a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Confession: we don’t want to understand

Holy God, we like to claim that your way is mysterious and we are uncertain how to follow. We confess that we don’t want to understand the fast that you choose. You call us to loose the bonds of injustice, to let prisoners free, to break every yoke, to bring the homeless into our house, to feed our neighbours and pray for our enemies. We make it sound like a difficult metaphor so we don’t have to act on your word, because we don’t like to be uncomfortable. Forgive our apathy, our wilful ignorance, our false modesty, and our unexamined privilege. Create in us a clean heart, and lead us into a Holy Lent…and beyond, to abundant life for all your creation. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

CTW: the Spirit is with us

One: As we walk into the wilderness, setting our face toward the cross,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: As we focus and prepare, fasting by letting go and by taking on,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: Facing temptations, finding help from unexpected quarters,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: Come, let us seek God’s way together.


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: we resist

God who pushes and pulls, coaxing and sending, we confess to you that we often resist your movement, wishing you would let us go our own way. If we’re completely honest, we give in to temptation more often than we resist. We confess that we have preferred to gorge ourselves on things other than your word; we have longed for power over others; we have bargained with your promise and begged for minor miracles. Forgive us, Holy One. Show us your way in the wilderness. Guide us to your path, and teach us to follow. We pray in the name of Christ, Amen.


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Creative Expression for Lent B Old Testament Track

(Liturgy to go with this creative expression can be found here.)


On the way into the worship space, or during a children’s time, or before worship (or during coffee hour the previous week after worship, even), you might invite people to participate in decorating blocks to be used as symbols throughout the season. You will need five blocks, four square and of equal size, one double the height. You can use boxes for a larger symbol, or big toy blocks for something table-top sized. Be sure to use something that will be visible throughout your worship space.

The first week you can invite people to colour part of a rainbow, or to paint the block in rainbow stripes, or to stick on stickers in a paint-by-number kind of way to make a rainbow block.

The second week you can invite people to use a Sharpie or other permanent marker to sign their names on the block.

The third week you can invite people to draw/colour two stone tablets on one face of the block, and/or to write numbers or what they remember of the 10 commandments on the tablets or on the sides of the block.

The fourth week you’ll use the double-height block, and you can invite people to colour in section of a Rod of Asclepius (already outlined for them on the block!), or to draw a desert in the background.

The fifth week you can invite people to add a heart sticker to an outlined heart on the front of the block.

(You can also, of course, simply prepare these yourself ahead of time—though then you might want to print your church roll or something to glue on the box for week 2, so you have people’s names on the block without their stopping to write it themselves.)

Each week after the confession, someone should place the block in a visible spot in the church—on the communion table, on another table put up for this purpose, or if you are using boxes, in front of the table or around the chancel.

On Palm/Passion Sunday, during the assurance of forgiveness, the blocks can be constructed into a cross as follows, with one person holding each block/box and putting it in position until it all holds together: Rod of Asclepius at the bottom, signatures/names at the top, rainbow to the left, tablets to the right, heart in the center like a keystone.

You will need to prepare the blocks whose sides meet in the cross with an adhesive (double sided tape, glue dots, even velcro or wall-mounting strips, depending on the size and material you have used) so they will stick together, of course. Be sure the people assembling the cross press them firmly together!


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

CTW: return to the Lord

Leader: God’s call rings out through the world, God’s message to us.
People: God calls us to come back, to fast and weep, and ask for forgiveness.
Leader: We need to change our entire lives, what is inside of us, not just outside.
People: For our God is loving and compassionate.
Leader: We enter this season of Preparation by returning to the LORD.
All: Together, let us sound the trumpet and worship God!
submitted by Rev. Will Ryan, First Christian Church Burlington IA

Confession: wild grapes

Prayer of Confession            from Isaiah 5:1-6

Beloved, God, you had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.  You dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines. You built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it.

You expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.

What more could you do for your vineyard that you had not done in it?

When you expected it to yield grapes, why did our lives yield wild grapes?  What now will you do, Lord?

We confess that we stray from the way you call us, choosing to trust in what is temporary:

do not remove your hedge, or we shall be devoured.

We confess that we build our own walls through injustice and indifference to others:

do not break down your wall, or we shall be trampled down.

We confess that we are destroying this earth you created:

do not make it a waste.

When we confess are many sins to you, Lord, may the Spirit of Truth change our hearts:

prune us so that we shall not be overgrown with briers and thorns.

When we cry out to you in humility:

send your living water so that we may be cleansed. 


Assurance         from John 15:7

Hear the words of Jesus:  “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  When we offer our confession to God with a humble and contrite heart, we will receive forgiveness.

In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!

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.