Called to be branches in Christ’s body, we yearn to be connected to the vine.
Called to be mustard bushes offering shade to God’s creatures, we search for places to plant the seeds of faith.
Called to be growing with God in the midst of this world’s painful questions, we seek God’s nurturing presence.
Confession & Words of Assurance
Lord Jesus Christ, we remember with gratitude those people who generously sowed the seeds of faith in our lives.
We confess the times we fail to involve ourselves in planting any seeds of faith in the lives of others; the times when our personal agendas become more important than Yours; the times when we have denied others the opportunity to expand their faith through our lack of interest or involvement; the times when our lives become so entangled with the values of the world that we forget what You have said and done and promised.
Lord Jesus Christ, we know that when we become disconnected from You, our lives becomes parched and unfruitful and our faith becomes stunted and dry. Bless and renew our lives, we pray, so that we remain connected to you at all times and in all places, strengthening our faith to expand and, growing strongly and vigorously, to bear the fruit of Your mercy, Your love, Your undying life.
In Christ Jesus we are a radically renewed community. Old things are done away with, all things become new. We are agents of grace and reconciliation. With every step or stumble, Christ will be with us.
Parables about God’s world
Mark 4: 26 Then Jesus said, “This is what God’s kingdom is like. It’s as though someone scatters seed on the ground, 27 then sleeps and wakes night and day. The seed sprouts and grows, but the farmer doesn’t know how. 28 The earth produces crops all by itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full head of grain. 29 Whenever the crop is ready, the farmer goes out to cut the grain because it’s harvesttime.”
30 He continued, “What’s a good image for God’s kingdom? What parable can I use to explain it? 31 Consider a mustard seed. When scattered on the ground, it’s the smallest of all the seeds on the earth; 32 but when it’s planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all vegetable plants. It produces such large branches that the birds in the sky are able to nest in its shade.”
33 With many such parables he continued to give them the word, as much as they were able to hear. 34 He spoke to them only in parables, then explained everything to his disciples when he was alone with them.
Loving God, in a world where many would seek to damage Your creation, bring hatred to Your people, show violence to Your children, help us always to be grateful for the gifts of love and life, for the glimpses of transforming beauty and unending wonder. Take us now, and use us well to combat evil and destruction wherever we find it.
In world driven by greed and a lust for power; where the material threatens to overwhelm the spiritual; where goodness seems too frail in the face of badness, help us not to give up on righteousness and truth; to believe that You can use well the gifts we offer; that You will call forth the gifts of Your people again and again.
In a world where so much is focused on the here and now, help us to remain bound with those who have gone before us; to rejoice in our fellowship in the one kingdom of your love; to give thanks that, from time to time, we have a glimpse of eternity.
All of these prayers and so may more we pull together and pray the prayer tradition has taught us…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
May the blessing of God fall on our community, may it be a safe place, full of understanding and acceptance, where you can be as you are, without the need of any pretense or image.
May this place be one of discovery: discovery of the love of God, the peace of Jesus, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, where from the smallest seed, all can emerge to deepen and refine our knowledge of God’s kingdom. Amen.
Thanks be to God.