a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Confession: we don’t want to understand

Holy God, we like to claim that your way is mysterious and we are uncertain how to follow. We confess that we don’t want to understand the fast that you choose. You call us to loose the bonds of injustice, to let prisoners free, to break every yoke, to bring the homeless into our house, to feed our neighbours and pray for our enemies. We make it sound like a difficult metaphor so we don’t have to act on your word, because we don’t like to be uncomfortable. Forgive our apathy, our wilful ignorance, our false modesty, and our unexamined privilege. Create in us a clean heart, and lead us into a Holy Lent…and beyond, to abundant life for all your creation. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

CTW: the Spirit is with us

One: As we walk into the wilderness, setting our face toward the cross,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: As we focus and prepare, fasting by letting go and by taking on,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: Facing temptations, finding help from unexpected quarters,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: Come, let us seek God’s way together.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: we resist

God who pushes and pulls, coaxing and sending, we confess to you that we often resist your movement, wishing you would let us go our own way. If we’re completely honest, we give in to temptation more often than we resist. We confess that we have preferred to gorge ourselves on things other than your word; we have longed for power over others; we have bargained with your promise and begged for minor miracles. Forgive us, Holy One. Show us your way in the wilderness. Guide us to your path, and teach us to follow. We pray in the name of Christ, Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

CTW: covenant-making God

One: Hear and believe the good news: God has called us “my people”!
All: God has set up a covenant, over and over again,
choosing us even before we can choose,
faithful even when we are faltering.

One: In the flood, in the wilderness, in exile;
in certainty and doubt, abundance and scarcity;
God’s promise is true to the thousandth generation.
All: We see the rainbow, we hear our names, we learn the commandments,
we look up for our help, we know in our hearts:
we love because God first loved us,
we follow because God first came to us,
we can be faithful because God is faithful.

One: Come, let us worship God together.

 

(On Palm/Passion Sunday, this may be used as an Assurance of Forgiveness with a few minor alterations noted here….and during the assurance, the blocks placed after the confessions throughout Lent can be constructed into a cross as described here.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

Confession: bow in the clouds

Covenant-making God, you declare your compassion for all your creation.
You promised to care for every creature,
and placed your bow in the clouds as a reminder of that promise.
We confess that we are prone to limiting your promise to humanity….
or, rather, to us.
Forgive us when we narrow your grace,
thinking that creation is for our use and we are free to exploit and destroy.
Remind us that we are made in your image,
and called to love as you love…down to the smallest creature.
Guide our eyes to see the rainbow,
sign of your promise that violence shall not have the last word,
and help us to follow you more faithfully.
We pray in the name of the One who was obedient to your non-violent will,
even to the cross and beyond to the empty tomb, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

(A block with a rainbow may be placed on/near the table or other space designated for symbols of the season)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Other liturgy for this series following the Old Testament readings for Lent B may be found here.

Prayer: God of Rainbow Promises

Prayer of the Day
How you love us, God of rainbow promises!
Like a mother who teaches her son
the steps for his first dance,
like the father who goes out
with his daughter after work
so she can learn how to drive,
you love us that much and more.

How you offer yourself to us, Brother of the beloved!
You gather us up in your arms,
simply to hear our deepest hopes;
you reach out your scarred hands
to gently wipe our fears away;
you stain a cross with your blood,
so we might washed clean in the tears
pouring down God’s face.

How you share yourself with us, journey’s Spirit!
You bathe our wearied souls
in the cooling waters of baptism;
you wipe the dust of the wilderness
out of our eyes so we can see the kingdom;
you teach us those ancient ways
which offer new life for each of us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
be with us in this Lenten season,
even as we pray, saying,
Our Father . . .

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

confession: distracted

You call us to love you with all our heart, all our mind, all our strength.
But so often we are worried and distracted by many things.
We forget your love and your call to love,
and we begin to think it is about us—
about our image, about doing it right,
about being the best, about getting what we want.
We forget to look to you, and even when we look, our vision is clouded.
Clear the chaos within us, O God,
that we may focus on you.
We will seek you with our whole hearts.
Amen.

 

Submitted by the Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL.

confession: walking reluctantly

(inspired by Ann Weems’ poem “The Walk”)

For those of us who walk along this road reluctantly, Lent is not our favorite time of year.

You call us to rest and reflect, O God, but we’d rather be more active – planning and scurrying around. The Lenten season is too contemplative to suit us. Besides we don’t know what to do with piousness and prayer. Perhaps, Merciful God, we’re afraid to have time to think, for thoughts come unbidden. Perhaps we’re afraid to face our future knowing our past.

Give us courage, O God, to hear your word and read our living into it. Give us the trust to know we’re forgiven, and give us the faith to take up our lives and walk in your path.

submitted by Rev. Shannon Meacham, Pastor, Ashland Presbyterian Church, Cockeysville, MD

confession: ready, willing, and able?

God of our renewed lives,
we talk about being better people…
doing things differently…
living more disciplined lives;
but we always talk about doing it tomorrow…
or next week…
or after the beginning of the new year.
Meanwhile, your Spirit surrounds us…
and we swat you away like a pesky fly…
because we don’t have the time, or the energy,
to be transformed.
So lead us to a quiet place of readiness…
and inspire, in us, a willing attitude…
so that we may be able to welcome your newness…
even now…as we offer our silent confessions…

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

Lenten communion: covenant keeper

L: May the God of Lent be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: People of God, open your hearts.
P: We open them to the One who calls us ‘Beloved.’
L: Beloved of God, give thanks and praise to the One
who loves you forever.
P: We sing our hymns of joy to the One
who leads us into the kingdom.

Hearts overflow with you, Covenant Keeper,
as we lift our hearts to you.
When there was no time as we know it,
you crafted day and night,
so we could wait for you in every moment,
tasting the savory goodness of grace.
You imagined those moments
of gathering us to your side
to teach us all the wonder of your ways,
but we turned our ears towards
the whispered invitations of the Evil One,
running off to play in the wilderness
with rebellion and death our guides.
You recalled the promises you had made
to Noah, to Sarah, to Joseph, and to Hannah,
and so sent the prophets to remind us
of the good gift of your covenant
and to point out the ways to your heart.
When we continued to ignore their words,
you sent Jesus to be with us,
to set us free from the imprisonment
we had created for ourselves.

So, we lift our voices with those who waited patiently,
and with those who trust your covenantal promises,
joining the choirs of heaven and earth,
who forever sing of your hope and love:

P: Holy, holy, holy, Everlasting God of grace.
Every living creature in heaven and earth sing your praises.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who sits as your right hand of mercy.
Hosanna in the highest.

Faithful and holy are you, Creator of all,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Steadfast Love and Hope.
When he could have stayed at your side
during the days of our rebellion and pride,
he came to be our friend and guide.
When he could have feasted on your power,
in those days of glory with you,
he came to prepare a Table for us
where our hardened hearts might be softened,
and our broken lives might be made whole.
When he could have the angels waiting on him,
he came to serve us your forgiveness and grace,
enduring death on the cross
so we could have life forever.

As we begin once more our Lenten journey,
as we seek to follow faithfully, remembering
the life, the death, the resurrection of Jesus,
we tell the story of that mystery we call faith:

P: Christ died to set us free from sin;
Christ rose to break the power of death;
Christ will come again, to bring the kingdom
as close to us as God’s heart.

Pour out your Spirit of imagination
upon this bread, and this cup,
gifts of your good and wonderful creation.
As we are embraced at the Table
by the One who has prepared it for us,
may we open our hearts to welcome
our sisters and brothers.
As we have been set free by your love,
may we proclaim freedom to the prisoners
confined by fear and oppression;
as we are filled with the Bread of life,
may we never cease feeding
the hungry of our world;
as we are nurtured by compassion’s cup,
may we go out into the wilderness around us,
to take the lost, the last, the least, the little
by the hand to walk together
into that kingdom prepared for all your children.

And we we are gathered around the Table
with your beloved children of every time and place,
our songs will join together as our tears of joy mingle,
singing your praises forever and ever to you:
God of David and Rebecca, of Mary and Noah;
Jesus of the outcast and lonely;
Spirit of those who seek peace and reconciliation:
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen and Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.