PO Box 609, Wagga Wagga NSW, 2650 (02) 6921 4275 For prayer or care, please get in touch through the Pilgrim page or contact form.

Monday: prayer of praise & promise

written by R. Kerr;
based on Psalm 116 : 1-4, 12-19

You heard my anxious plea
And so I love you Lord
You turned your ear to me
It’s you I call toward

Death threatened everywhere
I felt it pull me down
My soul cried out in prayer
‘O save me, lest I drown’…

What ways can I repay
the good you always give?
I’ll name you when I pray
and praise you as I live

What I’ve promised, I will do
Before your people and for you.

Your saints are dear to you
Whether here or gone above
We are your servants true
You freed us with your love

Thankfulness I bring you
with all my grateful heart
Praises I will sing you
From you I’ll not depart

What I’ve promised, I will do
Before your people and for you.

In your house my voice raise
All your greatness to tell
As we offer our praise
Lord, we know all is well.

Amen.

Monday’s mourning: Psalm 143

Before offering a prayer of lament and longing today, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge what many others have shared over the course of the last week: that underneath the excitement and opportunities of finding different ways to connect and worship with one another is a very real sense of loss that is exacerbated by simply not knowing when we will next gather in person. 

For me, the call to act decisively, in the interests of those most vulnerable and in solidarity with a world that is suffering, is what being Church is all about. My mind was quickly occupied with what might be possible given the ranging age and contexts of the congregations with whom I share life. And there is a very simple pleasure in, each day, offering something small – and, I hope, full of hope – to a Church far bigger than the boundaries we have held on to as we seek to offer a word of comfort and promise in a time of loneliness and anxiety. 

But, as I pinned up the notices on the closed doors of a sanctuary to let people know some of the ways in which we can enter fully into this season of prayer and care for another, I must admit that I was overwhelmed with grief as I pictured the faces of the people that I would normally see gathering in that place each Sunday, the children I would hold, the hands I would touch. 

Hence Monday’s mourning – a space to turn to God with our sorrow.

God of promise,
please pay attention to my prayers this day. 
Don’t judge me for how I’m feeling –
but acknowledge my cries.
I live in the darkness of death’s shadow.
My life is crushed into dust.
My heart is heavy with despair
and a deep depression settles into my soul.

I am nearly at the end of my rope.

Help me to pause in Your presence,
to stretch out my hands to You
as a thirsty desert waits for rain
to bring new life.

Let the dawning day bring me a revelation
of your tender, unfailing love. 
Remind me of the good old days
 –
of all the ways I have seen You at work –
that I might have light for this path
and trust in You
to lead me by Your blessed Spirit
into clear and level pastureland. 

Amen.

*based on the Passion Translation and the Message paraphrases*

Monday’s mourning

a prayer based on Isaiah 65:17-21

God, we weep – 
we weep for we have no words 
to adequately express the worry 
that sits so heavily within our hearts:
worry for infants that live but a few days,
worry for the elderly who will not see out their lifetime,
worry for those whose current health issues 
or socio-economic circumstances place them at great risk ….

Hear our cry of distress
and help us to hear again Your promise:
“For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.”

Offer us this day,
a moment of joy,
a minute of delight,
that we may look ahead with hope and longing
to the forever-song 
that we will sing with gladness
as we feast at Your table. 

In Jesus’ name.
Amen.

First Sunday in Advent

Grace and peace to you from him who is, who was, and who is to come as we find ourselves, again, in the blessed season of Advent, making ready to celebrate the Christ-child who comes to us in human form and anticipating the Christ-King who will come again to rule and reconcile the world in and to himself ….

Today, we start a brand new lectionary cycle: at Year A which focuses on the stories of Abraham through to Moses in the Old Testament and the gospel of Matthew. 

These are our origin stories: stories of how we came to be a pilgrim people bound to God by the best ways of living, and of God’s faithfulness along all of the ups and downs, the wanderings and the arrivings, and the joys and the struggles of the ongoing journey of which we are part in this particular time and place.

Matthew consistently points us to a God who keeps every promise as Jesus fulfils the prophecies of the Old Testament and shows his followers how to live out the heart of God’s law. You may find it interesting to keep a note of how many times the words “fulfilment” or “prophet” appear as we journey together.

At Pilgrim on this first Sunday in Advent, we focus on the prophets. I love how the Godly Play stories describe them as “people who come so close to God, and God comes so close to them, that they know what is most important” rather than as mere characters of the past.

As we journey with the people who came close to God and the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled throughout Scripture in this next year, I pray that you will know God coming close to you too that we might walk together in the light of the Lord (Isaiah 2:5).

Yours in Christ
Yvonne