Prayers for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

photo by Monique Popp on flickr.com

photo by Monique Popp on flickr.com

Kyrie

We have come to the place of reckoning.  And what can we say, “Save me from this hour?”
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground a dies…”  You are the promise that more than death comes from breaking open.
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

Touch the infinite place, deep within, where you have written your Word.  May we kneel and reverence the altar you have placed there.
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

 

Opening Prayer/Collect

Voice of Assurance,
We are yours
and You are ours.
Your Words, etched on our hearts,
are untouched by storm or violence.

Speak to us of Passover,
when thresholds are painted with life blood
and we are invited to walk through.
Teach us to have faith in abundance –
through falling, dying, and becoming something new.

We ask this through your Son, Our Passover and Peace,
who lives with you and the Holy Spirit
One God, now and forever.

Amen.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God be with you!
And also with you!
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up the Lord.
Let us give thanks to our loving God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Indeed, our praise breaks through cracks in the earth,
pushes into air and light,
defies gravity and raises up higher still.
Your people seeking your sacred presence
came to know it in the vessel of their heart.
How could we know that such life could issue
from hearts breaking?
You showed the power of the broken heart
when your Beloved, Christ Jesus,
was lifted by the hands of death.
Upturning all that seemed solid and unchanging,
You spoke of glory in thunder and rain and mud and green.
Loving God,
We give you thanks and praise!

 Lectionary Readings

Please, use or modify these prayers! That’s why they’re here. If you use them in corporate worship settings, though, please give a girl credit and include the address of this blog (©Jessica Gazzola, storiesandseason.wordpress.com) in your program, bulletin or liturgical text.

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The Fourth Sunday of Lent

photo by Alice Popkorn on flickr.com

photo by Alice Popkorn on flickr.com

Kyrie

How did we end up here… in a strange place, in an unfamiliar land, building a life from dust and shards of memory?
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Through the haze of forgetfulness the dawn begins to break over the horizon.  How long have we been living in the dark?
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

The love of the Divine Parent shines on our hope starved hearts and faith blooms.  We are saved.
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Opening Prayer/Collect

Everlasting Light,
your people found themselves lost, abandoned, forsaken…
strangers in a strange land.
How could we know our story had only begun?!
For You so loved the world
You sent Your Son, our brother,
a bright light illuminating the shadows.

Help us to remember our true home
not in a certain neighborhood or country
but in You.
Save us from our hate and prejudice
by transforming it with the Light that makes us all one.

We pray this through Christ Jesus, our salvation,
who lives and reigns with You,
and the Flame of Spirit,
now and forever.

Amen.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God be with you!
And also with you!
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up the Lord.
Let us give thanks to our loving God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Indeed, our voice cannot be silenced
because we sing praise for your faithfulness
during a time when we did not yet know how to be faithful.
Thanksgiving overflows from our mouths because
you planted Your Word in our hearts.
Even when we were in exile
from all that was comfortable and familiar
the seed of Life waited
for fertile ground
and the breeze of spring
to burst forth.
How faithful you are!
Loving God,
We give you thanks and praise!

 Lectionary Readings

Please, use or modify these prayers! That’s why they’re here. If you use them in corporate worship settings, though, please give a girl credit and include the address of this blog (©Jessica Gazzola, storiesandseason.wordpress.com) in your program, bulletin or liturgical text.

Third Sunday of Lent

photo by Sean McGrath on flickr.com

photo by Sean McGrath on flickr.com

Kyrie

It’s hard to identify exactly when they moved in – the voices making promises, selling their fixes, displaying their idols.  Echoing inside our head, the temple has become a noisy marketplace.
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

It’s foolishness!  There’s nothing to quell our desire, no law to bring peace to our troubled souls. But the One who was sent knows human nature well.
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

Cleanse, purge, drive out all that bullies you.  Let zeal for your house consume you.
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Opening Prayer/Collect

Divine hand that guides us home,
over the course of time You sent us laws, prophets, and poets.
Then when we were yet lost, you sent us your own Child
the embodiment of all Your hope for humanity.

His weakness confounds us,
the zeal for your house confuses us,
but Christ knows human nature well
and he cleanses the temple –
our home, Christ’s Body, your church.

Drive away all that is not Life.
Set us free to die,
so we too might become the wise fool
following our crucified Savior.

We pray this through Christ Jesus, your beloved son,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
now and forever.

Amen.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God be with you!
And also with you!
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up the Lord.
Let us give thanks to our loving God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

It is right to give you thanks
because praise that may have been stamped down
pushes through the cracks
crying out like a child for his mother.
Here we know we are home
for You have sent away all of the monsters, the dragons, the demons.
Here we know enough love to make us brave
to face a world that thinks us foolish
because we know Your voice would not lead us astray.
Loving God,
We give you thanks and praise!

Lectionary Readings

Please, use or modify these prayers! That’s why they’re here. If you use them in corporate worship settings, though, please give a girl credit and include the address of this blog (©Jessica Gazzola, storiesandseason.wordpress.com) in your program, bulletin or liturgical text.

The Second Sunday of Lent

photo by Rodrigo M. on flickr.com

photo by Rodrigo M. on flickr.com

Kyrie

We are called to the altar and we fear what we may be asked to do.
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

One has walked this way up the mountain before and he illumines the path, dazzling white.
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

“Listen to him,” comes a voice that speaks to our hearts and befuddles our minds.
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Opening Prayer/Collect

You who speak to us through the veil of mystery,
who raise your beloved from the grip of death,
you call us up the mountain
to bear witness to a wisdom that cannot be seen with ordinary eyes.

“It is good that we are here!”
As we contemplate what it means to rise from the dead
we ask that our hearts may be open
to the unexpected ways Life comes
to those who follow the Way.

We pray this through Christ Jesus, your beloved son,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
now and forever.

Amen.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God be with you!
And also with you!
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up the Lord.
Let us give thanks to our loving God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

The ancestors join their voices with ours
praising the One who knows our struggle and does not leave us alone.
On a frightening mountaintop with Isaac or in a valley with the perplexed disciples
Your grace breaks through the cloud declaring, “My beloved!”
Though grief and death circle our heads like smoke from the sacrificial fire
You sent Christ Jesus to shine hope into the world
and speak to the heart of our lives.
Loving God,
We give you thanks and praise!

Please, use or modify these prayers! That’s why they’re here. If you use them in corporate worship settings, though, please give a girl credit and include the address of this blog ((c)Jessica Gazzola, storiesandseason.wordpress.com) in your program, bulletin or liturgical text.

The First Sunday of Lent

photo by Ken Levine on flickr.com

photo by Ken Levine on flickr.com

Kyrie

“This is the time of fulfillment!”  We stand at the beginning and the end, moving through a Lenten desert toward the unknown.
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Though flood, fear, and wild beast may dissuade us, we are not alone.  The angels of light minister to us through the dark clouds of uncertainty.
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

A bow of water and light shines a message of life.  Help us trust the bright promise that through water we are saved!
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Opening Prayer

Into the desert of our hearts we dare to begin,
O God,
on a quest for the fulfillment of your promise –
a promise of life, peace, and a world made new.

When wild beasts haunt us
and floods threaten our safety
minister to us in word and light
so we might emerge from the desert,
as Christ Jesus did,
with a message for all the inhabitants of the earth!
We pray this through Christ Jesus, our brother,
who lives and reigns with You,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
now and forever.
Amen

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God be with you!
And also with you!
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up the Lord.
Let us give thanks to our loving God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Our praise rises up like mist over the water.
Into the murky depths of chaos you shone your light
and brought forth creation, fresh and new.
Throughout time Your people have thirsted for Your life
but found themselves in the dry landscape of despair.
With a flood of compassion, you sent us your Son, Jesus,
to walk with us
and make visible the eternal life
that makes the desert flower.
Loving God,
We give you thanks and praise!
Please, use or modify these prayers! That’s why they’re here. If you use them in corporate worship settings, though, please give a girl credit and include the address of this blog (storiesandseason.wordpress.com) in your program, bulletin or liturgical text.

“The gospel readings can be viewed together as a Lenten gospel, a story told by this season as a while.  As always, it is about us; it is our story, as individuals and as church.  The gospels can be a beginning point in discovering the shape of the liturgy during these weeks.  What does Lent sound like?  What are the rhythms, what is the volume, what is the tempo?  What is the pace?  Where is the silence?  Similar questions must be put to every other art that serves the liturgy.  How does the whole sustain and encourage the keeping of Lent in the home and the individual’s life?”
Gabe Huck and Gerald T. Chinchar, Liturgy with Style and Grace (Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Press, 1998) 98.

Ash Wednesday

photo by TempusVolat on flickr.com

photo by TempusVolat on flickr.com

Ash Wednesday and I were not fast friends.  At the start of my ministry,the idea of reminding people they were sinners and marking them with death seemed morbid and contrary to my sense of a loving God. “Why are we grinding people into the ground with these ashes?”  I wondered.  Ash Wednesday has, however, remained an important part of Catholic culture and, as much freedom as I was given at Sts. Clare & Francis, I wasn’t able to take it off the calendar.

In time, I matured and had my own experiences with life and death.  I’ve come to see that people don’t typically come to the Ash Wednesday liturgy because they believe they’re horrible sinners and that Jesus needed to die for them. They come to be marked; being marked with ashes speaks to them in a way that can’t be formulated into a theology or expressed in words.  It’s the perfect sacramental act: it makes visible something that is deep, paradoxical, and invisible to our everyday eyes – death and life meeting in a single moment, our mortal and everlasting nature touch.  Now I like it; but my prayers reflect this paradoxical and poetic meaning that, hopefully, escapes the grasp of any one theology.

Lent is an intense time.  It begins with a stark action that continues to speak to people: the marking with ashes.  Ashes, in the time of year when things are yet bleak, are an image of what is common to all living: the end of everything, the beginning of everything.  On this Wednesday, while life bustles on, Christians are marked with ashes by ministers who are themselves marked with ashes.  The ashes call into question all that bustling life, all ourselves.  There is something here that speaks of working through pretenses and getting to the real, of facades that crumble, of what our lives are like through these forty days.
Gabe Huck and Gerald T. Chinchar, Liturgy with Style and Grace (Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Press, 1998) 98.

…by the way, you’ll see a lot from these guys season to season.  Their little book packs such a punch for educating people about liturgy.

Prayers for Ash Wednesday

Kyrie

A voice breaks out over the barren landscape, “Return to me with your whole heart.”  But the path is littered with ashes and echoing silence.  We cry out, “Lord have mercy!”
Response:
 Lord have Mercy .

A crowd gathers: elders, children, infants at the breast.  With one voice we pray, “Christ have mercy.”
Response:
Christ have Mercy (sung or spoken)

We cannot escape the ashes, they soil our hands.  What can we do?  A blessing bestowed one to the other, a mark for the journey ahead.  Lord have mercy.
Response:
Lord have Mercy (sung or spoken)

Opening Prayer/Collect

You who are the mystery of flesh and ash,
who call to us in our confusion and longing,
You remind us we are not alone.
In Christ’s Body you offer us what we need today
a beginning, a blessing, and hope in spite of a world that appears dead.

May the actions of our hands done for others,
the prayers of our hearts uttered in the quiet,
the nurturing of our bodies for the sake of our souls
strip away the layers of dirt that have covered and protected us for so long.
Lead us on the vulnerable path of Christ
through ashes
to the font that makes us new again and again.
We ask this through Christ, our brother, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit,
now and forever.
Amen.

A Blessing of the Ashes

Please extend your hand in blessing…

We call on the One who breathes life into dirt and mud.
These ashes
that we might sweep into the street or throw in the trash
we ask Your Spirit to transform into grace
for us to die and to live.
In marking one another with a sign of our mortality
may we be united in the journey that has no end
the journey that begins and ends in You.
We pray through our help and example, Christ Jesus.
Amen.
Since this is my first post that includes prayers, you may want to read a bit about my liturgical style.

Please, use or modify these prayers! That’s why they’re here. If you use them in corporate worship settings, though, please give a girl credit and include the address of this blog (storiesandseason.wordpress.com) in your program, bulletin or liturgical text.

Thanks!
Jessica Gazzola