Looking for Good News Advent Prayer

In these trying times,
there is so much to be thankful for.
Thank you for the taste of gingerbread and chocolate,
for the cheeriness of twinkly lights at night,
for the fragrance of cedar and pine,
and the feel of warm drinks in our hands on a cold day.
Thank you for the way familiar carols sink into us
bringing back memories of Christmases long past.

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Sermon: Changing from the Outside In, a Halloween Sermon – Psalm 109, Colossians 3:1-14, Job 29:14

It’s interesting to be talking about this passage on Hallowe’en, the day we celebrate dress up.  I think part of us would resist thinking about these qualities of Christian life like clothing.  Because if they are something we put on, then perhaps we are hiding something.   Maybe our Christianity is a mask we are wearing, something that is just on the outside. But maybe clothing ourselves is a way to change who we are inside.

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Thanksgiving in Times Like These

God of all great gifts,
hear our thanksgiving prayer!
Thank you for this beautiful world spinning its way through space,
the earth, our home, magnificent beyond understanding.
Thank you for the golden sun beaming out energy,
and for moonlight and starlight gracing the night.
Thank you for the cycle of seasons and most particularly for autumn:
streams of golden grain flowing from combines,
fresh green and red apples mounded on market shelves,
pumpkins lined up at roadside stands.   

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Sermon: Travelling Mercies on Family Journeys – Genesis 37:17-35

The story of Joseph and his brothers has captured our attention for thousands of years. It’s a story of family violence. A story of a family walking a long journey with the consequences of that violence. It’s a story of how God can take violent people and turn them around.

Why did violence happen in that family? Maybe it wasn’t the coat they saw in the distance that tipped the balance on the day Joseph was sold into Egypt. Maybe it wasn’t because Joseph was a tattle tale, squealing on his brothers. Maybe it wasn’t the father’s love given unequally, unfairly. Maybe it wasn’t because of the dreams.  Maybe it wasn’t any of those things. Maybe it was simply the weather was too hot, everyone was cranky.

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Truth and Reconciliation Congregational Prayer

Thank you, God, for everything that is true and good:
for true love, and good friendships,
for true stories, and all who tell them,
for the good earth, which is truly a home for all your creatures. 
Thank you for all who seek the truth;
journalists who try to reveal injustice,
scientists who figure out how things work,
judges who listen to every side.
Thank you for the desire for truth
that you put inside each one of us,

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Before the Election Prayer

Almighty God, we need your presence in our land during this election time.

Guide the candidates to campaign fairly and present their viewpoints honestly.

Guide the voters as they listen and assess the positions of the different parties.

Jesus, you cared for those who were poor, physically challenged, social outcasts.

Walk with us into the voting booth and help us make a wise decision,

taking into account not only our own needs, but the needs of others.
Inspire many to vote, so the will of the people can be heard. 

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Labour Day Prayer in an Ongoing Pandemic

Thank you, God, for the changes that fall brings:
the sun sleeping in a bit longer each morning,
the cooler temperatures, the quiet dark evenings.
As peaches disappear from the market,
we have early apples, fresh and crisp.
The usual bustle of preparation for school and fall routines
feels different this year.
We are filled with uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sermon: Really Listening, The Story of the Wheat and the Tares – Matthew 13:24-30

It is sometimes very complicated to read the Bible and figure out a way forward. The best way to read the Bible is not to do it alone, but to do it with open ears…to listen to how other faithful people are reading the Bible, and to pray for God’s spirit to guide us. To listen not just to how people are interpreting the Bible in our congregation, or in our own conference, but to listen to the wider church here and around the world. And, importantly, can we listen to our own history, and see where we went wrong?  Can we listen to the terrible things that happen when we read only one bible story, and ignore another? 

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner www.leadinginworship.com” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at carol@leadinginworship.com

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