Sunday evening prayers at 7pm

Call to worship

In a world of ‘us and them’
God invites us to embrace

In a Church too often characterised by division
Christ invites us to embrace

In our lives, full of petty grudges and neglected relationships
The Spirit invites us to embrace

So come all you who yearn for deeper living
Come and enter into Heaven’s embrace this day

Adoration and Confession

Wonderful Creator, Friend of the earth, all creation praises You.
You have shown Your healing love to the people of every land,
and You have filled the long centuries with new songs of happiness.

By the gift of faith,
may the invigorating Spirit of the risen Jesus live within us
and serve the world through us.
Join our songs to all those who have gone before us
and let memories of our joy inspire those who come after us.

Please remind us, loving God,
that no person is too unimportant to receive Your attention,
and no personal flaw or sin is too ugly or large
to receive Your forgiveness and healing.

Remind us that our weaknesses are like hollows
where sincere goodness can take root and grow tall.

Remind us that our ignorance is a wilderness
which under the refreshing wisdom of Christ can blossom like a rose.

Remind us that our guilt for both small mistakes or grievous sins
can, by God’s grace,
become the compost for a fruit season not achieved before.

It is written: “Here is real love;
not our love for God
but God’s love for us in the giving of His Son
to be the remedy for the corruption of our sins.”

Through the love of Christ Jesus,
forgiveness and release is ours for the asking.

Therefore ask and receive,
knock and let the door be opened to you.

Prayer of confession

Gracious and loving God,
as we reflect on the wonder and glory of Your being,
and the depth of Your love for us,
we are conscious of our failure to learn from You
and from the sacrificial love of Jesus.

So often our understanding of glory
is linked with prestige and power and position.
Jesus’ understanding of glory was linked to a love
that was prepared to go to the uttermost limits of love.

Forgive us when selfish pursuit of glory takes precedence
over Jesus’ command to love one another as He has loved us.

“As he has loved us”–
we confess our lack of commitment to make Jesus’ self-giving love
the truly identifying mark of our community of faith.

Forgive us when we put economic, racial, social or other boundaries on our love.

When we express His limitless love in all our relationships
and dealings with people,
both inside and outside the church
– then – Jesus said, “everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

Remind us, O God,
that even when our love falters,
Your love remains constant.
You have the power to make all things new.

Renew and rekindle our love for You and for one another.
Fill our hearts and minds with Jesus’ selfless love
so that, like Him, we glorify You in all we do and say.
This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Psalm 148

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
   praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
   praise him, all his host!


3 Praise him, sun and moon;
   praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
   and you waters above the heavens!


5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
   for he commanded and they were created.
6 He established them for ever and ever;
   he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.


7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
   you sea monsters and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and frost,
   stormy wind fulfilling his command!


9 Mountains and all hills,
   fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Wild animals and all cattle,
   creeping things and flying birds!


11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
   princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike,
   old and young together!


13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
   for his name alone is exalted;
   his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
   praise for all his faithful,
   for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

Prayers of intercession

May we increasingly become respectful caretakers of all that is,
including the waters so easily enjoyed, disturbed, polluted, exploited, taken for granted. May we regard more highly the elements upon which our lives depend.
Might we, with greater gratitude, enjoy and honour
those refreshing gulps and glassfuls of water after a workout, during the day
or on a quiet evening alone.

We remember the millions upon millions who do not have access to clean drinking water,
a necessity of life.
Might we challenge and change the systems we all enjoy
that would bring about a transformation of our global systems –
allowing more to be able to drink clean water … just a cup of cold, clean water.
Might we literally and figuratively provide cold water to all who seek it –
out of love, hospitality, care, generosity.

We pause now and lift up in sadness and hope all those who will die this day, this hour, due to unclean and polluted waters.
Would we, with greater reverence, enjoy and preserve these life-giving elements that go so unnoticed.
As a community of care, we commit this day to using less and enjoying more!

We remember others here and others not with us who are healing, those in hospital,
those in jail, those depressed and discouraged.
Might we initiate intimate connections with neighbours, friends, lovers, alike.
May they know the love of their spouses and friends,
the love pervasive in this universe
and receive healing expertise from those making decisions about their care.

We yearn for the day when all tears are dried, all pain is abandoned
… but today is not that day.

So our prayers are for those who weep this morning
for whom the loss of someone they love
or their battle with illness in body, mind or spirit
or the adversities in their daily living
weigh heavy, are perhaps too much for them to bear.
Through the heartache and loss they need to sense the hope
that comes from the words,
“I am making all things new.”

We yearn for the day when nation will no longer fight with nation
and young people will not be sent to die in war;
when the animosity between peoples will come to an end.
… but today is not that day.

So our prayers are for those who wage war: politicians, military leaders,
those on the front lines and those civilians caught in the cross fire.
Through the gunfire and the smoke
may the cry for a different way of being still be heard,
whispering over the hatred,
“I am making all things new.”

We yearn for the day when every one of those who seek to follow Christ will be truly one, when theology and denomination and personal grudges will not divide the body
… but today is not that day.

So our prayers are for those who struggle to love their fellow Christian
who find it hard to accept the differences in belief they see,
who wrestle with strong feelings of anger or revulsion for their brother or sister in Christ.
Through the power struggles and the infighting, the cool receptions and stony silences
we hear the words once more,
“I am making all things new.”

For today may not be that day, when tears are dried, and wars are over,
and God’s people are one,
but it is coming
and in us, through us, if need be despite us,
we step ever closer to the day of a new heaven and a new earth
when the universe reverberates to the song,
“I am making all things new.”
Amen

Blessings

We are the loved people of God.
Together, in our gifts and in ourselves,
we add beauty to life here and beyond us
in a myriad of ways.
Through the Spirit,
we become part of the tree of life,
for the healing of the nations.
And the blessing of God, Creator, Son and Holy Spirit be with us all.

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