a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: O Hear Our Cry

Beloved, we lift up prayers before God,
trusting in the mercy of the One who comes to shepherd all people.
Let us sing our prayers together:

O Hear Our Cry, O Lord v. 1-2

Save your people, O Lord,
and be especially present with those whom we have named before you.

O Hear Our Cry, O Lord v. 3-4

Turn your face toward your people,
and restore us in your mercy.

We pray in the name of the coming Christ,
and we join in the prayer he taught, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

confession: in the desert

God who comes where we least expect, your prophets spoke of the coming Messiah as new life growing in dry land, a desert teeming with flowers. Yet we forget the prophecy, and so in our own desolate landscapes see only poverty and despair, frustration and rejection. In this Advent, when we await Your coming, we confess our failure of imagination: our inability to believe You could possibly change the shape of the world.

And yet we know that You have come, long ago, to a forgotten corner of the world, to a people on the verge of losing hope, to a woman no one thought could bear a child, and the world has never been the same. Hear us as we pray, that we might find flowers in the desert and celebrate life where it seems impossible. May we look to the darkness of our time and discover there a Light like no other, waiting to shine in us, in whose name we pray, Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Laura Cunningham, Western Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.

Communion: Turning

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Then let us sing!

Canticle of the Turning v. 1-3

Mighty God, we rejoice with all who hunger,
for your Son Jesus, whose coming we proclaim,
spreads a table of blessing before us
and feeds us with his very presence.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon this meal,
that we might be united with Jesus Christ,
and with all who magnify his name.
Sustain us with your presence
and keep us faithful to the end,
singing with joy and confidence:

Canticle of the Turning v. 4

We pray with the One whose life turns the world
and we say together:
The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

POP: God’s Anointed

People of God, Jesus comes to bring God’s mercy to all people.
Therefore we are bold to sing our prayers
to the one whose reign is justice, peace, and joy:

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 1

We pray for those who are captive to violence, oppression, and sin.
We pray for all who are hungry, sick, sorrowing, or afraid.

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 2

We pray for everyone who longs for new beginnings.
We pray for those who celebrate and rejoice.
We pray for all who travel to be with families,
and we pray for those who celebrate the birth of the Savior alone.
We pray for the gift of peace, in our hearts and in our world.

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 3

We pray for those in positions of power,
for those who have more wealth and power than they realize,
and for those whom we are called to serve.

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 4

Let your kingdom come in this world, O God,
and let our hearts welcome the birth of the Holy Child,
who teaches us to pray as we say together:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

Confession: Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Advent is a season of singing.
We sing as we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.
Let us sing and pray our confession together:

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus v. 1

Lord Jesus, set us free from slavery to sin,
and establish your kingdom in our lives.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus v. 2

Our hearts long for your blessing,
and our world yearns for your presence.
Come to us now with forgiveness
and rule in our lives forever.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus v. 3-4

*suggested tune: Stuttgart

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

Confession: A Superficial people

God of Truth and Justice, you do not judge humanity by its appearance. But we do.
We are a superficial people, seeing only what we want to see, hearing what we want to hear.
We have little patience for events that puzzle us, little practice with the search for deep answers.
Yet you call us to be people who do what is right, no matter how long the journey.
Have mercy on us when we defend our half-baked opinions with all our strength
instead of seeking the wisdom that comes from you.
Have mercy on us when reduce our neighbors to our idea of who they are,
without seeking to know them first.
Give us the humility that leads to justice.

Submitted by Lisa M López, Christ Presbyterian Church in Hanover Park, IL

Advent Candles: Light of the World

Light of the World: Hope from Romans 8:19-25

We gather this morning as the children of God.

In hope that all creation will be set free from bondage and decay.

We offer ourselves as the first fruits of this redemption.

For in hope, we were saved.

We light this candle in the hope that saved us and the hope of what we do not yet see.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Peace from Isaiah 9:2, 6; John 14:27

We gather as people who walked in darkness but have seen a great light.

Once we lived in a land of deep darkness—on us, the light of peace has shined.

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.

He is the Prince of Peace.

We light this candle in the peace of Christ and for the peace the world has yet to know.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Joy from John 15:11, 16:20-22

We gather as people of hope and peace.

May our joy be complete.

Though the broken world may bring us to lament and repentance, our sorrow will turn to joy.

No one can take away the joy Christ completes in us.

We light this candle with the joy of those who have heard and experienced the Word made flesh even as we wait for Christ to come again.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 12

We gather in the love of Christ: a love that is patient and kind; love that is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude.

In love, we rejoice in the truth.

Through the love of Christ, we find we can bear all things, believe all things, endure all things.

In love, we hope in all things.

We light this candle to declare a love that never ends and for the day when it is fully known in the world.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Submitted by Michelle Henrichs

Advent Wreath Liturgies: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

Advent Wreath Liturgies
Advent 1 – Hope
Today we light the first candle of Advent, the candle of Hope. (Light Candle)
We put our hope in the one to come, the promised one who comes from God to
bring good news of salvation. We hope in the one who will lead us to walk in the light of the LORD. We hope he will not let us live in dark valleys, but on the high mountain of God.
We light this candle in Hope.
On this day, we remember to hopefully look for the coming of Christ.
Advent 2 – Peace
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ. (Light Candle). Today we light the second candle of Advent, the candle of Peace.
God has a peaceful dream for the world, and we dream it too. We dream of peaceful world full of wolves and leopards and lions eating and sleeping and dancing with lambs, kids, and calves. We dream of a peaceful world where nations come together, where war is a memory, and we eat at one table.
We light this candle in Peace.
On this day, we remember the Lord of All who brings peace surpassing all understanding.
Advent 3 – Joy
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ, and we lit the candle of Peace, remembering God’s dream of a peaceful world. (Light Candles). Today we light the third candle of Advent, the candle of Joy.
In Advent, we are in a time of waiting. Like the Israelites who wandered through the Wilderness, waiting to come into the Promised Land, we wait for the coming of the Joy of Ages. We wait for the day where we can join our voices with the angels to sing “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” We wait for the day when everlasting joy will be on each of us.
We light this candle in Joy. (Light Candle)
On this day, we remember the Spirit who breathes joy into our lives.
Advent 4 – Love
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ, the candle of Peace, remembering God’s dream of a peaceful world, and the candle of Joy, remembering the Spirit within us who brings joy. (Light Candles). Today we light the fourth candle of Advent, the candle of Love.
Scripture tells us “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18). God created this world in love and this world will end in the love of God. God’s love pervades all aspects of this life. From birth to death, pain to delight, strangers to lovers, God’s love is there.
We light this candle in Love. (Light Candle)
On this day, we remember God is Love.
Christmas Eve – Light
Throughout this season we have lived, waited, and remembered the hope, peace, joy, and love of God found in Christ. (Light Candles) Tonight we gather together and light candles in honor of the Christ Child.
With the birth of Christ, salvation has drawn near. The God who ordered the chaos of the universe has come down into the chaos of our world. The Word which was with God at the beginning came down and lived with us. While we were yet living in the valley of the shadow of death, the light of new life burst forth.
We light this candle for Christ.
On this night, we remember God has come in the Christ Child.
Submitted by Rev. Will Ryan, First Christian Church (DOC), Burlington, Iowa

Advent Wreath Candlelighting: The Women

Advent Wreath Candlelighting: The Women of Matthew’s Genealogy

**Advent 1**

Tamar, a woman, was with child and bore twin sons.
We give thanks that Tamar confronted boldly the injustices which threatened to keep her barren. Tamar’s righteousness caused her to become a foremother of Jesus.

In these days, we need justice to roll down on us like water, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.

Hear then, O house of David!
The Lord will give you a sign.
A young woman shall bear a son,
And shall call his name Immanuel,
which means “God is with us.”

Advent Chorus

 

**Advent 2**

Rahab, a woman, was with child and bore a son.
We give thanks that Rahab, heroine of Jericho, kept Israel safe.
Rahab’s faith and knowledge mad this foreign woman an important person in Israel’s history.

In these days, we long for a new day — a day when the Earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.

Hear then, O house of David!
The Lord will give you a sign.
A young woman shall bear a son,
And shall call his name Immanuel,
which means “God is with us.”

Advent Chorus

 

**Advent 3**

Ruth, a woman, was with child and bore a son. Ruth, once a childless widow, became a foremother of Jesus. Ruth was a resourceful woman. She created opportunities for herself to make choices about her future.

We look forward to the day when we who wait for the Lord shall be renewed in strength. We shall run and not be weary. We shall walk and not faint.

Hear then, O house of David!
The Lord will give you a sign.
A young woman shall bear a son,
And shall call his name Immanuel,
which means “God is with us.”

Advent Chorus

 

**Advent 4**

Uriah’s wife was with child and bore a son. Before her son was born, Uriah’s wife grieved for the deaths of her husband and another son., she and them victims of a powerful man’s desire for her. Uriah’s wife was Bathsheba, who, though victimized in her own lifetime, was a foremother of Jesus.

We wait for justice, but justice is far from us. Righteousness does not reach us. We wait for new life, and lo, there is death; and for hope, but we walk in gloom.

Hear then, O house of David!
The Lord will give you a sign.
A young woman shall bear a son,
And shall call his name Immanuel,
which means “God is with us.”

Advent Chorus

 

**Christmas Eve/ Christmas**

Mary, a young woman, found favor with God, and received these promises from God:
“You will conceive and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. The child will be holy and will be called Son of God.”
Blessed is Mary, mother of Jesus, who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.

My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for us, and holy is God’s name.

God’s mercy is for those who have feared God from generation to generation.

God’s strength has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly. God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

Hear then, O house of David!
The Lord has given us a sign.
A young woman shall bear a son,
And shall call his name Immanuel,
which means “God is with us.”

Advent Chorus

 

Submitted by Rev. Sharon Mack Temple, Brookmeade UCC, Nashville TN

confession: justice is too hard

O God, You are faithful to all generations—from the beginning of time, you have called all kinds of characters to be your people. When we forget that their story is our story, forgive us. When we admire them from afar while insisting that kind of faith isn’t practical for us, forgive us. We confess that your justice is too hard for us to do, and we prefer to create our own. We confess that we do not often bear the fruit you expect of your vineyard, resisting your kingdom’s way when it conflicts with our desires. Forgive us yet again, and plant your word of justice deep in our hearts and lives. Amen.

 

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