CRIEFF
PARISH
CHURCH
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Prayer

Join our Congregational Prayer Time on ZOOM

Monday evenings from 7.30pm to 8pm

Members of the Congregation are encouraged to come together to pray every Monday evening between 7.30pm and 8pm. We meet on Zoom and you can join silently if you wish, or you can share aloud  in prayer. A leader will facilitate the prayer time each week.

 To take part you will need to have Zoom onyour pc, laptop, tablet or phone - or you can join by mobile phone or landline telephone.

Click here for the ZOOM link
Meeting ID: 843 1308 7053
Passcode: prayer

Click here for the one tap mobile link

Join by telephone:
Number: 0131 460 1196
Meeting ID: 843 1308 7053
Passcode: 382111

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcaNrz8GjZ

Regular prayer updates are posted here:

18 July 2021

Almighty and everlasting God,
we are here to celebrate your greatness,
your power that created the universe,
that sustains our lives,
that dictates the course of history.

For all you have given,
Lord, we thank you.

We are here to celebrate your goodness,
your love revealed in Christ
that reaches out in forgiveness,
that fills our hearts and minds.

For all you have given,
Lord, we thank you.

We are here to celebrate your faithfulness,
your covenant made with Abraham and your people of old,
made afresh through Christ to his disciples and his Church,
made new each day with us and all your people.

For all you have given,
Lord, we thank you.

We are here to celebrate life in all its fullness,
our faith in all its richness,
our world with all its promise,
our fellowship with Christ in all its wonder.

For all you have given,
Lord, we thank you.

 Almighty and everlasting God,
you have blessed us beyond our deserving,
filling our lives with good things,
showering us with untold riches.
Help us to show our gratitude by living as your people,
and using your gifts wisely and responsibly
to the glory of your name.

For all you have given,
Lord, we thank you.

In the name of Christ Jesus our Lord,
who taught his followers to pray
as we now pray together, saying:

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power
and the glory, for ever. Amen.

 

20 June 2021

 LITANY OF JUSTICE

Jesus said,” I was hungry and you gave me food
Jesus said, “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”
Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me
Jesus said, “I was naked and you gave me clothing.”
Jesus said, “I was sick and you took care of me.”
Jesus said, “I was in prison and you visited me.”
Jesus said, “In as much as you did to one of those considered to the least important, you did it to me.”

Made in the Image of God,
We see the face of Christ in all. Let us pray:

PRAYER

God, we thank you
that as we gather in worship today,
you make space for each of us.
You call us and you equip us.
You love us and you welcome us.
You invite us to worship you,
knowing who and what we are,
assuring us that there is room for us
in your house, among your people,
and a place for us in your kingdom.

Give us security in your love
and your calling
so that we will always be able
to make room for others,
to appreciate their gifts
may be more useful or creative than ours.

God who embraces us in welcome,
as we experience your forgiveness
may we grow in confidence of your love
so that our arms open wider
to embrace others in your name.

As Jesus taught his followers, so we prayer together, saying:

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen.

13 June 2021

God of all majesty
You have given us a wonderful world, and have also given us the ability to explore and understand it.
We praise You for the majesty and beauty of creation,
and for the opportunities which we have to enjoy and appreciate all that You give to us.

As stewards of creation,
we have the responsibility to care for the world You have given.
We can manipulate our environment- for good or for ill,
to the benefit or the detriment of our fellow creatures.
We acknowledge afresh the huge impact that we humans as a species have
and the huge impact on the planet—and repent of the ways in which this has often been contrary to Your will.

We pray that You will give guidance and discernment
to all who seek to discern between helpful and harmful applications of human advances and innovations.
We pray for the impacts of technologies on society –
on how we interact,
on how we view ourselves, other people,
or the world around us –
even how we view our Creator.

We give thanks for the opportunities which the Society, Religion and Technology project has to explore the issues that technology raises;
we pray for wisdom as we reflect on how these technologies might be used.

As Christ called on His followers to be salt and light,
to have an impact on the communities in which we live,
we pray that, as we seek to witness for God in the world,
we will always do so in a loving and gentle way,
remembering that we need to be faithful to our calling to be salt and light.

Loving Lord,
as we as a church, as society, as a nation,
and as a world seek to wrestle with significant issues,
we pray for wisdom, discernment and compassion for all.

We pray all these things in the name of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ who taught us to pray, saying:

 Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen.

 

6 June 2021

Reading  - Psalm 20

 For the director of music. A psalm of David.

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now this I know:
    the Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
    Answer us when we call!

Prayer of approach, thanksgiving and confession

 (This prayer is based on themes of Psalm 20)

 Living God, in our desire for meaning and purpose in life,
you remind us that you are available to us in our hour of need.
As we reach out in our times of searching,
you promise us
that you will listen and answer beyond our imaginings.
When we place our trust in our human enterprises,
you call us back to your holy place,
to meet with You, and to rest in Your presence.

Forgive us for putting our trust in the things of the world.
When others look for success in their chariot and horses in times of battle,
let us put our trust in Your ways.
When the world builds success on power and control,
let us believe in Your ways of building a kingdom of righteousness and love.
When we fall short of all You expect of us,
let us hold to Your promise that You will pick us up again,
and set out feet on Your path once more.

So we turn from human enterprise to the Kingdom of God,
from human failure to the forgiveness of God,
from human weakness to the strength of God,
from human focus to the purpose of God our Lord.

We praise Your name,
and rejoice in the love and strength,
the purpose and the success,
the triumphs and growth that come,
not from our hands, but from Yours alone.
And when our time of prayers is over,
let us lift up our heads and look ahead with courage.
When our time of devotion is complete,
let us rise with confidence to service and commitment.
For you are our answer in our time of need.
You are our answer in the hour of our calling.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

 30 May 2021

Loving God, this time, these moments are precious
– set apart from all that we have to do in our lives,
A haven where we can seek together
the grace you freely give, God the Father,
The peace of Jesus your Son,
and unity amongst each other,
to draw near as brothers and sisters in Christ
through the Holy Spirit.

God our Father, as You bring light into darkness
and hope to our world,
as Your son Jesus bring comforts to those suffering
and a full life for all,
as the Holy Spirit brings joy to our hearts
and everyday miracles of change in our world,
we come to worship You and to offer our praise.

As we look towards a life
where we can live more openly
as restrictions ease from the pandemic,
we offer our gratitude
for the strength You have given us
to persevere through all the hardships of the past year,
and we praise You for the prospect of new beginnings.

We thank You, Lord God,
that You have always come to Your people in the past,
for Your presence and guidance
through centuries of faithful worship and service
in the churches of Scotland:

You have led generations
through the wilderness that life can be.
When they have been lost, You have searched for them,
when they have been in deepest struggle and exile,
You have brought them back home.

For Your love and commitment to all people
which stays so close,
we praise You, God.

We thank You, God,
that You come to us now in our lives
as we look ahead once more.
In worship, You speak to us,
in our journey through life, You go with us,
when we look for a way, we can see it in Your son Jesus.

For Your love which calls us to follow,
we praise You, God.

We give thanks, God,
for the times when You will come to us in the future,
when our lives are troubled, You will be there for us,
Your promises will remain, You will hold us fast,
Your son Jesus will give us
the strength, peace and comfort to go on.

For Your love which holds us forever,
we praise You God.

Lord, for the times
when we have ignored the path that You have laid for us,
when we have rejected
Your promises of change, forgiveness and hope,
when we have spurned Your generous hospitality,
for the times when we have been too busy to do the right thing, in Your name, even though we know we should have,
for the times when we’ve made excuses rather than act,
Forgive us Lord.

We are but sometime sinners and ragged saints.
Help us to be renewed and refreshed once more,
to rejoice again in You,
to live every day as a step forward,
living our lives always in Your light,
and to spark that light to shine again in church and nation.

We offer You these prayers in the name of Jesus, our saviour who lived and died for us, Amen.

 

 23 May 2021

Lord our God,
source and giver of all good things,
we thank you for all your mercies
and for your loving care over all creation.

We bless you for the gift of life:
for your protection around us,
your guiding hand upon us,
your steadfast love within us

As we offer our worship this morning
so too we offer ourselves and our money
that we may fully engage in the ministry and mission
to which you call your church.

We thank you for your written word,
through which you speak to us today.
Give us ears to hear, in Jesus’ name.

-----

Almighty God,
your Son promised his disciples
that he would be with them always.
Hear the prayer we offer for your servants
now met in General Assembly,
and for the new moderator Jim Wallace.

May your Holy Spirit rest on them,
in the Assembly Hall
and in homes across the country
and indeed in different parts of the world:
a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a spirit of counsel and power,
a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.

Grant them vision and courage;
unite them in love and peace;
teach them to be trustworthy steward of your truth.

Bless what will be right and forgive what will be wrong.

So guide them in all their doings
that your kingdom may be advanced,
your people confirmed in their most holy faith,
and your unfailing love
declared to all the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

-----

Living God and gracious Father,
Protect and shield us.
Living God, protect and shield
All whom we love,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Living God, your Son now sits in your presence
And shares in your glory and honour.
We thank you for the promise
That his presence shall be renewed for us,
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Living God, we thank you that Jesus prayed for us
And that he continues to intercede for us.
We thank you that he continues to pray
For us and for our protection,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Living God, we pray for the life of the world.
We thank you for all those who, in these days,
Strive to protect and shield us.
Renew them in heart and soul, and mind and strength,
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Living God, renew us we pray and renew the life of the world.
For you so loved the world that you gave your Son
That we might share in the life of the world to come.
Hear our prayer, now and always,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 16 May 2021

Prayer of Approach

Come and celebrate our common home
we gather with the family of humanity.

With the mountains, islands and deserts
we honour the glory of God in creation.

With the lakes, rivers and seas
we come to the source of living water.

With the land, its soil, seeds and sustenance
we give thanks for God’s generous provision.

With the forests of great trees, the lungs of the planet
we will sing with joy and clap our hands.

We join with the whole of creation,
inspired by those who have gone before
and the prophetic voices of today
We dare to praise and pray for another possible world.
To the glory of God,
Amen

-----

Prayer of Confession

For the beauty of the Earth
desecrated by pollution
extinguished by forest fires
choked by plastic waste
Christ, our God, to you we plead
forgive us for systemic greed.

For the urgency of this hour
ignored by apathy or
procrastination
wasted by ineffective decisions
denied by economic interests
Christ, our God and Saviour,
forgive us for selfish
short-term behaviour.

For the joy of human love
fractured by forced migration
crushed by bereavement
lost to typhoons, floods, starvation
Christ, our God, bringer of justice
forgive us for this climate crisis.
Absolution

God you know us.
You know that we can be loving and kind;
and you know that sometimes we get things wrong.

We’re sorry for the times we hurt other people,
forget to listen to you and don’t bother to take care of your world.

Father forgive us.
Jesus bless us.
Holy Spirit help us to grow in love.
Amen.

-----

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession

God of abundant life,
we see your goodness all around us and
we thank you for every part of it;
from the plants and animals which play
their part in complex ecosystems,
to the dry deserts and stormy seas which
test the limits of life.
We pray that in this time of climate
crisis and ecological emergency,
you may help us to rediscover your
love of creation and to reflect that in
our own lives.
God, in your mercy
hear our prayer.


God who speaks through unexpected people,
We thank you for contemporary
prophets who are challenging us to
act on climate change;
for indigenous people and their
invaluable knowledge of the land
and sea where they live,
for scientists dedicating their careers
to warning us about changes to the planet,
and for young people striking for their future.
We pray that you will help those in power
to hear their prophetic voices.
Help them to see beyond short-term
political priorities and business plans.
and give them wisdom and courage
when they face difficult decisions.
God, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

God of second chances,
we recognise the damage we have done to the Earth
and the injustice we see in society every day,
all of it fuelled by worship of profit and possessions.
We pray for the coming of a better world with
justice, kindness and humility at its heart.
We ask that you guide us to be
co-creators of this new world.
Give us confidence to follow
the prophetic voices
to stand against injustice to people
and to planet.
So that together,
in your strength,
we stop this climate crisis.

God, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

We ask all this in the name of your Son,
Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray together.


 

 9 May 2021

Loving God,
this is the day you have made
and we thank you for it.
We thank you for all the good things which surround us –
our homes,
our families,
our friends,
our church,
the vastness of the universe,
the beauty of the natural world,
the sights and sounds of daily life.
For all you have given,
we praise and worship you.

We thank you for all the interest,
and opportunities,
and pleasures this day will bring.
For all you have given,
we praise and worship you.
We thank you for the love of Christ encircling us,
his Spirit guiding us,
and your eternal purpose constantly inspiring us.
For all you have given,
we praise and worship you.

We thank you for this day set aside
so that we might praise you,
so that we might bring our lives before you,
and consecrate every day to your service.
For all you have given,
we praise and worship you.
Loving God,
we bring you our praise.
Gladly and reverently we offer our worship –
we declare your greatness,
we acknowledge your faithfulness,
we rejoice in your goodness,
we marvel at your holiness.
All we have and all that is we owe to you.
For all you have given,
we praise and worship you.

You are ever at work in our lives and our world,
striving to help and strengthen,
heal and comfort,
forgive and restore,
undo wrongs and establish right.
For all you have given,
we praise and worship you.

Loving God,
forgive us that we have sometimes lost sight
of your great love,
that we have been forgetful of you,
greeting some days with indifference,
even reluctance,
instead of welcoming them as your gift.
We have failed to count our blessings
or appreciate how fortunate we really are.
We have even made this time of worship
a duty or tradition, rather than a privilege.
For all our faults,
forgive us, O Lord.
Loving God,
we know we have failed you in much –
we have not given you due recognition,
we have not shown thanksgiving in our hearts,
we have not lived as your people.
For all our faults,
forgive us, O Lord.
Have mercy on us,
cleanse us from all our weaknesses,
pardon our sins,
renew our faith and restore us to your side.
For all our faults,
forgive us, O Lord.
And so with your help,
through the grace of Christ,
and in the power of the Holy Spirit,
may we be enabled to live more faithfully
as your servants,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
in whose words we pray together:

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen.

-----

Heavenly Father,
we thank you for this reading of Scripture
which tells us of the authority Jesus had
as the one who is the resurrection and the life.
As believers Jesus is the source of our authority,
but we also recognise
those who have authority entrusted to them.

Just a few days ago people here in Scotland as well as in Wales and England have been voting,
and in so doing in trusting power and responsibility
to those elected to office.

Lord you are the ruler of the ends of the earth,
and we want to pray for those to whom power and responsibility has been entrusted.

We think of those who have been elected to office as members of the Scottish parliament –
those who will serve in government,
in Cabinet offices, and in the committee structure.

We pray to for those in opposition
with their mandate to challenge,
and debate government policies and decisions.

We give thanks for those
who have served in our Parliament
and who have either stepped down at this time,
or have not been re-elected.
We pray for all their staff
in this unsettling time of change.

Especially we pray and give thanks
for our first Minister Nicola Sturgeon,
for the way she has sought to give leadership to our country
especially over the last year,
with all the added concern
and decisions that have had to be taken
because of the Covid virus.

As she now begins a new period of office as First Minister,
we pray for grace and wisdom
as she seeks to lead a government
dealing with the ongoing virus
and the economic aftermath of Brexit and Covid,
as well as the ongoing constitutional debate.

We pray too
for the leaders of the other political parties.
Grant each person in our Parliament
wisdom, insight, patience,
dedication, integrity,
open-mindedness, and humility
– that each may be equipped
to honour the trust that has been placed in them.

We also pray for those in local government,
entrusted with representing the interests
of local people in their communities,
and taking decisions
which will directly influence their lives,
wrestling with limited resources and numerous demands.

Give to them the qualities they need
to serve faithfully,
staying true to their convictions,
yet putting people before party.

We pray too, for our Queen and her family,
giving thanks for the service they give to our country.

Beyond our shores,
we pray for those in authority in other lands,
leaders of nations large and small,
superpowers and tiny things,
shaping the lives of millions of relatively few.
Grant them also
the guidance and the gifts they need
to govern wisely,
that they may work for the good of all their people,
and strive to promote justice,
Freedom of speech and opportunity,
inner harmony and international peace.

We pray for those nations
affected by an abuse of power,
divided by rival factions,
oppressed by military dictatorships,
exploited by corrupt regimes,
suppressed by totalitarian authorities.
Support all those who suffer under such government,
and strengthen those who struggle
to bring justice to those places,
so that the time may come
when truth and justice prevail.

Finally, we pray for our church
soon to meet in General Assembly.
We know that the Church of Scotland
is not the influence it once was.
We know that there are many good things
that come from our church,
but we have also strayed – sometimes wilfully –
preferring our own understand
or bowing to contemporary mores.

As we give thanks for our Moderator Martin Fair,
and the way he has adapted his year of office to be a servant of the servants of God,
for his engagement with ministers, elders and congregations in our presbytery in recent days,
so we pray for Jim Wallace,
as he prepares to take on the role of moderator.

We pray for the forthcoming General Assembly
That your holy spirit would rest on the commissioners,
a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and power, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.

Amid all that will be mundane and all that will be contentious
Grant them vision and courage;
Unite them in love and peace;
teach them to be
trustworthy stewards of your truth.
Guide them in all their doings
that your kingdom may be advanced,
your people confirmed in their most holy faith,
and your unfailing love declared to all the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 18 April 2021

Loving God,
we praise you for coming to us in Christ,
walking our earth and sharing our humanity.
For the wonder of your love,
we praise you.

We praise you for the inspiration you give us through him -
the knowledge that he experienced temptation,
just as we do,
yet refused to compromise,
staying true to his chosen path
despite the awful cost.
For the wonder of your love,
we praise you.

We praise you
for the revelation of your purpose in Jesus,
everything we see of you through his earthly ministry.
We remember how he taught the multitude,
instructed his disciples
and interpreted the law;
how he healed the sick,
responded to the needy
and cared for the poor;
how he confronted injustice,
challenged oppression
and overcame evil.
For the wonder of your love,
we praise you.

We praise you
for the supreme demonstration
of your grace at Calvary -
the fact that you were willing
to identify yourself with us
not only in life but in death,
enduring the agony of the crucifixion,
and the awful burden of our sinfulness.
For the wonder of your love,
we praise you.

Loving God,
we come, at this season,
to recall your goodness,
to marvel at your grace
and to commit ourselves to your service.
For the wonder of your love,
we praise you.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
in whose words we pray together:

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen.

 

 11 April 2021

From the high excitement and marvel of Easter Day last week,
we humbly approach You
and worship You now,
seven days on.
Death could not contain nor hold down Jesus Christ.
So this Sunday, and indeed every moment of every day,
we offer You thanks for Christ’s risen presence.
What was true that first Easter Sunday,
had started, for some,
to sink in seven days later.
The possibilities for ongoing life
beginning to form,
even if almost imperceptibly.

What might it mean for their futures?

They did not expect an empty tomb
or a voice in the graveyard calling their name.
They did not expect a visit
and words of peace and reassurance.
They did not expect a gift
as You breathed on them
and offered the Holy Spirit.

Yet all these things happened
and shaped their future lives.
We can only marvel at the rollercoaster ride of emotions
experienced by those first disciples
and offer our thanks for their dedication and faithfulness.

Those first disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit,
took Your Good News and spread it
and eventually it reached these shores
and it reached our ears
and it changed us as it changed them.

We offer thanks for the faithfulness
of all those who passed on that gospel message.

Living God
for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
for the struggles and commitment of the apostles,
for those who passed on the faith
generation after generation,
we offer You our thanks,
and pray now the prayer of the church:

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever.

 

4 April 2021 - Easter

How do we emerge from the locked down times of life? The illness that has robbed us of sleep. The betrayal that as robbed us of trust. The bereavement that has robbed us of presence. For many this time can often feel like an endless Good Friday, or Holy Saturday, and not Easter Day. Yet here we are with Holy Week over, and wondering if the time of release has come at last, and life will be renewed. Will this be the time of freedom? Will this be the time of a new beginning? Will this be the time of new life?

Through long times of lockdown life we have hovered, or laboured, in a twilight world. Too long in the darkness of the tomb; too long in the half-light of the garden. The rumours of freedom; the hints of hope; only to be frustrated, and left waiting longer. But the time of Easter comes.

“The Lord is risen” (Luke 24:34)

This is the universal Easter faith, which affirms the objective historical reality of Jesus’ resurrection.

  • ·       The tomb was empty – there has been no adequate alternative to the resurrection has ever explained the disappearance of the body.

  • ·       The Lord was seen – and the appearances do not fit with what we know of hallucinations.

  • ·       The disciples were changed people – only the resurrection can account for their transformation from doubt to faith, cowardice to courage, and sorrow to joy.


We pray:

Lord Jesus Christ,
in this world where hope are so often dashed
and dreams are so often broken,
we remember today the faith in the future
you brought to so many,
both through your coming
and through your resurrection from the dead.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.

We remember how Mary and Joseph looked forward
to the day of your birth,
how shepherds and magi caught their breath in wonder
as the knelt before you,
how the hearts of Anna and Simeon leapt in anticipation,
and how your disciples
and the crowds that flocked to hear you
gave thanks,
convinced that you were the Messiah,
the one God had promised,
the long awaited deliverer come to set them free.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again. 

We remember how that vision of the future
was shattered by events to follow –
your pain, humiliation, suffering and death –
hope ebbing away as the life blood seeped from your body – an end to their dreams,
an end to everything.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.

We remember how the news spread that the tomb was empty,
the stone rolled away,
your body gone,
and how, despite it all, your followers could scarcely bring themselves to hope –
afraid to take the risk of faith
in case they should face
the heartache of losing you once more.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.

But we remember finally how you appeared,
in all your risen glory –
in the garden,
in the upstairs room,
on the Emmaus Road,
by the Sea of Galilee –
and the dream was born again,
the smouldering embers of faith rekindled.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again. 

Lord Jesus Christ,
the world is waiting, hurting, longing, searching for hope,
crying out for meaning,
hungry for some reason to believe in the future.
Come again in your living power,
and bring new life to all.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.

In your name we pray.
Amen.

 

28 March 2021

As we stand at the threshold of the final journey of Jesus into Jerusalem and on towards the Cross, we find ourselves in the company of those who have gone before us on that journey.

The ‘great crowd’ who enter into Jerusalem are those who gather for the annual marking of the Feast of the Passover. They come to remember and to give thanks for the enduring love of God.

One of the Psalms used in the Feast opens with the call: ‘O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!’ In turn, the Psalmist cries: ‘Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.’ (Psalm 118: 1, 19)

In the Gospel of John, we see Jesus entering Jerusalem and welcomed, as one ‘who comes in the name of the Lord!’, with shouts of ‘Hosanna!’ and ‘palm branches’. (John 12: 12-16) The cry ‘Hosanna!’ shall soon be replaced by ‘Crucify!’ and the ‘palm branches’ by a Cross, but in faith we believe that ‘the enduring love of God’ shall remain unvanquished.

On this Palm Sunday, we stand on the threshold of a time of renewal within our community and in the life of the Church and we join the company of all God’s people to give thanks for the love that endures and conquers even death.

We pray:

God whose love endures,
hear us as we welcome
the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we remember
a
ll that you have done in times past
a
nd give thanks that your enduring love
has embraced even us.

Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
hear us as we welcome the One
who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we gather in the company of your people,
or in company alone with you,
and lift up our voices to cry: Hosanna!

Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
hear us as we welcome the One
who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we journey
through the week that is to come.
May we journey in the presence of the One who goes before us, even to the Cross.

Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One
who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we listen to the voices
Who now cry: Crucify!
And may we know it was for us he hung and suffered there.

Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One
who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we wait
For the dawn to break
and for your enduring love to vanquish the darkness.

Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

21 March 2021

Tuesday brings us to the Anniversary of the first Lockdown on the 23rd of March 2020. On that day I have no doubt that we will join with folk throughout these island nations keeping a silence and reflecting on all that has happened in the past year and acknowledge the profound impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had upon us personally and communally.

In one way or another all of us have felt the impact of these times, for all of us have faced restrictions, some of us or those in our families have been ill, some folks we have known and loved are no longer with us in this earthly life.

The numbers are hues and sadly they are still growing and even though some people have received a vaccine, we must all continue to keep one another safe – this is in no way over – lives and still being lost, others changed forever.

Behind each number recorded there lies a person whose life is known to God and who is mourned by those who have loved them. In their passing, we are the poorer. In the remembrance of a life given by God, we are the richer.

The Letter to the Hebrews records that: ‘In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears’. (Hebrews 5: 7) Jesus is called to take the place of the one who offers prayers on behalf of us all, and does so with ‘cries and tears’ because he himself has ‘suffered’. (Hebrews 5: 5-10)

He shares in the suffering of the world and brings the suffering of the world before God.

In all our reflections at this time, we remember the One who prayed for us in ‘the days of his flesh’ and who, even now, lives to pray for us once more.

So we now come before God in prayer
to share in prayer with the Lord Jesus.

Let us pray:

Living God, in whose image we are made,
Hear us we ask, through your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we recall all we have endured
in the different communities and nations of these islands
in the year that has passed.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, who knows us in all our suffering,
Hear us we ask, through your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we reflect wherever we are
and remember those who have suffered the deepest loss.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, whose name is Love,
Hear us we ask, through your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we reach out our hand to those who suffer still
and stand with them in the face of all that is to come.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, who gives good gifts to all Creation,
Hear us we ask, through your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we give thanks for those who,
in hospital and in care home,
Have cared for the dying and the sick.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, who inspires Hope,
Hear us we ask, through your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we acknowledge and give thanks
for all who have created the vaccines
that give hope to the peoples of many nations
throughout the world.
May there be a just and equitable distribution.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, who gives Light to the World,
even in the face of Darkness,
Hear us we ask, through your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we bow in the presence of the One who,
in the days of his flesh, shed tears for us.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 

14 March 2021

“We have endured much during these past months. Personally and communally, we have endured challenges which we could not have anticipated, or imagined, even a year ago. We have endured much and undoubtedly there have been times when the limits of our endurance have been tested.

“Woven into this has been the recollection of that which has also endured, the steadfast love of God. The Psalmist recalls the people of God to a remembrance of the ‘steadfast love’ of the Lord which ‘endures for ever’. (Psalm 107: 1) As we remember and recall, we bear witness to the truth that the love of God spans the whole breadth of our lives and embraces all that we experience and endure. This is given supreme expression in the self-giving of God in Jesus Christ: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son’. (John 3: 16)

“In all we have endured and will endure, the ‘steadfast love’ of the Lord ‘endures for ever’ in the God whose love is revealed in Jesus Christ.”

We pray:

God whose love endures
And is revealed in Jesus Christ,
May we hear the words of the Psalmist
Who calls us to remember:
The steadfast love of the Lord endures for ever.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures
And is revealed in Jesus Christ,
Be with us in all we endure at this time.
Grant that we may know your love
In days of light and in days of shadow.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures
And is revealed in Jesus Christ,
Be with all who find themselves
At the limit of their endurance
And embrace them in the depths of your enduring love.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures
And is revealed in Jesus Christ,
As a mother comforts her child
May you comfort all who call upon you.
Hear us, as we give thanks

for all who have nurtured us in this life.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures
And is revealed in Jesus Christ,
Grant to us a vision of a community and society
That will endure in times to come
And hear us as we pray: Thy Kingdom Come.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures
And is revealed in Jesus Christ,
May we live our lives
In response to the gift of the life of your Son
In whose life is love embodied.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

7 March 2021

Over the past eleven and a half months we have become used (or not as the case may be) to living within much more circumscribed and defined spaces. As a consequence, we might well have become more conscious of the locality in which we live.

Here in Crieff we are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world – others are not so fortunate! I can only begin to imagine what it must be like to be shut up in a small flat half-way up a tower block in some inner city, or to be a refugee in some sprawling camp, far from home and loved ones.

Undoubtedly, the spaces that we inhabit and the places in which we live shape us and mould us. Equally, there are particular places and spaces that we associate with significant events and experiences. Space and place are woven into the rhythm of life.

So taking these remaining weeks of Lent to focus on some of the sights, sounds, places and events of Holy Week allows us to see and understand in more detail just how great the love of God is shown in the sending of his son Jesus, that whoever believes in him might have the full and free gift of life eternal.

As we have seen today, in each of the four Gospels there are accounts of the cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the Gospel of John, Jesus journeys to that particular space within that particular locality. (John 2: 13-22) He does so because it is the time of the Passover and the journey he makes is one made in the company of the many thousands who came to Jerusalem at that time.

As he found that first time and then again a couple of years later, the Temple space had become a “market-place” inhabited by sellers and ‘money-changers’.

Those who objected to his cleansing of the Temple demanded to know: 'What sign can you show us for doing this?'

In reply, Jesus spoke prophetically of the destruction of 'this temple', by which he meant himself, and of being raised 'in three days'.

In this sign, we see the presence of God embodied in the life of Jesus, and his life, located in a particular place and time, opening our horizons to the God who meets us in the place where we are today.

So we pray:

God of Space and Time,
meet us in the place where we are today.
Meet us in the place where we are
and transform us by the presence of your Son.
In this place, may we encounter
the One who embodies your love.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of Space and Time,
meet us in the place where we are today.
Meet us at the break of day
and be with us in all that lies before us.
In the place in which we live, may we see life renewed.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of Space and Time,
meet us in the place where we are today.
Meet us in the place of suffering
and bring your healing presence among us.
In the place of suffering,
enable us to reach out to those beside us.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of Space and Time,
meet us in the place where we are today.
Meet us in the place of sorrow
and bring your light into our darkness.
In the place of sorrow, may we become bearers of your light.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of Space and Time,
meet us in the place where we are today.
Meet us in the rhythm of life
and renew hope within us.
In the community in which we live,
may we bear witness to the God of hope.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of Space and Time,
meet us in the place where we are today.
Meet us at the close of day
and be with us through the night.
Keep us safe and bring us to the dawn of a new day.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 

28 February 2021

There are times in the Gospels when it is clear that the disciples of Jesus have real difficulty in understanding his teaching.

As we’ve seen today, sometimes it was because he was so controversial. But always at these times, advancing the claim regarding his unique identity.

Or in the story we read last week, Jesus spoke openly about what lay before him and afterwards Peter ‘took him aside and began to rebuke him’. (Mark 8: 31-32) Peter is clear that death and resurrection are not part of that future and, as he speaks, it is equally clear that he has not yet understood the way that Jesus must take – what was to be won for us on the cross.

There are times in the past months when all of us have had real difficulty in understanding the challenges faced within our society and across the globe. We have been unclear as to what the future holds and the path to be taken. In all of this, we have not been alone.

As the Gospel account unfolds, Jesus gathers the crowd around him and invites them to ‘take up their cross and follow me’. (Mark 8: 34)

As we journey into the future and follow the path taken by Jesus, we know that we are not alone. We journey in the way of the cross and – as we have seen today exemplified in the healing miracles – in the hope of the resurrection.

We pray:

God of hope,
be with us as we journey into the future that lies before us.
Be with us through your Son
who has journeyed in the way of the Cross.
Grant to us grace and faith that we might follow him.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope,
be with us as we journey into the future that lies before us.
In all we face,
be near to us, and all whom we love,
and guard us safe in your presence.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope,
be with us as we journey into the future that lies before us.
Be with those who fear this day
and who struggle to see the future.
Lead us from the darkness into your light.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope,
be with us as we journey into the future that lies before us.
Be with those who grieve this day
and who feel bereft of comfort.
In your compassion, be near to them.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope,
be with us as we journey into the future that lies before us.
In all that is faced by our society today,
grant wisdom, insight and understanding
to those who are called to govern our nation
and act on our behalf.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of hope,
be with us as we journey into the future that lies before us.
Be with us through your Son
whose journey in the way of the Cross
yields the hope of the Resurrection.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 

21 February 2021

The beginning of the public ministry of Jesus is recorded in direct and immediate terms in the Gospel of Mark. We begin in Nazareth in Galilee and are then transported to the River Jordan. We see Jesus baptised and then driven out into the wilderness for forty days. The ministry of Jesus then begins as he proclaims: ‘The time has come…The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.’ (Mark 1: 9-15) It is as if the account compresses time in order to capture and express the significance of the moment.

Our experience of the passing of time over recent months is perhaps unlike anything we have ever collectively known. On the one hand, the experience of lockdown and restriction, and the absence of the rhythms of life, has almost dislocated us from the normal experience of the passing of time. On the other hand, the relocation of worship, work and social interaction to digital platforms has rapidly transformed the times in which we live.

These two things, alongside many others, are happening at one and the same time and we cannot yet tell how they will finally shape future times.

Although we cannot tell how the future will unfold, what we can do is recognise that the kingdom of God is at hand and, in the light of this, resolve to journey with Jesus towards the place of the Cross. The gift of time, in the light of God’s Kingdom, is an opportunity to live out our response to the Good News of Jesus.

We pray:

God whose kingdom is near
And who knows the times in which we live,
May we hear the call of Your Son
And turn once more to embrace the Good News He proclaims.
In the times in which we live,
Grant us grace to do so.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose kingdom is near
And who knows the times in which we live,
Your Son has embraced time
And became truly human for us and for our salvation.
As we face the hard challenges of these days
May we know that we are embraced by Your Son.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose kingdom is near
And who knows the times in which we live,
Be with those for whom this day is hard
And who long for respite.
Be with those who seek to bring healing and comfort
And grant them wisdom and compassion to do so.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose kingdom is near
And who knows the times in which we live,
Be with us as we resolve to journey with Your Son
In the days that lie before us.
Whether in the wilderness, or by the living waters,
May we know Your presence ever renewed.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 

14 February 2021

From the sermon on the mount we return to that other mountain on which the disciples of Jesus experienced something which they struggled to comprehend and express. This same Jesus with whom they had spent so much time listening to and learning from, was transfigured before their eyes, in the company of Elijah and Moses.

Peter, as ever, makes an attempt to respond but truly he ‘did not know what to say, for they were terrified’. (Mark 9: 2-9)

In the midst of all we face at this time, we are confronted by that for which nothing has truly prepared us as a society. As the experience of Lockdown continues, we are learning a great deal about the strengths and weaknesses of our society and the foundations on which lives are built.

As we do so, we are coming to understand that the future will not simply be a reversion to the ‘normal’ of the past – not in society – not in the church.

As the disciples struggle to comprehend what they see before their eyes, they are overshadowed by the presence of God and hear the words of affirmation: ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him!’ Then, in an instant, ‘when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus’.

As we journey from Christmas to the Cross – and if God spares us, further into the future, we do so in the company of the One who transforms our present and who invites us to share in the promise of the coming Kingdom of God.

We pray:

Living God,
Speak to us in the place where we are today
And make your presence known.
Speak to us the words of affirmation
That we may know that we are loved by you.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 Living God,
Speak to us in the place where we are today
And bring hope for days to come.
Speak words of comfort and of healing
And words of compassion for those who mourn.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 Living God,
Speak to us in the place where we are today,
That we might speak a word for our times.
Speak into the future that lies before us
And grant us grace as we seek to live out that future.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 Living God,
Speak to us in the place where we are today,
That we might hear again your voice.
Speak to us on the highest heights, and in the deepest depths,
And may we know, and be known by, the One whom you love.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 

7 February 2021

At this time, we are those who wait. In common with every member of our community and our nation, we are those who wait for the renewal of life within the families and communities of which we are a part. The time of waiting has now exceeded anything we might have imagined as we began the first lockdown, and as we wait many have grown weary.

The prophet Isaiah speaks to a people who have waited and whose time of waiting has exceeded anything they might have imagined. (Isaiah 40: 21-31) During the time of waiting, the people of Israel have grown weary. To those people, the word of the Lord comes through the prophet and they are given a vision of ‘the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth’ who ‘does not faint or grow weary’.

Even in the longest times, the word of the Lord speaks to those who have come to the end of their strength with the assurance that: ‘those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint’. (Isaiah 40: 31)

“We are those who wait and our waiting is not in vain.”

We pray:

 Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
And we confess that we have grown weary.
Speak to us we ask and hear our cry.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
And who have come to the end of our own strength.
Lift up the weary and strengthen the powerless.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
And who have heard your Word echo in our hearts.
Grant us grace for this time and faith to believe your promise.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
And who ask that your promise will be fulfilled.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 

31 January 2021

The remembering of the past is an integral part of what it is to be human. In our remembering, we recall the persons and the events that have shaped us and made us who we are. In the act of remembering, we often seek to make sense of and come to terms with the past. In the depths of our remembering, we acknowledge and lament loss. At this particular time, we are profoundly conscious of the depth of loss within the communities and nation of which we are a part.

In the Book of Psalms, the Psalmist affirms that God ‘remembers’ and that, in particular, God remembers the covenant made with the people of God. The One who forges a relationship with the people of God, is the One who remembers the covenant forever. (Psalm 111: 5) In our remembering, we recall the One who remembers us and does not forget all that we endure in these hard times.”

God who remembers,
Be with us in our remembering this day.
Be with us on the journey
That takes us from the past
And into the future that lies before us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who remembers,
Be with us in our remembering this day.
Be with as we recall those who have shaped us
And the events that have made us.
Grant to us grace and healing in all we recall.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who remembers,
Be with us in our remembering this day.
Be with us in sorrow and in loss
And come beside all who mourn this day.
Come beside us and do not leave us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who remembers,
Be with us in our remembering this day.
Be with those who serve in hospitals and in homes
And who, by their medical and nursing skills,
Provide comfort and hope to those who suffer.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who remembers,
Be with us in our remembering this day.
Be with us as community and nation
And strengthen us in all we endure.
Even in the darkness, may we find your light renewed through Jesus Christ.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.


__________

Crieff Parish Church
Strathearn Terrace, CRIEFF PH7 3AQ
Scottish Registered Charity SC004304
A congregation of the Church of Scotland
within the Presbytery of Perth