in the wounded places

When not preaching at University Hill Congregation I take on the role of worship elder, leading congregational prayers. On Sunday the prayers of approach and confession followed the singing of "O God Beyond All Praising". Following the confession we sang "Jesu, Tawa Pano" and then responded to the declaration of grace with "Gloria". Here are those prayers ...

Prayers of Approach & Confession

Great God of heaven and earth,
Maker of the stars and the sun
You are beyond all praising,
              beyond all knowing, 
              beyond all telling.
You are beyond us.
You are holy. 

Yet, in Jesus Christ, You have become flesh,
               become one with us,
               become known among us.
In him you bridge the chasm of the great beyond
In him you give us eyes to see Your glory so often hidden
In him you give us ears to hear Your word so often silenced
In him you give us hearts to receive Your grace so often resisted.   

O God beyond all praising, we worship you today
We sing the love amazing that songs cannot repay.
We lift our hearts before You and wait upon your word.
We honour and adore You, our great and mighty Lord.

Jesu, tawa pano. 
Jesus, we are here.
        We are here in all our beauty and in all our brokenness. 

The truth about us includes much that is gift and goodness.
Through your people, gathered and scattered,
        you work acts of justice 
        you shape lives of kindness
        you form communities of mercy.

Yet the truth about us also includes much that we regret:
        relationships in which we have done wrong; 
        actions and inactions that weigh us down with guilt;
        good intentions for neighbour and stranger 
                     that evaporate when tested by the lure of self-interest.

We have not escaped the virus of sin that infects Your good creation. 
We have broken our promises to be faithful to You and to one another.
We have strayed from Your way and have wandered from Your path.

Lord, we pray for your forgiving mercy
     Christ, we long for your renewing mercy
            Lord, we cry for your transforming mercy

Declaration of Grace

Friends, the good news is this:
    In Jesus Christ we discover that
          the glory of God, the energy of God, the power of God
          to reconcile ancient wounds, to redeem broken lives, to create life out of death
                is even now, even here at work 
                      in the wounded places, in the broken places, in the dead places
                      making you well, making the church whole, making the world new.
                                Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

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