Sheldon’s Grace

As we’re doing children’s prayers and graces, here’s Sheldon Cooper doing grace with his mother.

By His hand, we are all fed.
Give us Lord, our daily bread.
Please know that we are truly grateful,
For every cup and every plateful.
Amen.

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Superman Grace

At #worship2013 conference organised by the liturgical commission. As the conversation has developed, the word ‘trite’ has been used extensively. I put “I’d better not mention the Superman grace”. Twitter has demanded the Superman grace. I’m putting together a video that goes with it for the summer school I’m running to check that our later.

From 45 seconds in.

We thank you Lord for giving us food.
We thank you Lord for giving us food.
Lord we praise you.
Lord we praise you.
O we praise you Lord…
For giving us food.

Thanks to the Church of England’s head communication’s officer Arun Arora who taught me this at college. All of the trite primary school kids I meet love singing this tritely.

[edit]

Just had someone else on twitter post it as:

We thank you Lord for giving us food.
We thank you Lord for giving us food.
We’re very grateful
For every plateful
O we thank you Lord…
For giving us food.

Prefer this version. Consider me newly crowd sourced.

Thanks @danadelap

A Prayer of Brendan

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“I thank you for this, my God,
I am a traveller and stranger
in the world,
like so many of Your people
before me.

There is a sense of adventure,
of openness to possibilities,
abandonment to God
and expectation
of fulfilling his will.

I accept the responsibility,
I’ll hear and obey,
and trust it is Your voice I hear,
the call of the Spirit,
the cry of the Bird of Heaven.

It is a Yes to risky living…

The sea takes me;
where I do not know,
but I gladly go.
And I can only trust
every word You say,
and obey.”

– Celtic Daily Prayer
Northumbria Community

Under Pressure Intercessions

This is a set of intercessions based upon the Queen and Bowie song Under Pressure.

Rioting on Sunday Morning

It seems only two minutes since I found myself standing before the congregation as a “community leader” to talk about the headline news from Norway.  And yet, here I find myself once more.  It is a strange place to be as people look to me to try and make sense of the world around them.  The church can sometimes just stick its head in the sand on a Sunday morning and carry on regardless.  “Riots you say?  What riots”?  I find myself unable to do that.  Perhaps it is a failing of mine and I should add it to the ever-growing list.  No matter where I turn I can’t escape the incarnational God who gets his hands dirty.  I can’t skirt around the God who told us to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as in Heaven”. 

You may have noticed that I have been strangely silent on the blog this week.  Mostly this has been because I have felt a bit numb.  Living in the UK and watching it descend into chaos is all too reminiscent of The Dark Night.  Fortunately we live in a part of the city that hasn’t seen any unrest.  West Yorkshire police dealt with any flickers of trouble around Leeds and Huddersfield brilliantly and we did not see the same level of unrest as others.  However, the whole country seems to be gripped by fear.  I spoke to my brother earlier in the week about the football match we are going to this afternoon.  He was wanting to call it off.  The mood in our community is troubled. 

Some how tomorrow I will stand up and try to help our community make sense of all of this.  I will try to encourage them to be part of the future.  To start to bring that kingdom to our communities. 

I have put together some simple prayers that we will use.  Then we will pray the prayer from the CofE website in solidarity with our nation wide community.

Father in heaven,

In our homes.

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

In our families

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

In our communities

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

In our cities

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

On our streets

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

In our parks

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

In our schools

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

In our police forces

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

In our town hall

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

In our government

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

Gracious God,
We pray for peace in our communities this day.
We commit to you all who work for peace and an end to tensions,
And those who work to uphold law and justice.
We pray for an end to fear,
For comfort and support to those who suffer.
For calm in our streets and cities,
That people may go about their lives in safety and peace.
In your mercy, hear our prayers,
now and always.

Amen

Accessibility, The Church and Apple

As soon as I clicked ‘publish’ with my last blog post the cogs started turning in my mind.  I have an iPhone (sorry @duttyo, it’s relevant to what I’m saying).  One of the first things my wife said about the whole Apple experience is “where are the instructions”?  There are two postage stamp pieces of paper that come with an iPhone telling you to “put the sim card in” and “plug it in to iTunes”.  That’s your lot.

There is nothing to tell you how to make a call.  There are no little booklets explaining how to setup the device.  I was amazed when I discovered caps lock by ‘accident’ one day.  I was mystified the day I mistakenly took a screen grab by pressing two buttons simultaneously.  There are little huddles of iPhone users gathered throughout the land passing on the secrets of eternal app usage: 

“Have you seen the pulse reader?  It’s awesome”. 

“No but I’ve got RedLaser!”

The religious fervor that Apple commands is bolstered by an almost Gnostic sense of hidden secrets.  “Perhaps if I continue to worship at the Apple temple for a little longer I will gain access to the next level of geekery”.

Compare this if you will to the church.  In some churches there is no explanation whatsoever of what is going on.  Entering through the door for the uninitiated can be as baffling as an alien life form encountering humanity for the first time through Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  Banana.  In other churches there is a level of explanation that describes the minutia of each and every impending  act. 

“We’re now going to pray a prayer that will offer up to God the things that we have done wrong in our lives.  The weeks…. years…. eons…. passage of time…. deep sorrow…. so that….. if we…. can you….. not because…. but if we…. zzzzzzzz…. so let’s bow our heads….. or not…. comfortable…. prayer is…. so now we say together…. ‘God we’re sorry, Amen‘”. 

So what can we learn from Apple?  Apple have managed to create a mystique and yet maintain their accessibility.  They have hit upon a formula where there is just the right level of instruction to make things work but not so much that the sense of mystery is lost.  I wonder if we can appoint Steve Jobs as the next Archbishop.

[Cue an Apple hater in the comments]

Lenten Reflection

For lent I’ve been looking for ways to reinvigorate my prayer life and my bible study.  I have been doing the Big Bible project with my wife and it has been a real springboard to our discussions.  A friend began posting these 24-7 prayer video clips.  From Ash Wednesday I have been posting them to our church Facebook page.  They’re all available via their YouTube channel and I’ve found it a really easy way of encouraging people through lent.