Prayer & Benediction Baptism of Our Lord Yr C

Prayer of the Church, The Baptism of Our Lord, Year C

God our Creator and Redeemer: we praise and thank you that you have called us by our name—knowing and loving us more than we know or love ourselves. Holy One of Israel and Saviour of the human race: no matter how far we may feel from you through suffering or sin, you promise to be with us and gather all of your scattered peoples together from every corner of the world. We rejoice and celebrate you presence among us. God of grace: C: Have mercy and hear our prayer.

God of speech: your voice goes forth from heaven and echoes through all of creation. In the act of speaking, your creative Word gave life to the universe—bringing order to chaos and meaning to meaninglessness. In awe and wonder we worship you, King of creation; bless us with your peace. God of grace: C: Have mercy and hear our prayer.

Breath of Life: You sent the apostles Peter and John to lay their hands on the people of Samaria and pray that they might receive the Holy Spirit. So, too, help us to be ambassadors of your Holy Spirit’s gifts and fruit—praying for and bringing your healing touch to all who are suffering and in need of healing. God of grace: C: Have mercy and hear our prayer.

We thank you heavenly Father for reaffirming through baptism that you had chosen and anointed Jesus, your Son, to accomplish the in-breaking of your reign in the hearts and lives of all believers. God of grace: C: Have mercy and hear our prayer.

In a dog-eat-dog, competitive world; we realize how much there is for us to learn from John’s shining example of humility. Assist all leaders of the world to be humble servants of their people that they may govern with justice and peace. God of grace: C: Have mercy and hear our prayer.

(Here other prayers and thanksgivings may be added, ending with: God of grace: C: Have mercy and hear our prayer.)

Blessed One: through the baptism and prayer of Jesus you revealed yourself to him and delighted in him as your beloved Son. We thank you for revealing yourself to us and claiming us as your children through our baptism. God of grace: C: Have mercy and hear our prayer.

Bestow your baptismal grace upon all Christians, everywhere; that they may spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in thoughts, words, and actions to every nation on earth. We pray in Jesus’ Holy Name. C: Amen.

Benediction

The blessing of God’s peace, the baptismal affirmation that Christ is well pleased with you, and the reconciling power of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always.

 

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A prayer concerning the H1N1 influenza

A prayer concerning the H1N1 influenza outbreak

Jesus our Great Physician—you know the exacerbating fears and anxieties, stresses and strains of patients, families, and frontline healthcare workers in our nation and every other nation afflicted with the H1N1 outbreak. We remember those who have already perished from H1N1 and pray for the families who mourn them. Surround us all with your protecting, healing presence. Grace all governments and healthcare workers with strength and wisdom as well as discipline tempered with compassion to know and do what is right to minimize the destructive power of H1N1. Grant us the courage and hope to trust that you are present even through our smallest of thoughts, words and actions done in the unselfish service of others. In your name. Amen.

New Year thoughts in different directions

New Year thoughts in different directions

The arrival of another new year brings with it many open doors of opportunity. The old adage, when you’re so far down, there’s only one way to go, up, may well describe the present state of the world.

 

On the international scene, Christmas and New Year’s headlines focussed on the conflict in the Middle East, the breaking of the six month truce between Israel and Hamas, and the bombings of Hamas military targets by Israeli planes. The psalmist’s age old lament-question, “How long, O LORD,” is as applicable as ever. The issues, of course, are as old as the days of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael. Questions, criticisms, and advice are legion—however, solutions are still as enigmatic as ever. Fundamentalist and evangelical preachers with all of their eschatological scenarios are a dime a dozen. A Bruce Cockburn line comes to mind: “Everyone wants justice done on somebody else.” Or maybe a little more hope in a Leonard Cohen line: “Ring the bells that still can ring forget your perfect offering there’s a crack in everything that’s how the light gets in.” Maybe we all need to pray for more cracks and ring more bells. What is the international community—including the so-called moderate Muslim nations—doing about the escalating anti-Semitic rhetoric and the Holocaust denial conference of Iran’s Prime Minister? Remember, the Nazi movement also started with rhetoric and escalated into anti-Semitic political policies, which in turn, resulted in the Holocaust. Why is the international community criticising Israel to no end, yet failing to act to declare suicide bombings a crime against humanity? Israel has a right to exist in peace with her neighbours. Do her neighbours accept or reject this right? My hope and prayer for 2009 is that the peace movement among Israelis and Palestinians shall flourish, and the press focus more on what they are doing to make a difference in everyday life for both peoples.

 

On the national scene, we had a bit of a political crisis, with the threat of a coalition between the NDPs and Liberals, and the BQ promising their support. Most Canadians may not have voted Prime Minister Harper into parliament—since the voter turnout was rather pathetic!—yet, I think the majority of Canadians would consider such a coalition with a separatist party holding the balance of power rather dangerous. I empathize with the Governor General; she had a difficult decision to make; however I think she made the best one, considering the alternatives. Our M.P.s in Ottawa from all parties need to stop playing destructive political partisan games and consider the overall well-being of the nation—that’s what Canadians gave them a mandate to do, to govern responsibly in a minority situation by working together regardless of their political ideologies. The growing—statistics may not support this—violence, or at the least media coverage, is a concern for every Canadian. What are the circumstances and other factors that draw people into gangs and drugs? Do we need to be more proactive? How can we as a society meet the needs of people in order that they would not turn to gangs, violence and drugs? We all need to struggle with questions like this and work together for a more peaceful society. Rather than signs of despair, these are doors of opportunities, for where there is life there is hope and vice versa. Happy New Year and God bless us one and all!