Light-shedding

(A series of prayers for Education Sunday based on Psalm 119:33-37 and Matthew 5:13-20)

Invoking the light 

We gather this day to worship and wonder
at the Father of all creation who, in the beginning,
spoke, “Let there be light! and there was light.
(a candle is lit)

We gather this day to listen to and learn from
Christ Jesus, the Son in whom there was no darkness;
the true light of life come into the world.
(a candle is lit)

We gather this day to surrender to and serve
the indwelling light of the Spirit
who leads us in the eternal way of truth and righteousness.

(a candle is lit)

O God-in-community – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

as we seek to worship and wonder,
as we seek to listen and learn,
as we seek to surrender and serve,
transform us from the inside out
into the flavour of love so lacking in the world.

Teach us, O God, to follow Your decrees;
then we will keep them to the end.
Give us understanding,
and we will keep your law and obey it with all our heart.
Direct us in the path of Your commands,
for there we find delight.
Turn our hearts towards Your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn our eyes away from worthless things;
renew our lives according to Your Word. 

Amen.

***

Prayers of praise and confession 

From the beginning, O Abba, You have loved us
and longed for us to live in the light of Your favour.

From the beginning, O Adonai, we have given in to the snake slithers of ambition
and sought to make our way.

But when our choices have led us into the valley of the shadow of death,
we have cried out to You to deliver us;
When our desires have landed us in the sinking sand of sin,
we have pleaded for Your grace and mercy;
When our egos have left us feeling alone, oppressed by our enemies;
we have begged You to come to our defence.

And surely You have heard our lament,
resounding from generation to generation,
groaning in all of creation.
For to us a Son was given – Your Son –
that we might know the intimacy of God-with-us;
that we might feel the heavy burden of sin and death lifting from our shoulders;
that we might leave behind the way we were and what we used to do
and discover a new purpose, a new significance, in a new way of living and loving.

You are the light that shines in the darkness.
May we not only recognize You,
but search for You,
long for You,
learn from You.

In Jesus’ name. 
Amen. 

***

Prayers of petition and intercession

O Lord who looked out over crowds of ill, obsessed, and hurting people,
who sat them down upon a hill and taught them
about blessings found in the midst of suffering
and a law fulfilled through love:
shine Your light upon our lives;
make bright our love this day.

(led by a teacher)
We pray for teachers throughout the world,
and particularly for those who help their students grow in knowledge and wisdom and integrity with very little in the way of support or infrastructure or technology.
May we rediscover our job as a divine calling for which You empower and equip.
May we affirm the dignity and value of each child under our care.
May we teach with energy and open minds and a never-ending desire to learn.
Shine Your light upon our lives;
make bright our love this day.

(led by a parent)
We pray for parents and care-givers in every home,
who are so often torn between their dreams for their children and the circumstances of their demanding, daily lives.
May we model respect for, and show support to, those who teach our children.
May we prioritize our children’s education by helping with homework and showing up for school events.
May we listen attentively to who our children long to be and help them find their way.
Shine Your light upon our lives;
make bright our love this day.

(led by an older child)
We pray for students and learners across our land – some who hate school, some who hate others in their school, some who hate that they can’t get to school because of their gender, economic concerns, or immigrant status.
May we appreciate the opportunities we have to learn, to grow, to change.
May we be kept safe from bullies and bad influences.
May we treat property and people at school with care.
Shine Your light upon our lives;
make bright our love this day.

(led by minister or church leader)
We pray for Your people who You have instructed not to cling to childish things, but to grow in maturity and understanding and love until we are fully alive in You.
May we make time to sit at Your feet, to listen, and to learn in humility and awe.
May we boldly ask You the questions of life with which we struggle without feeling inadequate.
May we find healing and wholeness as we surrender to our Teacher, our Rabbi, our Friend.
Shine Your light upon our lives;
make bright our love this day.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen.

***

Benediction

Jesus taught those that longed for the kingdom of heaven
that they are the salt of the earth and light to the world.
I will keep my face turned towards the Son of my salvation.
I will flavor the earth with God’s love.
I will let my good deeds shine for all to see
to the glory of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit –
now and evermore.
Amen. 

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