February 28th, 2021

Covenant-making God, we give you thanks for the example of Abraham & Sarah and for all our forefathers and foremothers who have gone before us –

for those who waited in patience for your promises to come to pass –

for those who lived in hope while around them it seemed to be only darkness,

for those who forgot their own selves in their desire to obey your commands and respond to your call upon their lives.

 Gracious God, walk with us this Lenten season, as we practice self-examination and look seriously at our resistance to talk about suffering, the cross and about sacrifice; our reluctance to give up the things of this world – to risk our reputations, our comfort, and our security for the sake of following you.

Transforming God, make us bold in our faith as we live into deep commitment. Through self-sacrificial love and self-denial, help us make visible to all our brothers and sisters the reality of your power and care – that power and care that is so often made evident when we confess our weakness – and so often concealed from others when we are strong….. 

                Compassionate God, we pray for those whose needs we hold deep in our hearts….

members of our congregation who are facing health challenges, awaiting surgery, or treatments.

We hold in prayer our loved ones including family members in long-term care and residing in assisted living.  We pray for those who are grieving……

all those struggling with mental health challenges, isolation, anxiety, and their families

We pray for front-line and essential workers,

teachers, students and administrators rolling out ever-changing policies

and all those who are facing struggles, challenges, and emotional or relational pain…

               We also pray for our households of faith.

Listening God, we also pray for ourselves, asking for the stamina and resilience to continue this covid journey. Many of us are weary. We miss our family and friends. We miss routine and freedoms and yet we are aware that we each have an important role to stop the spread of infection. Continue to journey with us, providing enough patience, and strength, and bright hope. Refresh us for the journey ahead. Draw near to us as we draw near to you. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen 

February 24, 2021

As we continue to live into this Lenten’s theme “deep calls to deep” we are reflecting upon how God calls us to go deeper in our relationships.
Let us pray,

From the depths
of our souls we call out
to the Source of all being;
deep calls to Deep,
hear our cries.
We are born of water,
watery wombs hold us
then spill us out into
this world of light.

At times – like now – it is easy
to feel like life has us
in over our heads.
We are treading water and
growing very weary.
The vastness of the sea,
with no shore in sight,
waves and storms,
sea monsters, real or imagined,
all threaten us.

Buoy us, O Presence.
Preserve us from the storms,
have compassion on us,
embrace us with mercy.
Hold us, so that we might stop
our striving, at least for a bit,
catch our breath,
regain our strength,
find hope in our waiting.
Calm our weary souls
that we might find true rest.

when the time is right
invite us to dive beneath
the surface,
down to the deep,
and discover the
treasure that awaits.
(prayer by Wendy Janzen, Burning Bush Forest Church)

February 21st, 2021

Almighty Creator, Loving God,

                Every rainbow reminds us that you are in control of the earth, of nature, of the seasons, and of the end. Your Spirit enriches the earth with the gift of life to all creatures, including all the varieties of birds and animals. Help us to care for the environment so that the earth is a healthier place to live for our children and all the generations who follow us. Help us to live like the humble earthworms who leave the soil richer and more fertile after using it, so that your name is then respected and honoured by all peoples.

                We thank you for your Son, our Lord Jesus, who has taken all our sins, especially those we are ashamed of from our past, and paid for them on the cross even before we were born. Renew us to be more humble and loving like he is, so that we can be walking advertisements for you wherever you lead us in the coming weeks.

                By your Holy Spirit, help us to swim in and enjoy the waters of our baptism in the way that surfers love to live in the waters and ride on the waves each day. Let us live with a good conscience along with all your people who flock to the living waters on the shore of eternity, as we anticipate the resurrection we share with our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In your grace draw near to:

– those who are suffering due to isolation, loneliness

– those in need of healing.

– those who are in long term care and for those who can’t give company to a loved one in long term care.

We also pray for our households of faith.

               May the peace of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit surround, enfold, and hold all.

Send your Spirit to strengthen your children as they travel like backpackers over the earth, moving on each day a little closer to their permanent home with Jesus in heaven.

                Bless the work of those who minister to the sick and dying, to the people who are depressed and to those who want to give up on life here in your world. Watch over those who work in dangerous occupations to make the world a safer place for us to enjoy.

                Thank you for filling our deepest hunger with the bread of life, Jesus himself. Quench our deepest thirst through the wine of his suffering, which was too deep for us to drink. We watch in wonder and praise as we focus on him during this Lenten season. In these days draw us closer to the one who died for us, for his sake. Amen.

February 17th, 2021

Today, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent with its call to turn toward the cross and follow Jesus to death and new life.Today many Christians around the globe, including Anabaptists will be marked with the sign of the cross with ashes and receive the words “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”This ritual is an act of repentance and a reminder of our own mortality. Our worship theme for this coming season is “Deep calls to deep.” In the coming weeks we are invited to go deep and to live deeply.This Friday and each Friday during Lent you will receive a “Lenten Guided Prayer”  which includes many options for reflection and prayer. It is my prayer that we will experience spiritual nourishment as we engage with Scripture and listen for God. You may want to take time for silence today to consider what other spiritual practices help you to go deeper with God and with one another.  In preparation for Sunday’s worship, please gather 6 stones which will represent our prayers for this season. We will be invited to participate in a reflective ritual during our worship service. May this season be rich with inspiration, listening, growth, self-reflection, and more.  As we begin our Lenten journey together, here is an Ash Wednesday Blessing by Jan Richardson

Blessing the Dust: For Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

– from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

February 14th, 2021

Holy One,

we come before you,

many of us feeling like we have climbed just a part of the mountain,

and there is so much more of a climb left to even get to point

to dream that we might be dazzled by what is Divine.

                Lord, listen to your children praying……..

Holy One,

our loads are heavy with worry,

we are in the midst of a global pandemic and we don’t know when it will end.

Our loads are heavy with regret for words spoken, actions taken, and for things left undone that called for our attention.

Our loads are heavy with fatigue due to disrupted work schedules, virtual classrooms, isolation, and loneliness.

Our loads are heavy with despair for all in the world that is hurting, in danger, in bondage and more.

Our loads are heavy with illness and concern for loved ones who stand in need of healing, hope, and wholeness……

We hold in prayer those who grieve. May Your comforting presence surround them and hold them in peace.

We pray for strength for mind, body, and spirit.   We also pray for our loved ones whose needs we name ……..  

We also pray for our households of faith.

Lord, listen to your children praying……….

Holy One,

we trudge ahead, following you,

sometimes stumbling, sometimes stammering,

but with each step clinging to hope and praying…

breathing hard, hearts pounding, and yes,

even some of us nimble and skipping.

Release us from our need for tent building and pounding in stakes

that we may live vulnerably, open to your gentling and transforming love.

On this journey as our eyes are opened to see you as Savior and Lord,

help us to also see ourselves and one another through your eyes of grace,

to see all that is beautiful, beloved, worthy, called.

And may we in faith follow where you lead and be transformed with each step through Jesus our Lord. Amen

February 10th, 2021

February is Black History Month and so we offer our prayers…….

We bring ourselves into your presence, O God. To you we offer our prayers, our praise, and our supplications.

This month, we celebrate Black History Month and honor the culture of our brothers and sisters. We remember the legacy of those who came before us – who not only paved the way but carried the bricks on broken backs that then built that road. We remember the songs, stories, and fiery hope of old men and little girls, granny midwives and marvelous musicians, great orators and leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators – those who are earth-tone brown, black as night, fair like the sands of Egypt. We are kings and queens. We are descendants of royalty.

Lord, when it’s too hard living, we remember you are the great “I am” and our source of strength and purpose for each new day. Help us in our advocacy efforts to honor you with our work for justice, healing, and peace in our day. Help us as we labor for the end of hunger. Help us to stay educated and active as we read the unacceptable statistics that point to the fact that 1 in 4 African-American households is food-insecure as compared with 1 in 10 of white households, and that more than 1 in 3 African-American children live in food-insecure households compared to 1 in 7 white children.

God, help us to value diversity beyond variety. Help us value diversity with a vision for a progressive future that acknowledges our strength together as well as the power, creativity, ideas, and part that we all bring when we are all welcome – to come to the table and taste and see that the Lord is good.Help us labor on until we all can sing, for good and right reasons: Oh happy day! Amen. (Prayer by Kierra Stuvland)

February 7th, 2021

Sheltering God, we long for the day when all people will live in justice, love and peace.

We confess that the ways of justice often sound foreign to our ears.

We ask your forgiveness.

We pray from the comfort of luxurious homes while others live in the cold without a roof.

We pray with bellies well fed and nourished when many go hungry.

Yet too easily we throw up our hands  – feeling helpless and hopeless,

carrying guilt, because we don’t know how to fix the troubles of our world.

So we pray, free us from guilt and move us to gratitude and generosity.  

Thank you for the warmth of our furnaces,     

the aroma of dinner and the security of solid walls. 

Thank you for MennoHomes and other agencies that work for justice by providing affordable housing. Continue to bless them in service to our communities.

Thank you for our government leaders, 

give them courage to serve the poor and not the popular.

            We give thanks for health care workers,

            Protect them as they risk their own health for the healing of others

            Thank you for teachers, and parents with students learning from home,

            For creative planning and perseverance in patience these past weeks

–  thank you.

            As many schools  re –open tomorrow may reunions be joyful,

may classrooms be caring,

                        And may kindness for our fragile humanity be shared by all.

Thank you for this congregation, 

for healing prayer offered for one another,

for kind words shared,

for support arriving at just the right time   … all of these are gifts shared in your body, and given by your spirit to build us up as your people.

A people who long for the day

when all people will live in justice, love, and peace.

Hear our prayers for our Households of Faith for this week.

We offer all our prayers including those not yet formed, in the name of Jesus. Amen

January 31st, 2021

Lord Jesus, friend and companion, your first and lasting acts of healing, teaching, and restoring reveal to us the deepest desires of God and you invite us to take the leap of faith and join with you on the journey of discipleship. Embolden us as your disciples of healing and hope and hear our prayers.

We pray for all nations that lie under darkness and oppression; where governments are corrupt, justice rare, abuse rampant, and the weak and the poor have nowhere to turn for hope. We pray for the ministries of Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service which our dollars support. May these agencies and others be your channels of compassion, justice, practical aid, reconciliation, and peace.

We pray for people in all places who are affected by disease including covid 19. Protect front-line workers and our most vulnerable loved ones in long-term care or congregate settings. Grant wisdom to scientists and pharmaceuticals who continue to develop and roll out vaccines. Cast out the evil spirits of greed, inequitable practices, and selfishness. May compassion, equality, collaborative relationships flow generously.

God of life, we pray for households and places where food is scarce and hunger is deep. Bless the ministry of Wellesley’s Food Cupboard whose calling is greater than providing food; whose calling includes build healthy community.

God of compassion, hear our prayers for those who suffer due to neglect, illness, sorrow, grief or anger. Heal our bodies and the deepest places of our hearts and set us free from pain and disappointment that keeps us bound and robs us of fullness of life.  We pray for families supporting loved ones from a distance due to covid restrictions and we pray for those awaiting treatment or surgery.

                We also pray for our Households of Faith. We pray for continued health, contentment day to day, and meaningful connections with family and friends.

God of the church, we pray for the ministries of MCEC, the ministries of this congregation, its leadership and continued faithful stewardship. In response to your great gifts, we yearn to be generous people, freed from the fear of scarcity but rather living abundantly in your grace. Be with us today as we take steps to further the vision you have graced us with as your holy and called people.

God of the journey, give us strength and wisdom for each daily decision which contributes to a lifetime of faithful discipleship. Grace us with your peace, your hope, your joy, and your love and may we be generous to share these your gifts in Jesus name. Amen