Guided Prayer of Creation

This prayer is intended to be read to a group dramatically while the group sits in the silence and experiences God through contemplating where the guide leads them.  It is based on the Genesis 1 Creation story.  Enjoy.

 

All is dark.  All is still.  Everything is nothing.

All about you there is the deep.

The chaotic void surrounds you,

chokes you when you open your mouth to scream.

You are drowning in the meaningless night.

Within you there is a shattered dreamless lack of self.

 

But all at once you hear a whisper.

It stirs all the world as a breeze gently moving.

You feel the caress of the wind like a hand wiping tears from your eye.

You hear the voice in your ears, no, in your heart; the voice of one who loves.

 

“Light!”  The voice says.

 

All is light.  All is purpose.  Nothing is Everything.

 

“Sky!”  The voice says.

 

You gaze up into the bluest sky peppered with cotton clouds.

Anxious for the next word you wait in anticipation.  Here it comes.  The voice is not done!

 

“Earth!” The voice says.

 

Within your fingertips you grasp at the dirt.  About your toes, you feel the sands of the beach cooled by the rush of an oncoming wave.  The grass tickles your feet as you rush to climb a tree to hear what the voice says next:

 

“Sun, Moon, Stars!”  The voice says.

 

And there the paintbrush of a thousand colors gives you the first sunrise and sunset.  You watch in awe as bursts of light from millions of lifetimes away suddenly twinkle in the evening.  The moon looms large in the sky as you hear the voice continue:

 

“Life!”  The voice says.

 

From your perch in the tree you watch as a whale comes up for air from within the deep.  A flock of birds flies suddenly from a nearby roost.  Climbing down, you are greeted by a majestic buck chasing after a doe.  You walk through this world, in wonder, in awe.  What could the voice possibly says next.  What could the Creator dream?  What could the Architect build?  What could the Carpenter design now?

 

“Love!”  The voice says.  “Love!”

 

All about you there is life.

The emptiness is pushed away and replaced,

You open your lips and feel

the breeze, the wind, the Spirit,

the breath of life enters you.

You are baptized in the meaningful light.

Within you there is a woven dream of what you can be and become.  Amen.

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Call to Worship for Epiphany based on Genesis 1

From of Old, All know to come to you –

the poorest of shepherds to the richest of royalty

the wisest of astrologers to the common thief,

but we are afraid because coming to you means letting go.

 

Long ago you spoke active love into the stale stillness of non-existence,

and we refuse to listen

because to hear that love would shatter our apathy.

We hid in the darkness…

and you said, “Let there be light.”

We drowned ourselves in the chaos of the desert of meaninglessness

and you said, “Let there be land and sea.”

We sowed seeds of division in the garden,

burned the trees of truth and justice,

and slaughtered the lamb as if it were a lion:

and you said, “Let them be fruitful and multiply again and again.”

We denied being your children,

tried to hide our nakedness among the thorn bush,

and blamed you for our problems:

and you sent a child to bring all your children home.

 

And now New, to know you we come –

the poorest of mechanics to the richest of CEOs

the most studied professors to the dropouts,

and we are not afraid because coming to you means letting go.

Nathan Decker ©2014 Worship’s Wake

Moving to a Stop (Call to Worship)

We are very busy.

We are in a hurry to get things done.

   And yet, there is no finish in sight.

Each task’s end is the beginning of a new chore.

   We are getting no where.

All our hectic pace is running in place!

   We are no closer to the finish line than when we first began.

Burning rubber, but moving not an inch.

So we gather here:

at God’s house,

                                      at the Lord’s table,

                                          at the Spirit’s beckon,

   To slow down until we stop.  <silent pause>

                

Only when we stop do we truly begin to move.

Only when our pace is Christ’s pace are we getting somewhere.

   Amen.

   –©2014 Nathan Decker www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

Call to Worship for All Saints Sunday 2014

We did not arrive here on our own.

There were so many who helped us find faith.

                   Grandmas and Grandpas, Moms and Dads, Aunts and Uncles

That friendly woman who gave us candy each Sunday,

                   That patient man who served as a mentor,

                   spiritual leaders, preachers, people of simple faith:

We did not arrive here on our own.

                                               

Nathan Decker ©2014 www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

God is in the Herd (Newsletter Article November 2014)

God is in Herd

Cows are my passion.

What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a Swiss farm,

and live entirely surrounded by cows – and china.”  – Charles Dickens

 

I can relate to Charles Dickens in one way.  There is peace inside the herd.  Herd animals have been taught by life’s experiences that things are better when you flock together.  For animals this means that only those on the edges and those who wander off are vulnerable to predators.  Being in the herd means strength in numbers.  Being in the herd means there are more than just your eyes looking out to protect you.  Being in the herd means protection against the coldest winter wind and help finding the water hole during the scorch of summer’s sun.  Sure, you have to put up with the smells and crazy mooing of others, but for most animals let’s be honest.  Being in the herd means life.

This is especially true for us as Christians.  We as Christians have been taught by our experiences with God in this life that things are better when we grow together.  I have found that I’m a better Christian when I gather together with other people on the path of salvation.  I have found that I usually find myself in spiritual (and sometimes mental, emotional, and physical) danger when I wander off too far from God’s people.  The edge is a place we all go to in our lives.  And hopefully while we are there, we are bringing new folks into the flock, but it is not safe to always be on the fringe.  Being in the Church means strength in the number of prayers being lifted up.  Being in the Church means there are more than just your eyes looking out for you, loving you, helping you raise your children, helping you care for your parents.  Being in the church means protection against the loneliest winters of our souls and help in returning to the font and table of our faith to find nourishment.  Yes, we do have to put up with hypocrites, bad smells, loud mooing and the occasional crazy rants, but let’s be honest with ourselves.  Being in Church means life.

Recently, at Charge Conference, Rev. Dr. Rob Colwell, quoting Adam Hamilton, asked our church leaders three questions.  “Why Jesus, Why Church, Why Our Church?”  I was so proud of our answers.  We saw Jesus as Salvation: a place of refuge, a different future, hope and love, the one who can tell us who we truly are.  We saw church as the people and place where we focus on the Kingdom and experience Jesus.  We saw our Church as more than just a growing family.  “Small enough to be a part of it, but big enough to be a group,” one person said.  That sounds to me like a herd.  Life is in the herd.  God is in the herd.

 

42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.” 

  • Acts 2:42-47

Invitation from Matthew 22:1-14

We have come because somebody invited us.

An invitation was required?

Yes, and proper attire as well.

Isn’t that a little old fashioned?

The invitation is from Jesus Christ.

He calls us to come and worship with our hearts.

The requirement is that you put on Christ.

Let us worship as people on the way, Christians, Children of God.

We have come because somebody invited us.

Who will we invite?

-©2014 Nathan Decker, www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

Generosity Creed

We experience a Giving God:

who breathed life in our lips,

who poured love in our hearts,

who walked with us in the garden,

and who seeks to still walk us restful waters.

We live in a Present Savior:

who was sent as a present to us to open true life,

who forgave us that we may live true life,

who washed our feet

and provided us bread and wine for the journey.

Christ is still present

and a present to the world in our sacrifice of self.

We listen to a Generous Spirit:

the breath of the Church,

the force that connects us to one another,

the power to heal the shattered

and make whole the broken,

the life through and beyond death,

and the life that gives generously forever and ever.  Amen.

Worshipswake.wordpress.com.  Nathan Decker (CC) 2014

Love (Call to Worship from Matthew 22:34-40)

Love.

A small word, should be easy to be and do.

Love God.

Oh, that’s easy.  I’ll pray to you to ask you what I need.

I may even show up once in a while in Church to worship you.

Love.

You keep saying that, am I getting it wrong?

Love Neighbor.

I love all my neighbors. 

We get along great as long as we all stay within our property lines.

Love.

I don’t think that is such a small word.

Not easy to be.  Not easy to do.

Love God.

I’m trying Lord, forgive my distractions and idols.

Love Neighbor.

Help me see the invisible, those in pain, those in need.

Love.

Love with all our Heart and Soul and Mind.

Love.

Love.  Amen.

-©2014 Nathan Decker, www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

Praise God the Teacher (Prayer)

We call you Teacher and Rabbi

  for you suggest wisdom in our paths

  and show us life lessons in our mistakes;

You invite us to the table, hungry for answers,

  but do not fill us completely, encouraging us to return daily.

You spark within us knowledge and understanding

  and the more we see, the more we seek.

And You provide those special people –

  Sunday School Teachers, Mentors, Elders

  who suggest wisdom in our paths

  and show us life lessons in our mistakes. 

For these and so much more we humbly give our thanks,

  Teacher, Rabbi, Jesus.  Amen.

Reflection and Resources for Worshiping God. Please feel free to use the resources in worship. I only ask that you give credit.