Liturgies for Women

gift-of-love-11WOMEN WHO ANOINTED JESUS – A Liturgy for Holy Week

685 Lord, I come to you

God’s love be with  you.
And also with you.

Opening Prayer

Holy God
we gather to remember
one whose gratitude and love,
overcame fear,
shame and embarrassment.
We come to reflect
on acts of generosity, free from restraint or inhibition.
May our own lives be reformed and reshaped
by the experience of your love for us
and ours for you.

We ask this through Jesus our example who taught us to love and be loved. Amen.


Loving God,
whose Son Jesus graciously
received Mary’s outpouring of love,
teach us to be open and receptive
to the generosity of others
that in learning to receive,
we may be freed to give.  Amen.

Is 42:1-9
Ps 36::5-11

John 12:1-12

Reflection 676 A spendthrift lover is the Lord

Take some time to reflect on instances of God’s extravagant abandon.
Think of the extravagances you deny yourself.
What holds you back from accepting that you are loved or from sharing that love with others?



Remembering that God already knows and treasures us, let us have the confidence to see ourselves as we really are and turn our lives around.

We acknowledge our self absorption and our insistence on
independence, all that prevents us from accepting God’s love and mercy.

We acknowledge that we are not always generous of spirit.
We hold our love and our wealth to ourselves.

We acknowledge the times when we hold back, when we are afraid to act because of what people might think.

We repent, and are sorry,  forgive us, and set us free to love. Amen.


God’s love  for us is never withheld,
no matter how far we stray.
Know with certainty that you are loved and forgiven
and be made whole. Amen.

Greeting of Peace
We are the body of Christ.
His Spirit is with us.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

Thanksgiving Prayer

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you extravagant God,
who created us,
who knows our frailties and continues to believe in our potential.

We thank you for Jesus Christ
whose unconditional love inspired loyalty,
discipleship and generosity.
By sharing our life, he revealed life as it could be,
and by submitting to death,  freed us to live.

Therefore with all those who have captured the vision of your story, with all the saints and all the company of heaven, we praise you saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

And now loving God, we thank you for these gifts of bread and wine,
symbols of Jesus’ love  and life,
may we who eat and drink them be partakers of his body and blood
know his presence in and with us and share that presence with others.

On the night he was betrayed, he took bread,
and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples
saying: “Take eat, this is my body, given for you.”
After supper he took a cup of wine and gave you thanks, He gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink from this all of you, this is my blood poured out for many. Do this in remembrance of me.

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

And so we celebrate as Jesus asked us to
remembering his death and resurrection
and his promise to draw us to himself.,
Pour your spirit on this gathering and this feast,
that we may draw strength from Jesus
and be Christ’s presence in the world.
Blessing and honour and glory and power
are yours forever and ever. Amen.

Breaking of the bread and Holy Communion
Behold who you are, become what you receive –
the body and blood of Christ.

Sending out of God’s people
Generous God
whose love surrounds, encourages and strengthens us,
we give you thanks that empowered and inspired
by word and sacrament
we return to a world longing to know your love.
May we spread the perfume of your love,
and may our lives be redolent with your grace.


May the fragrance of God’s love infuse every aspect of your
the knowledge of Jesus’ presence inform everything you do,
and the inspiration of the Spirit release you to be who you are called to be,
and the blessing of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier be with you now and always.  Amen.


Go in the peace of God to love and be loved.
And so we go.

Sing we, sing of a blessing (Miriam Therese Winter, WomanWord, WomanSong)

Copyright; Marian Free 2007


AT DAY’S END We lay our burdens down

Sunset on Flinder's Island

Sunset on Flinder’s Island

Come to the quiet.
We come.
Come to the peace.
We come.
Come to the presence of God.
We come.Lay down your heavy loads.
We lay them down.
Place your trust in God who loves you.
We place our trust in God.
Rest your souls in God’s  peace.
We rest in peace.

At days end
we give thanks for all that has been
we accept all that has not been done.
We let go of today
so that we can fully live tomorrow. Amen.

Psalm: 131

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

Mark 1:35

Psalm 134

Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
who stand by night in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands to the holy place,
and bless the Lord.
May the Lord, maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion.

Matthew 6:25-34


John 14:27

Psalm 4: 4-8

When you are disturbed, do not sin,
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us O Lord!”
You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

The day is done.
God be praised.
The time of rest is near.
God be praised.
We go to sleep in peace.
To rise with joy tomorrow.

Loving God,
we place ourselves completely in your hands,
trusting you with our past, our present and our future.
Help us to place our burdens at your feet
and to leave them there,
for our burdens are of our own making
and you would take them from us. Amen.


May the peace of the tallest mountain
and the peace of the smallest stone be your peace.
May the stillness of the stars watch over you.
May the everlasting music of the wave lull you to rest,
May you place yourself under the shadow of God’s wings
and know yourself safe and secure. Amen.

Copyright Marian Free 2008

A prayer for the start of the day

Lord, help me to live this day quietly, easily,
to lean on your great strength trustfully, restfully,
to wait for the unfolding of your will patiently,
to greet others peacefully,  joyously,
to face tomorrow confidently, courageously.

St Francis of Assissi


Graced by God


    A Celebration of the Incarnation 2004


Opening Prayer:

 Holy God surround us,

and saturate us with your grace.

Unveil our eyes,

liberate our minds,

and expose our hearts to your presence.


May we experience you now

as a new born child –

naked, vulnerable and open

wanting only to be loved

and received by us. Amen.





Vulnerable God,

forced from the womb into a hostile world,

bursting into life, risk and danger.

Come to us now.

Gentle God,

crying out to take a first breath,

trusting arms reaching for love,

mouth searching for nipple.

Come to us now.


Risk-taking God,

revealing yourself to your creation,

exposing yourself to its hazards,

sharing with those you love

the costs and benefits of life on earth.

Come to us now.



God, to whom all things are sacred,

and who in Jesus, graced the world, humanity

and even our human form,

free us from the dualisms we create,

that we may see you in all things

and know all things in you.

We ask this through the same Jesus,

born of a woman, to prove all things holy. Amen.




Time of reflection/symbolic action (You will need a collection of scarves, sequins, lace, needles, thread, glue and anything else that takes your fancy.)

Take a scarf from the basket. Consider what it means to believe that God shares our human existence.

Place the scarf on your head – feel God’s presence as shelter,

on your shoulders – know God’s close embrace,

around your hands – allow God to include in God’s creative plan,

beneath you feet – what is the path God has laid before you?


Holding one hand close to yourself, draw the scarf through your hand into the distance – bring forth the God within.


Using the materials available, decorate your scarf in such a way that you are reminded that God incarnate shared our human existence and that God continues to be incarnate in those who love God.


If you feel like it, share something of your experience.






God who brought creation to birth,

now born into that same creation,

make us co-creators of a world in which

all are fed, all are safe and in which all have hope.

God beside and within us.

Stand with us always.


God who took on creation’s fragile existence,

transform our pain into joy,

our sorrow into laughter,

our striving into peace,

our transience into eternity.

God beside and within us.

Stand with us always.


God, rejected by your creation,

strengthen the victims of violence and oppression,

all who are abused and neglected,

and those who struggle to find a place to belong.

God beside and within us.

Stand with us always.

God who rose beyond the constraints of creation,

free us from the bonds of  fear, cowardice and inaction,

release in us a passion for justice,

a yearning for change,

a belief in re-creation

and a desire to bring it about.

God beside and within us.

Stand with us always.


Sending out:

 Go into a world formed by God, graced by God

and transformed by God’s love.


 Bring to birth the God within

and so grace the world with your presence.

Transform it with love,

fill it with joy,

inspire it with courage,

challenge it with vision,

and renew it with passion. Amen.


Greeting of Peace


Copyright: Marian Free 2004. If you think these words are worth using in your context, please acknowledge the author.


A Celebration of the Incarnation
God with us

Opening Prayer:: 326  Love’s the secret


God of energy and love,
steal into the hidden places of our hearts,
flow through the desolation of failed dreams and unmet goals,
lighten the darkness of fear and
breathe your spirit into the emptiness of our existence,

batter down our walls,
shatter our resistance,
undermine  our arrogance
disturb our self-confidence,
overcome our shame,
banish our embarrassment,
confront our timidity,

until at last,
we are no longer afraid to open ourselves to your presence,
and are ready to allow you to make your home in us. Amen.


God whose creative energy formed us,
whose messenger speaks to us,
whose spirit hovers over us and,
whose Son grows within us,
fashion in us a desire to so nurture your presence within
that we may bring you to birth,
and in so-doing transform the world. Amen.

Reading: Northumbrian sequence IV Kathleen Raine


Gal 4:4-6
Rev 3:14-22
Luke 1:26-38


In what ways do you resist God’s presence in you?
How can you open yourself more fully to God?
If you would like, use the fabric and bits and pieces to make something that represents how you can better respond to God’s


Jesus you entered our world
silently, inconspicuously, insignificantly,
enter our lives,
quietly, confidently, definitely.

Jesus, you lived a life that was
courageous, confronting, faithful,
make us
confident, risk-taking, true.

Jesus, you faced death
isolated, abandoned, sorrowful,
come to us when we are
anguished, betrayed, hopeless.

Jesus as you have known what it is to be us,
may we struggle to learn what it is to be you, Amen.

Jesus I know you in me in ..
as you name how Jesus is present in you, you might like to light a
candle, or offer the results of your reflection

Hymn: Thou didst leave thy throne


Jesus, come to us in the silence
Jesus, come to us in the clamour
Jesus, come to us in the commonplace
Jesus, come to us in the exceptional
Jesus come to us in the holy,
Jesus, come to us in the mundane
Jesus, come to us on the mountain top,
Jesus, come to us in the valley.
Jesus, come. Come to us. Enter into us. Fill us. Be born in us. Amen.

Copyright Marian Free 2008

Jesus called her by name: “Mary”

A Celebration of the Feast of Mary Magdalene.

Marian Free

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Sentence: Then I was compelled by your presence and my heart turned within me.

Opening Prayer:

Jesus, our friend and lover,
we are gathered here today,
because you have called us by name.
As you spoke to Mary in the garden,
so may you speak to us now.
Give us a sure knowledge of your risen presence,
now and always. Amen.



God of compassion,
we acknowledge before you our sins of submission,
our failure to recognise our gifts and to use them,
the times when you have spoken to us
and we have been too preoccupied to hear.
Forgive us, strengthen us, renew us,
in Jesus’ name. Amen.

May the God who meets us outside the tomb,
free you from all those things
which constrain and limit you.
Acknowledge as Lord, the one who calls you by name,
and start your life again,
restored and forgiven. Amen.

Loving God,
friend of women,
reach out to us in love
when we find the tomb empty
and all hope gone.
Give to us a message of new life for the world,
in the same of the risen Christ. Amen.

Song of Songs 3:1-4a
Ps 63
2 Cor 5:16-21


John 20-1-21 (Janet Morley, All Desires Known)


Creator God,
You made all people different;
yet each one in Your image,
and we know You by their names.

O God of all People,
we praise You with our names.

(You may wish to share – briefly – a time when God called you by name, or became known to you.)

Confession of faith:

We believe in God who created all things
out of nothing.

We believe in Jesus
who burst the bonds of death and set us free.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
who loves us and empowers us to be ourselves.

Response: When all hope is gone,
May we hear your voice again.

Greeting of Peace:

We are the Body of Christ.
Christ’s Spirit is with us.
The peace of God is always with you.
And also with you.


Prayer of Thanksgiving:

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right to give you thanks and praise, Creator God, who out of nothing formed and fashioned the universe and all that is in it and who formed us – women and men – in God’s own likeness.

We give you thanks and praise that you reveal yourself to men and women, prophets and martyrs, saints and sinners through all the ages.

We give you thanks and praise that, loving us, you came to live among us in the person of Jesus, born of our sister Mary.
Teacher and friend, revealer and guide, champion of the oppressed, you loved us to the point of death and freed us from the constraints which bind us, reconciling us to you.

We give your thanks and praise that, rising from death, you sent us your Holy Spirit, burning as fire, gentle as a dove – a reminder of your presence with us.

Now, as we gather around your table, we join with women and men throughout the ages in one unending song.

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

We thank you holy God for the gifts of your creation and especially for this bread and wine, may they be for us the body and blood of Christ, uniting us with you and all who believe in you and filling us with your everlasting love.

As we share these gifts we call to mind Jesus’ charge to us.
For on the night he was betrayed he took the bread; and when he had given you thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink from this, all of you. This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

After supper, he took the cup, and again, giving you thanks, he gave it to his disciples saying: “Drink from this all of you, this is my blood of the new covenant which is shed or you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

May we who receive these gifts be filled with your love and power and, through your spirit, be Christ’s body in the world bringing peace and justice, love and forgiveness to all whose lives are broken and to all who cannot hear your voice.

Blessing and honour and glory and power are yours forever and ever. Amen.

As our Saviour has taught us we are confident to pray:
Our Father, in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
We who are many are one body.
For we all share in the same bread.

The gifts of God for the people of God.
Holy things for holy people.

Post communion sentence:
Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord.”

Post communion prayer:

We thank you loving God, that your nurture and feed us as a mother feeds her children. May we who have shared together the sacrament of your love, take that love with us into the world; we who join together as one, take with us the power of the many;                                                                                   we whom you meet at the tomb, take with us the message of your risen presence. Amen.



May the blessing of God, creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier be with you all, now and always. Amen.

Go and say: “I have seen the Lord.”
We have seen the Lord.

Copyright: Marian Free 1993.


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