Prayers for Lent – III

Being Merciful – a Prayer of Confession

We are challenged to be merciful;
to forgive others,
acknowledging our own need of forgiveness.

[For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14]

We are challenged to be merciful;
to refrain from judging;
recognising that the standards
we apply to others
also apply to ourselves.

[Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.  For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. – Matthew 7:1-2]

We are challenged to be merciful;
to respond with generosity
towards the mean of spirit,
knowing that we too have a tendency towards being selfish and self-serving.

[Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.  Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. – Luke 6:35-36]

We are challenged to be merciful
and we confess that too often instead
we are self-righteously hard hearted.
Forgive us.

We are challenged to be gracious;
to act compassionately towards others,
acknowledging that we also

are dependent on grace.

[For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God. – Ephesians 2:8]

We are challenged to be gracious;
to be sensitive to the feeling of others;
recognising our own need to be
always treated kindly

[And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:32]

We are challenged to be gracious;
to uphold the dignity of others,
not allowing our dreams to destroy theirs,
knowing how deeply we too
desire to be successful and respected.

[Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4]

We are challenged to be gracious
and we confess that too often instead
we are self-righteously hard hearted.
Forgive us.

We are challenged to be loving
to treasure each and every person
however contemptible they seem,
acknowledging our own sinfulness
and longing to be valued.

[But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8]

We are challenged to be loving;
to support and encourage others
recognising our own need to be
cherished and nurtured.

[May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another. – Romans 15:5]

We are challenged to be loving;
to give of ourselves for the benefit of others;
knowing our dependence
on the benevolence of God
and the generosity of his creation.

[For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45]

We are challenged to be loving
and we confess that too often instead
we are self-righteously hard hearted.
Forgive us.

In being challenged to be merciful.
gracious and loving,
we acknowledge our need
to be transformed.

We, who are being formed in your image,
Merciful, Gracious, and Loving God,
recognise that we need nothing less
than the miracle of
becoming increasingly like you.

We know that only by becoming
more and more merciful,
gracious and loving,
will we become less
self-righteously hard-hearted.

We who have been challenged,
seek to be the recipients
of your mercy, grace and love.
We ask that you hear our prayer.
Amen.

 – by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken

Prayers for Lent – II

Keep us Moving – a prayer for Transfiguration Sunday

Scriptural references: Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36

God who appeared as cloud and fire
to a slave people traversing desert lands in the shadow of Sinai;
God who appeared as a whispering voice
to a hunted prophet seeking safety in a cave high up on Sinai;
God who took on the limits of humanity
but who appeared in glorious divinity to disciples
experiencing anew your transforming presence as at Sinai;
it is you we address with our words of praise and our words of petition.

God guide us through our wilderness experiences.
Grant us the confidence to keep following you
when the way is gruelling, the journeying long and the destination uncertain.
Just like the Israelites we too often become fretful
and anxious and lose our faith in you.
Still our fears and keep us moving
on our journey through Lent and through life.

God comfort us when we are disheartened, afraid and alone. 
Not with big gestures that would frighten us
but in quiet moments grant us the assurance of your presence.
Just like the prophets we too often feel your demands
are too daunting and too difficult for us,
and we want to run away and hide.
Calm us, encourage us and keep us moving
on our journey through Lent and through life.

God reassure us when we face a pending crisis.
Grant us the ability to see beyond the present moment
to a future full of hope and promise.
Just like the disciples we too can be deceived into thinking that we can achieve
your goals by the easy pathways we much prefer to take.
Strengthen us, reorient us and keep us moving,
on our journey through Lent and through life.

We have come to a new Sinai, the mount of transfiguration.
We have come seeking to be transformed.
Forgive us, embolden us and change us continually
into being all that you intend us to be, all that we could possibly be.
Not bound by our weaknesses but freed by your grace.


God of cloud and fire, small voice and loud

God of majestic glory cloaked in the unremarkable commonplace
cross doveguide us and comfort us, reassure us and reorient us
so that we may continue daily our journeying with you. 
God keep us moving we pray
throughout Lent and throughout life.  Amen.

– by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken

Prayers for Lent – I

Opening Prayer for a Service during Lent

From the ordinary and everyday
and the delightfully different;
from times when we’re been
happy and hopeful,
and times when we’re been
sad and discouraged;
in an attitude of faith
or in questioning uncertainty,
we come together to worship.
Open our minds to your majesty
our spirits to your glory
our souls to your loving kindness.
Bless our gathering this morning
with grace-filled transformation
on our pilgrimage together
through the holy season of Lent.  Amen.

– by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken

A hymn for Lent

lent


HYMN – 
Love will be our Lenten calling (Tune: Picardy)  684 TiS

Love will be our Lenten calling,
love to shake and shatter sin,
waking every closed, cold spirit,
stirring new life deep within,
till the quickened heart remembers
what our Easter birth can mean.

Peace will be our Lenten living
as we turn for home again,
longing for the words of pardon,
stripping off old grief and pain,
till we stand, restored and joyful,
with the Church on Easter day.

Truth will be our Lenten learning:
hear the Crucified One call!
Shadowed by the Saviour’s passion,
images and idols fall,
and, in Easter’s holy splendour,
God alone is all in all.

(© Elizabeth J. Smith, 1999)

Poem and article relating to Matthew 5:38-48

Linda Cowan writes:

This poem fits with Sunday’s reading from Matthew 5: 38–48  – and also Kathleen Rushton’s article in the latest Tui Motu [“Give your cloak as well,” no. 212, February 2017, p. 22-23] which is really good!

Revolution

The enemy:
            love them
The oppressor:
            walk the mile with them
The Master:
            turn the other cheek to them

This doormat faith
seems too much to bear
in a world where those who bully
always seem to win

The enemy:
            imbalance them with love
The oppressor:
            shame the law that oppresses
The Master:
           turn the cheek as an equal

This rebellious faith
seems too much to bear
in a world where those who bully
are loved back to justice by the bullied

But this is heaven’s revolution
and we are called into it
come let us worship
love’s rebel, Jesus

~ written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Mucky Paws.

Bill Wallace’s hymns, songs and chants

william-l-wallaceAccess to Bill Wallace’s hymns and songs

Bill Wallace, one of New Zealand’s most published hymn writers, has just had virtually all of his hymns and other worship resources filed and cross-referenced for easy access and free downloading.

The Center for Progressive Christianity in the USA (Progressive Christianity) has recently placed on their website 5 interlinked thematic indexes of Bill Wallace’s material. They give access to the text, score and sound file of each of the 198 hymns, songs and chants on their website along with Bills 35 children’s songs in the collection Sing Young, Sing Joyfully. Reference is also made to the 36 different hymns which are in volumes 1 and 2 of Singing the Sacred, published by World Library Publications. In addition these indexes are linked with the website of the New Zealand Methodist Church which has additional Boundless Life hymns by Bill, together with Hymns for Aotearoa and the 49 hymns in his The Mystery Telling.

The collections on the American website are:

1) Boundless Life (hymns);
2) Celebrating Mystery (general worship resources, including hymns);
3) Festive Worship (resources for Christian festivals, including hymns);
4) Seasoned Celebration (worship resources with hymns for the seasons of nature); and
5) The Sing Young, Sing Joyfully collection of inclusive songs for children.

seasoned-celebration-logo-198x300The worship resources include over 950 of Bill’s original sayings together with collects, poems, reflections and calls for action.

In addition, Bill’s Sacred Energy/ Mass of the Universe is now featured on the Web in three separate entries of either the text and melody line, or the score or the power point presentation.

To access these Bill’s worship resources, click resources at <progressivechristianity.org>, and then use the Search button (second from right in the blue banner at top of page) – select “keywords”, enter “William L Wallace” into the search engine, then click “Search”..  To access the Sacred Energy/Mass of the Universe files, follow the same procedure with “Sacred Energy” entered into the engine.

A Tribute to Rosaline Brown

It is with sadness that we note the passing of Rosaline Brown on 13 June 2016.

**********

Rosaline Margaret Brown was born in 1931 in Southbridge and lived all her life in Ellesmere. Rose attended Southbridge District High School and completed her secondary education at Christchurch Girls’ High School before going to Christchurch Teachers’ College. After her training, Rose taught at Southbridge for a year, and then at Leeston for the next four years.

Rosaline married Rewi Brown in 1956 and had five children. Rose worked hard helping Rewi with the farm.  She returned to Southbridge School in 1968, teaching a range of subjects including Art, English and Social Studies. Rewi died in 1991.

Rose loved teaching and children and she continued to work as a relieving teacher until 2011. She became the team leader for Christian Religious Education in the Ellesmere area in 1993. At the time of her death Rose was teaching CRE classes at Leeston and co-leading a lunchtime programme at Dunsandel. Mrs Brown was known and loved by generations of children and teachers.

Although she began her faith journey in the Methodist Church, after her marriage, Rose became an active member of the Anglican Parish. St Mark’s, Sedgemere had a special place in her heart as her home church. Rose was a worship leader and preacher, a member of the Pastoral Team, Worship Planning Committee, and Cursillo groups. She took funerals and led women’s groups and helped choir member.

With her connections across the district and her love of history Rose was an invaluable source of knowledge. She developed strong links with Ngati Moki marae at Taumutu, and enjoyed working with visiting groups, feeding minds, spirits and hungry tummies. She delighted in her family and following their activities and achievements. Last year Rose gained enormous pleasure from working with the Southbridge 150th Jubilee Committee.

People heard the news of Rose’s passing with a sense of disbelief followed by profound grief. Rosaline Brown was greatly respected and cherished. Many relied on Rose’s knowledge and expertise, enjoyed hearing her wise and often unconventional views, and benefitted from her friendship and her care Rose touched the lives of many people bridging generations, geographical areas, cultures and denominations. She was a treasured leader in the community. Rose’s funeral at Ngati Moki marae was celebration of her full and rich life and an outpouring of love for an exceptional woman.

We were blessed to know her. May she rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory.

The following lines, from ‘God Knows’ by Minnie Haskins, were read at Rose’s funeral:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.  …