Resources for Lent

(This prayer has only just been written and we would be grateful for any critique or suggestions for improvement anyone could send to us at resources@laughingbird.net)

Blessed are you, God of all creation,
and blessed is the communion
into which you gather us.

Dry seeds of hope thirst for life-giving rain;
Hard heartlands yearn for a softening shower;
The dust and smoke of the parched earth
rise up with the prayers of your people:

Send your Holy Spirit
to call us by name and lead us home.

Wearied by the callous heat of hostility,
your Son beats back the fires of hell,
and calls us to follow him on the road to life;
on through the charred valley of despair.

Send your Holy Spirit
to call us by name and lead us home.

Days shorten and clouds darken the horizon;
Bleached skeleton trees warn of unspeakable death,
and the crows keep a knowing eye on our journey.

Send your Holy Spirit
to call us by name and lead us home.

 

 

Written by Nathan Nettleton, 2001.

(This prayer has only just been written and we would be grateful for any critique or suggestions for improvement anyone could send to us at resources@laughingbird.net)

O God, you search us out and know us,
and all that we are is open to you.
We confess that we have sinned.

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

When we avoid examining ourselves
but jump to examine our neighbours:

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

When we show great discipline in pursuit of worldly wealth,
but invest neither energy nor enthusiasm in the treasures of the Spirit:

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

When we clamour for your crown,
but refuse to shoulder your cross:

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

When we confess you amongst your friends
but deny you when your enemies close in:

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

When we build our comforts and pleasures on the sacrifice of others,
instead of sacrificing our privileges to build a world that all can share:

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

When we would rather crucify the prophets
than unweave the web of injustice.

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

When we demand instant results
and scorn those who find value in waiting,
in yearning, even in suffering, even in dying:

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

When welook for
an easier gospel;
a lighter cross;
a less demanding saviour:

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Written by Nathan Nettleton, 2001, incorporating some ideas from prayers in Stages on the Way by the Wild Goose Worship Group © 1998 WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow G51 3UU, Scotland.

 

We believe in God,
creator of all that is and shall be,
redeemer of all that is less than it could be,
sustainer of our living, our loving, our being.

We believe in the cross of Christ,
drenched in hatred and cruelty,
yet overflowing with God's unquenchable love.

We believe in the bread of life:
broken and shared it opens our eyes to the presence of Christ
and strengthens us for the journey.

We believe in the pain suffered by Christ:
all our hurts, torments and betrayals
magnified in the purity of love,
and embraced that we might be free.

We believe in the joy of the Holy Spirit,
poured into the hearts of those
who with courage and resolve
refuse to trade integrity for popularity.

We believe in the gospel,
good news offered to us in Jesus,
despised by the world
but leading us in the way of life.

We believe in love:
the nature of God,
a gift unsurpassed,
but a mystery only fulfilled
when all else is relinquished.

We believe in light shining from darkness
in mercy vanquishing bitterness,
in life bursting free where death reigned.

How then shall we live?
How shall this faith take flesh in the world?

The cross?
We will take it.

The bread?
We will break it.

The pain?
We will bear it.

The joy?
We will share it.

The Gospel?
We will live it.

The love?
We will give it.

The light?
We will cherish it.

The darkness?
God shall perish it.

 

The responses at the end come from Stages on the Way by the Wild Goose Worship Group. ©1998, WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow G51 3UU, Scotland.

The rest was written by Nathan Nettleton (©2000) to preface the responses.

 

We are the body of Christ.

His Spirit is with us.

Let us lift up our hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

(Insert the Preface of the Week here - available from Laughing Bird Weekly Texts)

 

Traditional

Therefore with the whole realm of nature around us,
With earth, sea and sky,

We sing to you.

With the angels and archangels who envelop us,
With all the saints before us and beside us,
With brothers and sisters, east and west, north and south,

We sing to you.

And with our loved ones,
separate from us now,
who yet, in this mystery are close to us,

We sing the hymn of unending praise:

Adapted from "The Prayer of Thanksgiving" on page 67 of The Iona Community Worship Book, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow, 1991.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of truth and light,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

Traditional

We do not presume
to come to your table, merciful Lord,
trusting in our own righteousness,
but in your manifold and great mercies.

We are not worthy
so much as to gather up the crumbs
under your table.
But you are the same Lord
whose nature is always to have mercy.

Blessed are you, gracious Lord,
and blessed is your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
who feeds us with his own flesh and blood
that we may evermore dwell in him
and he in us.
Consuming him and consumed by him
we are thus strengthened to walk in his footsteps,
even knowing that to do so
will inflame the fury of hell.

We bless you for Christ,
who has gone on before us,
enduring the cross and disregarding its shame,
to open a new trail for all to follow,
a trail of justice and liberating peace,
which presses on through suffering and beyond,
all the way to the banqueting room of heaven.

 

Written by Nathan Nettleton (©2000) incorporating and partially adapting the Prayer of Humble Access by Thomas Cranmer.

Blessed is our brother Jesus,
the pioneer and perfecter of our faith;
who, on the night when he was betrayed,
took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said:

"This is my body, which is for you.
Do this to remember me."

In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying:

"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, whenever you drink it,
to remember me."

So, as we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

Christ has died;
Christ is risen;
Christ will come again.

Traditional

Therefore, here in this place,
we celebrate the life that was born at Bethlehem,
the life that Jesus has shared
among his community through the centuries,
And shares with us now.

From The Iona Community Worship Book, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1991, p.67

Made one with him,
and thus one with each other,
we lay before you these gifts of bread and wine,
in token of our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,
for here we offer and present to you ourselves,
our bodies, minds and spirits,
to be a holy and continuous sacrifice to you.

Adapted by Nathan Nettleton
from "The Desert Missal" of the Anamchara Celtic Church. http://web2.airmail.net/anmchar1/disert.htm

Come now, O Spirit of Christ,
Brood over these bodily things,
this bread and this wine.

May they be for us
your body and blood,
Vibrant with life,
Healing, renewing
and making us whole.

And embrace us
with your life-giving power,
that as bread and wine are made one with us,
we may become one with you,

Bone of your bone,
Flesh of your flesh,
living our prayer
and praying our life
until love and fidelity embrace,
peace and justice kiss,
and all are free as Christ is free.

Epiclesis adapted by Nathan Nettleton from prayers by Janet Morley, All Desires Known, London:SPCK, 1992, p.47 & 49; "Prayer of Blessing for the Sunday Morning Communion" The Iona Community Worship Book, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1991, p.67; and the ICEL translation of Psalm 85:10.

Because you are one with us, O Christ,
make us one with you as we pray
the prayer you taught us:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.

For the Kingdom, the power and the glory
are yours, now and forever.
Amen.

Translation of the Lord's Prayer by ELLC.