Road to Emmaus Call to Worship

Our call to worship  is from Matthew 18:20 (KJV):
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, God.
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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Jesus Makes Breakfast: A Poem about John 21:1-14

I could smell that charcoal fire a long way off
while we were still rowing far from shore.
As we got closer I could smell the fish cooking,
I imagined I could hear it sizzling.
When you’re hungry, your mind works that way.

When the man by the fire called out asking us about our catch,
we held up the empty nets.
And his advice to throw the nets in once more
is something we might have ignored,
except for the smell of cooking fish…
this guy must know something  about catching fish!

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The Ins and Outs of Jesus

Jesus never fit into the Inn crowd
there was just no room.
From the very start those in-power people
had very little use for Jesus.
Moreover, they were increasingly offended
by his accusation that they lacked insight.
In the end, they were incensed
and looked for any way to do him in.
Even the Romans had no use for Jesus,
although Pilate’s wife believed he was innocent.
It was inevitable, he was in for it.
In the final hours a cross, and then interred in a tomb…

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Jesus is Coming Call to Worship

Jesus is coming!
From the mountainside, from the seaside,
from the homes of the rich
and the company of the poor,
from the bedside of those who are sick,
Jesus is coming!
Along dusty roads,
with a ragged band of travellers,
Jesus comes to Jerusalem,
Jesus comes to worship.
Will we greet him with Hosannas?

Let’s pray:
We have come to meet you today, Jesus.

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Most Solemn of Days Call to Worship

On this most solemn of days we gather for worship.
Jesus, lead us from the darkness of the garden,
to the bare courtyard and its soldiers.
Draw us from Pilate’s palace and its crowds,
through the streets of Jerusalem.
Shepherd us to a lonely hillside
where the lamb of God waits for us.
We would follow you, Jesus, on this,
your day of suffering.

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Inside and Outside the Stable: A Christmas Poem

Inside the stable there is darkness pushing in,
a small light, perhaps, illuminating three faces.
The murmurs of a baby’s cries, his snuffling and suckling,
the rustle of straw, the sound of animals shifting.
The smell of sweat and blood and manure,
the fragrance of milk and sweet baby.
The  touch of a hand on a smooth small forehead,
a man’s arm holding a body still shaking with afterpains.

Outside the stable, darkness is pushed away,
radiant brightness illuminating shepherds, flocks.
The gasps of fright as grown men topple to the ground,

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Advent Adventure

A story of light dawning,
light that is yearned for, longed for, desperately sought,
a story of light dawning in darkness;
darkness that covers the deep,
darkness that speaks of death.

A story of hope dawning,
hope that is yearned for, longed for, desperately sought,
a story of hope dawning in the midst of despair;
despair that defeats us,
despair that speaks of death….

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Poem for Lent: Jesus’ Angels

It was a miracle really, that we were there at all.

We sold our trade goods remarkably quickly

and set off for home far earlier than expected.

The long trek through the wilderness went so fast,

it was mid-day when we came to the spring where we always stop.

Having gained so much time, we decided to spend the night.

My son Cornelius took the notion of climbing the high mountain,

“I came to see the world, Father,” he said to me!

It’s our last trip before he becomes a centurion,

he’ll see the world soon enough.

I sent two servants with him (there are lions in these parts),

and the rest of us settled in for a long nap in the shade…

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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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