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

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

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

POP: harvest of joy

Lord of glory, Savior of all who call on you,
we pray for your people who are near to our hearts today.
We rejoice with those who rejoice,
whose hopes and dreams have come true today.
Let our mouths be filled with laughter,
and let us sing songs of joy,
for you have done great things for your people.
We give you thanks!
Merciful God, we also weep with those who weep.
We call out on behalf of those whose lives are dry and barren,
for all who long to be restored.
Where there are tears, or suffering, or illness, or grief,
may there be songs of joy once again.
We lift up the prayers of your people
with longing and hope,
trusting that you will bring forth a harvest of joy.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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

dedication – these gifts we bring (lyrics)

Sung to the Tune of “What Child Is This”, this can be used as a doxology during Advent and Christmas. For those worship leaders who prefer to not use Christmas hymns during Advent, maybe this will do as a nice option.

These gifts we joyfully bring to you,
to fill the world with meaning;
our hearts and minds are longing for
the life of which you are dreaming.
This, this our gift we bring,
our lives we share, your praise we sing;
show us your vision, Lord,
for hope, and peace, and caring.

Here is an optional second verse for Communion Sunday:

We gather as one at your table, Lord,
the bread is broken, the wine is poured;
the walls we fashion around us fall,
we’ve dropped our spear and put down our sword;
This, this your gift we share,
you welcome all people from everywhere;
take…eat…remember me,

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

prayer of confession: greatness and glory

submitted by Eric Beene, Pastor, White Bluff Presbyterian Church, Savannah, Georgia

Almighty God, we know that the things you have done for us are great.  The powerful cannot rule us, and the hungry are filled with good things.  We know the greatness of your strength, and we know the unexpectedness of your mercy.  So why do we try to make your coming into the world cute, cozy, and soft, like a fuzzy blanket on a cold night? Forgive us, O Lord, for the ways we reduce your glory into something easy.  Prepare us, O Lord, to stop what we are doing, to look, and to listen; to let our jaws drop and let chills run up our spines; to stare wide-eyed in wonder and awe at the glory of the Lord dwelling among us.  We pray in the name of Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Call to worship, confession, & assurance for Advent 4

From Rev. Jenny McDevitt, Bayside Presbyterian Church, Virginia Beach, VA

Call to Worship
One: We are waiting on you, God. We are still waiting.
All: The darkness is deeper, but look! The star is beginning to shine.
The everlasting light is creeping closer.
Hope is in the air. Peace is promised. Joy is on the tips of our tongues.
One: Love is coming. Love divine, all loves excelling.
All: We are waiting on love. And Love is waiting on us.

Prayer of Confession
Living God, Love Incarnate, we confess that we are not perfect.
You who are everything, we acknowledge that we are lacking.
Child of the manger, we admit that we prefer to be sentimental rather than sacrificial.
Hear us now as we confess our faults and admit our frailties.

Silent confession

One (sung): O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.
All (sung): O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.

Assurance of Forgiveness
All: The truth of Advent is this: God is coming to us! We are not alone.
In Christ, we are accepted. We are set free of the past. We are given to the future.
One: Hear the water splashing: this is what forgiveness sounds like.
Look at the light shining: this is what hope looks like.
Take one another’s hand: this is what incarnation feels like.
Share a sign of peace: this is what the world is waiting for.

Sunday’s Coming: working toward December 18

Here we are, the 4th Sunday of Advent. Some of us will be having special musical programs this week, others children’s programs or pageants. Some of us are bursting with anticipation at getting to preach about David’s desire to build a house of cedar for God (now that his own palace of cedar is finished!) and the smackdown David gets from God: “did I ask you to build me a house?” Okay, maybe no one is bursting with anticipation to preach that a mere 6 days before Christmas.

But the Annunciation, where nothing is impossible? Mary visiting Elizabeth? the Magnificat? Some of us got to preach the Magnificat last week, others like to save Mary for the fourth Sunday. Either way, we may be engaging in singing that classic Advent carol The Canticle of the Turning! 🙂

Maybe you’ve been following the Epistle lessons this Advent, and have finally reached the easy part of Romans: “To God be the glory forever!”

What are you doing this week, liturgically? What can we do together? As the season continues toward the climax next weekend, what resources are you using? What prayers are you writing? What hymns are you singing? As we light the fourth candle, let’s create together!

Advent 3 confession & assurance

From Rev. Stephanie Anthony, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Hudson, Wisconsin

God of light and love, We confess our lack of attention to the prophets and messengers you send. We confess that we do not keep our eyes peeled and our ears open to the ways that you are revealing yourself and announcing your message in our lives. We confess that we dismiss those who might be speaking for you who in our minds are not old enough, not educated enough, not refined enough. Open our hearts, our eyes, our ears, and our minds to watch and listen for your Word being proclaimed among us this day and always. Amen.

Words of Assurance: (based on Isaiah 61)
L: Friends, We can rejoice in the Lord! With an everlasting covenant sealed by love and mercy, God has clothed us with salvation. God has covered us with righteousness. The prophets have promised this good news: In Jesus Christ, our coming Lord, we are forgiven!
P: My whole being shall exult in my God. In Jesus Christ we are indeed forgiven. Thanks be to God.

Call to worship, confession, & assurance for advent 3

Third Sunday of Advent from Rev. Ross Reddick, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Sylacauga, Alabama

Responsive Call to Worship: (based on John 1:6-8, 19-28)
Leader: With joy this day we anticipate the one who is coming, the arrival of the Messiah.
People: The one we call the Word! The one we call the Light.
Leader: Like John the Baptist, we are not the light. In our worship, we testify to the light.
People: Our testimony is prayer and praise, song and scripture.
Leader: Our testimony is preaching and teaching, learning, and serving.
People: May our testimony be a sweet sound in your ear, O God.

Prayer of Confession: (based on 1Thess. 5:16-24)
Mighty and powerful God, your word says, “Rejoice always.” But we would rather sulk about the things that don’t go right. Your word says, “Pray without ceasing.” But we go for days without even thinking about You. Your word says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” But our thankfulness is fleeting, because we think we deserve blessings. Your word says “Hold fast to what is good,” while we hold fast to sinful ways of thinking and acting.

Assurance of Pardon / Declaration of Forgiveness: (based on Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11)​
The prophets of old have declared, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God. For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robes of righteousness. Friends, believe the good news: in Jesus Christ we are forgiven.