Monday, January 21, 2019

Proper Prayers for the Third Sunday after Epiphany Year C (27 January 2019)

Proper Prayers for the Third Sunday after Epiphany (Year C)

Nehemiah 8.1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12.12-31a; Luke 4.14-21

Collect of the Day


Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen. [1]
or
Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people.  Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, so that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [2]
or
God of all mercy, your Son proclaimed good news to the poor, release to the captives, and freedom to the oppressed:  anoint us with your Holy Spirit, so that all people may be free to praise you in Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of freedom, make us impatient to greet the time fulfilled, the poor lifted up, the oppressed set free and your love made manifest in Jesus Christ, the Anointed Servant. Amen.  [3]
or
Lord God, whose compassion embraces all peoples, whose law is wisdom, freedom and joy for the poor, fulfil in our midst your promise of favour, so thatwe may receive the gospel of salvation with faith and, anointed by the Spirit, freely proclaim it.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [4 alt.]
or
In you, O Lord our God, we find our joy, for through your law and your prophets you formed a people in mercy and freedom, in justice and righteousness. Pour your Spirit on us today, so thatwe who are Christ’s body may bear the good news of your ancient promises to all who seek you.  We ask this in the name of Christ and in the power of the Spirit.  Amen. [6 alt.]

Prayer over the Gifts


Loving God, before the world began you called us.  Make holy all we offer you this day, and strengthen us in that calling. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.   Amen.  [1]
or
Holy God, gracious and merciful, you bring forth food from the earth and nourish your whole creation.  Turn our hearts toward those who hunger in any way, so that all may know your care; and prepare us now to feast on the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine.  Nourish us with these gifts, so that we might for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness  you have blessed us with these gifts:  our selves, our time and our possessions.  Use us, and what we have gathered, in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
God of mercy and grace, the eyes of all wait upon you, and you open your hand in blessing.  Fill us with good things at your table, so that we may come to the help of all in need, through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Merciful God, as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills were gathered together to become one bread, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ, now and for ever.  Amen.  [3]

Proper Preface of the Lord’s Day


Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; you are the source of light and life for all your creation, you made us in your own image, and call us to new life in Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Therefore we praise you, joining our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, who on this first day of the week overcame death and the grave, and by his glorious resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life.  In our unending joy we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven as we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; by water and the Holy Spirit you have made us a holy people in Jesus Christ our Lord; you renew that mystery in bread and wine and nourish us, to show forth your glory in all the world. Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the holy people who have served you in every age, we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]

Prayer after Communion


Gracious God, our hands have taken holy things; our lives have been nourished by the body of your Son.  May we who have eaten at this holy table be strengthened for service in your world. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen.  [1]
or
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life.  In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Son.  By your Spirit strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people.  Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, so that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Gracious God, in this meal you have drawn us to your heart, and nourished us at your table with food and drink, the body and blood of Christ.  Now send us forth to be your people in the world, and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
O God, our life, our strength, our food, we give you thanks for sustaining us with the body and blood of your Son.  By your Holy Spirit, enliven us to be his body in the world, so that more and more we will you praise and serve your earth and its many peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
or
O God, you spoke your word and revealed your good news in Jesus the Christ.  Fill all creation with that word again, so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples, we may become one living body, through Jesus Christ who with you and the Holy Spirit live and reign, God for ever and ever.  Amen. [6 alt.]
or
Holy God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Saviour.  Bring healing to all wounds, make whole all that is broken, speak truth to all illusion and shed light in every darkness, so that all creation will see your glory and know your Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.  [6 alt.]

Sources


[1]       The Book of Alternative Services1985
[2]       Evangelical Lutheran Worship2006
[3]       Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion2016
[4]       Opening Prayers:  Collects in Contemporary Language1997, 1999, 2001
[5]       Prayers for an Inclusive Church2009
[6]       Revised Common Lectionary Prayers2002


N.B.  When a word or phrase appears is italicized in a liturgical text, it is an alteration made by the Ven. Richard Geoffrey Leggett to the original text.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Come to the Feast: Reflections on John 2.1-11 (The 2nd Sunday after Epiphany Year C, 20 January 2019)

Come to the Feast
Reflections on John 2.1-11

The Second Sunday after Epiphany (Year C)
20 January 2019

Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral

John 2.1-11

                  2.1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.  3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”  4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me?  My hour has not yet come.”  5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.  7Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.”  And they filled them up to the brim.  8He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.”  So they took it.  9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk.  But you have kept the good wine until now.”  11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

            To the northwest of Denver lies the small town of Berthoud.  Forty years ago the town was surrounded by agricultural land and small ranches.  As the cities of the Front Range grew and transportation routes improved, more and more folks moved to the smaller towns of the Front Range to enjoy the sense of community and the lower cost of living.  The older two-lane roads gave way to four-lane highways making it easier to drive to the larger urban centres to the north, to the east and to the south.

            In the summer of 1977, however, Berthoud was definitely not a place where one would expect to find a first-class restaurant.  But there was one, located in a building that someone driving past might suspect was what my dad called ‘a greasy spoon café’, on the west side of the two-lane highway used mainly by truck drivers and farm vehicles.

            To enter the front door was to cross the Atlantic and to walk into a proper French eating establishment.  Every evening there were two sittings for dinner with a fixed menu of two entrées accompanied by three or four additional courses.  There was no possibility of just dropping in for dinner; reservations were required.  People drove from considerable distances along the Front Range to enjoy the cuisine. For a few hours and for less cost than flying from Denver to Paris one could be somewhere other than a dusty small town in northern Colorado.  The food and the wine were what one read about in the fancier metropolitan culinary magazines.  I only ate one meal there forty years ago and I have never forgotten the experience. It was more than magical.  It was a revelation of what a meal could be.

            Let’s travel back in time two thousand years to the village of Cana in Galilee.  It was not a major centre, just another backwater collection of houses in a fertile agricultural area to the west of the Sea of Galilee.  Its value lie primarily in the food produced around it. Any one who was going somewhere else probably would not have registered any significant memory of passing through the place.  There was no distinguished synagogue, no learned line of rabbis, no political importance.

            But it was in Cana that Jesus performed what the Evangelist John calls ‘the first of his signs . . . and revealed his glory’.  Not in a larger town with a more diverse audience.  Not in Jerusalem or some other centre of power. Just plain old Cana.  Even the crisis that leads to this sign is a familiar one:  the wedding guests have drunk their hosts out of house and home.  Now that they are a bit ‘jolly’, let us say, the possibility of rowdiness is lurking on the horizon and Mary recognizes an approaching social disaster.  So large quantities of ordinary water are transformed into the best vintage of wine available and this small town wedding will soon become the source of legend. For a brief moment in human history the messianic feast where poor and rich, men and women, Jew and Gentile will share in God’s promises makes itself present.  In a dusty small town of no particular importance God’s extraordinary future makes an appearance.

            Come back with me to the present.  Every day somewhere on our planet that first sign accomplished at Cana in Galilee makes another appearance when the disciples of Jesus gather around the table.  When we proclaim the Word, when we offer our intercessions, petitions and thanksgivings, when we bless and share the bread and wine, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. We become signs of that promised new world that all humanity longs not only to see but to inhabit.  The water of our daily lives is transformed by the Spirit into the wine of the future --- even if only for a moment.  Some of us are like the servants who know from whence this wine of the future has come.  Others are as surprised at the steward to discover that something great has happened here.

            What a moment this can be.  Strangers can become friends.  People coming from various paths of life discover a community that provides depth and meaning to a life that can often seem shallow and purposeless.  God’s future, the goal towards which all of creation is straining, becomes visible and we realize that we are not pawns moved by an unseen hand but rather co-workers with the Holy One in making this future a gradually dawning reality.  

            Here we are in a wonderful cathedral surrounded by tall buildings.  Each day many of our neighbours walk by with no idea of what is happening here.  They bustle by on their way to the Columbia Station or on their way home after a long day of work.  Occasionally they hear the bell and it may evoke some thought of what we are doing and who we are.  Some may come through our doors for some public meeting or a concert.  An even braver few will come to worship at Christmas and Easter.  And like the folks driving on the highway by that restaurant in Berthoud or those passing by the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, they do not know the extraordinary things going on within these walls.

·     Here we hold the life of the world in our hands and offer it to God.
·     Here we look at evil squarely with clear eyes and dare to become agents of God’s goodness.
·     Here we tell the story of God’s love made known in Jesus of Nazareth and made known daily in the life of his disciples.
·     Here we serve all persons because we see in the face of every human being the face of Christ.
·     Here we strive for justice and peace so that all God’s children can be free.
·     Here we remember that we are stewards of the precious gift of creation not its possessors.

-->
            Whether we are in a small town in Galilee or in northern Colorado, whether we worship in a venerable cathedral or a room in someone’s home, God’s promises for us and for all of creation are fulfilled.  No matter where we find ourselves, we can catch a glimpse of God’s future and taste the banquet of new life.  The good news is that no one needs a reservation, just a yearning and a thirst for the new wine that fills the soul with more than just a passing warmth but abundant life in the here and now.  Come and drink for the best wine awaits us.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Proper Prayers for the Second Sunday after Epiphany Year C (RCL Proper 2C, 20 January 2019)

Proper Prayers for the Second Sunday after Epiphany (Year C)

Isaiah 62.1-5; Psalm 36.5-10; 1 Corinthians 12.1-11; John 2.1-11

Collect of the Day


Almighty God, your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ is the light of the world.  May your people, illumined by your word and sacraments, shine with the radiance of his glory, so thathe may be known, worshipped and obeyed to the ends of the earth; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.  [1]
or
Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, so thatwe may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Saviourand Lord.  Amen.  [2]
or
O God of steadfast love, at the wedding in Cana your Son Jesus turned water into wine, delighting all who were there.  Transform our hearts by your Spirit, so that we may show forth the light of your love as one body in Christ.  Amen.  [3]
or
Lord of the wedding feast, take our hearts of stone and flood them with new wine, so that we may savour the daily miracles that reveal your Son in our midst, Jesus the Christ.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of wonders, at Cana in Galilee you revealed your glory in Jesus Christ and summoned all humanity to life in him.  Show to your people gathered on this day your transforming power and give us a foretaste of the wine you keep for the age to come.  We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [4]

Prayer over the Gifts


Living God, you have revealed your Son as the Messiah.  May we hear his word and follow it, and live as children of light. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.   Amen.  [1]
or
Holy God, gracious and merciful, you bring forth food from the earth and nourish your whole creation.  Turn our hearts toward those who hunger in any way, so that all may know your care; and prepare us now to feast on the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine.  Nourish us with these gifts, so that we might for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness  you have blessed us with these gifts:  our selves, our time and our possessions.  Use us, and what we have gathered, in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
God of mercy and grace, the eyes of all wait upon you, and you open your hand in blessing.  Fill us with good things at your table, so that we may come to the help of all in need, through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Merciful God, as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills were gathered together to become one bread, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ, now and for ever.  Amen.  [3]

Proper Preface of the Lord’s Day


Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; you are the source of light and life for all your creation, you made us in your own image, and call us to new life in Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Therefore we praise you, joining our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, who on this first day of the week overcame death and the grave, and by his glorious resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life.  In our unending joy we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven as we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; by water and the Holy Spirit you have made us a holy people in Jesus Christ our Lord; you renew that mystery in bread and wine and nourish us, to show forth your glory in all the world. Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the holy people who have served you in every age, we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]

Prayer after Communion


God of glory, you nourish us with bread from heaven.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit, so that through us your light may shine in all the world.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.  [1]
or
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life.  In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Son.  By your Spirit strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people.  Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, so that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Gracious God, in this meal you have drawn us to your heart, and nourished us at your table with food and drink, the body and blood of Christ.  Now send us forth to be your people in the world, and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
O God, our life, our strength, our food, we give you thanks for sustaining us with the body and blood of your Son.  By your Holy Spirit, enliven us to be his body in the world, so that more and more we will you praise and serve your earth and its many peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
or
O God, you spoke your word and revealed your good news in Jesus the Christ.  Fill all creation with that word again, so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples, we may become one living body, through Jesus Christ who with you and the Holy Spirit live and reign, God for ever and ever.  Amen. [6 alt.]
or
Holy God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Saviour.  Bring healing to all wounds, make whole all that is broken, speak truth to all illusion and shed light in every darkness, so that all creation will see your glory and know your Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.  [6 alt.]

Sources


[1]       The Book of Alternative Services 1985
[2]       Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006
[3]       Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion 2016
[4]       Opening Prayers:  Collects in Contemporary Language 1997, 1999, 2001
[5]       Prayers for an Inclusive Church 2009
[6]       Revised Common Lectionary Prayers 2002


N.B.  When a word or phrase appears is italicized in a liturgical text, it is an alteration made by the Ven. Richard Geoffrey Leggett to the original text.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Immersing Ourselves in Christ: Reflections on Luke 3.15-17, 21-22 (RCL Baptism of Our Lord, 13 January 2019)

Immersing Ourselves in Christ
Reflections on Luke 3.15-17, 21-22

RCL Baptism of the Lord C
13 January 2019

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Luke 3.15-17, 21-22

                  3.15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

            21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Immersing ourselves in Christ
            In 1977 I accepted an appointment to teach German and French at Regis High School, a Jesuit secondary school for boys in northeast Denver.  Because I freely admitted that my abilities in French were in need of improvement, the Principal of the school arranged for to participate in a week-long program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The program was specifically designed to help teachers who, like me, found themselves required to teach two modern languages and who needed to improve their skills in their weaker language.

            For a week I was immersed in the French language and culture.  The experience reinforced the excellent teaching I had received as an undergraduate at the University of Denver and I know that it made me a better teacher for the year I spent at Regis.  I have to admit that I still harbour some feelings of guilt for the quality of instruction I gave to my French students that year.

            Here in British Columbia French immersion is one of the fastest growing programs in the public school system.  More and more people are recognizing that immersion is still the best way to learn about a language and culture.  We know from various educational studies that children can become rapidly and fluently bilingual when a given language is used in a given context, such as English at home, French at school or one parent speaking one language consistently with the children and one parent the other language. Every once and a while I toy with the idea of my car and office becoming French-only radio zones.

            Immersion is not only about language.  Immersion is about culture as well.  In the first centuries of the Christian movement, baptism was celebrated by the complete immersion of the candidate in the waters of the font and by the use of large quantities of oil to anoint them.  To become a Christian began with an immersion in the ‘language’ and ‘culture’ of the Christian movement and then celebrated by the physical immersion of the candidate in water and oil.  In today’s culture and society recovering the image of immersing ourselves in Christ is, I think, a necessary commitment every congregation needs to make.

Stability
            Archbishop Melissa, early in her episcopate, asked every member of the clergy to read Esther de Waal’s Seeking God.  This compact book is an exploration of the Rule of Saint Benedict, one of the most influential spiritual texts in the western Christian tradition.  Although it is not always evident to the casual eye, our own Anglican way of life has been deeply influenced by the Benedictine movement, especially in our emphasis on the link between common prayer and working for the common good.

            One of the most important commitments a Benedictine monk or nun makes is the vow of stability, a promise to remain a member of the community for the rest of one’s life unless there is a clear call to move elsewhere.  Some of Benedict’s strongest language is directed towards what I might call spiritual gadflies who move from place to place hoping to find the perfect teacher and the perfect community.  If anyone wants to immerse themselves in Christ, then the best way to do this is to find a community and stay there through good times and bad, through fertile times and droughts, through successes and failures.

            In the almost forty years since I was ordained I have met many people who wander from community to community, from congregation to congregation. Sometimes the reasons for their wandering are good ones and then there are those who are those whom I might describe as ‘spiritual Goldilocks’ finding one place too hot, another too cold and never seeming to find a place that’s ‘just right’.

            But immersing ourselves in Christ requires stability not vagrancy.  And stability itself is a way of learning how to be fully alive in Christ in the midst of that wonderful and maddening diversity we call humanity.

Obedience
            Another promise made by a Benedictine monk or nun is obedience to the abbot or abbess of the community.  Obedience is not a word used frequently in twenty-first century Canadian life, partly because we have don’t often think about what the word means.

            At the root of our word ‘obedience’ is the Latin word ‘audire’ --- ‘to listen’ or ‘to heed’.  To obey is to listen, not just to hear, but to listen and to heed.  Listening and heeding are not activities where we check our brains at the door.  Listening and heeding require us to discern what is being said and to connect it to what we know about ourselves and about what we believe God in Christ is calling us to be and to do.

            Some years ago I was leading a study conference for the clergy of the Diocese of Moosonee.  The weather was beautiful and, during one of the breaks, I sat near the edge of a lake simply listening and watching.  I watched as two damselflies laid their eggs in the stalks of the tall grass bordering the lake.  I learned later that the flies are a harbinger of winter because they unfailingly lay their eggs just above where the snow line will be.  I doubt that I moved much for more than an hour watching and listening.

            Stability gives us a platform for obedience, for listening and heeding. Here we listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church, to us, not only in the words of the Scriptures but in the words of the lives of those sitting next to us in the pew, those who come to our Thursday breakfast, those who use our hall during the week.  Here we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us as a word or a phrase in a prayer stimulates our own reflection on the mystery of God in our lives. 

Conversion
            We immerse ourselves in Christ through stability and through obedience in order to achieve one simple yet challenging purpose:  our conversion into disciples and friends of Christ. Conversion is a life-long process with steps forwards and steps backwards.  Conversion requires the stability of a community that loves us enough to help us and an obedience that is always listening to and heeding the Word that comes to us, spoken and unspoken, that invites us to become more fully human, more fully Christ-like.

            Conversion can be spectacular and accompanied by spiritual fireworks or a quiet and abiding insight into how God is at work in us and in the world. Conversion, more often as not, comes as a surprise when we realize how our perspective on the world, on our friends and neighbours, on ourselves has grown.  Conversion is those moments when we are so immersed in Christ that we cannot help but do what Jesus would do.

Becoming who we are
Dear friends, we have been buried with Christ in baptism, so that we may rise with him to a new life.  Let us renew the promises we made in baptism.

Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?  I do.

Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.  On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?  I will, with God’s help.

Will you persevere in resisting evil and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?  I will, with God’s help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?  I will, with God’s help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?  I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?  I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth?  I will, with God’s help.

God our creator, the rock of our salvation, has given us new birth by water and by the Holy Spirit, and bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sins, through our Lord Jesus Christ.  May we remain ever faithful to our calling through Christ our Lord, who with our Creator and the Spirit, lives and reigns, God for ever and ever.  Amen.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Proper Prayers for the Baptism of the Lord C (13 January 2019)

Proper Prayers for the Baptism of the Lord Year C

Isaiah 43.1-7; Psalm 29; Acts 8.14-17; Luke 3.15-17, 21-22

Collect of the Day


Eternal Father, who at the baptism of Jesus revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit, keep your children, born of water and the Spirit, faithful to their calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen. [1]
or
Almighty God, you anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit and revealed him as your beloved Son.  Keep all who are born of water and the Spirit in your service, so thatwe may rejoice to be called children of God, through Jesus Christ, our Saviourand Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.  [2]
or
Holy One of Israel, you anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit and revealed him as your beloved Son.  Keep all who are born of water and Spirit faithful in your service, so that we may rejoice to be called children of God, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
Heavenly Father, at the Jordan you revealed Jesus as your Son:  may we recognize him as our Lord and know ourselves to be your beloved children; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of glory, immerse us in your grace, mark us with your image, and raise us to live our baptismal promises, so that, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we may follow the example of Christ your beloved in whose name we pray.  Amen.  [3]
or
Open the heavens, almighty Father, and pour out your Spirit upon your people gathered in prayer.  Renew the power of our baptismal cleansing and fill us with zeal for good deeds. Let us hear your voice once again so that we may recognize in your beloved Son our hope of inheriting eternal life.  Grant this through Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, in the splendour of eternal light, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [4]
or
Lord of the desert river, you search our depths and call us by name:  may your flame-born Spirit open heavens so that we might recognize you in the one born of earth, Jesus Christ, the Gift of Peace. Amen.  [5]

Prayer over the Gifts


God of life and freedom, we celebrate the revelation of Jesus as the Christ who makes all creation new.  Accept all we offer you this day and make us new in him, who is Lord for ever and ever.   Amen.  [1]
or
Holy God, gracious and merciful, you bring forth food from the earth and nourish your whole creation.  Turn our hearts toward those who hunger in any way, so that all may know your care; and prepare us now to feast on the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine.  Nourish us with these gifts, so that we might for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness  you have blessed us with these gifts:  our selves, our time and our possessions.  Use us, and what we have gathered, in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
God of mercy and grace, the eyes of all wait upon you, and you open your hand in blessing.  Fill us with good things at your table, so that we may come to the help of all in need, through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Merciful God, as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills were gathered together to become one bread, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ, now and for ever.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of grace and glory, you revealed your Beloved in the waters of the Jordan and anointed him with the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim good news to all people.  Receive the gifts we offer you today and use them to proclaim the healing power of the gospel through our acts of love in the name of Christ, our teacher and friend. Amen.  [6 alt.]

Proper Preface of the Lord’s Day


Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; you are the source of light and life for all your creation, you made us in your own image, and call us to new life in Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Therefore we praise you, joining our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, who on this first day of the week overcame death and the grave, and by his glorious resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life.  In our unending joy we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven as we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; by water and the Holy Spirit you have made us a holy people in Jesus Christ our Lord; you renew that mystery in bread and wine and nourish us, to show forth your glory in all the world. Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the holy people who have served you in every age, we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]

Prayer after Communion


Gracious God, lover of all, by this sacrament you make us one family in Christ your Son, one in the sharing of his body and blood, one in the communion of his Spirit.  Help us to grow in love for one another and come to the full maturity of the Body of Christ.  We ask this in his name.  Amen.  [1]
or
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life.  In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [3]
or
O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Son.  By your Spirit strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people.  Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, so that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Gracious God, in this meal you have drawn us to your heart, and nourished us at your table with food and drink, the body and blood of Christ.  Now send us forth to be your people in the world, and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
O God, our life, our strength, our food, we give you thanks for sustaining us with the body and blood of your Son.  By your Holy Spirit, enliven us to be his body in the world, so that more and more we will you praise and serve your earth and its many peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Perfect Light of revelation, as you shone in the life of Jesus, whose epiphany we celebrate, so shine in us and through us, so thatwe may become beacons of truth and compassion, enlightening all creation with deeds of justice and mercy, through same Jesus Christ who with you and the Holy Spirit live and reign, God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [6 alt.]
or
O God, you spoke your word and revealed your good news in Jesus the Christ.  Fill all creation with that word again, so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples, we may become one living body, through Jesus Christ who with you and the Holy Spirit live and reign, God for ever and ever.  Amen. [6 alt.]

Sources


[1]       The Book of Alternative Services 1985
[2]       Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006
[3]       Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion 2016
[4]       Opening Prayers:  Collects in Contemporary Language 1997, 1999, 2001
[5]       Prayers for an Inclusive Church 2009
[6]       Revised Common Lectionary Prayers 2002


N.B.  When a word or phrase appears is italicized in a liturgical text, it is an alteration made by the Ven. Richard Geoffrey Leggett to the original text.