epiphanies

I have been in the prisons regularly over the Christmas / new year period. It’s been intense, exhausting, and good. Yesterday was my fourth service in 10 days, and i was more than bored with the sound of my own thoughts, so I ditched what I’d prepared and went off the cuff. I told the men that I have real problems believing in God, but that the vision of faith – that one day justice will come, the blind will see, those who sorrow will have joy – compels me so much that I’m willing to put aside all that I don’t believe to live for that faith. I’m willing to give God a try if it might lead to that kind of world. One of the men stayed behind afterwards and said, ‘I hope you never have more faith than what you do now’. Best affirmation ever.

These are some of the prayers we used:

Gathering

We gather:
a community of faith in God’s subversive world.

We gather to celebrate that no darkness
can extinguish light,

to remember that love will always be more powerful
than death,

and to trust peace will always be stronger than violence.

We gather,
people of faith in the light of God’s world.

Welcome to worship.

Thanksgiving and confession

We thank you God that you know what it is to be human
Fragile and vulnerable,
searching for ways to stay alive in dangerous and complicated times

We thank you that you know the struggles and temptations
of living in darkness.

And we thank you that you give light to the world.

We confess that sometimes it’s easier to stay in the shadows,
where things can stay hidden,
where people can’t see our cracks and flaws.

Cast your light on our darkness
and forgive us, God of love.

We confess that we have at times brought darkness
into the world by our anger, our selfishness, our violence.

Cast your light on our darkness
and forgive us, God of love.

We confess that we are sometimes sceptical of light
and find it easier to trust its absence.

Cast your light on our darkness
and forgive us, God of love.

And in this silence, bring the confessions that are on your heart and mind
into the light of God’s love
[silence]

We know in faith that God restores and renews,
and that our sins are forgiven.

Thanks be to God.