One Day…

I took my youth group to Greenbelt again this year. All sorts of things moved and inspired us, but perhaps most of all this song, “One Day”: http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/One-Day.pdf

So at our first youth group session of the new term, we wrote our own “One Day” verses – and were inspired  all over again. Here they are:

One day there will be no war anywhere in the whole world.

One day the world will be a less violent and more eco-friendly place.

One day there will be no more famine and everyone will be able to get a job.

One day everyone in the world will be kind to each other.

One day everyone in the world will care about the environment.

One day there will be no racism.

One day we will experience world peace.

One day all people will be respected.

One day grown ups will listen properly to children.

The last one seems particularly telling. Perhaps we can start that today?

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“Help everyone to know that they are welcome in your family” – prayers by young people

Let us pray to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

We thank you for welcoming us into your family.

We pray for people whose families don’t welcome them, and families in difficult or abusive situations. We pray that they know they are loved.

We pray for those who have lost loved ones and for people who are lovely and isolated. W ask that you comfort them through challenging times.

We pray for people suffering from mental illnesses, particularly people with eating disorders or who have self harmed or have suicidal thoughts. We pray that you can help them to feel valued and happy.

Help these people to know they are welcome in your family.

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Hear our prayer.

 

We thank you for welcoming us into your family.

We pray for those who are on the outskirts of society. We pray for people who can’t, or choose not to, see each other’s perspectives. We pray that you can help us to love and understand every member or our society.

We pray for refugees, particularly those who are still trying to reach a safe environment. We pray that they feel welcome in their new communities.

We also pray for people who help others in our society. We pray for support and appreciation for them.

Help these people to know they are welcome in your family.

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Hear our prayer.

 

We thank you for welcoming us into your family.

We pray for new members of our church, and for our new bishop Steven. We pray that you can guide them in everything they do.

We pray for schools, and in particular people taking exams. We pray that they work to the best of their ability.

We pray for people suffering from injuries, illness or disease. We pray for healing.

Help these people to know they are welcome in your family.

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Hear our prayer.

 

We ask that you help us to welcome and care for all people.

Amen.

 

Led By The Spirit – intercessions by young people

Today a small group of young people (age 11-14) met to write the intercessions for this evening’s Led By The Spirit service at All Saints, High Wycombe (http://www.allsaintshighwycombe.org/).

I provided some framework for the writing process, and acted as scribe, but the ideas and the words are entirely the young people’s own. None of the young people had done anything like this before, and I am very proud of their first attempt!

Let us pray.

The response to “Come Holy Spirit” is “Come, hear our prayer”.

Come Holy Spirit. Come hear our prayer.

We pray for the church. For churches to be a place of love and inclusion and not a battlefield. For people to know that they are always welcome in our church community. For people who are searching for God’s love and finding it hard. For Christians living in fear of being persecuted for their beliefs.

Come Holy Spirit. Come hear our prayer.

We pray for the world. For an end to the war in Syria and other countries around the world. For society to be more accepting of people of different genders, races, sexuality and class. For everybody to have clean food and water and good sanitation. For world leaders to make wise decisions on behalf of their countries. For and end to FGM.

Come Holy Spirit. Come hear our prayer.

We pray for our local community. For everyone to give and receive compassion from our community. For people who are homeless to be and feel safe, and to escape the trauma of fear and anxiety. For local schools and young people and the future of our community. For harmony and peace between people of all faiths and none.

Come Holy Spirit. Come hear our prayer.

We pray for people in any kind of need. For people who are hungry or thirsty. For people who are suffering physically, mentally or emotionally. For people for whom family is not a safe place.

Come Holy Spirit. Come hear our prayer.

We pray for people who have died. For those we love and miss. For people who have died in war or traumatic situations. For people who have inspired us, and people who have given their lives for others.

Come Holy Spirit. Come hear our prayer.

We thank you God that you always listen to us, that you act out of love, and that you accept us as we are. We pray for your Holy Spirit to work in us to make the world a better place and reflect your love. In the name of our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Led By The Spirit prayers

What I want to tell you about God…

This morning I asked the children at Ark (age 4-12) what they want to tell people about God. Here are their answers. All their own words, all their own ideas – the only thing I have edited at all is the spelling.

God is powerful and protects us.
He is always with us.
He is fab and always says “DON’T BE AFRAID” – because he’s in our hearts.
He is loving to us and peaceful.
He created us and made the nature.
He cares for anyone who believes in him or not.
He loves anyone and forgives us.
GOD IS AMAZING!
God’s love never ends.
He cares for us.
He loves us.
Thinks about us.
Never lets go of us.
Helps us with our homework every day.
Helps us.
Never forgets us.
Listens.
God made my Daddy.
God created everything in the world.
God is the most hopeful, holy, peaceful, and biggest person ever and that is good.
God knows everything.
God loves us always.
Jesus is God.
God is powerful and amazing.
God is amazing and he made me.
God is careful and he loves us.
God is always with us and he forgives us.
God made us, God sustains us, God will guide us all.
God loves YOU (so be not afraid).

Jesus said: “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children.” (Matthew 11.25)

An Alternative Advent Calendar

Advent is all about waiting. But waiting for what?

Waiting for Christmas. Waiting for Christ. Waiting for the second coming. Waiting for the world to be transformed. Waiting for God’s kingdom to come.

What is the world waiting for?

With my Encounter group (age 10-13) we have been exploring the idea of waiting for the coming of God’s kingdom. As part of this, we have created an alternative advent calendar. Each flap has an image on the outside, either cut from a newspaper or drawn by the children. Under the flap the children have written what they think this situation/person/place is waiting for.

There’s a giraffe in a beautiful landscape, waiting for “more vegetation and homes for animals and wildlife”. A woman and child looking sad, waiting for “safe homes”. A young man with a Black Lives Matter placard, waiting for “equality for everyone”. A group of school children, waiting for “education that sets people free to be the best they can be”. And many more, all waiting…..

The title of our alternative advent calendar is “The meaning is in the waiting”, a quotation chosen from R.S. Thomas’ poem “Kneeling” which the group has enjoyed looking at: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178866