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Holy and Unpredictable

Wild and Precious Life

“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention…”
This declaration comes from Mary Oliver’s poem entitled “The Summer Day.”  Such a bold confession comes amidst her curiosity ignited by a grasshopper who is eating sugar from her hand as the poet sits idly in a field.  I was introduced to Mary Oliver by my preaching professor and her words have implanted themselves in my mind ever since.  I, like so many others, struggle with prayer.  How does one go about the curious and unpredictable journey that is speaking with God?  How do we continue the dialogue begun by the Great Conversationalist who spoke amidst the chaos and brought forth goodness and grace?  Where to begin?
Sure, I’ve prayed the Lord’s Prayer a thousand times in worship with my fellow Sisters and Brothers in Christ.  Of course, as I have begun sermons I have…

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Magdalene and Jesus | or the woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair


The following piece of art is from the Revised Common Lectionary page of Vanderbilt Library. Inspired by the Gospel text for the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C) – John 12:1-8.

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March 12, 2013 · 7:54 am

Prayer of Invocation | Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

The following prayer of Invocation is from the United Church of Christ.

O God, with gladness and expectation, we gather in this space today.
For you are the one who makes all things new.
You are the one who satisfies our hunger and restores our soul.
In this holy space, help us, your daughters and sons,
to know that you always love us.
Through our worship today,
help us to know that if we stray away from you,
you are always ready to receive us with open arms.
Prepare our hearts as we worship you
to welcome and embrace all of your children as you do us.
With gladness and expectation we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Prayer of Confession (3) | Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

Holy One,

The space between us is too great–

this agonizing expanse between you and us:

The rift we have created by demanding our share.

The distance we have put between us as we flee to a far country.

The resentment we hold when things don’t seem fair.

Our refusal to join your gracious party.

Forgive each selfish request

each step away

each bitter thought

each joyless rejection.

Forgive us

and run toward us

with open arms.

Submitted by Rev. Joanna Harader.

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Prayer of Confession (1) | Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

The following liturgy was shared via LiturgyLink.

One: God, you have called us into community, and gifted us with ways to celebrate your presence and to mark our journey.

All: Forgive us for the times when we have believed that our way is the only way, trusting in the words and actions rather than in the One to whom they point.

One: Through words ancient and new, you speak. Through bread and water, journey and prayer, feast and fast, you show us your way.

All: When these rituals of your people become nothing but empty rote recitation, not worth our attention, forgive us.

One: We hear your words of invitation, but sometimes we are certain they do not apply to us.

Reader 1: We are not worthy of your notice.

Reader 2: We are too smart and sophisticated for such things.

Reader 3: We aren’t sure we believe it all.

All: We are not ready, we do not understand, if you knew what we’d done…

One: And you say: You are my beloved, and I have called you by name.

All: We offer ourselves to you, O God, not because we are good, but because you are good.

sung: Kyrie Eleison


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL.

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