Prayers for Sunday 21st February 2021

We’re hanging on by our fingertips, God. They’re bruised and sore. Soothe them, Spirit of healing. Smother them with balm and cover them in silken wrappings, that they may be refreshed and made whole again. Keep us fit for the road ahead as we walk alongside you Jesus, and our fellow pilgrims.

We keep haulin’, God. We’re aching and tired. Restore us, Spirit of life. Enliven us with joy and embue us with hope, that we may envision the fruits of our labours and keep strong as we toil in the dim light. Sing our shanties with us Jesus, in chorus with our fellow pilgrims.

We keep pacing ourselves, God. Never knowing when this will end or the next blip will come. Enrich us, Spirit of wisdom. Bless us with your insight and give us enough light for the next step, that we may use the grace we have for today and not waste worry on tomorrow. Rest with us when the day is done, Jesus, amongs your pilgrims.

Amen

Peace be with you

Prayers for Sunday 14th February 2021; Racial Justice Sunday

On this day, I sit and reflect on why we need to pull out Racial Justice as a single thread. Social Justice as a whole is our reason for being as followers of Christ, after all.

Yet who can look back over the furore surrounding Jarel Robinson-Brown in recent weeks and deny a discourse around race, justice, society and faith is sorely needed; this is why we need a focus on racial justice God. Spirit, rain your wisdom down on us.

I look at my nephew and niece, beautiful mixed-race English children, and know their treatment will not aways be equal to their same-race English cousins; that is why we need a focus on racial justice God. Spirit, rain your wisdom down on us.

I consider my almost-teenage son’s peers from non-white ethnicities. The different experiences they share with my boy, the cruelties of the world he has newly experienced through their stories. How their mothers may feel when their sons leave the house compared to how I feel; that is why we need a focus on racial justice God. Spirit, rain your wisdom down on us.

I look to all the other needs in society, the calls for justice for those with disabilities, those in the lgbtq+ communities, those in poverty, and so many more. I see the intersections with race and other needs and I weep for my complicitness in the society which empowers me over others purely because of how I was born; that is why we need a focus on racial justice God. Spirit, rain your wisdom down on us.

In this prayer, as in everything, I acknowledge my ignorance and ask for increased understanding. Jesus, teach me as I sit at your feet, not the blue eyed white man of my childhood stories but the brown Nazrene Jew of my learned experience. Give me more exposure to teachers of other ethnicities and cultures so I may know more of their context and hold tight to less of my own. And in everything, may I discern more of you, share more of you and draw closer to you.

Amen

Peace be with you

A Prayer for Sunday 31st January 2021

God of Hope, when there is little to be found, we look to you this day.

We look to you the week the UK passed 100,000 deaths from Covid-19, a grim milestone unimaginable at the start, and wholly preventable. So much lost hope, despair and anguish. Reignite in us the hope, joy and peace that comes from truly knowing You.

We turn to you one month into lockdown, as children falter and teachers tire, as parents crumble under the weight of all they have to manage and as relationships are strained to breaking point. Ease the burden and soothe our souls, as we enter into the life-giving and restorative rest that can only be found in communion with You.

We lean into you as uncertain futures and a year of disruption take their toll on our mental heath and ability to maintain a positive outlook. Give us the strength to reach into our communities, online, through phonecalls, texts, letters, on our exercise walks, finding connections and keeping motivated to nurture belonging. Call us to action and motivate us to social justice as we seek to open our hearts to the causes that move Yours.

God of Hope, where there is little to be found, may we be that hope to someone this day and every day.

Amen

Peace be with you

A Prayer for Sunday 24th January 2021

God of Justice, God of Hope, we look to you today.

Thank you for those who work tirelessly to bring justice and restoration to your people here on earth. Those who do so quietly, in foodbanks and rape crisis centres. Those who do so loudly on TV interviews and social media. All at personal cost, and all from a sense that this must be put right. May we always be a people that seek to put right what does not come from You.

Thank you for those who continue to do their bit, even though they are exhausted, depressed, isolated. For those who continue to engage in communities they are wounded by, in the hope they can bring change. For those who have no strength left to act but still turn up to bear witness, for to witness is to notice and to notice is to care. And when strength is restored, may their stories bring reform of all that does not come from You.

Thank you for those who are hopeless, for they are so beloved. Bless them today, God of Joy. May they know today there is light in the morning, however long the night, and while the darkness endures they are not alone. Call them into Your communities today God, online, via support groups, a compassionate friend. Nudge us with your Spirit to be that person to someone in need today, and ease some of the loneliness that does not come from You.

Pour Your love and compassion into us in abundance so we may share with others and bring Your kin-dom to this world today. For this is what comes from You and we embrace it in Your name.

Amen

Peace be with you

A Prayer for Sunday 17th January 2021

God who sees all we do, think and are, we lay all our efforts before you today.

When all seems futile and the bigger picture seems overwhelming, may we keep on walking our unique path with You.

When our work is criticised and our products rebuked, when our motives questioned and our characters misunderstood, may we keep on walking our unique path with You.

When we run short on energy, wisdom and patience, may we lean into You for Yours, knowing all good things come from you and from you good things come, so that we may keep on walking our unique path with You.

We may not always know where we are going, or how, why or when, but we can always know it is with You. Bless us this day and always as we give our best efforts to waking humbly, one step at a time, in the knowledge our journey is individual, important, meaningful, and part of this blessed creation story that stretches throughout time, beginning and ending with You.

Amen

Peace be with you.

A Prayer for Sunday 10th January 2021

What a messy world we live in God. Yet as the snow falls, what beauty I see.

As we reflect on a week of violence, shocked by scenes of terrorism, angered that it has not been called out as such, and dismayed at the injustice our brothers and sisters arrested under the banner of Black Lives Matter see, we invite you to bring beauty into the mess.

As we watch rising Covid infection rates, mourn far too many deaths and deeply miss our loved ones we are restricted from seeing, we invite you to bring beauty into the mess.

As we face more lockdown, more household juggling, more homeschooling, homeworking, home confinement, we invite you to bring beauty into the mess.

May we always look to the beauty, even in the messiest of situations. For their will always be beauty. There will always be you.

Amen

Peace be with you

A Prayer for Sunday 3rd January 2021

God, Spirit, Jesus, bring us life at the dawn of this new year.

As we look forward to better times while acknowledging we are still living through very tough days;

God, Spirit, Jesus, bring us life at the dawn of this new year.

As we hold on to you as our hope, when there may be little else left;

God, Spirit, Jesus, bring us life at the dawn of this new year.

As we look to you and look to eachother, looking away from bad news cycles, social media arguments and conspiracy theories;

God, Spirit, Jesus, bring us life at the dawn of this new year.

Throughout everything, within everything, amongst everything, You abide. Abide with us in this new life throughout 2021 and beyond.

Amen

Peace be with you

The Stark Reality

When an overdramatic title draws you in, but you realise very quickly it isn’t overdramatic at all …

One of the blessings I find each year after the chaos of Christmas is time to read the pile of books I have generally accrued that year. This Boxing Day I pulled ‘Bad Theology Kills’ (one of my birthday stack) off the shelf and idly began flicking, but by page two my attention was sharply standing to attention. This work was revolutionary. I mean, I’d said for a while in my own deconstruction the difference between choosing traditional theology and choosing liberal loving theology was life or death, but this writer was nailing it – in a way that made me want to weep and woop in equal measure.

Their stories started to leap off the page – they were mine too! Their experiences – I’d lived through some of those exact conversations. The frameworks they presented for why gave my soul a chance, finally, to find some peace with it all in a final, logical way. They get it. Someone gets me. More than that, they are doing the same thing I am, speaking up because we just can’t reconcile silence and standing by any longer.

Everyone who calls themselves a Christian should read this book. We have a responsibility to understand the pain we cause when we continue to uphold theological stances ‘because that’s what the Bible says’ without constantly examining what that actually means, how and when we learned that, where on the Wesleyan Quad we sit, etc etc … when we KNOW our stance is directly reaponsible for abuse, homelessness and death.

If you read it and don’t change your stance, that’s up to you, but the challenge will stir your soul I promise, and that can only be a good thing …

Peace be with you … but maybe not too much this time!

A Prayer for Christmas Day 2020

Welcome, Jesus, as a babe you came. Today we remember.

We pause and remember the gift of hope, packaged in a simple child. When all is too big, complex and frustrating, help us to look for the simple hope, and the hope of the small and simple.

We pause and remember the gift of beauty, in the most natural of elements, life. When all seems full of ill health, death and darkness, guide us towards the evergreens, berries and fresh blooms which speak of eternal life, available to delight in, always.

We pause and remember the gift of joy, delivered safely and held close to Mary’s breast. Amidst the sadness, the loss and the absence, may we be determined to seek the joy, create fullness and live in the moments where we know the gladness of life.

Welcome, Jesus, as a babe you came. Today we remember.

Amen

Peace, and the blessings of Christmas, be with you