doubt

Sermon: Prosper the Work of our Hands–Dealing with Doubt – Mark 9:14-29, Psalm 90

Right after this high point, both literally and figuratively in Jesus’ life, he comes down the mountain straight into this unholy mess that we read about in today’s gospel story. He descends into an argument. The scribes are arguing with the disciples; there is a man whose son has a demon, and the disciples have not been able to heal him. Jesus descends into the reality that his disciples are stumped, they seem to be ignoring the hurting person and instead are involved in arguing with the scribes. What was it like for Jesus to come straight off the mountain and into this messy scene?

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Sermon: Deliverance Before, After and In Between – Exodus 15:1-21, Psalm 105:26-38; Luke 4:18

Deliverance. I don’t know where you are at this morning.  Some of you are in a place of peace.  There is a before and after in your life.  God has delivered you, and you are so grateful for that change in your life.  Maybe it’s deliverance from pain, or from grief, or from addiction, or from sickness, or from danger, from sin. Like the Israelites liberated from Egypt, you rejoice. You have a before and after story and you thank God fervently that you are in the after part of your story.

But for others, you are stuck….

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Advent Prayer for Doubters

These are the things that I say out loud.
There is beauty in this season of celebration:
children waiting for presents,
hospitality being prepared,
music floating, lights sparkling,
and even strangers smiling at each other.
Waiting is something I am doing.
I am waiting for peace on earth,
I am waiting for an end to hostilities,
I am waiting for healing and hope.
If you are there, God, I would ask why,
and lay out all the suffering I’ve seen under the sun,
and demand an accounting.

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Emmaus Road Call to Worship

Our call to worship is from Matt 18:20
For where two or three are gathered in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.       

Let’s pray together:          
We need your presence on the long road, Lord.
The road between fear and hope,
the road between the place where all is lost
and the place of resurrection.
Like the disciples walking the road to Emmaus,
we are in need of your company!
Jesus, stand among us, in your risen power,
let this time of worship, be a hallowed hour.

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Congregational Prayer for Doubters

You call us to be people of faith,
yet we are often people with doubts.
We doubt that love can grow again in relationships
where anger and bitterness reign supreme.
You know the strength of love and the power of prayer:
help us to be faithful lovers.
We doubt that peace can come in Israel and Palestine;
where hatred and racism are so powerful.
You know that peace is growing there:
help us to be faithful peacemakers.
We doubt that the hungry can be fed in countries experiencing drought,

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We Are People Confession

We are people here like Peter sinking.

We step out in faith because we want to follow you,

but we fall short in so many ways.

We are afraid of what other people think of us.

We are not sure we have the ability to do what you ask us.

We think the job is too big for us.

 

We are people here like Thomas doubting.

We are not sure what it means to be a Christian.

We are not sure what good it does to come to church.

We are not sure what you can do in this world that is so wounded.

We won’t take one step until we see the whole way ahead.

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Down Day Prayer

On the other side of the mountaintop experience

on the day I lose my footing

on the quick way down

when nothing I grasp at holds

when all the world’s a blur

when all I can feel is this steep descent

here is where I need you most

here is when I call your name

here is where doubt and faith collide

can your hand stop

this quick slide

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Doubtful Prayer: Don’t Go

Blank disbelief was my reaction

the day faith disappeared into the black hole.

My life’s experience of God,

a rich storehouse of meaning–

suddenly and inexplicably empty.

There was no painful grappling

with an angel from God,

no kicking and screaming as religious certainty

was dragged out the door,

no intellectual duels agonizingly lost,

no moral crisis to point to

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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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