Transforming Chaos to Creation Church Service

Worship / Produced by partner of TOW

This Sample Service is part of "Work in Worship," a collection of material for work-themed services compiled by David Welbourn. For more services, prayers, songs, readings and sermons, click on the table of contents to the right.

TRANSFORMING CHAOS INTO CREATION

 

INTRODUCTION

The world of work is currently undergoing massive change. To some change is liberating, to others it is frightening. All are affected by it. Many describe working life today as chaotic. This word, however, should - for Christians at least - signify not just disorder and breakdown but opportunities for new order and breakthrough. For we believe in a God whose very purpose is to bring creation out of chaos. In this service we shall face squarely what it means to live through a period of chaos. At the same time we shall attempt to open our hearts and minds to God, that we may discern his creative purpose and be empowered to carry it forward.

 

SENTENCE

There is a voice calling through
the chaos of our time,
there is a spirit moving across
the waters of our world;
there is a movement
a light,
a promise of hope.
(c. Janet Morley)

 

HYMN

(Thou whose almighty word)

 

OPENING PRAYER

Creator Lord,
Breathing your own life into our being,
You gave us the gift of life:
You placed us on this earth,
With its minerals and waters, flowers and fruits;
Living creatures of grace and beauty!
You gave us the care of the earth.
Teach us, O Creator of all things,
That the earth and all its fullness are yours,
The world and those who dwell in it.
Call us yet again to safeguard the gift of Life.

 

FIRST READING

(Genesis 1:1-10, 26-28)

 

PRAYER

From chaos and emptiness
From loneliness and lifelessness
Come, Creator, come.

From darkness and shapelessnes
From the abyss and dreadfulness
Come, Creator, come.

From fearfulness and hopelessness
From weariness and fruitlessness
Come, Creator, come.

Come to your creation
As we wait
And watch
and wish for you.
Come and re-create us in your likeness,
O God, who can create from nothing
And bring order out of chaos.
Come and re-fashion us in your glory.
(David Adam)

 

SECOND READING

Blowing through heaven and earth, and in our hearts and the heart of every living thing, is a gigantic breath - a great Cry - which we call God. Plant life wished to continue its motionless sleep next to stagnant waters, but the Cry leapt up within it and violently shook its roots: "Away, let go of the earth, walk!" Had the tree been able to think and judge, it would have cried, "I don't want to. What are you urging me to do? You are demanding the impossible!" But the Cry, without pity, kept shaking its roots and shouting, "Away, let go of the earth, walk!"

It shouted this way for thousands of eons; and lo! as a result of desire and struggle, life escaped the motionless tree and was liberated.

Animals appeared - worms - making themselves at home in water and mud. "We're just fine", they said. "We have peace and security; we're not budging!"

But the terrible Cry hammered itself pitilessly into their loins. "Leave the mud, stand up, give birth to your betters!"

"We don't want to! We can't!"

"You can't, but I can. Stand up!"

And lo! after thousands of eons, human beings emerged, trembling on their still unsolid legs. Human beings are centaurs; their equine hoofs are planted in the ground, but their bodies from breast to head are worked on and tormented by the merciless Cry. They have been fighting, again for thousands of eons, to drag themselves, like a sword, out of their animalistic scabbard. They are also fighting - this is their new struggle - to draw themselves out of their human scabbard. The human being calls in despair,
"Where can I go: I have reached the pinnacle, beyond is the abyss". And the Cry answers, "I am beyond. Stand up!"
(Nikos Kazantzakis, 'Report to Greco' - slightly adapted)

 

PRAYER

Spirit of God,
you are the breath of creation,
the wind of change that blows through our lives,
opening up new dreams and new hopes,
new life in Jesus Christ.

Forgive our closed minds
which barricade themselves against new
ideas,
preferring the past
to what you might want to do through us
tomorrow.

Forgive our closed eyes
which fail to see the needs of your world,
blind to the opportunities of service and love.

Forgive our closed hands
which clutch our gifts and our wealth
for our use alone.

Forgive our closed hearts
which limit our affection
to ourselves and our own.

Spirit of new life,
forgive and break down the prison walls
of our selfishness,
that we might be open to your love
and open for the service of your world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Janet Morley)

 

THIRD READING

(Romans 8:16-23)

 

PRAYER

Lord:
help us to see in the groanings of the creation
not death throes but birth pangs;
help us to see in suffering a promise for the future,
because it is a cry against the inhumanity of the
present.
Help us to glimpse in protest the dawn of justice,
in the Cross the pathway to resurrection,
and in suffering the seeds of joy. Amen.
(Janet Morley)

 

HYMN

(The earth, the sky, the oceans)

 

SERMON

(Suggested sermon: From Chaos to Creation)

 

INTERCESSIONS

We pray for all those who initiate or are affected by the changes in working life.

for those whose skills are redundant, that they may be willing and able to learn new skills, and be given the opportunities to do so;

for those who are unskilled or insufficiently trained, that all may find a place in the coming "Intelligence Society" and none be excluded from it or from the advantages it brings;

for those who have lost their jobs for whatever reason, that they may retain a sense of their own worth and find new opportunities for self-fulfilment and service;

for those bewildered by change, those who cannot see where they or their organisation are going, that they may rediscover meaning and direction in their lives;

for those who are overworked or who suffer stress or who rarely see their families because of the long hours they put in, that they may be enabled to find a proper balance in life;

for peripheral workers and those who work as contractors or on a temporary basis, that society may find a way to give them the security they need;

for those forced out of employment work and who have of necessity become self-employed; that they may protected from undue risk and worry;

for those who are the main initiators of change, that they may carry forward the changes in as humane a way as possible, and give due consideration both to those who likely to benefit from the changes and those who will be adversely affected by them;

for those responsible for restructuring organisations so that they can survive in today's economic climate, and for those who advise them, that they may seek as far as possible to alleviate the pain and disruption such restructuring will cause;

for those in positions of political and economic power, that may at all times seek the well-being both of their own people and the world economic community.

Let us pray especially for all involved in the field of Information Technology, for they are at the heart of the changes currently taking place.

Lord, we pray for those making international and national decisions about the 'Information Super-Highway'; that the whole range of considerations - political, economic, personal, sectional, communal - may be properly taken into account.

Lord, we pray for those setting up and administering national data-banks; we give thanks for the good they can do in co-ordinating information. We remember those who misuse the information they hold.

Lord, we pray for those involved in Research and Development in computers; that they may exercise with care the power and responsibility they have for making changes in our world and our lives. We remember those who have lost their jobs as a result of new technology.

Lord, we pray for those who have boring keyboard jobs, those who suffer from Repetitive Strain Injury, or eyestrain. We pray for willingness to deal with the causes of such problems.

Lord, we pray for those in small computing businesses; the difficulties they face in chasing creditors; the stress on them, the risks they have to take - perhaps even with their own homes.

Lord, we pray for those who write computer games: some which are used to do much good at school, others to encourage people to gamble, some which are used just to make money. We pray for those who are addicted to computer and arcade games, and for their families; and for those who are anxious about the violence of some computer games.

Lord, we pray for those frightened of computers and other sorts of new technology; those who feel they cannot master using them; those who feel old or who lose their confidence in the face of change and new things.

Lord, we pray that technology may be the servant, not the controller of our lives. Amen.
(From 'Work in Worship', Peterborough Diocese People and Work Programme, courtesy of Paul Middleton.)

 

Lord we pray,
That people may increasingly work together in agreement,
doing things which are sane to do,
with mutual helpfulness and tolerance;

That the great masses of humanity
may rise out of dwarfing pressures and cramped surroundings
To understanding and participation;

That the resources of the earth
may be husbanded and harvested,
economised and used
with scientific skill for the maximum of human benefit;

That towns and cities may be finely built
and men and women finely taught and trained;

That there may be open ways
and peace and freedom
from end to end of the earth;

That through the great body of humankind
may go evermore
an increasing common understanding,
an intensifying fellowship. Amen.
(Prayers for the City of God - slightly adapted)

 

Creator God,
in this beautiful and dangerous world
in which you have placed us,
we pray today
for all who, in your name,
seek to bring order out of chaos.

Where the forces of darkness and fear are mustered
we know you are present in power.

O Jesus, you walked this way
when you came in human form.
You have known the tension,
the heartache and the hurt.

Through your work and ministry
lead us in the real world,
where evil has to be confronted
and lights have to puncture the darkness.

Stimulate us to give active support
to those who are in the firing line,
by prayer, by word, by letter,
greeting them as your children
and encouraging them by our own faithfulness.
(c. YMCA)

 

HYMN

(Lord of all good, our gifts we bring to thee)

 

CLOSING PRAYERS

For the potential you have given us
For the possibilities that lies before us
We thank you, heavenly Father.

For our plans and their fulfilment
For your promises and their enjoyment
We thank you, heavenly Father.

In the problems that await us
In the perils that will meet us
Protect us, heavenly Father.

In the pains of our achievements
In the powers that would control us
Protect us, heavenly Father.

In our purposes and leisure
In our passions and our pleasure
Protect us, heavenly Father.
(c. David Adam 'Power Lines')

 

Grant us the patience
to smooth the way
on which your kingdom comes to us.
Grant us hope,
that we may not weary
in proclaiming and working for it,
despite so many conflicts,
threats and shortcomings.
Grant us a clear vision
that in this hour of our history
we may see the horizon,
and know the way
on which your Kingdom comes to us.
Amen.
(Janet Morley)

 

BLESSING

May God the Father, the Creator and Lord of all, who calls you to share in his creative purpose, enable
you to create after the pattern of his Son and in the power of his Spirit. And may the blessing of God
Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you in your work and in your homes, this day and for
evermore. Amen.



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