Worship Pieces

Lenten Offertory Prayer

In preparing for Ash Wednesday and this weekend’s Lenten retreat I haven’t found a lot of time to blog. Thought I would share the offertory prayer we will be using for Lent this year.

God of the Cross, in losing our lives we find them in you. In sharing our money and time, we receive the blessings of your Kingdom. Use these gifts toward your holy work of peace, justice, and service in the world. Amen.

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Consider the Birds: A Prayer

This prayer is based on Jesus’ words from Matthew 6:25-34:

Holy God of Abundance,
As we sow and reap and gather into barns;
As we work and earn and calculate our net worth,
Let us consider the birds of the air;
Let us consider the lilies of the field.
Let us notice and look and give thanks
for the food that feeds us
and the food that feeds the birds;
for the clothes that cover and warm us
and the colors and textures that clothe the flowers and fields.
May we dwell in gratitude–
not gratitude as a denial of today’s problems,
a refusal to admit that tomorrow will bring troubles of its own,
but a gratitude that is deep trust,
a choice to embrace the grace.
Holy God of abundance, ease us away from worry
and point us on the path toward your Kingdom. Amen


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Christmas Hymn-Sing Prayer

Just a brief prayer today as I prepare for our Christmas hymn-sing on December 29:

Creator God, Word-Made-Flesh,

Thank you for the songs of this holy season. Thank you for the amazing story of which we sing. Thank you for the song of the Spirit that surrounds and sustains us. May our voices and our lives join in the song: Glory to you in the highest! Peace, on earth, for all. Amen.

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Advent 4 Worship Pieces

IMG_2302And for this week:

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 63:7-9 and Luke 2:8-20

Call to Worship:

Glory to God in the highest!
And hope to every discouraged heart.
Glory to God in the highest!
And peace to every conflicted soul.
Glory to God in the highest!
And joy to every downcast spirit.
Glory to God in the highest!
And love to every one.
Let us sing praises to our God.
Let us offer this light against the darkness.


Holy God of Love,
There is light in our lives because of the abundance of your steadfast love. A love so vast, so deep, so real, that you became one of us. May we live within the power of this love. And may we share its light with a world where too many dwell in darkness. Amen.


May you live within the light of love in these coming days. May love call forth the songs you sing. May love enliven your celebrations. May love be within you, and may love surround you. May you know–deeply know–the abundance of God’s steadfast love. Amen.

Categories: Advent/Christmas, Benediction/Blessing, Call to Worship, Worship Pieces | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent 3 Worship Pieces

This past Sunday we focused on the song of Mary and practiced group lectio divina together.

(The children had been invited to draw a picture as a way to reflect on the scripture readings. I nearly lost it when one boy handed me his drawing to share with the congregation. It pictured the annunciation with a startled Joseph standing next to Mary saying, “What the heck!?”.)

Anyway, here are some pieces of the service that I actually planned ahead of time:

Scriptures: Psalm 146 & Luke 1:46-56

Call to Worship:

Our souls proclaim your greatness, O God.
And our spirits rejoice in you.
We will praise you as long as we live.
We will sing praises to you our whole lives long.
We will not trust in the powerful of this world,
But will trust in you–Creator of heaven and earth,
the One who gives food to the hungry,
the One who enacts justice for the oppressed.
Our souls proclaim your greatness, O God
As we worship you in this place,
As we light these candles in hope, peace, and joy.


Holy God of Joy,
We rejoice in the reality of who you are. We live within the joy of your love for us. Our contentment comes and goes. Our happiness ebbs and flows. Our feelings depend upon our circumstances, our physical health, our brain chemistry. But our joy is deeply rooted in our identity as your beloved children. And we give you thanks. Amen.


As you go out, go with the light of joy. In moments of delight, in moments of frustration; in moments of beauty, in moments of fear; in moments of enthusiasm and moments of exhaustion; may the joy of Christ be ever-present, grounding you in the deep love of God–our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Amen.


Categories: Advent/Christmas, Benediction/Blessing, Call to Worship, Worship Pieces | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worship Pieces: Advent 2

I thought I had already posted these, but I guess not.  Our scriptures are Matthew 3:1-12 and 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Hannah’s song).

Call to Worship

We come to prepare the way;
The way for Christ–
the hope of Christ, the peace of Christ–
to enter our world,
to enter our hearts.

We cry out together in the wilderness:
The kingdom of heaven has come near.
We come to be part of the light–
the light that shines in the darkness.


Holy God of Peace,
We seek your peace in these darkening days. We seek a calm within, yes. And an absence of conflict between people and nations. But more deeply, we seek your shalom–the deep and abiding peace that will come only through the justice of your kingdom. Amen.



May you carry the light of peace with you this week. A strong and holy peace that strengthens the weak, feeds the hungry, exalts the poor, and guards the feet of the faithful. Amen.

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Advent Service of Prayer and Anointing

At Peace Mennonite this year, we will begin Advent with a service of prayer and anointing. This is similar to what other churches do for “Blue Christmas” or “Longest Night.” The order of our service is below. Blessings to all as you begin the Advent season.


Welcome, each of you, to this service of prayer and anointing as we begin the season of Advent. The purpose of this service is to acknowledge the grief that so often accompanies our experience of the holidays. Here together we give each other permission to grieve and we remind each other of God’s presence with us in our grief.

Taize Hymn & Lighting of Christ Candle: Stay with us 21

Prayer of Releasing and Receiving

Gracious God,
We place ourselves in your presence.
Our minds and our spirits are cluttered. Help us make space for you. Help us to be fully present here, now.
We release to you all that we have done today–whether for good or for ill.
We release all that we feel like we should have done today, but did not do.
We release all of the people who weigh on our hearts and minds this evening.
We release our fears. We release our anxiety. We release our impatience. We release our pride.
All of the thoughts, all of the feelings that pull us away from you, O God, we release.
And now with open hearts we receive what you offer us now:
We receive the gift of this space and this time.
We receive the gift of being with each person here.
We receive the Holy Spirit’s presence within us for guidance and healing.
We receive the sacred words that will be spoken and thought.
We receive the holy touch of hand and heart.
We receive the silence.
We receive the music.
Fill us now with the peace of your deep, abiding presence.
We offer all of ourselves to you, our One God, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Amen

Taize Hymn: Come and fill 28

Scripture: Psalm 6:2-4, 6-9

Brief Meditation

Taize Hymn: Come and fill 28

Invitation to time of reflection/response

  • Anointing and prayer will be offered in the back of the worship space
  • People may light a candle on the front table in remembrance of loved ones who have died and/or as a symbol of receiving the light of Christ into their lives for this season
  • Materials will be provided for people to write out a prayer.
  • Prayer request cards will be provided for those who wish to have someone pray for them throughout Advent.

Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30

Taize Hymn: Our darkness 14


Holy One,
Be the light within and around us in these days of Advent.
A light that is steady and constant against any darkness that we face.
A light that shows us the path toward healing and wholeness–for ourselves and for our world.

Hand out prayer request cards to those willing to pray for someone during Advent.

Blessing (from Romans 8)

As you go forth remember the promise: neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Categories: Advent/Christmas, Worship Pieces | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Worship Piece: Advent 1 Call and Candle-Lighting

This year for Advent we are looking at four different songs from scripture: Psalm 147, Hannah’s Song in 1 Samuel 2, Mary’s Song in Luke 1, and the Song of the Angels in Luke 2. Secondary readings for each week are chosen from the Lectionary options. This week we will read Romans 13:8-12. The call to worship candle-lighting liturgy and the benediction for this Sunday are below.

Call to Worship:

The night is far gone.
The day is near.
And so we wait.
We wait with hope,
for the brokenhearted to be healed,
for the downtrodden to be lifted up.
We wait for the coming of the Christ child.
In this meantime,
We will sing into the silence.
We will light a candle against the darkness.

Lighting of the Advent Candle


Holy God of Hope,
Give us ears to hear and hearts to trust the promises you offer to us in this season of Advent. As we worship together, we offer ourselves to you and we open ourselves to your abundant grace. Amen.


May you carry the light of hope with you this week. And may that light burn with the power of the Holy Spirit against all the darknesses you encounter–a stubborn light to mark this season of waiting, this season of hope. Amen.

Categories: Advent/Christmas, Benediction/Blessing, Call to Worship, Worship Pieces | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worship Pieces: Advent Emergency Edition

IMG_2277Yes, it’s true. This coming Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Ready or not . . .

Some of the Rev. Gals are helping each other out by sharing Advent resources today, and I thought I would join the party.

Yesterday I posted this piece over at Practicing Families about Advent practices at home.

Last year (2012) Peace Mennonite focused on the themes of the Advent Conspiracy, for which I wrote weekly candle-lighting liturgies:Advent 1
Advent 2
Advent 3
Advent 4

Here is the offertory prayer we have used for Advent the past few years–changing the second word of the prayer to reflect the “candle word” for the week: hope, peace, joy, love.

God of Peace, in this season of Advent, this time of waiting, we offer to you our money, our time, our energy. Accept what we offer. And use these offerings to shine the light of your peace in the dark places of our world. Amen.

And for those truly planning ahead, Christmas Eve services:2012

And a simple liturgy for family worship on Christmas morning.

Finally, here are a few Advent reflections:on Mary
on Zechariah
on Ashes and Advent
on living these days “Advently”
on Kairos at Christmas


Categories: Call to Worship, Worship Pieces | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Worship Piece: Psalm 119

I’m excited because Jill Clingan, my good friend and a fabulous writer, is preaching at Peace Mennonite this Sunday! We are still worshiping our way through Acts, and she will be focusing on Acts 21:17-26. I’ve chosen Psalm 119:33-40 as the Old Testament reading–thinking about our love for the law and the interplay of grace.

So here is our Call to Worship:

Like the psalmist,
we worship with faithfulness and longing.
God, give us understanding;
Lead us on your paths;
Turn our hearts to love;
Turn our eyes to truth;
Confirm your promise of life–
abundant and eternal life.
May our worship be your praise.
May our lives be holy offerings.


And the prayer of confession (also based on/inspired by these verses from Psalm 119):

Forgive hearts consumed with selfish gain.
Turn our hearts toward love for others.
Forgive eyes gazing at worthless things of this world.
Turn our eyes toward your presence, your action, within us and around us.
Forgive hands that push people away.
Turn our hands to welcome the stranger, the outcast, the enemy.
Forgive feet kicking up dust on dead-end roads.
Turn our feet onto your path of righteousness and life.
By the grace of the forgiving, transforming One–Jesus Christ–
Forgive us, turn us, O God.

And the assurance of pardon: “Hear now the Good News: By the grace of the Holy One, we are forgiven. By the Holy power, we are being transformed. Thanks be to God.”

Categories: Call to Worship, Prayer of Confession, Worship Pieces | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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