Tag Archives: prayer

Collect for a Small Group

Great Whirlwind, Burning Bush, Still Quiet Voice, LORD;

who hovered over the chaos of creation,

who breathed inspiring spring life into all creation,

who walks among us still in this fragile and tattered garden.

Challenge us to learn from one another,

so that we may recall your Spirit speaks through all creatures,

so that we may experience your presence and light in one another,

so that your voice will be in the tones of our conversation.

Jesus, Emmanuel, Wisdom Come Down in the Flesh, Amen.

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Litany for Passing the Peace

When we pray…

Our heads our bowed.

When we praise…

Our hands are held high!

And when we grieve…

Our eyes break in tears.

Worship is action.  Belief practiced.  Vision lived out.

When we see injustice…

We raise our voices.

When we see need…

We rush with aid.

And when we are broken, when we have broken…

Covenant.  Promise.  Love.

God sends peace.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”

Will we share the peace God has sent?

Will we heal the broken, mend the relationships?

<silence>

The peace of Christ be with you.  And also with you.

(at this point the congregation is encouraged to share the peace using the line above)

Blessing of Men and Women in Law Enforcement

Blessing of Law Enforcement April 2016

Beloved Jesus,

You came down to serve, to protect, and to give your life to save another.

You served humanity, showing us love and sharing what we could be when shaped by that love.

You protected the weak, the abused, the outcasts, and those society have given up on – walking with the least and the worst.

You gave your live for the cause of those who didn’t deserve it, and we are eternally grateful for your gift.

Before us now are men and women who seek

to follow you

to serve and protect

and who daily place their lives in danger on behalf of our community.

Bless them, Savior.

Provide mercy and justice in each call they answer.

Protect them with the Armor of God in addition to body armor.

In those moments when quick decisions can change and save lives, Spirit, give that peace and practiced discernment of choosing right over wrong, love to conquer hate, and restrained force to rein in unrestrained behavior.

Lord, these men and women, especially today, endure such judgment and difficulty in completing the work set before them

give them patience, perseverance, and understanding

and let them know your presence in the patrol car, in the dispatch room, in the day and in the night.  You are the Lord who said you would always be with us, to the end of the age, Jesus.  Amen.

Prayer to the Word

Word in the flesh,

who is within our hearts waiting to be shared on our lips:

Parse our actions,

Translate our misguided love,

and Write your story in our lives

so we can be one:

One as a book of humanity,

One as a chapter of the Church,

One as a sentence moment in which you are both subject and verb.

One Word.

In the name of the Eternally Speaking and yet often unheard Lord, Amen.

Call to Worship based on the Lord’s Prayer

As we gather today, we call you
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
As we gather today, we lift up who you are and what you represent
hallowed be your name
As we gather today, We seek your ways, not our own
Your Kingdom come, your will be done…
As we gather today, we say sorry to you and one another
Forgive us as we forgive…
As we gather today, we need you.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Lead us away from temptation,
Deliver us from Evil.
As we gather today, we pray.
Amen.

God is in the Connections (Newsletter Article September 2015)

Sometimes you have to disconnect to stay connected. Remember the old days when you had eye contact during a conversation? When everyone wasn’t looking down at a device in their hands? We’ve become so focused on that tiny screen that we forget the big picture,

the people right in front of us.
– Regina Brett,

 

“I don’t know how people do it without church.”  I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve heard this.  I heard it as a child growing up in a community where we thought everyone went to church (they didn’t).  I heard it as an adult struggling to find a path for my life.  I heard it as a parent looking far off at my children’s future and my prayers that they will be people of faith.  I’ve heard it as a pastor at the grave with a family who lost a child.

What I hear us saying is that we need to be connected.  God designed us to be with each other.  And people do survive without being disciples in a church.  They survive by creating pseudo-churches within friends at work, family, social networking, and sometimes going to a bar like Cheers where everybody knows your name.  I say pseudo-church because it isn’t the same.  Sure people ask about one another, look out for each other.  Yes, there is a connection, but this connection is limited to space and time and the physical world.

Church, when we’re not just going to church but being Church, is getting connected to God and being connected to one another through the love of God in a deep and vulnerable way.  You’ve heard it said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, right?  In our broken world, each of us is the weakest link.  But through Jesus, through this amazing experience of forgiveness, resurrection, and recreation – we become connected, and we become the strong chain of change the world needs.  Without worshipping God weekly, without being with God’s people often, without living in prayer: our lives tend to fall apart.  The Spirit keeps us connected to the Divine and to one another.

I don’t know how people live life without church.  I do know how people live life with church.  We live it fully.  We live it connected to our Creator.  We live it connected to one another in a fellowship that the world doesn’t understand.  We live it with purpose, and meaning in our lives and hope for future generations.  We live life connected.  God is in the Connections.

 

But if we live in the light in the same way as he is in the light,

we have spiritual connection with each other,

and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.

  • 1 John 1:7

Theology of Creativity

In the Beginning…

This week I was honored to teach a Lay Speaking class on “Leading Prayer” for the Virginia United Methodist Conference.  I begin this class with a simple and deep theological concept of Creativity in Incarnation.  It goes something like this:

God Created us.

We are Created in the Image of God the Creator.

Thus All of Us are Creative.

I believe this with all my heart.  Like Pablo Picasso said, “All children are born Artists, the miracle is that some of us stay that way.”  We were born with a God-given nature to be creative.  It is within our DNA to weave, to paint, to post, to gather words, sticks, and bits of dirt and make something new out of them.

And this really shouldn’t come as a surprise, because even Jesus was an Artist.  Look at how he spins yarns and folk-tales.  “There once was a man who had two sons…”  Listen as he exaggerates beyond belief in hyperbole.  “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle…”  Watch as he takes mud and creates sight.  Listen as he uses spit to make a man hear.  Feel his warm welcome to a demoniac that a whole region had avoided and driven into the tombs.

Somewhere, someone along the way told you that you were not like God.  They told said your drawing wasn’t right.  They told you that your writing was incomprehensible.  They saw what you built in wood-shop and derided it.  They tore apart the genes of creativity that God had blessed you.  They attempted to dampen or put out the spark of the Divine Creator, but today I say no.

Reclaim the incarnation of “Emmanuel” as God within us.  There is a Creator who has placed within your heart a prayer, a song, a dance, a vision.  Like a Muse posing before an Artist, God is battting eyes at you waiting for you to put your brush to the canvas.  Be inspired.  The Creative Creator Created You – a Creative Creation born to Create!

(c)2015, Nathan Decker.  Worshipswake.wordpress.com

Prayer for Our Church – Carpenter image

Jesus, Carpenter of our hearts,

you who nail our sin

and cut away our pride:

Rehab our meeting tonight.

Level our thoughts in Your Kingdom.

Square the Mission into our agenda

so that you again stand out as the cornerstone,

for our church is falling apart.

We sink in sands of disrespect and

We are tearing each other apart with crow-bar words.

Measure us among your people again

through the carpenter’s son, Jesus, Amen.

 

Special thanks to the Lay Servant Class “Leading Prayer” that I taught in February 2015.  The Spirit used them to help me create this.

 

(C)2015 by Nathan Decker, 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