a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

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

Looking Ahead: still working on Lent

there’s a great conversation going on over at the Ash Wednesday post–how do we work with children during Lent? What kinds of prayers, litanies, songs, or children’s moments might help us enter into this season?

There’s also still lots of room for ideas for Lent–what are you thinking? What dreams are you imagining? What hopes do you have for this Lent?

Looking Ahead: Lent

Last week we started up a conversation about Ash Wednesday. Stop in and share your ideas, contribute a line to a prayer of confession, or just tell us what you normally do so we can brainstorm together!

This week we’re looking toward Lent. When it comes to major seasons like Lent, do you prefer to look for a theme to follow through the whole season? If so, do you get that theme from the lectionary or from somewhere else (the needs of the community, something you read, etc)? Or do you use whatever comes up in the lectionary? Or some other plan?

Do you do anything special for Lent–special decoration, artwork, worship style? I’ve heard of churches fasting from a printed bulletin during Lent, which sounds super interesting. I’ve also heard of going instrument-free, using only unaccompanied singing. And I’ve heard of giving up preaching for Lent, instead using other forms of proclamation.

Many of us will have a special focus on repentance during Lent, and we’ll pay more attention to our prayers of confession than we might otherwise. Do you have an idea for a confession? Or maybe a call to confession or a declaration of forgiveness that will be particularly poignant during this season?

Join in the conversation in the comments as we look toward the 6 weeks of Lent.

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.

confession: Palm Sunday expectations

A prayer of confession for Palm Sunday. (Part of the “Choices on the Way” series, with the theme this week being “My Way — The Highway”). Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church.

One: You ride in with humble glory,
All: and we wave our palm branches,
shouting and dancing our prayer of Hosanna.

One: We join our voices and hearts with the crowd,
All: hoping that you will do what we expect of you.
One: But your way is not always glorious,
not always cheering crowds,
not always a parade of victory.
All: Lead us, Lord, to know your way,
and to walk with you on any road you travel.

CTW: Palm Sunday

A call to worship for Palm Sunday, based on Psalm 118. (Part of the “Choices on the Way” series, with the theme this week being “My Way — The Highway”). Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church.

One: Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good!
God’s steadfast love endures forever!
All: Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!
One: Shout Hosanna, for the Lord is coming!
Line the festival road with waving branches!
All: We wave palm branches, praying and praising
as we walk God’s way.

Calls to Worship: Lent A psalms

Here will be calls to worship for every Sunday in Lent (year A), using the lectionary Psalm as a basis. (as a bit of background, we are doing a series called “Choices on the Way” highlighting stories of the people of God having to make a choice to go forward or back as they discern God’s will. I’ve also noted the theme words and texts, some of which are lectionary and some are not.)

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church.

Week 1 (Entrance – Exit, Genesis 2.15-17, 3.1-7)

Call to Worship (from Psalm 32)

One: Let all God’s people come—
All: We will lift our voices to the Lord.
One: God says, “I will teach you the way you should go.”
All: So we will listen and follow God’s way.


Week 2 (Familiar – Unknown, Genesis 12.1-4)

Call to Worship (from Psalm 121)

One: Lift up your eyes, people of God!
All: We look to the hills, we stare into the desert, we gaze at the horizon—
where is our help?
One: Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
All: We will lift up our eyes, and follow God’s way.


Week 3 (Golden Age – Promise, Exodus 32.1-10)

Call to Worship (from Psalm 95)

One: Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
All: For the Lord is our God, and we are God’s people.
One: Listen to God’s voice—the Lord is a great God, above all others.
All: We will listen and follow God’s way.


Week 4: Seeing – Believing (Mark 8.27-33)

Call to Worship (Psalm 23)

One: The Lord is our shepherd, our leader and provider.
All: He leads us in the right path,
showing how to live centered on God.
One: The Lord is our shepherd, guiding us even in darkness.
All: Surely goodness and mercy will pursue us as we follow God’s way.


Week 5: Call – Answer (Mark 7.24-30)

Opening Prayer (Psalm 130)

One: We cry out to you, O God,
waiting for you, hoping in your word.
All: Hear our voice, for we call day and night!
We trust in your steadfast love,
so we will follow your way.

Prayers of Confession for Lent

Here will be prayers of confession for the whole season of Lent.  (as a bit of background, we are doing a series called “Choices on the Way” highlighting stories of the people of God having to make a choice to go forward or back as they discern God’s will. I’ve also noted the theme words and texts, some of which are lectionary and some are not.)

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church.

Week 1 (Entrance – Exit, Genesis 2.15-17, 3.1-7)
Prayer of Confession

One: You speak, Lord, but we are not always listening.
All: Sometimes other voices are louder or more persuasive.
One: You show us your way, lord, but we are not always looking.
All: Sometimes other ways seduce us with their ease or power.
One: You give us choices, now help us to learn your will.
All: Lead us, Lord, to walk your way on any road we travel.

(sung: Kyrie)

 

Week 2 (Familiar – Unknown, Genesis 12.1-4a)
Prayer of Confession

One: You call us to leave our old ways behind,
All: but we like our comfortable lives.
One: You call us to go where you will show us
All: but we want the map and directions before we leave.
One: You call us to be a blessing to all
All: but often we want to keep the blessing for ourselves.
One: Help us to hear your voice and to let go of what holds us back.
All: Lead us, Lord, to walk your way on any road we travel.

(sung: Kyrie)

 

Week 3 (Golden Age – Promise, Exodus 32.1-10)
Prayer of Confession

One: God, sometimes you work too slowly for us.
All: We want something we can see,
something we can do now,
something quick and easy.
One: So we turn our eyes toward “the way it’s always been”
All: and we try to re-create the days when everything was simple and good.
One: But you call us to hear your promise of a future with hope,
All: a promise we can’t understand, or see—
a promise for which we must wait and look and work.
One: Forgive us our impatience with mystery and promises,
and turn our eyes toward your future.
All: Lead us, Lord, to walk your way on any road we travel.

(sung: Kyrie)

 

Week 4: Seeing – Believing (Mark 8.27-33)
Prayer of Confession

One: God, we confess that we like to think we know you,
All: while what we really know is who we want you to be.
One: We often think we have the answers, that we know best,
All: even as you show us a still more excellent way.
One: Open our eyes and our ears to know you as you are,
All: and lead us, Lord, so we walk your way on any road we travel.

(sung: Kyrie)

 

Week 5: Call – Answer (Mark 7.24-30)
Prayer of Confession

One: God, we confess that oftentimes our boxes are too small.
All: We know what, and who, belongs where.
One: But your circle is always growing,
All: erasing our lines in the sand.
One: Call out to us, O God.
Widen our vision.
All: Lead us, Lord, to walk your way on any road we travel.

(sung: Kyrie)

confession: lost and turn

A prayer of confession written while reflecting on the Prodigal story, from the younger son’s perspective.
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church

One: God, it’s so easy…
All: so easy to hear the many voices
that are louder than yours.
One: God, it’s so easy…
All: so easy to forget who you created and called us to be,
to lose ourselves in the piles
of wants and worries, checklists and crises.
One: God, it’s so easy…
All: and yet so hard—to slow down, to listen,
to turn and repent and come to you.
Help us to take that risk, that leap of faith,
to turn and be healed.

confession: unfair

A prayer of confession written while reflecting on the Prodigal story from the perspective of the older son.
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church

One: God, why isn’t life fair?
All: We confess that we follow rules expecting a reward,
hoping that if we just say, believe, or do the right thing,
you’ll love us, help us, save us.
One: But fairness does not seem to be your goal.
All: Help us to see beyond fairness to justice,
beyond rule-following to relationship with you,
beyond envy and resentment to love and wholeness.