Breaking down the Pretty/Ugly Altars – Psalm 139:13-16; I Samuel 16:7; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Today I want us to think about our bodies. Every body has brought their bodies to worship this morning. We are embodied; God made us this way. But our bodies are not something we talk about very often in church, except in “Prayers of the People” when we ask God to heal our sick bodies. We use our bodies all the time but they tend to be the medium not the message of our lives. I think there is a good news message in our bodies, in our embodied bodies, if only we have ears to hear. What is that good news?

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Labour of Love Congregational Prayer

Labouring God, the sea and sky are your work,
every hill and plain, every valley and cliff
fashioned by your hands.
Towering trees and creeping plants,
blossoms, sweet and rare or common as dandelions,
all created by you.
The creatures are your opus,
every fin, paw, wing and hand,
all that runs, swims, soars and wriggles,…

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Sermon: Extinction of Species–Does Jesus Care? – Deuteronomy 22:6-7, Psalm 104:10-23

Mennonites are part of a peace church tradition which means we don’t believe violence is the solution. We will not use violence to kill and we stand up for the defenceless, for people who are being attacked. Will we stand up for creatures that are under attack? They are truly the most defenceless. They cannot speak for themselves. The passenger pigeon could not write articles in newspapers to defend itself,or start lawsuits about their own demise or stage public protests in big cities. All they did was disappear.

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Big Picture Congregational Prayer

Thank you God for everything under us;
for these chairs on which we sit,
for this church’s firm foundation,
for the soil with its burrowing animals and insects,
for the rock down under that, layered by the sea in ancient times,
for the water that flows in subterranean channels far beneath us,
and for the miles upon miles of bedrock,
unknown and unexplored by all but you,
all the way down to the living heat of our planet,
the molten rock deep in the heart of the earth.
Thank you God for everything above us;

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Beauty of Holiness Call to Worship

Come, worship the Lord
in the beauty of holiness.
Holiness present in the silent pulse
of the earth beneath us.
Holiness present in the beating
of the sun and stars.
Holiness present in the chorus of life,
breathing together, even here in this room.
God of creation,
open us to the beauty in and around us
in this hour of worship

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A Prayer for the Stream Behind My Apartment Building

Creator God:
I am sorry for this little stream,
its banks straightened and cemented.
Graffiti decorates the culverts,
and it’s dotted with plastic bags and bottles.
But trees still grow and shelter,
dappling with shadow,
ducks and dragonflies dally,
birds swoop and the wild creatures come to drink.
Now in fall, yellow leaves sail on its dark surface,
it’s still a place that delights.
This little stream retains its beauty,,,

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Summer Congregational Prayer

Our souls magnify the Lord.
Our souls amplify the goodness of God–
we take a good close-up look at all our blessings.
Thank you for plants:
for the deliciousness of fresh lettuce
and the sharp tang of dill,
but also for their beauty, their leafy wonder,
their greenness, their fragrance.
Thank you for the miracle of growth,
for sun and rain which has made them grow
and for the mysteries of photosynthesis.
Creation at work at a molecular level,

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Creation Care

I’m another in the long line of admirers.
Eve and Adam admiring the garden,
Abram staring, open-mouthed, at the stars,
Elijah running through a beautiful rain,
and David singing, always singing on the hillsides.
God’s praises being sung through the ages,
praise to a Creator whose work stands the test of time. 

This time, it’s my turn.
I close the computer, open the back door
and step into the garden.
My heart is a sounding board
for the night sky, deep with stars.

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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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