a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Christmas Eve Invocation: We Display Anticipation

God of all creation
we display anticipation
as we pray this invocation
on this day of celebration.

Here we offer our ovation
as we sing with jubilation
and we wait with great elation
for your loving incarnation.

We will hear the narration
of your ancient declaration
as we long for liberation
for the world and for each nation.

So we lift up in summation
hearts and minds for your formation
as we long for your salvation
resting on your firm foundation.

submitted by Rev. Scott V. Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

Confession: least likely

Your faithfulness is from generation to generation, O God. When we have lost our way, or turned away, you have sought us out, in the least likely of places. We confess that sometimes we would prefer that you stayed in the box we built for you, keeping out of our affairs. The systems we have built work for us, and you disrupt them with your insistence on lifting up the lowly and filling the hungry while sending the rich away empty. Forgive our self-centered ways, our narrow vision of justice, and our restricted love. Show your strength and favor once again, and help us follow in your way, according to your promise. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: cheer at the expense of joy

Word of God, Breath of Life, come and live among us again. Clear away the things that clutter our hearts and lives, making it difficult to see and do your will. And where we have chosen to believe your way is obscure, preferring our way to yours, make your truth shine out. When we have chosen to focus on cheer at the expense of joy, forgive us and cause righteousness and praise to spring up in your world once again. We pray in the name of the coming Christ. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

A Spark of…. Advent Candle Liturgies (year B)

Week 1 (Hope) Candle (Isaiah 64, Mark 13)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is over-full of things that do not satisfy.
We watch and prepare, for divine presence to shake our complacency.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of hope lights the way—
Clearing our vision and renewing our minds
To recognize God’s glory in our midst.

 

Week 2 (Peace) Candle (Isaiah 40, Mark 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is not ready, the field is still uneven,
Yet we watch and prepare to see God’s glory revealed, together.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of peace lights the way—
Despite our fast-fading courage,
We w
ill follow the voice calling us in the wilderness toward Shalom.

 

Week 3 (Joy) Candle (Isaiah 61, John 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
Days grow short and to-do lists lengthen.
We watch and prepare, for the Word is coming, full of grace and truth.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of joy lights the way—
Though the flame flickers against the shadows,
We will rejoice in God’s covenant of everlasting love.

 

Week 4 (Love) Candle (Luke 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The time draws near, each moment magnified
As we watch and prepare, for God is doing great things!
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of love lights the way—
Turning the world around to match the promise:
That we love because God first loved us.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

Confession: fading away

Holy and loving God, we hear your voice in the wilderness, and we come, seeking a glimpse of your glory in these days of lengthening darkness. We look for your star shining in the night sky, for the flickering candle holding back the shadows, and we strain our ears to listen for your word amidst the clamor of the festive season.
We confess that we don’t always want to hear what you are saying. We don’t want to turn and go another way, nor to stop and wait in the quiet when there is fun to be had. We are skeptical of comfort that is more than warm fuzzy feelings, or that asks something of us. We confess that we are prone to fading away like flowers and grass, unable to withstand challenges to our way of thinking or our way of life. And yet still you call, still you tell us to take comfort, still you come among us and live within us and believe in us.
Forgive us, O God, our fickle hearts, so often full of things other than you. Forgive our tendency to wander away, to prefer shallow comfort to your deep peace. Open us again to your love, that we may walk with you in every way. We pray in the name of Christ, the prince of peace. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Blue Christmas prayer

God of comfort, come gently among us this evening; hear our prayers, restore our souls.

Piece together our loose ends; smooth over our rough edges; restore our souls.

When lights and decorations fail to delight our senses, and serve only to deepen our pain and grief, restore our souls.

When we clench our fists in anger, open our hands to receive your grace.

When we are worn out and beat down, surround us with your peace.

When our doubts outweigh our hopes, increase our faith.

When we have no energy left to love, love us all the more.

When we cannot bring ourselves to pray, pray for us, as we remember how Jesus prayed, saying… OUR FATHER…

 

Submitted by Jerie Lukefahr, CRE

Confession/Pardon: Real Salt, Spiritual Wounds

Holy and Beloved God, you are the great peacemaker, who brings together many different parts and makes the one united body of Christ. Yet, we often turn aside from the peace you offer, and assume that we alone have it right. Instead of listening to your call to comfort one another, we accidentally or purposefully rub salt in the spiritual wounds of our neighbors. Help us to stop making things worse, and instead offer cool, calm comfort to your warm and wonderful people, all in the name of your peacemaking. Amen.

My friends, this is the good news of Jesus Christ: God offers us grace for our mistakes and errors, and calls us to reconcile with one another. In Christ, we have hope for true and just peace.

Just as God forgives us, so we too shall forgive each other. Thanks be to God!

 

Submitted Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bixby, Okla.

Call to Confession for Advent, Narrative Lectionary year 4 and John 1

In Advent, we prepare for the coming of Christ,
full of grace and truth.
Trusting in God’s unfailing grace,
let us tell the truth about ourselves,
joining in our prayer of confession.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

Benediction for Advent, Narrative Lectionary year 4 and John 1

Rejoice! The Word takes on flesh
this season and wherever we live by the Spirit.
Go forth to share the good news of Christ’s coming
this day and forever,
in the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

Prayers of the People for Advent

O Lord, you are coming to us,
and we wait with eager anticipation!
Our souls are standing on tiptoe,
trying to peer over the horizon
where the morning star is about to rise upon us.
We put our hope in your Word, O Lord,
that your Word might take on flesh among us once again
to reveal your mercy and steadfast love.
We wait, Eternal One,
and we cry out to you on behalf of those who have waited too long:
those who seek your healing,
those who seek your forgiveness,
those who seek your presence.
We wait for you,
for there is plenteous redemption with you,
and you redeem the sinful world according to your promise.

We wait for the coming Christ,
who prays with us as we say together:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA