a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: remembering who we are

One: Come from east and west, north and south!
All: From everywhere God has placed us,
with everything God has given us,
as the people God made us—we come.

One: Come, receive again the gift of grace!
All: Not for owning, not for boasting, but for celebrating—we come.
One: Come, discover again the way that leads to life!
All: Remembering who we are, seeking who we are yet to be—we come.

(Suggested opening hymn: We Rejoice To Be God’s Chosen)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: we don’t understand grace

Your generous creativity is beyond all our imagining, O God! You breathe the breath of life into us, your Spirit flows free, bringing new life in every place, your grace falls like rain on all creation. And yet we confess that often we would prefer a system of earning our way into your favour. We understand transactions and fairness, we don’t understand grace. We want to be able to say we deserve your love and forgiveness, to be proud of our accomplishments in following your call. But you insist there is nothing to be earned, nothing to be bought, nothing to be proud of. Instead you call us your accomplishment, you create and re-create us in your image, preparing for us a way of life that we are not sure how to follow. Forgive us, generous God, for thinking your ways are like our ways. Open our hearts to know the truth of your grace, and to live in your redeemed creation. 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: monsters within

Covenant-making God, you provide for us in many different ways,
and we confess that we do not always recognise you at work in the world around us.
We get impatient, wanting you to work on our schedule.
We wish for something more or different than what you have offered.
We want someone else to solve problems we have had a hand in creating.
Forgive our foolish ways, our thoughtless words, our arrogant ignorance.
Help us to face the monsters within.
Turn our eyes once again to you, and focus our hearts on your way,
that we may be faithful to your promise.
We pray in the name of the One who is lifted up in the desert,
drawing all people to himself, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

 

(A block with a Rod of Asclepius (a snake around a pole…this block should be twice the height of the other blocks) may be placed near the other blocks.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

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

confession: turn impatience into action

Faithful God,

Just like our ancestors in the faith, we are impatient. They did not want to wander in the wilderness. We do not want to wait in traffic. Help us to turn our impatience into action. Focus our frustrations on the things that need to be changed. God, we do not want to wait any longer for an end to war. We do not want to wait any longer for an end to homelessness and hunger. We do not want to wait any longer for everyone to have enough. Kindle our righteous anger, O God, and move us toward acts of justice, so all may experience the saving love of your Son, our Savior. Amen.
submitted by Rev. Susannah DeBenedetto, Salisbury, Maryland

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.