Just a simple prayer of thanksgiving and praise that has come out of my reflections on Romans 12... Paul speaking to a church that is bought together from across the cultural divide between Jew and gentile. Bought together by grace, in the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and by the presence and filling of God's Holy Spirit and called to present their lives as a living sacrifice; To serve one another and to love one another.
"All over" is sort of a kiwi-ism for being from different countries and cultures... on any given Sunday at St Peters we can have people from nine or ten different cultural backgrounds... we are a smallish church 40-60 on Sunday but we are a new Auckland church reflecting the fact that Auckland is one of the most multi cultural cities in the world (top 10).
The image is the burning bush an emblem of the PCANZ from the stain glass window at St Peters with candles. It represents individuals being filled by the Holy Spirit and our church set a blaze again by the Holy Spirit
Gracious and loving God,
We gather together today from all over:
From different origins and cultures,
Diverse backgrounds and places,
We have journeyed here by different routes,
Our stories are different,
But we gather together before you.
We are one because of your son Jesus Christ.
We come with a unity of purpose,
To give you thanks and praise,
To offer ourselves in worship.
Holy and Righteous God,
Great is your faithful love for us:
We had gone astray and were lost in darkness and sin,
We were far off from you and away from your grace,
But you stepped into our world, the word became flesh,
You sent your son Jesus to call us back to you,
To proclaim good news, recovery of sight freedom and release,
To proclaim and establish your kingdom on earth.
Jesus dies that our sins may be forgiven,
We know new life because you raised him to life again,
We are being transformed by your Holy Spirit’s presence in us.
Good and merciful Lord,
Fill us fresh with your Holy Spirit:
Enable and empower us to witness to the hope we have in you,
To tell and to live out the love and truth we have found in Jesus.
Just as Jesus came not to judge but to forgive help us to forgive,
Just as Jesus came to bring reconciliation allow us to minister your peace,
Just as Jesus came not to be served but to serve, empower us to serve.
As we are full of love for you, may we be filled with love for one another,
As we know your grace and mercy may we let it be known,
WE give ourselves to you as a living sacrifice
To bring glory to your name O God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.