a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Confession: You invite, but…

One:    You, Lord, invite us into relationship

All:     but relationships are messy and hard work, so we turn you into an idea instead.


One:    You, Lord, invite us to trust,

All:     but we insist trust must be earned, so we turn back to what we know.


One:    You, Lord, invite us to come in,

All:     but we aren’t sure we want to commit, so we stand in the doorway, undecided.


One:    You, Lord, invite us to go out,

All:     but we don’t want to offend anyone, and we don’t know enough,

            so we stand at the threshold and look but never leap.


One:    Forgive us, O God,

All:     for our chosen captivity to the kingdoms of this world.

Open wide the door of life, and give us courage to walk through.


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

confession: denial

You, O Lord, are the giver of every good gift. Your love is the ground of our being. You call us to listen, to feast upon your word, and to follow in your way. You call us to trust you with everything we are and everything we have. Yet so often we deny you—by claiming we deserve what we have, by remaining silent in the face of injustice, by keeping busy so we do not have time to hear the cock crow.

For all the ways we have betrayed you, and ourselves, forgive us, O God.


One:    Open wide the door of life, O God,

All:     and give us courage to walk through.

confession: your path, your way

God of all creation, following your path is not easy. It seems to us that you never take the easy way – indeed, your Way is always surprising. Forgive us our blind stumbling, and guide us back to your path. Call out to us, as you have to our ancestors in the faith. When we see you, do not run up ahead, but enfold us in your arms, even if just for a moment. O Dearest God – even when we are turned away from you, we yearn for your love and peace. 

A time of silence for reflection and prayer


When we read in the scriptures that heaven opened, and God spoke to Jesus, “You are my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased,” it is good for us to hear these words as though God were speaking them to us, too. Because we are God’s beloved children – and God has sent Christ into the world that we might experience eternal life, eternal love, and eternal peace. Let us follow the Way ever more closely, knowing that God loves us dearly with every step we take.

submitted by Rev. Lucus Keppel, Ancho + Corona Presbyterian Churches, New Mexico

confession: we keep you at arm’s length

You, Lord, are closer to us than breathing, nearer than hands and feet. And yet we so often try to keep you at arm’s length, even as we beg for you to be with us. We close the door to protect our privacy, believing security can be gained by keeping others out. We stand outside, believing you don’t really invite us in…and if you do, certainly not along with them.

When we take a step back, insisting on both physical and emotional distance in the name of what is proper, forgive us. When we believe that surface relationship is plenty deep enough, and protest your call to be fully real with one another and with you, forgive us. When we rely on custom as a way to keep ourselves apart, forgive us.

Close the gap between us, Lord, and show us what true love does.


One:    Open wide the door of life, O God,

All:     and give us courage to walk through.

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

confession: we’d rather keep the door closed

One:    You, Lord, are Alpha and Omega—beginning and end.
But in between sometimes it feels like we are on our own,
and then the illusion of control is so seductive.

All:     Forgive us when we try to control you, insisting that your will must match ours.
For we confess that we do not like the unknown,
so we fill that void with shoulds and musts we expect both you and others to obey.
We’d rather keep the door closed with certainty than risk opening to changed life.
We’d rather be bound up in our own beliefs than risk being set free by love, for love.


One:    Open wide the door of life, O God,
All:     and give us courage to walk through.


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

CTW for Ash Wednesday

One: This is the season of Lent, a time when we recognize the ways we have moved away from God, a time when we look deeply into our lives and see the ways we have not lived faithfully. Lent is also a time of reorientation and renewal; a time of turning our hearts and minds back to God.
Many: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love

One: God is a God of abundant mercy, who seeks reconciliation with wayward Creation.
Many: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

One: God is a God who constantly reaches out to us, inviting us into love, inviting us into life.

Many: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

One: The sacrifice which is pleasing to God is a contrite heart and a spirit of brokenness; let us turn to God humility and faith.
Many: God, you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Wash away our guilt, heal our brokenness, and draw us ever closer to you.

Submitted by Laura Brekke, Campus Minister at Santa Clara University in California, adapted from Psalm 51

CTW: come in and go out

One:    God invites us to come in and go out and find pasture:

All:     to come into the kingdom, into abundant life, into the light;

to go out to serve, out to live our faith, out to be the Body of Christ.

One:    Christ calls us to hear his voice

All:     and so we come to listen and seek and follow.

One:    We stand at the threshold of God’s future,

All:     the Spirit stands at the door and knocks.

One:    Come, let us worship.


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine

Litany of Penitence: at the threshold of life

One:    God, you are Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.

All:     You formed us from the earth
and breathed life into our bodies.
You walk among us
and offer us your life.
You call us together
and breathe your Spirit through us.

One:    You have made us in your image.

All:     Now remind us that still, we are not God.
For we confess that we have forgotten.

One:    We have forgotten that it is your kingdom, not ours.
We have forgotten to listen for your voice, so often drowned out by our own.
We have forgotten that you call all creation to life and relationship, not rules and regulations.


One:    We pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done”
and yet we confess, O Lord, that we are very attached to our own wills.

All:     We ask your forgiveness for the times we think we have all the answers.
We confess that we have slammed the door, keeping others out,
we have stood in the doorway monitoring who comes and goes,
and sometimes we have barged right through others’ doors,
caring little for the consequences.
Forgive us, O God, and turn us again to your way.
Fill us with your steadfast love, and lead us into life.



One:    You call, O Lord,
sometimes in a storm and sometimes in a silence,
through your word written and proclaimed,
through the voice of stranger and enemy and friend.

All:     I confess that I have not always been an eager student of your word,
I have talked more than I have listened in prayer,
and that I might not recognize your voice in a crowd.
I admit that I have followed other voices,
and that my own voice has often been louder than yours.
I have stood by the door, but not walked through.
I have stood by the door, and kept others from walking through.
I have stood by the door, calling people to walk my way rather than yours.
Forgive me, O God, and turn me again to your way.
Fill me with your steadfast love, and lead me into life.



One:    You, Lord, are Healer, making wholeness where once there was brokenness.
You offer a way of life that carries hope for all the world.

All:     Yet we turn our eyes from a dying creation, ignoring your call to care.
We admit that we choose what is easy,
at the expense of the people and the planet you have created.
We confess that we want the green pastures and still waters for ourselves,
and we have set up systems in which some waste away while we simply waste.
When our doors are unmarked, so only those in the know may enter,
when our hearts are firmly locked against anything new,
when our habits are closed and therefore shut others out,
forgive us, O God, and turn us again to your way.
Fill us with your steadfast love, and lead us into life.



One:    We stand at the threshold
of community
of grief
of hope
of repentance
of possibility
of fear
of forgiveness
of life.


Every day is filled with opportunities both missed and taken—
to speak up, to speak out, to keep silent, to listen…
to hope, to despair, to heal, to hurt, to help…
to come in and to go out and to find pasture.


The Kingdom of God (Taize)

The Turning

One:    Trusting in the gracious mercy of God,
do you turn from the ways of sin and toward God,
who is faithful and just, loving and compassionate?

All:     I turn my mind, my heart, and my life toward God.

One:    Will you seek God with your whole heart,
and follow where God’s Spirit leads?

All:     I will, with God’s help.

One:    Will you be Christ’s faithful disciple,
obeying his Word and showing his love?

All:     I will, with God’s help.


The Kingdom of God (Taize)

One:    Your steadfast love endures forever, O God.

All:     From dust we came,
to dust we will return;
but your steadfast love endures forever.   

One:    We gather in penitence,
we gather in confidence;
we stand at the threshold of life.

All:     Restore us, O God,
open the gate and turn us to follow your path again,
to proclaim your love that endures forever.


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

CTW: we come to ourselves

One: We come to what is familiar. Time, place, people.

All: Watching God, help us to see them in new ways.

One: We come to what is called your house. The place of God.

All: Drive out from among us all that stands in the way of seeing you, being loved by you, and being transformed.

One: We come to ourselves, our bodies called your temples.

All: Make your home in us and our home in you. May your grace make us new and send us out.


Submitted by L. Elaine Hall, Bethelview/Valle Crucis United Methodist Churches, Boone, NC

confession: seduced by control

Call to Confession

God longs for relationship, and through relationship to transform the world into the kingdom. When we confess our sin, we find our relationship with God renewed and our life turned again to God’s way. Let us pray together.

Prayer of Confession

God, we think we know what you want, and we try our best to follow the rules. So often, though, we are seduced by our own desire for answers, for black-and-white lists of do’s and don’ts. We like to believe we can earn, or even buy, our way into your kingdom. We confess our need to control, and pray for your forgiveness when we impose our rules on you and on others. We confess that we like things the way we are, and pray for your forgiveness when the status quo keeps some away from you, even as it benefits us. Turn over the tables in our hearts, minds, and churches, and make room for your grace to dwell.


We pray in the name of the One who disrupts the world with love, Jesus the Christ.


Assurance of Forgiveness

Friends, hear this good news: only Christ is in a position to judge, and his very nature is mercy. If anyone is in Christ, the whole creation is made new, filled with hope and grace, infused with forgiveness. Thanks be to God. Amen.


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