a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: Hear us when we pray

Christ our Savior, Lord of all,
as we journey with you we are aware of the difficulty and suffering of the world you love so dearly.
There are those who suffer rejection, injustice, and violence for their commitment to your way or their differences from the religious majority in their land.
Blessed Jesus, Hear us when we pray.
There are many who seek power and status to fill a deeper need than the world can fill; there are many more who are oppressed or ignored on account of that pursuit of power.
Blessed Jesus, Hear us when we pray.
There are children who depend on others to speak for them, sinners who long to know that they are welcomed into your love, and misfits who struggle to know where they belong.
Blessed Jesus, Hear us when we pray.
There are those who face illness and death today, and there are those who grapple with broken and hurtful relationships; there are so many who cry out for mercy.
Blessed Jesus, Hear us when we pray.
And there are so many who seek to follow you, who are learning to serve their neighbors in love and treat their enemies with compassion.
Blessed Jesus, Hear us when we pray.
We are among those who would follow, and we place our lives at your disposal, joining together in the prayer you taught, saying:  …The Lord’s Prayer

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA


Invitation to Tell the Truth About Ourselves
One: God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and God’s mercy endures to all generations. When we confess our brokenness, God’s grace offers us a glimpse of healing. Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, let us confess with open and honest hearts our failure to live up to God’s call. Let us pray.

Prayer of Confession (we tell the truth)
All: God our creator, you asked man and woman to tend this garden of your creating, to care for the creatures of your making, to speak and so join you in creating your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We confess that we have sinned: we have used your creation rather than cherished it, we have lived greedily rather than gratefully, we have spoken words of destruction rather than love. We acknowledge the damage our heavy footprints, our hard hearts, and our rash tongues have done, and we pray for your forgiveness. Take the dust of our lives and re-form us into your image, and then breathe into us the grace to live for you. Amen. ~silence~

Assurance of Forgiveness
One: In the beginning, God breathed life into being, and every morning God’s mercies are new. Know that you, child of God, made in God’s image, are forgiven, loved and free. Believe and live the good news:
All: God’s goodness is planted more deeply than all that is wrong. Thanks be to God!


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

POP–come quickly

My God, my God, come close to your people!

You come to us to rescue us from powers that are too great for us.

Come to the help of all who face trouble or danger today.

O Lord our help,

come quickly to our aid!


O Lord, you bind us together as brothers and sisters, beloved in Christ.

Fill our hearts, our lives, and our voices with your praise,

and make us bold to proclaim your name to all people.

O Lord our help,

come quickly to our aid!


O Lord, we lift up those who are close to us who face trouble,

especially those who are sick, sorrowing, or confused.

Send forth your healing and restoring love.

O Lord our help,

come quickly to our aid!


O Lord, we pray for those who are poor, hungry, or homeless,

who are closer to us than many of us realize.

Open our hands to share what we have,

and open our hearts to share in relationship.

O Lord our help,

come quickly to our aid!


O Lord, we pray for all who are entrusted with power

over nations, corporations, and the powers of the world,

that their decisions might honor you and seek the welfare of all people.

O Lord our help,

come quickly to our aid!


O Lord, we pray for all the generations:

with thanksgiving for those who have gone before us and enjoy your eternal rest;

and with hope for those who will follow us, to whom we must still proclaim your salvation.

Keep your church faithful in every age.

O Lord our help,

come quickly to our aid!


Keep us faithful to you, O Lord,

and teach us to serve you,

as we pray together with Jesus, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer



Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids IA

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

dedication: filled with your goodness

Jesus, our Teacher and Savior, truly you are God’s Son, and you provide for us all at the table of your grace. Fed and filled with your goodness, we offer our gifts and our lives in gratitude for your love. Receive what we present and bless us so we might be blessings to your people, we pray in Jesus’ name.


Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

benediction: the kingdom of heaven

Do not be afraid.

The kingdom of heaven comes to change and transform us,

to reshape the world according to God’s reconciling will.

Go forth to bear witness to this community of love.

May the living presence of Christ be with you,

the life-giving power of God sustain you,

and the perfect light of the Holy Spirit shine within you,

now and to the end of the age. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

illumination: transform and empower

King of heaven and earth,

you make all things new

through Jesus’ teaching and ministry.

Open our senses, minds, and hearts

to the good news of your kingdom.

Transform and empower our lives by this word,

so that our lives might help bring

your heavenly kingdom to earth.

We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen


Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

confession: life springs

Prayer of Confession:

Parent Who Seeks, Christ who Speaks, Spirit that Springs, the correct and right seems so urgent yet you seek people of spirit and truth. We offer public politeness yet you give us sacred truth. We desperately fill reservoirs of cravings forgetting that life springs from You. Find us. Forgive us. Fill us. May we know for ourselves and not by others that you are the Savior of the world.


Assurance of Pardon:

​Hear the good news! Christ gushing up to eternal life!​ Know Christ is truly the savior of the World and of you.


Submitted by Christy Ramsey.

CTW: god is speaking


One: ​Come those who ​thirst for living water.

​Many​: God is speaking to us.
One: Come to worship in spirit and truth
​Many​: God is speaking to us.
One: Come and know what you have heard from others
​Many​: God is speaking to us.
Submitted by Christy Ramsey.

Maundy Thursday: a complete service

Call to Worship             (based on Psalm 26:3-12)

God’s steadfast love is before our eyes.
We walk in God’s faithfulness.
We wash our hands in innocence.
We go around your altar, Lord.
We sing a song of thanksgiving
And tell about your wonderful deeds.
O Lord, we love the house in which you dwell.
We love the place where your glory abides.
In the great congregation, let us bless the Lord.
God’s steadfast love is before our eyes.

Hymn                  Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts (or Communion hymn focused on body/blood)

First Lesson                    John 6:1-14

Reader 1: After Jesus healed a paralyzed man near the Temple and argued with the Jewish authorities, he went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they had seen the miraculous signs he had done among the sick. Jesus went up a mountain and sat there with his disciples. It was nearly time for Passover, the Jewish festival.

Reader 2: Jesus looked up and saw the large crowd coming toward him. He asked Philip, “Where will we buy food to feed these people?” Jesus said this to test him, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Reader 3: Philip replied, “More than a half year’s salary worth of food wouldn’t be enough for each person to have even a little bit.”

(Communion elements are brought forward by an adult and a child.)

Reader 1: One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “A youth here has five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that for a crowd like this?”

Reader 2: Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted. When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.”

Reader 3: So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves that had been left over by those who had eaten. When the people saw that he had done a miraculous sign, they said, “This is truly the prophet who is coming into the world.”

Prayer of Confession

Holy One, forgive us. We believe only the things we can see. We want to be faithful to you, but we get caught up in the numbers. A year’s salary will only go so far. Our time gets spent just as fast as our paychecks. We look around and see “not enough” instead of rejoicing that you have given us more than enough. We hold onto what is ours for fear it will all disappear.

Bend back the fingers we have clenched tight shut around the last piece of bread or the last bit of fish. There is more left over than we can calculate. Help us to see it.

(Silent confession)

Assurance of Pardon

Our God is not a cruel parent. Our God seeks to be in relationship with us. Our God loves us enough to take on our form and live among us.
God will not turn us away when we have come confessing with open hearts.
God offers forgiveness and welcomes us to the table of grace and plenty where all the faithful gather. This is the Good News that brings new life.
We thank God for it.

Communion Invitation           

The same people who ate the loaves and fishes followed Jesus the next day, all the way to the other side of the lake. Did they follow him hoping for more signs that he was God? No. Jesus said to them, “I assure you that you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate all the food you wanted. Don’t work for the food that doesn’t last but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

Friends, we gather at this table not to fill our stomachs but to be fed by spiritual food. Jesus told the people, “The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said, “Sir, give us this bread all the time!”

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Believing in him, we come to this table to share a holy meal.

Communion Prayer  

Let us pray. Lord, we come to you looking to be fed. We remember the stories of miraculous feeding, of manna in the wilderness, and the abundance of loaves and fishes, and the miracle of the wine at the wedding in Cana. We ask your blessing on these ordinary elements, the bread and the juice. We believe you feed us in ways that go far beyond our literal understanding. Through the awesome wonders of creation to the joy of human love and the power found in a group of people working on your behalf, you have blessed us. You became present to us in Jesus and blessed us further with your grace and mercy. You remain present to us in the working of the Holy Spirit. We give thanks for all the ways you show your love for us as pray together using the words Jesus taught us:

Our Father, etc. Amen.

Words of Institution

Jesus said to them, “I assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me lives because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. It isn’t like the bread your ancestors ate, and then they died. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Sharing of the Bread and Cup

This is the bread. This is the cup. These are the things of God for the people of God. Come, for all things are ready.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Holy and gracious God, for the meal we have shared, for the nourishment of the spirit and for the life of this community, we give you thanks. Help us to see miraculous signs wherever we see you. Help us to work always for the food that endures, in Christ’s name. Amen.

Anthem/Hymn                             Ah, Holy Jesus (or similar hymn)

Second Lesson                              John 19:23-24                (Reader Three)

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and his sandals, and divided them into four shares, one for each soldier. His shirt was seamless, woven as one piece from the top to the bottom. They said to each other, “Let’s not tear it. Let’s cast lots to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill the scripture, They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. That’s what the soldiers did.

Lord Jesus, we divide you. We claim you belong to us. Others claim you belong to them. Help us to see you in your wholeness, pouring out your love for all people.

(Reader Three leaves during hymn, to be followed by choir members, Deacons/Elders w/ chancel items.)

Hymn                                  When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (or similar hymn)

Third Lesson                                  John 19: 25-27               (Reader Two)

Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Lord Jesus, some of your followers stayed with you to the end. We want to have that kind of faith. Give us the strength to see things through, even in the midst of darkness, danger and despair.

(Reader 2 leaves as hymn begins, to be followed by remaining choir members, Deacons, etc.)

Hymn                                  Beneath the Cross of Jesus (or similar hymn)

Fourth Lesson               John 19:28-30                                (Reader One/Pastor)

After this, knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was nearby, so the soldiers soaked a sponge in it, placed it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.

Lord Jesus, you showed us God’s abundant hospitality and turned water into wine. We showed you human hospitality and let things go sour. We showed no mercy, and yet we ask for your mercy, Lord.

When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life.

(Reader One closes Bible, carries it out of sanctuary.)


Submitted by Rev. Martha Spong, Reflectionary.