'Unbind him, let him go free!' Jesus’ bold words thrill us still. They stir our deep desire to be free. We long to be free from fear, sadness, worry, pain and every life-denying force we name as sin. Yet in spite of ourselves we cling to what enslaves and imprisons us. We need to hear for ourselves the command of Jesus that called Lazarus back to life; we need others to help loosen the bonds that hold us fast. That’s our mission in the community of faith: to hear and heed the word of God and to serve each other’s freedom.
Dear friends, the spirit of God summons us out of the grave of our sin and sends us forth on a mission of love. Let us embrace the whole of God’s world and bless it with heartfelt prayer.
1. For Christian communities around the globe, that they will reach out in compassion to those who have lost heart in life and will become a beacon of hope for the human family, (pause) let us pray to the Lord.
2. For people in Fiji living in informal settlements without rights or services, that the success of Project Compassion this Lent will help the People’s Community Network continue its work of advocacy on their behalf, (pause) let us pray to the Lord.
3. For the tens of millions displaced from their homelands by war, persecution or famine, that Australia and partner nations will do everything possible to provide them with support and shelter, (pause) let us pray to the Lord.
4. For the people of Yemen, Iraq and Syria, that their terrible suffering from bombing and bombardment will come to an end and they can begin to rebuild their lives, (pause) let us pray to the Lord.
5. [Vic & Qld] For students and teachers commencing school holidays, that these weeks will be a time of safety, relaxation, and enrichment in body, mind and spirit, (pause) let us pray to the Lord.
6. For families with loved ones who have died or been badly injured in road accidents, that they will find the strength to live through their trauma and be drawn closer together, (pause) let us pray to the Lord.
7. For ourselves and for those being readied for baptism at Easter, that our faith in Jesus, our crucified and risen Lord, will lead us ever more fully into the freedom of the children of God, (pause) let us pray to the Lord.
8. For the recently deceased ... and for those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time, that they will share for ever in the resurrection and life of Jesus Christ, (pause) let us pray to the Lord.
God of life, at the dawn of time your Word summoned all things into being, and in the fullness of time vanquished the power of sin and death. Help us to live always in the light of his love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.