a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: help us act on hope

Faithful God, your promise is forever true, your care for us is sure. We confess that we have often believed we will have to take care of ourselves, forgetting your promise and your call. We look at the world, and we choose fear rather than hope and love. When it seems life is unraveling, we look for ways to defend ourselves and ensure our security and our desire, rather than following your way. Forgive us, Lord, and give us courage to hope—and to act on hope—in the face of fear. Amen.    ~silence~

 

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

communion: do not be afraid

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe,
for your promise is true, you are with us always, even to the end of the age.
We give you thanks
for in the beginning you created with a word
and the whole world reflects your glory.
We give you thanks,
for with a word you called for yourself a people
gave us your breath, your name, your blessing.
We give you thanks,
for your prophets through the ages
who shared your vision, spoke your truth,
called us to your way even when we turned our backs on you,
our eyes set on our own design.
When we would not listen,
your persistent promise sought us,
your word became flesh
you walked among us and offered your very body, your life and love,
to bring us home in relationship to you.
Even when we acted out of fear,
uncertain what a life based on love could accomplish,
you reached out to save us.
Even when we speak out of fear,
blaming and accusing, shouting without listening,
you whisper your still small voice,
do not be afraid, I am with you.
Gratitude and praise fill our hearts, O God,
and lift us up to your heavenly banquet,
where we join our voices with your people throughout the ages
proclaiming your goodness,
praying for courage to live from your grace.
Open our eyes to see your glory at this table,
and to see that your guest list extends far beyond our own.
Give us courage to enact your kingdom feast at our own tables.
In a world where some thrive on fear,
where profit is often more important than people,
and where violence seems the order of the day,
fill us again with your Spirit of peace.
Let your whisper be heard above the roar
of bombs and bullets
of shouts and jeers
of advertising and posturing.
We carry these burdens to your table, Lord Jesus,
and pray that you would carry the load of your world’s suffering—
hear the cries of those who thirst for clean water and for justice,
of those who speak truth and long for someone to believe them,
of those who look at the week ahead and feel only despair.
Give us hope in the midst of grief, and illness, and political campaigns.
Give us courage to live as if your promise is true.
Give us a sure sense of your abiding presence,
in bread and wine,
in the fellowship of friends and the meeting of strangers,
in the work of your kingdom.
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear your Spirit among us and within us.
Feed us at your table,
fill us with your grace,
and then send us out to be your people,
your body on earth,
overflowing with your hope in the world.
We pray these and all things in the name of Christ, host at this and every table, who taught us to pray together…

 

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

POP: our help in ages past

O God, you have been our help in ages past,
and you are our hope for years to come.
We give you thanks for calling us together to worship,
and for hearing us when we pray.
Before the word is on our lips, you know the desires and cries of our hearts,
your healing balm covers our hurt and your spirit of joy dances in our midst.
We celebrate together, rejoicing with those who rejoice,
for life and family, health and opportunity.
Help us to live in gratitude, recognizing all you have done for us.
And we lift up to you a world in need—
people in need of healing,
communities in need of comfort,
nations in need of guidance.
Where there is violence, give us courage to make peace.
Where there is fear, give us courage to stand with hope.
Where there is illness and disease, give us courage to reach out with healing hands.
Open our hearts, O God—break our hearts open for what breaks yours.
Pour in your hope, and then lead us into your world unafraid,
ready to stand with your people near and far,
as signs of your kingdom here on earth, among us and within us,
hope overflowing,
until all creation sings your grace.
We pray these and all things in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

 

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

confession: behind closed doors

Sometimes we hide ourselves
behind closed doors…
afraid to love…
afraid to share…
afraid to be vulnerable.

Sometimes we hide ourselves
behind locked minds…
unwilling to love…
unwilling to share…
unwilling to be vulnerable.

But you always invite us
to step outside…
to trust…
and to embrace your new life.

Forgive our faintheartedness…
release us from our reluctance…
and inspire us to go and be and tell and do
your good news…

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

POP: Overwhelm us with Your love

We pray to you, O God…

Overwhelm us with your love, which casts out every fear

If love is how we know you God, remind us this day,

that love is what set the world in motion,

Love is what spoke order into the chaos at creation,

Love is what breathed into the dirt and brought Adam

Love is what inspired Adam to see his partner and cry out

bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.

Let us know the love that brings us life and life abundant

So if love is how we know you, we pray to you, O God…

Overwhelm us with your love which casts our every fear.

If love is how we drive out fear, then we cry to you,

for the fear that leaves people paralyzed in their homes

for the fear in war torn communities and broken families

for the fear of losing life, the fear of rejection

for the fear that tells us we don’t belong

for the fear that makes us selfish.

Drive out our fear and make it clear that your love is stronger even than death.

So if love is how we drive out fear, we pray to you, O God…

Overwhelm us with your love which casts out every fear.

If your love is how we love others, then we ask you this day

to bless us that we might be a blessing to others,

to challenge us that we might grow deeper in your love,

to guide us as we stumble forth as your children,

to lead us as we love boldly in your holy name.

Make us into the bearers of your love.

So if your love is how we love others, we pray to you O God…

Overwhelm us with your love which casts out every fear

And cast us out into our work and into our world with the task

to be your hands, your feet, your love, your people.

We pray in the name of the Beloved who taught us to pray saying…

 

Submitted by Rev. Lindsay Conrad, First Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor MI

confession: pointing the finger

God, we come to you recognizing that we often forget that you made the world and all that it is in it. We so quickly point the finger at the other, the neighbor, the outcast, the one who is different from us. Forgive us for expecting to be forgiven without forgiving others. Forgive us for rash decisions and hateful words. Forgive us for projecting our fears onto those whom we fear. Help us to see past our differences, past the barriers that we have created, and remind us to love others as you have loved us.

 

Submitted by Rev. Greg Bolt, First Presbyterian Church, Nebraska City, Nebraska

confession: afraid

Let us join together in confessing our sins and our faith:

You call us out, Lord. You call us by name. You call us to bring redemption and hope to desolate places and ____ people. We confess that we are afraid. We are afraid of what others will think. We are afraid we might get hurt. We are afraid we might get taken advantage of. Help us in our fears, Lord. Strengthen us with your resolve.

A moment of silent prayer.

Through Jesus God revealed the truth of what is possible.
Through Jesus God showed us the Way.
Through Jesus do not have to be afraid.
Lord, help us to trust you; help us to lean into you and let you show us the way.

ASSURANCE OF GRACE
Through Christ a Way has been revealed that leads us on a journey of learning, maturing, and growing in our understanding and faith. Trust this good news and trust God.
Through Jesus Christ we are healed of our fears, forgiven for our sins, and nourished for this journey. Thanks be to God!

 

Submitted by Rev. Eric Ledermann, University Presbyterian Church, Tempe AZ.

confession: infected with fear

Giver of beauty and bounty, the world is filled with people to love and provisions for living. Yet we infect your blessings with fear. We use people and love things seeking the shallow security of isolation and independence. Forgive us for hoarding life that only grows when shared, for taking love when love is made for giving. Do not pull back from us. Help us to find faith to give our love to others as you did in Christ…

(from John 6:1-21   & 2 Samuel 11:1-15)
Submitted by Rev. Christy Ramsey, Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church, Akron, OH.

CTW: We Belong To God

L: People of God, hear what God says to you:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.”
P: The LORD has created us; the LORD has formed us.
God has called us by name; we belong to God.
L: When you pass through the waters, God will be with you.
P: When we cross the rivers of life, the will not overwhelm.
L: For the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, the LORD is your Savior.

Submitted by Stephanie Anthony, pastor at First Presbyterian Church (Hudson, WI)

confession: fear of “uns”

God of new life…
too often, we we seem to be controlled by our fear of “uns”;
fear of the unexpected…the unknown…the uninhibited.
Sometimes, like the magi from the East,
we respond to our fear by taking an alternative path,
because that really is the best plan.
And sometimes, like Mary, Mary, and Salome,
we respond by running away as fast as we can,
not saying a word to anyone…
even when what we’re afraid of is your life-changing good news.
Give us the wisdom and the courage to know
how to respond to our fears…
and more importantly, to your renewing presence…
even now…as we offer our silent confessions…

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)