Prayer for Matariki

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Ah, dear Lord, in the beginning was a big bang, the explosion of energy that created the universe, the first creation; Gravity caused helium and hydrogen to create the first stars; Across a billion years the first stars surrendered their lives, Their deaths in love created the elements out of the hearts of stars that are found in our bodies: Iron and stone, steel and bone.

When you created the human child out of dust you made us out of the stuff of stars.

In the winter, on the horizon, we see the nest of young stars, Matariki. We declare them to announce the mid-winter, the beginning of the cold year. The little eyes of the wind of God that blows where it will. Puaka Rigel announces the mid-winter; Matariki announces the New Year.

Let us celebrate and share in the celebration! Carve the longship and set it alight on the waters! Bear the horse-head and go singing carols! Drink mulled wine and hot chocolate! Step into the vitality of the winter night and count the stars.

Matariki the mother star, with your eight sons and daughters, you offer us health and well-being, and for our environment, the sign of salvation.

Pohutukawa, you are the wreath to remind us of those who have passed from life into eternity, we pause to remember them, those who in life and in death have shaped us.

Tupu-a-raki, yours is the bounty of trees and the birds of the air, we give thanks for the birds we count in our suburbs, the tui, the kereru, the korimako, the sparrow, the blackbird, the starling, especially when we see the nesting birds, may we work to keep them safe; may we plant and grow the trees extracting carbon from the atmosphere, we want to live under trees.

Tupu-a-nuku, yours is the bounty of the gardens, be welcome to shine over our suburbs full of gardens.

Ururaki, wind star, the winds navigate us from Aotearoa, around the world, and back again; may we know each wind by name because they are family; may we care for creation to save us from the stormy blast and the whirlwind; may we welcome the stranger, the traveller, the adventurer, the refugee.

Waipuna-a-raki, you bring the winter rains, water the earth and refresh it.

Waiti, fresh water star, sweet water star; the river comes from the mountain, people from the river, and from the people come you and me, he, she, and they; we live in suburbs with many springs underground; Jesus said fresh water and brackish water cannot come from the same spring, may we be mindful of the words of our hearts, and the waters of the land.

Waita, sea water star, salt water star; the river flows into the ocean; we connect and relate to each other over oceans, the home of sea creatures, may they flourish and multiply.

Hiwa-i-te-raki, star of our hopes and aspirations, we see the past, the future awaits to surprise us; it is winter, we are making plans for a new season.

May Matariki holiday bring us together and weave us together. We gather around Jesus. We are taking an old thing and making its everyone’s thing. Let us celebrate!

A Prayer for the beginning of Lent

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Ah Dear Lord, welcome to our prayers – we are beginning a journey, a journey with you.

Will you journey with us through the weeks of Lent, our faces set to Jerusalem.

Will you join us once again, as you make your journey, your pilgrimage?

We have passed through this week with the news of lock-downs.

We have kept the faith, and we look to you to keep the covenant of the rainbow –

so that the promise to all creatures that their physical life is not threatened

and new generations shall emerge on the earth;

so that in the empty places of the earth the ministry of angels

and the diversity of life are protected under your covenant with all life.

O God of Bethel, spread your covering wings around us as the hymn promises.

You are the Spirit that drives us outwards.

In love you say to us, Come, let us reason together,

be safe and seek to live within the boundaries of your life.

Mask yourself so that the glory of God in you may be veiled within you;

and you bear each others’ life as your burden.

We fear that we may be immortal; only in your care for us can we be assured of eternal life.

We want good leadership in your government, so give guidance to those we have chosen to lead us.

Give hope, give boldness,

give the wisdom and kindness to make the right decisions to protect the lives of our nation,

and the nations of the world.

God, who cares about us, who made the scorpion in its nature;

the grass, the flowers, the fruit and the trees to clothe the earth;

and the sun, the moon, and the stars to shine on the world;

the heavens have become turbulent,

and we fear the extremities of the weather we seen around the world

that may threaten all our ambitions.

Teach us, to live within our means, and to care for the world you have given us, and for its renewal,

because we are your agents to restore your covenant.

We pray for our country, and for the health of our cities,

whose plumbing we have seen endangers us.

We pray to see confidence in our leadership and the good stewardship of our amenities.

Give us hope that what we have is not wasted, hoarded, or exclusive,

that our places made be a light on the hill and a godly community.

May we welcome in new people,

the students that return to Dunedin after amnesia of our summer break;

and those who come from further away to make our city their home;

they are all welcome.

Dance away the pain

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A COVID-19 positive case is reported in Northland. No report of community transmission in the community.

My workday: a ten-minute walk from my flat in North East Valley to the Presbyterian Archives; home at the end of the day. Usual workplace contacts.

Prayers for the Reign of Christ

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Ah, dear Lord, we come to pray, for ourselves and for others.

We have come to talk to you, and to listen.

Ah, dear Lord, we are listening, bend down and listen with us.

We confess that we are confounded.

We would like to be reasonable, sensible, respectable in our religion.

We would like a gospel of peace and love, if you would only compromise.

Instead thieves and revolutionaries are the first into paradise.

You are bleeding on the floor, your laughter interrupts our quiet moments.

Our children are on the streets, our professors are cast down, our world is topsy-turvy!

You would have us risking our lives, or even our reputation.

The world is full of violence and armed men – we need you to equip us, Lord, and renew us.

Just as the ancient forests were connected by an internet of root systems that spanned continents – so may we know new life, shoots growing from a dead stump, nourished by your Spirit.

Because you are the God who gathers us in, who gathers us together.

You are the God who breaks the weapons of violence and oppression.

You are the God who creates the strongholds, the safe places where people of good faith may gather, to proclaim the year of jubilee, to proclaim your justice, to proclaim that your kingdom is come among us.

We pray for the peace of our nation, for our government, for our Queen and her family, for our community of nations, that we might turn away from our judgement, to hold back the burning forests, the rising seas, the panic of powerful nations, the flight of peoples, and the fiery heat of the noon-day sun.

We pray for hope, in the recognition of humanity in all people, in the welcome of the refugee, in the sharing of wealth, and in the restoration of your topsy-turvy kingdom.

At the end of the season of Pentecost, in the celebration of the reign of Christ, we begin again into our festivity to welcome you as the child born again into our lives.

As we enter the busy time of the year, of giving, and receiving – do not let us forget you, the living God – be the announcement, the promise of the new life we live in you.

Let us be reborn in the season of the light of the world.

And we pray together…

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers of intercession for Pentecost 13, 8 September 2019

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Hello Lord, it is us again. Are you surprised?

Sometimes we are, especially at five minutes to ten.

We come in. We greet each other. We welcome. We converse.

You carry us in by the welcome we give to each other.

You gather us in to our weekly time of collective worship.

Our talk becomes part of our worship.

So we come to talk to you. We have to wonder what the future holds for us.

Lord of history, Spirit of all possibilities, all the what-ifs, would-bes and wannabes are in your hands.

Will you change us? Will we hold the course? Will we keep the faith?

All these questions are in your hands. So we come to you, and we look for signs.

Help us, as we walk together, as we talk together, as we live together, to seek the signs –

to see the kingdom come; to see the reign of God immanent in our lives

the dreams of the old, the visions of the young, revealed among us

to struggle with change, with doubt, with certainty, with new life

You water the earth, refresh your creation, provide all of us with the water we need for daily life

Water for human beings, water free from plastic content, without toxic content

Water for each child, water for each cub, and calf, and kitten, and kid, water for each shoot and sapling

Water to irrigate and renew the earth, water for our cleansing from sin, water for our cloud-banks

As it is in heaven, so on earth.

Remember those islands and coastlands that have come under the eye of the hurricane.

May aid come to them quickly, restore them to sunlit lands, open the blue sky above them

Renew your rainbow covenant with your human children

Save us from world leaders mad with ambition, frustrate their anti-Christian policies.

We pray for the restoration of peace and good-will, for civilisation and hospitality.

In countries going through change of leadership we pray for peace, security and prosperity within their borders, peace from your hands to ours, strengthen our hands to reach out and help.

We pray with interest for our own local elections, may we discern right leadership.

And, Lord, it is another week of meetings, so we pray the prayer you taught your disciples…

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession for Pentecost 3

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Ah, Dear Lord, we come to pray. You dwell in blinding light, you dwell in the void between suns and stars and worlds. Darkness and light are the same to you. The universe is too big, too impersonal that you made it for the idea that you love humanity. When the angels hid the secret that we are made in the likeness of God, they hid it in the place where we dare not venture to go, in the human heart. But you are audacious and bold. Nothing will hold you back. You will boldly go where angels dare not to tread, and you bend down to meet us here. You are our amazing and audacious God, the pioneering God who crosses oceans, and we fall in behind you.

Ah, Dear Lord, you made the Pleiades and Orion, and you lead them out. We see them at their rising, and at their rising we celebrate the beginning of new time, you led us out of the dark time of the year into the returning season of light that promises growth and resurrection. We hold onto that promise, and we count every minute of the lengthening days and value them.

And we know that this is a season for remembering those we release to pass into time, and we remember our own names. These are people who lived long lives among us. Their lives were modest and they accomplished much. May their memory remain with us. May their legacy continue to ripple out through our lives. We wait with longing for the resurrection promised to us at the end of time when all joy is made complete and all things are reconciled. We would meet again. Come, Lord Jesus, come. And we remember the names which each of us can add, the names that are known to us, and to you.

Let us live through the winter of the world. We sneeze, we sniffle, we snuffle, we snot, we gunk, we ache, we slip and slide. We know the cold in our hands and toes. We trust our worship to be warm. Keep us in good health. We see the frost around. We wrap up warm and we retreat behind walls into homes. We know the fear that the world may change. Do not let us retreat into comfort when there is change to made and the world may burn. We ask you, make this world last as long as possible. In our hope of Spring and of the resurrection make us a people seeking a transformation in our lives, our community and our world. Because we live with the promise that we can hand this world on to another generation, our children, and our children’s children, that our legacy will not pass out of our hands in this land.

So teach us to pray with the intention to act in the saving the world, and we say together the prayer you taught your disciples

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Advent 3

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I should post this up somewhere, my prayer for the Third Sunday in Advent.  I was thinking about three themes:

  1. Jesus wasn’t born in a stable.  He was born in the downstairs part of a Middle-Eastern house because upstairs was full of extended family who were there for the census.  I reckon as soon as mother Mary went into labour, every woman in the household worth her weight in wisdom was down there supporting her, and every man found somewhere else to be.
  2. The same word for ‘inn’, as in ‘where there was no room’, is the same word for ‘upper room’ where the Last Supper took place.  The life of Jesus was a movement from downstairs to upstairs, and then he died.
  3. Christmas is a shitty and stressful time of the year, and I don’t expect it to get better for churchwomen who put in Sunday service, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on top of doing a family Christmas.

I will be taking this to our psalm-writing group at Church next year and we will see if it needs any more knocking into shape.

Ah Dear Lord, the days are full of light, the world is growing and greener, midsummer is a week away.

We celebrate a season of light, and yet we celebrate with symbols of winter festivals

– light in the dark time of the year.

On Halloween and on All Saints’ Day you shut the gates of the dead and hold back the monsters.

At Diwali the head of the Demon King is crushed.

On Guy Fawkes Night we light fireworks into the night.

On the eight days of the Dedication the temple is restored and the covenant is renewed.

And at Christmas we celebrate again the birth of the holy Christ Child,

born downstairs among the domestic animals

– because upstairs was too full of whanau for there to be room

– beginning a life whose ultimate goal would be to be the host of party in that upstairs room.

So let us celebrate with family as you were once surrounded by family at your birth.

Let us give gifts and remind ourselves of the gift of life that comes from you alone.

Let us feast around the table with three kinds of meat, and new potatoes, and strawberries and cream and ice cream to follow – winter food and summer foods together.

And do not let the preparation overwhelm us, and destroy our festivity.

Let us remember that you prepare the feast at the end of time, and this is a foretaste for when you gather us all in.

In your upside-down kingdom, the comfortable shall serve the poor, the marginal, and the landless.

Your coming kingdom is so near, let it break into our lives, and turn us around, so we are left facing you.

Lord, bring hope. Lord, bring peace. Lord, bring joy.

Prayer for Pentecost 16

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Let us pray.

Dear God, you surprise us.

In a billion year universe you have a very serious interest in us.

We look out on the face of the universe and we see its grandeur and its indifference.

And yet you promise us that you have an interest in us, you are concerned for us, and you care that we live and the way we live for ourselves and for others.

Lord, you care for us, you love us, you encourage us to kindness.

Lord, you love those who we love, and those who we claim to be too busy to care for them.

Lord, you represent those who we love, and for those who need our call for justice.

We have met as the Gathering of Southern Presbytery, a diverse group of people you have called to govern the church in Otago and Southern, as interesting a bunch of people as you can get.

We worry about our finances as a church, because that is what Presbyterians do.

You teach us about Leviathan, that wonderful beast which you created, as big as Godzilla.

You created it to sport in the oceans; you created it to sport with you.

It is a mythical beast as strong as God, and you made it to play with you.

You catch the hell-beast on a hook, and we are saved.

How wonderful that is!

And yet we are worried – we are worried what we are doing to the climate.

We are worried what we are doing to the environment.

In a world filled with many more humans than fabulous beasts and monsters, can we all survive?

And that worries us.

Teach us to care for the other people of this planet, who just happen to not to be human – animals and beasts, plants and trees, mountains and rivers – you have given us dominion over them all and we are responsible for them too.

Let us take action to save our planet, and save ourselves – before we meet you on the next world over.

We want to raise up leaders to affect change, and we want you to be God-with-us as we take action.

Be God-with-us as we take action to be advocates to preserve this world that you have put us in.

We pray for our leaders, in the Church, in the world, in society, that we may live godly, righteous, and peaceful lives.

You are the one who says to us, be whole, be complete. You want to give us your shalom peace.

The peace that is part of the integrity of our lives.

Be with us in our households and our families.

Raise us up to right relations with each other and to good health. Make us whole.

Thank you for those you restore to us. Be active in this place and among us, your people.

Make us whole, make us at peace. Make us to listen to others, and to the voice of the earth.

Because in one generation you can save the city if the people repent and turn to you, and in another generation the city is destroyed and its name and its location are remembered only in books.

We hear of war and the rumours of war, may the great beasts you have created stand between vulnerable and the violent, and be our protectors.

Save your people so we may celebrate your festivals, and do not remove our names from your book of the life.

And we say together the prayer that you taught your disciples….

Hope to Wrath – Doing Public Theology in a Time of Public Anger – William Storrer

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From Barrack Obama to Saffiyah Khan, from a moment of hope to someone unafraid in the face of anger.  It’s not just alt-right anger.  There’s liberal anger out there now.

William Storrer took a different approach in his lecture at the University of Otago on Tuesday, May the 9th.  His movement across the world: From the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to Cape Wrath in northern Scotland.  Cape Wrath comes from Norse Hvarf, where the ships from Norway turn to follow down the seaboard of Scotland.  Maybe a pivot or a gyre.  A way of seeing differently.

A place where his people came from, who told him two stories by which to live:  The Gospel “an idle tale told by women”, and “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage”.

The people who voted for Trump are white working class people whose life expectancy is in decline. Their theology and pastoral care has become invisible.  The anglophone world is drifting toward authoritarian democracies.

It’s time to take civic democracy from the grassroots – organise the parish as people of good faith, non-violent faith bases.  The best leaders are those where the people say “we did it ourselves”.  What we do is better than what we don’t do.

“Always leave open the possibility of entering a rightful condition”

– Kant

Living before the messianic age the best we can hope for are provisional goals, our politics is justified by grace.

Towards the Trump at End of the World

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It seems that the American Republican Party has become its own cult.  Like some nativistic Ghost Dance or cargo cult it believes that if it gets enough votes then the ancestors will return and herald in the renewed age of the world.  Only true believers need apply.


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