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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

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

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.

confession: joy vs. cheer

submitted by the Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL.

One: God, you promise joy—
and to fulfill that promise you give us many gifts:
gifts of doing justice, loving mercy,
and bringing good news.
All: But we prefer Christmas cheer.
It’s more fun for less effort.
One: You call us to rejoice—
to live with a joy deeper than cheer or happiness.
More than sparkle and parties, a joy that brings you glory.
All: But we prefer our own glory, our own smiles.
Forgive us, O God, our forced cheer and shallow celebration.
Show us again your way, that we may rejoice in you.
Lead us in your promised path. Amen.

Sunday’s Coming: working toward December 11

It’s amazing how fast Advent flies by. One minute we’re in the wilderness, the next minute we’re singing praise with two pregnant women. One minute, we’re praying for God to tear open the heavens, the next we’re proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor. Maybe this week you’re contemplating the command to “rejoice always and pray without ceasing.” It is, for some of us, the Sunday when we light the pink candle of joy (and others of us have 4 purple or blue candles, since we can never remember which week is pink!). Perhaps you’ve chosen to save the Magnificat for next week and you’re going with the Psalm and its proclamation of all the great things God has done for us. Is anyone going with a season-long preparation theme, perhaps this week using John and the story of John the Baptizer preparing the way for the light?

So, what are you dreaming about this Advent? Are you conspiring with God, and working that into your worship life? Are you writing all new liturgy this year, or borrowing from a favorite resource (if you are, please share it in the comments!)? Are you following the lectionary, or flitting about in order to fit in special programs? Do you sing Christmas carols before Christmas, have a children’s pageant, or a cantata? What are you up to, and how can we work together for a creative and meaningful Advent liturgy?