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Good morning to everyone here in the church today and to everyone out there who is joining online today or at another time. Please join me in prayer to listen to the Divine.

Close our eyes to find our prayer place, breathe in the Holy Spirit, our life-breath, our gift of life; breathe out into the kingdom/kindom of God, breathe in, breathe out, we are here. Think about the newly born, their innate goodness and openness to life. Our creation is a sacred gift, yet we find so much grief and pain in our world as we, co-creators, are challenged to find God’s way. Sorrow requires our compassion. Yes, our world is troubled, as it was in the Roman Empire during Jesus’ life. Let us look to his courage and compassion. Help us to find strength. Listen, hear the words of Thomas Merton:

“We see too clearly that all that is “ours” is nothing, and can completely fail us. In other words, we no longer rely on what we “have”, what has been given by our past, what has been required. We are open to God and to His mercy in the inscrutable future and our trust is entirely in his grace, which will support our liberty in the emptiness where we will confront unforeseen decisions. Only when we have descended in dread to the centre of our own nothingness, by his grace and his guidance, can we be led by him, in his own time, to find him in losing ourselves.”

Let us think of others: those in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Hear a prayer written by a Methodist bishop in Argentina:

O God, Lord of the wind and the sea,
of the mountains and the valleys,
of the world and of the church:
in the midst of fear and insecurity
give us trust and hope in you. 

We live in a world
where the gales of power
blow strong enough to shake life itself,
where from the arrogant and the interests of the powerful
roll the waves of injustice and violence. 

We pray for those suffering
because of their poverty, their ignorance,
their limitations,
because of their colour or status, social or sexual.
We think of your church sailing on a sea
where the waves of racism, militarism, sexism
and economic marginalization hurt human life. 

Take care of your church and put in it
a sincere love for those who suffer,
a clear vision of your will,
healing, pastoral words for the needy,
and a valiant, prophetic proclamation
against those who create violence and pain. 

O God, rebuke the uncontrolled wind of terrorism and war.
Turn it towards peace and human development
so that in place of lies, truth is strengthened,
in place of weapons, there are schools for all children,
in place of luxury, the world adorns itself
with bread for the hungry
and life blossoms everywhere. 

O God, Lord of the wind and the sea,
may your strong mercy calm the whole earth.
In the name of Jesus Christ.

(© Bishop Aldo M. Etchegoyen, Evangelical, Methodist Church of Argentina.)

In our Pacific Mountain Region, let us send our thoughts and prayers for safety to St. Andrew’s United Church and Pastoral Charge in Kaslo, our neighbours.

Here at home, let us think of our church friends who are spending time and energy to keep our building and our church friends going strong. 

In Our Prayers:
Our Bienestar partners involved in our outreach project in Guatemala; Our brothers & sisters
at Nyanyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe; Peacemakers and peacekeepers; health care workers, teachers, engineers and the many who serve throughout the world through many organizations; All affected by COVID-19, whether in body, mind or spirit; LGBTQ2SIA+ people who are persecuted in many countries; The future of our environment; All those named in our Prayer List.

At this time you may silently say your personal prayer…    …In Jesus’ name, we pray.

Amen

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