Good morning to everyone joining this service, especially church friends from afar… Please join me in the prayers of the people. When you hear the words “God who has given us love and hope,” please answer with “We listen for you in our prayers.”
Easter points to Pentecost, the commissioning of the disciples and apostles, the rise of the need for faith to continue the message of Jesus after his death. Doubt is removed with the story of Thomas. Jesus says blessed are they that have not seen, yet believe and hope, and go to do his work. God who has given us love and hope… We listen for you in our prayers.
God who gave us the world to sustain us; the Canadian Spring is afoot, the season of rising spirit, and we are relieved and inspired by the signs that grow outside, the lengthening days, the return of the sun and rain. Unlike equatorial people, we have these reminders of cycles where we live and attach spiritual meaning to seasons, to planting and harvest, to the different rests of winter and summer. We pray for the future of our natural world and personally resolve to protect and respect this gift of creation. There is a lesson in the virus measures; nature responds quickly to treading more lightly on the earth. This world virus now affects all of us, ill or well, and we pray for all of us to be steadfast in spirit, finding simple truths and joys and meaning in different ways, during the hardship of unemployment and restraint. May our world and community leaders lead with wisdom and empathy through this strange time, and may they be inspired by our universal God to see their people through. God who has given us love and hope… We listen for you in our prayers.
We look today beyond our own community, thinking through the provincial prayer cycle of the Peninsula Pastoral Charge and Peninsula United Church in Surrey, and as always, further afield, the congregation of Nyanyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. In the World Council of Churches cycle we remember the churches and countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia; the Georgian Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox churches have a very long history of Christianity, but also long memories of genocide and repression, wounds that are hard to heal. We pray for that healing. We also pray for those who are gender-persecuted throughout the world; those wounds are hard to heal too. We salute and pray for all those who bring peace, healing, teaching and engineering to where it’s needed internationally. We think of our Bienestar partners in Guatemala who are doing just that. We also salute the front-line workers and essential service folks everywhere and wish them safety. God who has given us love and hope… We listen for you in our prayers.
Some of our own people need the power of our prayers to lift them through illness, sadness, loss and injury; we send love and light to all those named in our Prayer List and to others that we think of now… …God who has given us love and hope… We listen for you in our prayers.
We remember today our mission and mantra: we dare to live the way of Jesus, embodying the love of God. We are the hands and feet of Christ, we are the apostles and disciples and living saints who transmit his message of love and unity and responsibility with our words and actions, every day, everywhere. Let us be light-bearers and hope-bringers. God who has given us love and hope… We listen for you in our prayers.
And the people say… “Amen!”