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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Sermon: Supersize it! God in a Box – I Corinthians 13, Isaiah 40:12, 28-31, Job 12:7-10

As human beings we are bound to make “scale errors” when it comes to God, because our knowledge is incomplete. We see this in theology. The church in a certain century has a view of God that they think is extremely important…several centuries later, the church realizes that maybe that wasn’t as big and important as they thought it was. Conversely, something considered a little theological issue for a thousand years suddenly looms large. We can see this in our own lives as well.

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Prayer for Those Addicted to Drugs

Lord, we are praying for those we love
whose lives are chained by the power of drugs.
They have sacrificed everything to this cruel master :
work, home, relationships, honesty,
even love seems barely to matter.
And still more is demanded of them:
we fear it will take their very life.
We need a miracle
because we’ve done everything we can think of.
Where there is recklessness, bring caution,
where there is compulsion, bring freedom,
where there is desperation, bring hope,
where death looms,

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Prayer for Those who are Addicted

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us
bringing good news to the oppressed,
proclaiming liberty to the captives,
releasing the prisoners.
Great Redeemer, we need your good news
for all of us who are captive to addictions.
Good news for people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Good news for people who are addicted to gambling.
Good news for people who are addicted to tobacco or food.
Good news for people who are addicted to pornography.
Good news for people who are addicted to work.
Grant liberty to all who are bound by the chains of addiction.

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Breaking the Chains: A Prayer for all who are Addicted

Lord Jesus, you are the one who came to set captives free.

Today we pray for all among us who are slaves to addictions,

fettered in body and mind to behaviours that destroy.

We call out for one more;

one more bet, one more illicit meeting,

one more cigarette, one more snack,

one more year of working this hard,

one more hit, one more downloaded picture,

one more meal to be purged,

one more little drink that won’t hurt anyone.

Open our eyes to the chains that bind us

and the destruction it is causing in our lives

and the lives of those we love….

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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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