a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

invocation: God of the cross

God of the Cross, be with us now as we begin again the Lenten journey.
In this time of worship, and in the days ahead,
strip us of our attachments and addictions,
that we might bare our souls to you;
render us deaf and blind to the distractions of want,
that we might hear and see only the demands of the Gospel;
and break through our spiritual blockades,
that we might be assailed by your relentless love.
We pray in the name of the self-giving, self-sacrificing Christ.  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Daniel Mayes, First Christian Church, Spencer, IA.

CTW: the Messiah we need

We come to Jesus, the author of a new and different way.
We confess that He is not the Messiah we want:
not a CEO, not a General, not a Senator,
not a Genie, not a Fairy Godmother, not Santa Claus.

We come to Jesus, who leads us in the Way of the Cross:
a path we would rather not walk,
for we are uncomfortable with sacrifice,
reluctant to abandon ourselves in self-giving love.

We come to Jesus, who is not the Messiah we want.
We come to Jesus because he is the Messiah we need.

submitted by Rev. Daniel Mayes, First Christian Church, Spencer, IA

ash wednesday call to worship: what seems like an ending

(written for an Ash Wednesday service in a park)

One: What seems like an ending
All: is really a beginning.
One: Secure in our ending
All: we begin.
One: Knowing that we come from dust, we will return to dust and we are forever in the care of Jesus
All: we begin.
One: With hearts that are fickle, with eyes that are woozy
All: we begin.

Submitted by Jodi Houdge, Humble Walk Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN

Looking Ahead: Ash Wednesday

It’s time! Ash Wednesday is only ONE WEEK from today. The words, the music, the ritual, the space–what are you thinking? What do you need? What phrases or images are you working with? Now’s the time to use the comments to write a new litany of confession, or to come up with new words for the imposition of ashes, or to think about how we will call people to the observation of Lent. What are you thinking?



I know, Lent feels far away.


But it isn’t.


Six weeks from today is Ash Wednesday.

As we take a moment to recover from that reality, let’s also take a moment to breathe in, breathe out, and contemplate.

What tone do you want to set for Lent this year?

Do you have Ash Wednesday services? Do you share them with another congregation? Is it something you don’t really do in your tradition or context?

Ashes, or symbolic (aka no-) ashes?

How will you engage this service of repentance, calling, and recognition of mortality?

Let’s work together to write something new–perhaps something we can use as a confession before we hear those great traditional words calling us to a holy lent? Add your ideas, phrases, things we need to confess, or hopes for Lent in the comments.