Genesis 16:7-9, 13
“The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert…And he said, ‘Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’  ‘I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,’ she answered.  Then the angel of the Lord told her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her.’…[Hagar] gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”

Philemon 12, 15-16a, 17-18
“I am sending [Onesimus]—who is my very heart—back to you…Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother…So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.  If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.”

John 8:32b, 34-36
“‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’”

Gracious Master, the distress of the lost draws your eye and rouses your compassion.

VietnamYou seek us when we are trying to escape a difficult obedience.  Though our running leads us to a dry land, you search for us to set us free.

May the truth revealed when we see you face to face give us freedom from our stubborn wanderings, so that we return joyfully to serve a new Master.  Lead us back to our true family, home and future.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who saw our deep need and became a outcast slave to release us from sin.

Listen to ‘O Wondrous Love’ by Steve and Vikki Cook

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Deuteronomy 33:13b-16
“May the Lord bless his land with the precious dew from heaven above and with the deep waters that lie below; with the best the sun brings forth and the finest the moon can yield; with the choicest of gifts of the ancient mountains and fruitfulness of the everlasting hills; with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness and the favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush.”

Zechariah 8:12
“The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew.  I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of these people.”

John 6:38
“‘For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.’”

Loving Father, each new day brings blessings of refreshment from your generous hand.

With faithful provision you cover the earth with a blanket of perfect diamond drops.  As their most precious inheritance, your people drink in the joy of your heaven-sent Son.

dewIn gratitude for the dew that has watered our thirsty souls, may we dawn upon dry lands with cooling compassion.

In the name of Christ, heaven’s gift of the morning after a long night of darkness, we bring to you our prayers.

Listen to ‘Jesus, Lead Us With Thy Power’ by Sandra McCracken

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Exodus 3:15a, 16-17a, 4:17, 20
“God also said to Moses, ‘…Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘…I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt.  And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery…But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miracles with it.’…So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt.  And he took the staff of God in his hand.”

Mark 6:6b-9
“Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.  Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.  These were his instructions:  ‘Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.  Wear sandals but not an extra tunic…’”

Psalm 23:4b
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Great Shepherd, you protect, seek, rescue and heal.

staffYou call us to venture into dark valleys to lead your people home.  Miraculous strength does not come from our own resources but only as we grasp humility and lean upon your blessing.

Give us the courage to leave behind the fields of complacency.  Defend us by the mighty staff you wield on behalf of your beloved children.

We ask this in the name of Christ, the Shepherd struck down in the shadows by the rod of death to lead us to our promised land.

Listen to ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ by Joanne Hogg

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2 Samuel 6:6-7
“When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled.  The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.”

Luke 8:43-45a, 47a-48
“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.  She came up behind [Jesus] and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.  ‘Who touched me?’  Jesus asked…Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet…Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace.’”

Galatians 3:10, 13a
“All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’…Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…”

Holy Judge, naively we do not respect the great chasm between our sinful hands and your perfect presence.

In merciful concern for our error-prone grasping, you decreed that one death would suffice for all our disobedience—yet it would be the death of the Son you loved.

touchHumble us in the knowledge that we have been given the gift of reaching out for you.  Turn our indifferent presumption into a longing to touch you and receive your healing.

We bring our prayers in confidence before you because of Christ’s restitution—taking the hand of death upon himself to welcome our hold upon our living, perfect Lord.

Listen to ‘Your Love Endures‘ by Darren and Jessie Clarke

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2 Kings 22:1a, 2, 23:1a, 2b, 3, 25
“Josiah was eight years old when he became king…He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left…The king called together …all the people from the least to the greatest…[He] stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees…Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength…”

Mark 10:13-16
“People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant.  He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”

Isaiah 9:6-7
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders…He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom…forever.”

Father of all creation, you take joy in small hands and spacious hearts.

Through the humility of a king who did not cease to be a child, you guided your people back to their true kingdom.  Your Son was glad to bless the little feet of those who would spread word of a new covenant.

childTeach us to be obedient and trusting.  May we learn to reign under Christ’s gentle hand.

This we ask in his name, the true child King who through innocent integrity leads us into victory.

Listen to ‘Come to Me’ featuring Sandra McCracken

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Outside the Gate

2 Kings 7:3-4a, 5b-6a, 7b-8a, 9
“Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate.  They said…‘Why stay here until we die?  If we…go into the city—the famine is there…So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender.’…When they reached the edge of the camp, not a man was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army…They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.  The men who had leprosy…ate and drank and carried away silver, gold and clothes and went off and hid them…Then they said to each other, ‘We’re not doing right.  This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves…Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.’”

Luke 17:12-16
“As [Jesus] was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him.  They stood at a distance and called out…‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’  When he saw them, he said, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’  And as they went, they were cleansed.  One of them when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet—and he was a Samaritan.”

Hebrews 13:12-13a, 15-16a
“And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy…Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore…let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise…and do not forget to do good and share with others…”

Father God, you define the centre and you encompass all borders.

outside the gateYou find us when we are outside the gate, alienated from approval.  In the wasteland you provide unexpected treasure.

Remind us to fill the desert with praise, and to bring the good news back to the lost insiders.

Through Christ we pray, who surrendered to a forsaken death to heal the citizens of a hurting world.

Listen to ‘Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners’ by Ordinary Time

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Temple Treasury

1 Samuel 1:24-28a
“After he was weaned, [Hannah] took the boy with her, young as he was…and brought him to the house of the Lord…they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, ‘As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord.  I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.’”

Mark 12:41-44a
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury…a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything…’”

2 Corinthians 8:2-3a, 5b, 12
“Out of the most severe trial, [the Macedonian churches’] overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.  For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability…they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will…For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”

God our Father, you open your generous hand to empty your riches upon us.

temple treasuryYou did not withhold your firstborn Son, but freely gave him as a fulfillment of your covenant promise.

Because of this deep extravagance, may we in overflowing joy surrender our very lives in service to you.  Keep us from clutching our insignificant copper coins as if to be saved by them.

We ask this in the name of Christ, your precious treasure given for us and for our salvation.

Listen to ‘Take My Life and Let it Be’ by A New Liturgy

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