a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: highest joy

God of our Highest Joy,
we come to you this day as your servants,
gathered to worship you and you alone.
As we continue this Advent journey,
help us to focus on you and the coming of your son, Jesus.
Amidst the commercials, the cooking, and the company,
help us to remember the true meaning of this season:
that you would come to us in the flesh and forever live among us.

Even as we share the joy we find in you with one another,
we are mindful of those for whom joy is hard to find,
for those who don’t have enough clothes,
for those who don’t have enough food,
for those who don’t have enough (or any) shelter,
for those who don’t have enough protection and justice.
We confess that there really is “enough” for everyone,
but it is our fault that the “enough” is hoarded by few at the expense of many.
Help us to bear the good fruit that the Baptist called us to bear,
being mindful of those around us without during this season of giving.

We pray this day for those longing for spiritual renewal.
We would ask that your Holy Spirit invigorate us
that we may provide for others first
before expecting them to provide for us.
Come to this place and encourage us to do the work
to which we were baptized.
Help us to proclaim the Good News in word and in deed.

We pray this day for the hope we have found,
the peace we seek,
and the joy we will receive in your Holy name.
May we bring hope to the hopeless,
peace to the restless,
and joy to those who crave it.
We pray this day, either out loud or in our hearts, for those dear to us…

Gracious God, may the joy we find not be a commodity to be hoarded
but a gift to be shared with one another.
We thank you for your presence among us,
your creation around us,
and your providence within us,
as we continue this blessed journey.  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

confession: scurrying and striving

Lord, we have not trusted you. In all our scurrying to prepare, even spiritually, we have forgotten this one thing—to believe, to cling, to lay our burdens on you. We have failed to trust in your eternal realm. We brought it all on ourselves to carry the weight of sin, the need to fix our own problems and clean up our own messes. In all this striving, we missed the brightness of your morning star; we missed the fullness of the joy a life lived in you radiates. Fill us with your truth. Shape us into creatures who trust and obey, that we may rejoice with you in our salvation! Amen. 

 

Submitted by Rev. Elaine Murray Dreeben, Canyon Lake Presbyterian Church, TX

illumination: springs of salvation

The prophet says that “we will draw water with rejoicing
from the springs of salvation.”
May your word to us today be that water,
nourishing us to the joyful receiving of your scripture.
Through your Holy Spirit, may this saving spring come to us
and wash us with the wisdom of your word.  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

dedication: joy expressed

Gracious God,
you are so good to us.
We give you thanks for these blessings
and would ask that the joy we feel in our hearts
not only be expressed by our lips but with our hands also.
May these gifts be used to embody the joy we find in you
by sharing it with those who need it most.
This we pray in your holy name.  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

confession: overstuffed

Let us follow the Baptist’s cry
to present ourselves before the Lord,.
to repent of our sins,
and ask for forgiveness,
that we might receive the joy of his salvation.

 

John the Baptist gave us wise advice,
he said “whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none;
and whoever has food must do likewise.”
We confess that we do not always do this.
Our closets are overstuffed and our cabinets overflow
while people around the world freeze and starve.
Help us, gracious God, to share the joy of blessing with others around us.
May we remember that as long as there is one cold person left in the world,
as long as there is one hungry person left in the world,
we still have work to do.  Amen.

 

Hear these words of comfort from the prophet Isaiah:
“Surely God is our salvation; We will trust, and will not be afraid,
for the LORD GOD is our strength and our might; God has become our salvation.”
Friends, God has become our salvation, indeed!
Open yourselves to the joy to be found in our forgiveness;
never more are we to be held captive by that which seeks to tear us from God.
Hear the Good News of the Gospel:  we are forgiven.  Alleluia!  Amen!

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

prayer: you are near

Advent God,
you are near,
so near we can feel it in our hearts and in our bodies.
As the day of your dawning draws close,
keep our minds on your presence during this busy holiday season.
In a world that tells us that we are supposed to find joy in everything else,
remind us that our only true joy is the joy we find in you.  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

CTW: sing aloud!

Sing aloud, daughter Zion; shout, O Israel!
Let us rejoice and exult with all our hearts.
God has taken away the judgements against us.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in our midst; we shall fear no more.
God is gathering us, bringing us home.
we will sing and praise the Lord.
Come, let us worship God on this Advent journey.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY