Author Archives: Philip Garside

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 21

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 21

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Sea Song

Rippled sand
with strands of clinging seaweed
gulls floating effortlessly
   over the ever-changing blue
suddenly soaring up into deeper blue
wheeling and swerving
strong black backs, cruel beaks,
the busy pink-legged herring gulls
   scuttering before the foam.

And footsteps in the sand – whose are they?
And whence do they come, these marks of human contact
   fleeing the concrete prisons?
long, strong, steady, with tiny staggering prints beside.
He leaves the treadmill
raucous insistent clamour of phone
and endless words
            words
                     words
with his small son
to enter a new world
  of wind
  and freedom
      of tiny crab, and fragile bird claw prints.

Together the man and child
laugh with the gulls
splash through the glittering wavelets
all care cast on the limitless ocean
flowing out – out – out
  to the misty horizon
where the sea meets the sky
and all is peace and light.

From A Celebration of Life by Meg Hartfield (2016)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 20

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 20

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Sixty-seven

God, you ask me to be a servant
to do something special for you
something no-one else can do
and even though – a lot of the time –
I seem to have no idea what I’m about
no doubt I’ll understand in the end

I’m like a link in a chain
one strand in this ancient cord of humanity
you haven’t created me for nothing
everything you make is good
and I’ll be good too
I’ll do what you want me to do
like one of your angels, I’ll weave peace
I’ll talk about you here and there
I can’t seem to help it

I trust in your love, Lord
you’ll never give up on me
though I’m sick or confused
my weakness and questions belong to you
you’re with me in my aloneness
even if my friends leave me
and my future plans come to nothing
you know what you’re doing
you know where I am
my life will not be wasted.

From Redemption Songs by Mark Laurent (2016)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 19

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 19

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Prayer for the Otakaro-Avon River

We gather on the bank to pray for this river
that was here long before us,
and will continue to flow
long after we have gone.

Let us give thanks
for the snow-fed aquifers,
and the peaceful springs
that birth and sustain her life
every day, every moment;
and for the little streams and creeks
that make her stronger
as she flows through our city
towards the sea.

We celebrate the life that is within her –
the micro-vertebrates,
the inanga,
the eels,
the fish…

We rejoice in the beautiful birds
that grace her waters,
that she supports –
the waterfowl and
their songs that are heard
day and night
along her reaches.

We give thanks
for the sustenance she has provided
so generously, constantly
for the people of this place
ever since the first ones came here,
food for body, mind and soul
for generation after generation.

Yet our gratitude and joy
are coloured with sorrow
our spirits are troubled
as we can see with our own eyes
how polluted she has become,
how much she suffers.

We know that she is burdened
by what we have asked her to carry,
and she has lost much of her sparkle
her vitality, her spirit…

Her waters are polluted with the wastes
of the city, chemicals, effluent,
and a tide of human refuse,
debris from a careless throwaway society.

O Creator, forgive our lack of respect
our failure to love and cherish
this beautiful, life-giving river.

We have built a city around her
and asked her to do things
we should never have asked,
we have treated her like a drain,
a convenience, a waste disposable unit
for all the things we don’t want.

We know that it will take
a transformed city
to heal and restore her
to fullness of life.

Transform our hearts and minds,
change us deeply so that we begin
to take responsibility
for our abusive behaviour.

Holy Spirit, count us in,
give us the strength and wisdom,
the aroha and grace
to return the love and life
we have so freely been given.

As she has blessed
may this spirited river
be blessed
by all who live here.

Amen.

— New Brighton 2014

From The In-Between Land: Psalms, Poems and Haiku by Mark Gibson (2015)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 17

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 17

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Pastoral Prayers 2

Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise,
Immortal God, in you we trust;
We give thanks for the eternal assurance of faith.

We come from a long tradition
of those who seek you in the community of Church.
We meet now in this place
seeking to enrich our faith through worship.
We seek release from all that hinders us from encountering you.

Invisible God, in you we trust;
we give thanks for the intangibles
that confirm your reality –

the comfort of love; the ability to trust;
the hope that faith keeps resurrecting,
and the inclination to goodness
you seeded in humankind.
Enable us to use our faith
to do justice and love kindness.

Wise God, in you we trust;
we give thanks that you are there when we understand,

and you are there when we don’t understand.
As we live within you, may you live within us.
Grant us the wisdom to walk
in humble confidence with you.

God of justice, kindness and mercy,
May we never forget that we are made in your image,

Grant us a vibrant faith
that increasingly reflects the Way of Christ.
We come in faith.
We come seeking to be better people. Amen.

From: Lay Preaching Basics by Rosalie Sugrue (2018)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 16

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 16

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

45. Christ Ascended

A brilliant sun
shining on snow-capped mountains
lifts our hearts
to the risen Christ,
presidential, ascendant,
with the Father in glory.
Enable us, awesome Lord,
to pause and revere you,
then to set about the work
for which you have commissioned us,
in and through the power
of the Holy Spirit.

Lord Christ, kingly and supreme,
Aoraki salutes your greatness.
Taranaki, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe
honour you as transcendent
Lord and Messiah.
Hikurangi reaches for
the morning rays of sunrise
before all others.
You are kingship like Taupiri.
You are the summit
of all human searching,
te maungaroa,
te puke teitei,
yet all may reach out
and touch you,
ascendant, triumphant, all-glorious,
in unity with the Father and the Spirit,
for ever adored and worshipped.

From The Shepherd’s Call – Te Karanga o te Hēpara:
Prayers and liturgies for rural Aotearoa New Zealand
By Bill Bennett (2018)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 15

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 15

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Swords Into Ploughshares

Ploughshares –
   implements for cutting furrows
Swords –
   implements for cutting people.

Ploughshares –
   fixed in a frame
   drawn by a horse
   guided by a man
Swords –
   fixed in a hand
   wielded by a man.

Ploughshares –
   used before sowing
Swords –
   used for cutting down

Ploughshares –
   used for rooting out weeds
Swords –
   used for rooting out lives

God help us
  to prepare our life-soil
  to receive your seeds
   of fruitful love.

Isaiah 2: 4

From A Celebration of Life by Meg Hartfield (2016)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 14

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 14

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Seventy-one

Create a quiet place in me, Lord
hush the babble of my mind
the racing of my pulse
then my heart will begin to hear
    your ‘gentle, murmuring voice’

Slow me down, Jesus
I need to take time
to see the beauty of creation
the exquisite intensity of your care
that way I’ll come to appreciate
    and be thankful

Teach me to listen, Abba
to the cries of those in need
the questions of the confused
    so I can learn compassion

In this unquiet world
help me to find a quiet place
    and a quiet time

Lord, I need to hear
the counsel of your spirit
the poetry of your love
then I’ll have something to share
    with those who cannot hear you.

From Redemption Songs by Mark Laurent (2016)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 13

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 13

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

They’re taking my city away

like some failedexperiment
they’re taking my city away

house by house
block by block
whole suburbs
disappearing
to hidden forest
blackhole

dirty trucks
on shattered streets
moving much more than bricks and wood,
moving mem’ries
moving hopes
moving all
the little things
that take a lifetime
to grow

sadness haunts
the empty land
where children once played,
couples made love
argued and cried
neighbours chatted
over fences
about grandchildren
and things

nor’wester
sucking up dust
they’re taking my city away
ground going too
filling our hair
getting in eyes
gritting mouths
with the bitter grain
of what was

they’re taking
my city away
now the sacred task of building
a new one starts –
may we all be the builders
may we build with
wise heads
raise up with
love in our hearts.

— East Christchurch, 2013

From The In-Between Land: Psalms, Poems and Haiku by Mark Gibson (2015)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 12

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 12

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Spirit God (Gathering)

Genesis 1:2; Exodus 19:18 – 20:1-21; Psalm 78:14; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 43:1-5; Malachi 3:1; Mark 1:9-13; Acts 2:1-4

Spirit God, hovering over a watery world,
ordering creation from primordial chaos,
clothing earth’s nakedness with nature’s abundance,
breathing your spirit life into our humanness;
shelter us under your motherly love,
transform our turmoil into tranquillity,
fill up our emptiness with your wisdom divine,
raise us aloft on the winds of eternity.

Spirit God, dwelling in pillars of cloud and of fire,
alighting on Sinai in flaming splendour,
thundering forth commandments of covenant,
sanctifying holy a nation of slaves;
guide us on journeys through barren wastelands,
help us climb mountains for encounters with you,
speak laws of love into our consciences,
make sacred a church of commonplace folk.

Spirit God, filling with glory Solomon’s temple,
soaring heavenward on chariots of fire,
inspiring your prophets with visions that challenge,
promising the coming of the Davidic Messiah;
form from your people your present day temple,
transport us above our everyday thinking,
show us the ways of heaven on earth,
make of us true disciples of the Anointed One.

Spirit God, as a dove descending,
declaring beloved of the Father his Son,
driving the Christ into the wilderness,
inspiring rebuffs to the tempter’s allures;
fly down upon us the blessing of peacefulness,
proclaim our membership of the family of God,
be there for us in our spiritual barrenness,
grant us release from the enemy’s snares.

Spirit God, on Pentecost coming,
sounding like wind and appearing like fire,
descending upon the hundred and twenty,
bringing to birth the new covenant church;
bless our celebration of time that is holy,
full us with the joy that gives light to our lives,
be in our midst as we gather together,
proclaim in and through us the gospel of God. Amen.

From: Prayers for Southern Seasons: Poems and prayers for Christian worship and devotions. By Joy Kingsbury-Aitken.

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 11

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 11

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Approach 4

God of blessings,
We are thankful that we are not alone,
that we have been placed in community.

We are thankful that we live in your world;
A world skewed towards good and not evil;

a world which rates compassion
higher than complacency;
a world where love is cherished and
creatively expressed.

Confront and stir us from dullness of perception;
forgive our lack of response to your Spirit.
Sharpen our awareness of holy ground;
Prompt us to turn aside and see wonders.

Forgive us if we have made your world less loving
and help us live life as your daughters and sons,
actively engaged in life’s wonders and concerns.
Forgive us for times when we have over-reacted,
and for times when we have lagged in zeal.

Encourage us to speak the truth we know
and to act in love wherever love is needed.
Enable us to live in your strength and power,
liberated for the possibilities of the future. Amen.

From: Lay Preaching Basics by Rosalie Sugrue (2018)

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