life, but I want my children to. I want them to study to the fullest and become somebody.”

Amba is currently taking a computer course funded by Act for Peace’s Christmas bowl partner the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission. This will help her to provide for her family. She says, “The course is very helpful for me – both physically and mentally. When we arrived here, we knew no one and it can be very isolating. Now I am meeting other women like me, and we support each other instead of feeling alone. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

Ethiopia currently hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa. Large numbers of refugees continue to arrive daily, and resources in the refugee camps are severely overstretched. Gifts to the Christmas Bowl this year will help to ensure critically ill or injured refugees can access emergency healthcare services, as well as providing ongoing support for vulnerable refugees through counselling and vocational training.

Let us pray
Gracious God,
the comfort of all who sorrow
the strength of all who suffer.
We pray for people seeking refuge from violence,
from hunger and from despair.
We pray for those who offer their ongoing support and love.
Give hope and peace.
We pray for all who are ill, all who mourn, all who suffer.
Give hope and healing.
Lord be the potter of our lives,
shape them to your will,
so that they may reflect the love and hope
that we see in Christ.

Christmas Bowl resources, offered for worship 3/12, Advent 1