Updated: Dec 24, 2020
We are still family even while we are apart, so while we are unable to gather because of the ongoing health crisis, I will be sharing material on the blog each Sunday morning, and posting notes to those unable to access the internet. Of course you are free to use this material at any time, but my hope is that as many of us as possible will be reading these words during our usual service time - Sunday at 10:30 if you're new or need a reminder! - gathering in time if not in space.
I was hoping to include videos for the reading and reflection this week, but owing to a failure of technology (or incompetence on the part of those wielding it!) you have audio recordings instead. I hope they make this feel a bit more personal.
Call to worship
Begin by holding in your mind all those you would normally be worshipping with, and others that you love and are currently distanced from, and say this prayer: Lord, thank you that though apart we are held together in love and prayer; draw especially close to us in this time and comfort us. Amen.
Prayer This feels like a time to learn new rhythms and invest deeply in prayer, so I offer a number of suggestions, which you may find helpful as you pray on your own or with other members of your household. However you choose to pray, I invite you to end by praying the Lord's Prayer.
PRAYING IN CONCENTRIC CIRCLES This is a way of praying in ever widening circles. Start by praying for yourself, so that you might lay down any distractions. Then pray for your loved ones, then your community, then our country, then finally the world.
IN-OUT-UP-DOWN Focus inwards to pray for yourself, then look outwards to pray for those in the communities around you, then up to think of heaven and pray for the church, then down to think of the earth and pray for all its people.
PRAYING WITH YOUR HANDS Open your hands to offer God all that pains and troubles you, then close your hands to take hold of the peace that God wants to give you. Or use your fingers to guide you through different forms of prayer - the little finger for confession, the ring finger for petition (asking help for yourself), the middle finger for intercession (asking help for others), the index finger for thanksgiving, and the thumb for praise.
IMAGINATIVE PRAYER WALKING Current advice is that we can go out for exercise once a day, which may be an opportunity to pray for our communities as we walk/run/cycle through them. But we can also engage in imaginative prayer walking, taking a ‘walk’ through our neighbourhoods in our minds, and praying for the homes and schools and businesses and so on that we ‘see’.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Leas us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever.
Reading: John 11:1-44, read by Mike Greenwood
Reflection, by our minister Leigh Greenwood
Close your time of worship by again holding in your mind those you love and would be worshipping alongside, and use the words of the grace: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with us all evermore. Amen.