Seeking strength in challenging times

Words in bold italic may be said by all present.

A candle may be lit

Preparation
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.     John 1:5

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.     Luke 1:77-78

Opening: A Song of Christ’s Goodness

Gather your little ones to you, O God,
as a hen gathers her brood to protect them.
Jesus, as a mother
you gather your people to you;
you are gentle with us
as a mother with her children.
Often you weep over our sins and our pride,
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds,
in sickness you nurse us
and with pure milk you feed us.
Jesus, by your dying,
we are born to new life;
by your anguish and labour
we come forth in joy.
Despair turns to hope
through your sweet goodness;
through your gentleness, we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead,
your touch makes sinners righteous.
Lord Jesus, in your mercy, heal us;
in your love and tenderness, remake us.
In your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness,
for the beauty of heaven,
may your love prepare us.     Anselm of Canterbury

Gather your little ones to you, O God,
as a hen gathers her brood to protect them.

Listening

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall want for nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.     Psalm 23

The centurion said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’
When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And the servant was healed in that hour.     Matthew 8

Gather your little ones to you, O God,
as a hen gathers her brood to protect them.

Offering

In silence, or using words, or in both,
memories or issues of challenge or pain
are mentioned.

A time of silence may be kept

I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart.
I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart.
I will glorify your name for evermore.
With all my heart.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the time of trial,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

The ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
The wilderness and the dry land shall rejoice,
the desert shall blossom and burst into song.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weary hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to the anxious, ‘Be strong, fear not,
your God is coming with judgement,
coming with judgement to save you.’
Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
Then shall the lame leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
The ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing,
with everlasting joy upon their heads.
Joy and gladness shall be theirs,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
The ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.     Isaiah 35. 1, 2b, 3-4a, 5-7a, 10

Conclusion

O God,
lead us from death to life,
from falsehood to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.     Satish Kumar

Lord, in your mercy:
grant to your faithful people pardon and peace;
that they may be healed and made whole,
and serve you with a quiet mind;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God!
The Lord bless us and preserve us from all evil;
and bring us to life eternal. Amen.

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