a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: You, O Lord…

You, O Lord, are our strong tower, our refuge and help in every trouble. Forgive us when we hide away from the challenges of following your call, using your word to build walls that insulate us from your world.

You, O Lord, are everywhere present. Forgive us when we want you to walk alongside us, when we ought to ask for the grace to walk alongside you wherever you are going.

You, O Lord, are the one who hears and answers our cries. Forgive us when our prayer is only self-serving, asking your stamp of approval or your help for our desires, and not for your glory.

You, O Lord, are our counselor and comforter. Forgive us when we seek only comfort, ignoring what we have done wrong and refusing to be confronted or challenged.

You, O Lord, are the one who calls us to come and follow. Forgive our blindness to your people in need, our deafness to your creation groaning for relief, our hearts hardened against the new thing you are doing. Teach us to pray, teach us to listen, teach us to serve, teach us to follow you wherever you are going.

~silence~

One:  Help us, O God,

All:  to know you so well that we cannot help but love you, and to love you so much we cannot help but serve you, sharing your good news in every place, for it is in doing your will that we find perfect freedom. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, The Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL.

confession and assurance: darkness and light

*Prayer of Confession

   We hear that we are loved, but we struggle to receive it. We err on the side of fear and judgment rather than faith and love. We choose darkness instead of light. We hear there is eternal life, but refuse to believe it.

   Forgive us when we choose darkness over light. Have mercy on us when we choose judgment over love. Remind us that you hear our cry in the wilderness and we will not perish
(time of silent confession)

 

*Assurance of Pardon   
The Light has come into the world and the darkness shall not overcome it!
God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Rejoice! Beloved children of God, we are forgiven!
Alleluia! Amen!

Submitted by Rev. Kathryn Z. Johnston – Mechanicburg Presbyterian Church – Mechanicsburg, PA

confession and assurance: even in the darkness

*PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Gracious and Loving God, we spend so much of our lives in the darkness, not daring to step into your light. But in your light is life, and in the darkness, only death. Teach us to turn back to the light of your love. Amen. 

*WORDS OF ASSURANCE

One:   God shows us the light in Jesus Christ so, that we may have life and have it abundantly.
ALL:  God blesses us, even in seasons of darkness. We remember
     the promises of God’s love. Our despair turns to hope and  our sorrow into joy.

 

Submitted by Rev. Elsa Peters, First Congregational Church, South Portland, ME

great prayer of thanksgiving: Enduring Love

L:    The Lord of Light be with you.
P:    And also with you.
L:    As Christ was lifted up to save us,
let us offer our hearts to God.
P:    We lift them to the One 
       who feeds us on the Bread of heaven.
L:    Pilgrims of Lent, continue to offer praise
to the One who leads you into life.
P:    We give thanks to God, whose love
       is constant through all eternity.

You spoke the Word,
Enduring Love,
and life flowed from
that emptiness called chaos,
becoming goodness and beauty.
You showered the earth
with your peace and kindness,
filling our lives with light.
We grew impatient in the garden,
grumbling that there was nothing for us,
and hearing the cries of seduction,
offered our lives to their deadly songs.
You sent prophets to us,
so we might be drawn to you,
but like disobedient children
we closed our ears to their words.
Hearing the silent cries
of our deepest hearts,
you sent Jesus to us,
to lift us to your presence.

So with wilderness wanderers
and ungracious grumblers,
with those who have been offered life,
and all who seek to follow your Son,
we lift our voices in thanksgiving:

P:    Holy, holy, holy, God of everlasting love.
     All those gathered from every corner of the world 
          sing your praises.
      Hosanna in the highest.

      Blessed is the One who comes to save the world.
       Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, Merciful Creator,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Light and Life of all.
Knowing how we choose the shadows,
he became the Light to illumine
the way back to you.
Hearing our hearts breaking in grief,
he became the Love
which would defeat sin’s evil.
Seeing you weep
over your poisoned creation,
he became the Compassion
which would save the world,
including your children.

As we remember his life, his ministry, his death;
as we follow him through Good Friday into Easter,
we speak of that mystery known as faith:

P:    Christ came to call us back to you;
       Christ died to save us;
       Christ will come again to lift us to you.

Silence our foolish grumbling,
so we might hear you
calling us to the Table,
where the simple gifts of
the bread and of the cup
are filled with your Spirit.
As you heal us with
the brokenness of Jesus,
send us to bring hope to the world.
As you satisfy us with
the joyous taste of grace,
may we go forth to offer
mercy and peace to everyone we meet.

And when our pilgrimage has ended,
when we join our sisters and brothers
of every time and place around your Feast,
the redeemed of the Lord will lift their voices
forever singing of your steadfast love,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

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

confession: words vs. actions

The words we speak all too often do not show you in our lives, God of our pilgrimage.  We spend so much time boasting to others, they imagine we have no need for you. We grumble impatiently when you don’t respond immediately to our requests, but are slow to sing your praises. We mutter under our breath about the behavior of those around us, when we could be asking them if there is some way we could serve them.

It is on our journey to the cross and the tomb that you fill us with the riches of your mercy, Steadfast Love!  You do so, not because of any thing we have done, but because of the compassion which flows from your heart wounded by our failings.  As we open our lives to receive your forgiveness, may we turn to the Light which brings us life, following Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, every step of the way.

Silence is kept

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

call/assurance: the riches of mercy

Call to Reconciliation

In becoming one of us, God became poor so we could receive the riches of mercy.  In coming to us, God took on our death, so we could be made alive together with Christ.  Come, offer your confessions, knowing that by grace you have been saved.

Assurance of Pardon
L:    How much does God love us?  Enough to send the divine heart, hope, and spirit to us, not to condemn us, but to save us.
P:    Not by our speaking or doing, but by God’s good and precious grace are we saved.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

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

prayer: love, grace, peace

When once we let sin
coil itself around our hearts,
you wrap us in the
comforting shawl of grace.
When once
we obsessed over us,
you freed us to give
our selves away to the world.
Ceaseless Creator,
your love overwhelms us
each and every day.

Where once
we sat by the edge of the way,
with sin and death on either side,
now we can pull up a chair
next to you, to rest our lives onyou.
Where once
we hungered for love
and thirsted for compassion,
now we are filled at your Table.
Healing Hope,
your grace flows through us
each and every day.

When we are tempted
to submit our resumes
to the Evil One,
you put us to work,
caring for the outsiders.
When we are tempted
to mutter our way
through each moment,
you teach us songs of grace.
Faithful Spirit,
your peace surrounds us
each and every day.

You are with us each and every day,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we have been taught,
Our Father . . .

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

CTW: we come to offer

L:    We come, to offer all we have to God:
P:    our minds, our bodies; our hearts, our hopes.
L:    We come, to offer all we are to God:
P:    our relationships with families and friends,
      our longing to draw closer to other pilgrims.
L:    We come, to offer all we would be to God:
P:    our faith, our discipleship; our yearning to follow Jesus.
L:    We come, to offer our selves to God:
P:    who offers life, joy, and peace in Jesus Christ.

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

Sunday’s Coming: working toward March 18

Oh boy, the snake week! :-)

I confess that this Sunday we will have a cantata (John Rutter’s Requiem) so I won’t be preaching on snakes this year, nor on obscure references to said snakes in the midst of a much-beloved, almost-cliche story. Will you?

Perhaps this week you’ll be considering the many ways in which it is both true and difficult to believe that God is good, all the time. 

Or maybe you’ll seize the opportunity to explore how we are justified by grace through faith, and we participate in good works prepared for us ahead of time–as a way of life.

Or maybe you’re in the midst of a Lenten series…

whatever you’re working on this week, stop in for a chat! Share your seeds, sparks, and ideas well-formed or still very vague. One word, one phrase, an image, a feeling, an atmosphere…and let’s join in creating together! When we bounce our ideas around who knows what might happen?

confession: can’t see

You call us to love you with all our heart, all our mind, all our strength.
But there are so many obstacles.
Sometimes we just can’t see, even when your work is in plain sight.
Sometimes we don’t want to hear your word, because we are afraid it will change us.
Sometimes we can’t imagine another way, so we walk past your path.
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.