2. Recognition of where we are. We will use this as one of our readings on Sunday. We are in odd times. We have the American election results – and potential challenges. We have a potential vaccine – and still a long lead in time. Much emotion in the dark months. This will be reflected in our sermon on Sunday.
A Psalm of lament and praise in a time of coronavirus
How shall we praise you, Lord, our God?
When we are locked down,
how shall we praise you?
When the doors to your house are barred,
and your people cannot assemble?
When those desperately in need of money and work
cannot even wait in the market-place
When we have to circle round people in the street,
and to queue for shops maintaining safe distance?
When we can only communicate
by hearing on the phone,
or seeing on the screen
or digitally messaging,
or even just waving through a window?
When we cannot meet our parents and children,
grandparents and grandchildren,
or other family members and friends?
When we cannot touch them in their flesh and blood,
to know they are really alive?
How shall we praise you?
How, like Thomas, shall we not see yet believe
that your son is raised among us?
How shall we praise you?
How can I praise you, Lord?
Are you plaguing us with this virus
to punish us because we have all done wrong,
or thought wrongly,
or felt wrongly,
or just been wrong?
If so, why do only some die,
and those, apparently, the ones who are the least worst or most caring amongst us?
Or are you trying to teach us a lesson?
If so, why is it so hard to learn?
And how are we to find the answer
when we do not even know the question?
Or are you still the same loving God,
coming to us in our sufferings
and opening up the way to new life in Jesus?
Lord, I will try to praise you.
Through gritted teeth,
I will try to praise you.
I will try to remember that you have created all things,
and this virus is part of your creation.
I will try not to hate it
but seek to mitigate its harm.
I will try to keep myself and others safe.
I will work to pray for them
and seek to help in whatever way I can.
Lord, when I cannot pray or worship
help me be aware of all your people
and your saints and angels
hovering around me,
lifting me up.
When I feel alone,
let me feel you near me,
even if only for a moment that enables me to go on.
Let me hear you say
“Peace be with you”
Lord, I will praise you.
Let all the peoples praise you.
3. Prayer of praise: O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
I have taken this from the service on Sunday gone – to link our prayers and thoughts to our whole community. Listen and sing as you feel appropriate.
4. Prayers – we join each other across time and space. Let us read the ‘many’ and say the ‘one’, knowing that we do so together.
One: We pray for the Church: that we may be a beacon of hope throughout the world, reminding us all of our responsibility to care for and protect God’s precious gift of creation. Lord, in your mercy … Many: hear our prayer.
One: We pray for the world, our common home: that through God’s grace we may hear its cry of the damage done and be moved to protect it for future generations to enjoy. Lord, in your mercy... Many: hear our prayer.
One: We pray for those people who are already facing droughts, floods and storms: that God may grant them strength and hope for the future as they work to adapt to the changing climate. Lord, in your mercy... Many: hear our prayer.
One: We pray for our parish and our local community: that through the grace of God we may hear the urgent cry of the earth and of the poor and be inspired to respond at this crucial time. Lord, in your mercy... Many: hear our prayer.
One: We pray for the world we live in: that God may open our eyes to recognise the goodness of all creation and help us to do what we can to restore and care for the wonderful gift that we have been given. Lord, in your mercy… Many: hear our prayer.
One: We pray for world leaders: that God may grant them wisdom to make just decisions which respect the earth and all that lives in it, especially those who are poorest and most vulnerable. Lord, in your mercy… Many: hear our prayer.
One: We pray for our local community: that through God’s grace we may be good neighbours to each other and to the whole of creation, restoring and caring for all that God has made. Lord, in your mercy… Many: hear our prayer.
One: We pray for the waters of the world, that they may be restored to health and filled with bountiful life.
Response: God of Creation, help us to respect and renew the Earth. Many: hear our prayer.
5. Silence is kept.
Among out thoughts and prayers, let us think back to Remembrance Sunday and forward to Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), as our services will have these foci over the month too.
6. Praise – from Psalm 8
Leader: O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth!
People: You have set your glory high above the heavens.
Leader: When I look to the heavens, I see the work of your fingers.
People: In the heavens, you have established the moon and the stars.
Leader: What are human beings that you should pay attention to us?
People: Why would you care about us mortals?
Leader: You have made us a little lower than the angels.
People: You have crowned us with glory and honor.
Leader: You have given us dominion over the works of your hands.
People: You have put all things under our care,
Leader: All sheep and oxen…
People: The beasts of the field…
Leader: The birds of the air…
People: The fish of the sea.
Leader: All these things you have put under our care.
People: O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth!
7. Action: please continue to think about a potential action from the house group of indeed the church.
8. Irish blessing – we will use this on Sunday coming in the main body of the service; again to ground our house group within the life of the church.
Looking forward to seeing you next week (being part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I cannot imagine the internet not working within a week of typing this)