Sermon: Reign of Christ Sunday, A Good Sunday for Mennonites – Matthew 25:31-46, Ephesians 1:17-23

When you are very good at doing things for God, you start to look around and you notice that other people aren’t feeding, clothing, welcoming people at all, or maybe they are not doing it efficiently enough, or in the right way. We can be like the famous do-er Martha, who was judgemental of Mary. We can become judgers. we can put ourselves in the role of God, deciding who is a sheep and who is a goat. Mennonites have been pretty quick to put their judging hat on, and it’s not just about who is working hard in the feeding, clothing and welcoming department.

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Beautiful Blue Planet Congregational Prayer

God of sea and sky,
God of this great earth laid out under the sun,
we come with thanks on our lips and praise in our hearts.
Thank you for life and breath,
and senses to experience the beauty all around us.
Thank you for the dear ones we love, those around us, those far away,
and those who we will only see again in heaven, by your mercy.
We ask for your comfort for those among us who grieve
and those who are sick, especially…

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Giving Thanks for Every Epiphany

God of grace, giver of great gifts of insight and hope,
thank you for every epiphany that will happen today.
For every one following a sign from heaven,
for every one taking long journeys when they don’t know the way,
for every one falling on their knees before a baby,
for every one giving gifts from their heart,
for every one being bowled over by love,

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Sermon: Our Bodies as Gift and Sacrifice – Romans 12:1-13

Today I want to talk about our bodies as a gift–the fact that they are a gift from God and that we are called to give our bodies as a gift, as a sacrifice, back to God.  I was asked by your pastor to share a bit about a decision I made four years ago to donate a kidney, and how that relates to our faith in God.  Why are we all called to give our bodies to God, and what does that mean?

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Voices This Christmas

There’s a lot of voices speaking
all at once, at high volume

as we listen for God’s voice

this Christmas. 

Marketers trumpeting,

drawing our attention

to all that we lack,

claiming only they can save us.

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Abundant Life: Peter on the Road with Jesus

Abundant life, he says.  That’s what he came to give us.
A somewhat surprising answer, since me and my friends
might have suggested that he had come to bring us abundant
blisters, leading us up hill and down, from morning to night.
Or an abundance of crowds,
or an abundance of Pharisees to argue with,
or an abundance of riddles;
those stories with their twists.
An abundance of days filled with amazing healings,
miraculous feedings, abundant piles of bread.
Abundant numbers of jaws dropping as even the dead are raised.

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Sermon: Take Up Your Cross on the Home Front – Mark 8:27-38, Romans 5:1-11

Having looked at the biblical story, let’s turn now to our own context.  How does our identity as followers of Jesus  lead us to take up a cross?  Today I want to share what I think “take up your cross” means in the context of family life  Everyone is part of a family at some point…a family of origin or an adopted family, and even if you grow up and live alone, you still can reflect on that intense time of living together.  Now we don’t usually put ‘family life’ and ‘take up your cross’ together. Maybe it even sounds like an oxymoron, something that doesn’t belong together.  I have never heard a wedding sermon on this text, so we might think it doesn’t have much relevance for that context.

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Father’s Day Congregational Prayer

Loving God, today we give thanks for those who have fathered us.
We give thanks for fathers and grandfathers who have nurtured us,
and for men who have been caregivers and teachers and mentors.
They have loved us unconditionally, and made us who we are.
We pray for everyone here who fathers someone.
Give them strength to nurture, protect and provide.
Give them wisdom to be role models.
Give them joy as they watch their children learn and grow.
Give them patience as their children test boundaries.

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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” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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