"To be connected with the church is to be associated with scoundrels, warmongers, fakes, child-molesters, murderers, adulterers and hypocrites of every description.
It also, at the same time, identifies you with saints and the finest persons of heroic soul of every time, country, race, and gender.
To be a member of the church is to carry the mantle of both the worst sin and the finest heroism of soul because the church always looks exactly as it looked at the original crucifixion, God hung among thieves". – Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing
Lord of the swaying palms,
the stones of earth and the beasts of burden bear witness to your coming:
lead us from the violence of empires and the collusion of crowds
to a heart of flesh, a world remade, and a new song for all creation,
through Jesus Christ, the Crucified One. Amen.
Please give us the grace, loving God, to pray with our hearts as well as our lips, and to serve with our deeds as well as our prayers.
In places where the church celebrates with joy today, where it laughs with little children and praises with elderly saints, till hosannas overflow from every loving heart; may your kingdom come, And your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
In places where the church gathers in sorrow or fear today, weeping with Christ Jesus for the cross that must be carried in the face of misunderstanding and abuse; may your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
In places where ordinary people are disillusioned with that greed and injustice that wants the poor and the weak blamed for the deprivations that afflict them; your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
In places where people are at their wits end, angry or frustrated or frightened, ready to hit out violently at those around them, or falling into despair and planning to take their own lives; Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
In places where there are small hopes begging to be kept alive, programmes of compassion needing to be supported, and the beginnings of faith requiring recognition and encouragement; your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God of Christ Jesus and our God, enable each of us to enter into fellowship with the Spirit of Christ, that our personal happiness and suffering may not be wasted, but dedicated to your infinite purposes which are often baffling but always loving. In Your name we pray. Amen!
In sunshine and shadow, in joy or grief, this is the day which the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it. We will step gratefully into this holy week;
We will tread softly for many things are already bruised;
We will go reverently for holiness is found in unlikely places;
We will walk lovingly for the love of the Crucified One is the key to all things on earth and in heaven. Amen!
– Text only is adapted from: Steven Shakespeare, Prayers for an Inclusive Church (Church Publishing, 2009), 91; Iona Community, Stages on the Way (GIA, 2000), 88; Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church of Australia.