March 28th, 2021

               It is relatively easy for us to find someone to go and gather palm leaves to spread in the church today. And we can easily find music and a few good words to help us to remember and re-enact Palm Sunday. We remember how quickly we change. How fickle we are, how we pledge our devotion one moment and turn our backs the next. We go from shouting “Hosanna! Save Us!” to “Crucify Him.”

 We declare that we love our neighbors and then we turn our backs on the homeless and hungry in our communities. We speak up for change and justice in one breath, and then continue unjust practices in daily lives by what we consume and the needs we ignore.

What if we knew the imminence of the danger that accompanies You or sensed that the authorities were watching us as we worship, as they watched You. What if You arrived, inviting us to really lay down something important to us to acknowledge Your arrival? How then, Jesus, would we meet You today. And what would we spread before You? And how would we regard humility from the One we hope will save the world?

On this Palm Sunday, Jesus give us hope. Help us to see how and where You enter our world today, and what You ask us to lay at your feet, and how we may welcome You in.

Listening God today we raise our “Hosanna’s!” “Save us!”

God of healing and wholeness, we confess our need for you today. Hear our prayer for all who stand in need of healing, hope, and wholeness and those whose needs we carry deep in our hearts …………..

Hear our prayers for all who grieve.

Hear our prayers for our loved ones in long term care and families providing support safely distanced. 

We pray for those struggling with anxiety, loneliness, mental illness, and loved ones who support them.

We pray for patience as we wait our turn for vaccination. Comfort all affected by covid, the sick, front-line workers, government officials, and those who grieve.

Hear our prayers for our Households of Faith.

As we journey Holy Week, draw near to us as we draw near to You. Amen  

March 24th, 2021

During this 5th week of Lent, like a seed that falls into the earth, we are called to deep growth. We are invited to release the attachments that prevent us from growing and producing fruit. We ask God to free us and renew us in the deepest part of ourselves – the soil of our hearts.
Let us pray:

Mothering God,
who created Earth
and formed
rhythms and seasons
and cycles:
I celebrate the
coming of spring once again.

As the warming sun
melts frozen earth into
mud and snowdrops bloom,
emerald moss invites me
to lay down my head
and listen to earth’s heartbeat.
Give me pause here,
God of mystery,
to stop and ponder
what lies beneath.

Do not let me turn away
from examining the unseen
places deep within.
What secrets are hidden there?
What wisdom have you planted,
what seeds of
transformation are just waiting
for the right conditions?

Make of me a fertile soil
where spring’s eternal
lessons of regeneration
might take root and grow:
death is not the end
of the story, but rather
the place of new beginnings.
(by Wendy Janzen Burning Bush Forest Church)

March 21st, 2021

Gracious God,
we come to you this Lenten season acknowledging our brokenness –

We name that which confines us:
prejudice buried,
fears and mistrust that weight us down,
distorted self-protection,
breaking us, breaking you.

We bow our hearts before you,

we come seeking you,

seeking to go deep, seeking growth, seeking to be made whole.
For you, God, put your love within us;
you wrote it on our hearts, that we may be your people.

Listening God, hear our prayers for those who weep,
those who are struggling from lack of
clean water
healthy food,
quality, affordable health.

Hear our prayers for global suffering due to covid pandemic, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized who bear the brunt of inequitable systems.

We pray for world government leaders and pharmaceuticals charged with timely and wise response. We pray for patience as we wait out turn for vaccination.

Compassionate God, we pray for our Asian brothers and sisters and all who have experienced racial violence.

We pray for all who experience violence due to gender.

We confess our biases that insight violence and division.

We come to you seeking to be made whole.
For you, God, put your love within us;
you wrote it on our hearts,
that we may be your people.

Compassionate God,
God of love,
We come to you tired and pandemic weary,
yearning for peace and harmony and refreshment.

Hear our prayers for all who grieve.

Hear our prayers for loved ones in long term care and their families providing support safely distanced.  

We pray for those struggling with anxiety, relational pain, loneliness, mental illness, and loved ones who support them.

We pray for our Households of Faith.

Lord Jesus, you taught your disciples that unless a grain of wheat

falls into the earth and dies it remains just a single grain,

but if it dies it bears much fruit;

as we prepare our hearts to remember your death and resurrection,

grant us the strength and wisdom to serve and follow you,

this day and always. Amen.

March 17th, 2021

As we live into week 4 of Lent, deep in the wilderness we hear God’s call to deep healing.
The wilderness confronts us with our vulnerability and exposes our wounds and
our needs. We are called to deep healing by trusting in God, who calls us in love.

Let us pray:
This has felt like
a year in the wilderness
O God.
A year of wandering,
sometimes utterly lost,
often alone,
facing challenges we
weren’t prepared for.
There have been thorns
and snakes
and wild animals,
dark moonless nights,
endless days,
and clouds of dread,
disorientation, and danger.

A year already,
of wandering
far away from
what was familiar,
of wondering
what lies ahead.
God, in this wilderness
save us. Remind us
Wild Christ, that wilderness
can be a place of ferment,
introspection, prompting
insight and transformation.
Teach us that
facing our fears is often
a remedy for our malaise.
Restore a sense of wholeness.
Heal our wounded spirits,
Reorient our lost souls.
Rescue us from trouble
and inject us with hope. Amen
(prayer by Wendy Janzen, Burning Bush Forest Church)

March 14th, 2021

God of healing and wholeness, we confess our need for you today.

We need your love and your grace. We need hope restored.

We need to be reminded that you work on behalf of those you love, constantly, powerfully, completely.

Forgive us for trying to fix our situations all on our own.

Forgive us for running all different directions and spinning our wheels to find help when true help and healing must be found first in You.

Forgive us for forgetting how much we need you, above everyone and everything else.

Compassionate God, we come to you and bring you the places we are hurting. You see where no one else is able to fully see or understand.

You know the pain we’ve carried. The burdens. The cares.

You know where we need to be set free.

We ask for your healing and grace to cover every broken place.

Every wound. Every heartache.

Hear our prayers for all who grieve.

Hear our prayers for our loved ones in long term care and for families providing support safely distanced.  

We pray for those struggling with anxiety, loneliness, mental illness, and loved ones who support them.

Listening God, hear our prayers for our Households of Faith.

All-powerful God, thank you that you are able to do far more than we could ever imagine. Thank you for your Mighty Power that acts on behalf of your children. We reach out to you and know that you are restoring and redeeming every place of difficulty, every battle, for your greater glory.

Thank you that you will never waste our pain and suffering.

We love you. We need you today and everyday in Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 10th, 2021

Tomorrow, March 11 marks the one-year anniversary since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic.
How will you reflectively and prayerfully mark this significant date? Will you light a candle? Observe a few minutes of silence?
Just as celebration is so vital for our wellbeing, so too is lament, reflection, and prayer.
Sarah Bessey offers a prayer as we mark one-year of pandemic:

God, you hold our memories of this past year in your capable hands.
I imagine you’re weaving the moments that have shaped us into what will be a beautiful quilt, bringing all of the collective grief and the individual sorrow, the small delights and ordinary goodnesses, the moments we were afraid and angry alongside the moments when we felt joy and contentment, all stitched together with your grace for it all.
Wrap us up in the warmth of your love, knowing we are held, beloved, worthy just as we are in this moment.

We have been living in an apocalypse, Jesus, a true unveiling: help us to see clearly ever after this.
Help us to name and remember what we have lost, what we have gained, and where we saw you at work in this broken and beloved world. Help us to be gentle with ourselves and with each other, we’re still not done yet.
Help us to see the world more clearly and to love each other more particularly.

May we rest in that imaginary quilt of the totality of this year, be held by your grace,
your love, your faithfulness, and your tenderness with us.
May we always find you in the small ordinary things of our lives.
May we always see the world as it is now and always, and love it all the more for the very things that break our hearts.

And because I am who I am and I just can’t help it, Jesus, would you give us unexpected hope today?
May we be surprised with a moment of joy, a good meal, a deep breath, a bit of beauty.
May our roots go down deep into your marvellous Love. May we bear fruit even in times of famine.
May we be small outposts of truth and love together.
May we read good books, be gentle with our wounds, text a friend, or simply go for a walk with You.

May we know you in the silence, in the exhaustion and anger, in the grief and joy,
and in our humanity which you blessed and called good. And we ask for an end to the suffering
and for your justice to roll down, your healing to mend us, your love to hold us all even when we are in peace.
We love you. Amen.

March 7th, 2021

The apostle Paul addressed the church of Ephesus saying:

“I pray for you constantly, asking God,

the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding,

so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”( Ephesians 1:16-17)

Holy Wisdom,

with a word you breathed creation into being

waterways and forest lands

starry skies and pasture places

snow capped mountains and soaring eagles.

The heavens declare your glory; the firmament reveals your wisdom….

We hear your invitation Holy One to go deep into wisdom…

And so we pray for your wisdom to discern your ways and path for our own lives.

We ask for your wisdom to discern how to live peaceably and justly with those we meet, live with, work with, drive our roads with, wait in line with, and worship with.

We ask for your wisdom in the difficult situations and barren places we may face as we go through life.

We ask for your wisdom in dealing with injustices in our world and courage to act in ways that bring restoration, healing, reconciliation. Forgive us when our actions create divisions, marginalize, and cause harm.

We ask for wisdom for our leaders in our world, our country, and our communities.

We ask for wisdom for those charged with rolling out vaccinations and for administrators creating policy amidst covid pandemic.

We ask for wisdom for our church leaders, worldwide and local.

We ask for wisdom for our congregational leadership and staff  – as they lead, serve alongside one another and faithfully strive to further your vision and mission.

We ask for your wisdom as we reach out to those in need in our communities and in our world.

We ask for wisdom as we minister to those who are lonely, isolated, loved ones in long term care and those we hold in our hearts ………

                We hold our Households of Faith before you God asking that you meet them at their deepest places of need. Bless them in their work, in the rest, day to day with joy and peace.  

                Holy Wisdom, enlighten us, transform us, guide us, and inspired by wisdom bring new life, new hope, new vision. We offer our prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen

March 4th, 2021

As we live into this week’s Lenten theme: “Deep in the woods: called to deep commitment” we offer our prayer:

Creator of all,
Tree of LIfe,
Spirit among us:
as we wander deeper into the
wilderness of this season,
searching for paths among the
woods, be our companion
along the way less travelled.

The forest is calling us:
come. Come, stand among us.
Come where light and shadow dance
as branches sway with the wind.
Come in wonder and worship, you
powerful and powerless,
come, children and elders,
come, from all directions,
come, learn the secrets of life:
dormancy and growth,
interconnection and community,
rootedness and reaching upward.

We confess our devotion to independence,
our belief we can go it alone, and
our me-first mentality.
Heal us from our short sightedness
so we might see the forest for the trees,
recognize our dependence on you
and our interdependence with all life
from mycelia to majestic pines.

Shelter us, O God, in the safety
of your strong branches.
Nourish and strengthen us, but
keep us humble of heart.
Tune our ears to your timbered voice,
and tune our hearts to praise.

Have a beautiful day,
(prayer by Wendy Janzen, Burning Bush Forest Church)