September 16, 2020

Wednesday greetings,

Today’s inspiration comes to us from Lillian Daniel, a spunky pastor whose writings I enjoy and find inspiring.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (NRSV)

Relationships are a constant and continual renegotiation. What you say on your twelfth birthday, your retirement date, or wedding day may not be your plan ten years later. And yet, to the other person, it can be a total surprise. They defend the old plan, saying, “You can’t change your mind now. That was not what we agreed.”

“You said you wouldn’t go back to work until the kids were in junior high,” says the mom with the more-than-full-time job, to her husband in charge of the everyday chaos at home. “Yes, but four years into this, I feel differently,” he says. “Don’t lock me in.”

In an unhealthy relationship, we do lock each other in. We hold each other hostage to some past version of ourselves, cutting down each other’s dreams.

“How are you going to cook for the homeless, when you don’t even cook at home?”

“You wanted to go to law school. You can’t change careers at your age.”

“You want to sing songs from the 18th century? This family doesn’t have time for you to pursue your own amusement.”

But it’s cruel to tell another person that they are not allowed to change their mind. It’s terrible to feel boxed in to a previous version of yourself.

Renegotiating isn’t easy. But the heart of the gospel is this: everyone gets to grow and change. Discerning the will of God isn’t about doing whatever you want or making the other person do whatever you want. Discernment disrupts our best-laid plans.

Prayer:

When the next negotiating session begins, remind me “God is still speaking.” And not only to me.

Amen.

September 13, 2020

Gracious and Gentle God we give thanks for coming to earth in flesh to dwell amongst us and to teach us how to live and how to love. We give you thanks for the power of your love revealed in Jesus.… love to help and heal when nothing else can, love that lifts up and liberates when nothing else will. Having been blessed by the power of your love, we want to freely give what we have been freely given.

Let your healing love be known this day by all who suffer physically, distress of mind, agony of spirit, or brokenness of relationships. Let your forgiving love be known this day – we ask for forgiveness for harm we have done to one another and to your creation. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Let your intimate love be known today we pray, by all who feel forgotten or lost, and all who are walking in the dark valley of despair. We pray for all suffering due to covid – the sick, the grieving, the under-resourced, and front-line workers.

May your gracious presence provide comfort and strength. We pray for our households of faith. May their lives be filled with love, health and joy. Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Let your fierce love this day redress the wrongs of all who suffer exploitation, injustice, abuse, neglect, or violence. Amidst global black lives matter movement we pray that the voice of the voiceless be honoured and that racism and systems of oppression be dismantled. Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Let your nurturing love today encourage families as a new school year is launched. Grant energy and joy, safety and peace. Let wisdom fill educators, support staff in their important roles. May places of learning whether in-person or virtual classrooms be safe. Let your strengthening love uphold congregational leaders amidst decision making and rolling out health and safety protocols.

Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Let your reconciling love today gather together where divisions are deep. Make your church aware of the fellowship and mission of the one, universal body of Christ. Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Thank you for hearing us, loving God. With the whole body of believers, we want to love, praise and serve you and transformed by the power of your love in whose name we pray.

Amen

September 9th, 2020

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Amen

September 6, 2020

Good and gracious God, here we are standing at a threshold.

A new church year lies before us.

A new school year lies before us.

The fall season including cooler days and autumn flavours lies before us.

You join with us at this threshold of new opportunity, as routines change and as congregational ministries and programs are launched anew. You join with us amidst the unknowns, the possibilities, each step of the journey.

You join with us and accompany us, providing strength and vision to step forward into familiar and unknown places to further Your mission.

At this threshold we give thanks for opportunities to serve, to worship, to teach, to learn, and to grow. Continue, we pray to make all things new. Give us courage and humility to faithfully follow You wherever you lead.

Bless Your church, amidst the challenges of this season and amidst creative out-of-the-box thinking. Make us bold to release that which has served its season and fill us with courage and vision to embrace the future you have prepared for us. We pray for wisdom, grace, and open hearts. We pray for the ministries of this congregation, congregational leadership and staff and ask your blessing upon all we do in your name. We pray for Leah Reesor-Keller as she begins her new position as MCEC Executive Minister. Direct and guide her.

Hear our prayer for those who stand in need of healing, hope and wholeness. Hear our prayer for those suffering due to emotional, relational, physical or spiritual pain. Hear our prayer for all impacted by covid, the sick, the grieving, health care providers, those waiting to return to work. May Your embrace of love be wide and strong.

We also pray for our Households of Faith. May their days be filled with meaning and purpose, their home a place where love dwells.

Good and gracious God giving thanks for all Your good gifts and Your promise to be with us, we offer all our prayers in the name of Jesus the Christ.

Amen