you come to meet us in humble ways.
You meet us in the lengthening of the light.
You meet us in the fragrance of the earth, melting.
You meet us in the delicate petals of the first yellow crocus blossom.
You meet us in the first bee we see.
This year we will look for little signs of life, not passing them by,
but stopping and giving thanks for your presence in the beauty of our world.
Your holy presence is all around us.
Thank you for this congregation gathered to worship,
and for way you have shaped us into a loving supportive community
reaching out to those in need.
Thank you for showing us the joy of losing ourselves and finding your strength.
We need strength this week to love our families,
to be kind at work even when we are tired,
and to give to our community, even when we feel we have nothing to give.
We come to you in humility because we are not a perfect people.
We know what’s right and we would like to do it,
but we feel that road is too hard, and too costly.
Forgive us for cheering you on your lonely road
while we take the easy way.
We love a humble Saviour riding a donkey,
but we want the best things, and honour without responsibility.
Today we pray for all who are tempted by power:
for our political leaders with many followers who will do anything to stay popular;
for those with great financial resources, who only want to use it for themselves;
for those with power over vulnerable people, who hurt those in their care.
You know how each one of us is being tempted in our own life:
In this moment of silence we meet you at our own crossroads,
we feel your great tender love for us and listen to your voice….[Silence]
Thank you that you don’t just show us the way,
you are the way, and you empower us to follow you.
We follow you together, with hosannas in our hearts.
In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen
PRAYER IN THIS TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shade of the Almighty,
Say to the LORD, “My refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare,
from the destroying plague,
He will shelter you with his pinions,
and under his wings you may take refuge;
his faithfulness is a protecting shield.
You shall not fear the terror of the night
nor the arrow that flies by day,
Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness,
nor the plague that ravages at noon.
Through a thousand fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
near you it shall not come.
Because you have the LORD for your refuge
and have made the Most High your stronghold,
No evil shall befall you,
no affliction will come near your tent.
For he commands his angels with regard to you,
to guard you wherever you go.
With their hands they shall support you,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You can tread upon the asp and the viper,
trample the lion and the dragon.
Because he clings to me, I will deliver him;
because he knows my name, I will set him on high.
He will call upon me and I will answer;
I will be with him in distress;
I will deliver him and give him honor.
With length on days I will satisfy him,
and fill with my saving power.
Reading from Saint Augustine
I will sing and play the lyre to the Lord. We shall be free from anxiety, and carefree we shall sing, and carefree we shall play the lyre when we contemplate the delight of the Lord and are protected as his temple, in that incorruptibility where death is swallowed up in victory. But what of the present? Already we have spoken of the joys that will be ours when that one petition is granted to us. But what of the present? Hearken, Lord, to my voice. Let us groan now, let us pray now. Groaning is proper only to people in misery, prayer only to those in need. Prayer will pass away, praise will take over; weeping will pass away, joy will take its place. In the meantime, when we are in the days of our troubles, let our prayer to God not cease, and let us go on asking him for that one thing. Let us not interrupt that petition until it is answered, by God’s gift and through God’s goodness. Hearken, Lord, to my voice, with which I have cried to you; have mercy on me, and hearken to me. He made that one petition; through his long begging, weeping, groaning, he asked only that. He has made an end of all desires; that one plea alone is left (Exposition 2 of Psalm 26, 14).
Glory to the Father
+ Almighty and merciful God, refreshment in our weariness, support in our weakness, comfort in our sadness. We come to you to invoke your mercy, since today we still experience the fragility of the human condition in the presence of a new viral pandemic. Listen to the prayer we offer, comfort your children, save us from the present distress and open our hearts to be people of hope. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.