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: restore and magnify

Let us pray to the Lord our God saying:
“Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.”:

Our souls magnify you, O Lord, and our Spirits rejoice in you, our Savior!
For you have looked upon the lowliness of your servants,
you have heard our cry and saved your people.
We shall be called blessed because we are called by you to be a blessing to others.
Your mercy is from generation to generation.
Your mercy called Adam and Eve into being.
Your mercy kept vengeance from taking Cain’s life.
Your mercy saved Noah and his family from the flood.
Your mercy caused Sarah’s womb to be fruitful.
Your mercy gave Joseph’s dreams the power to save a nation.
Your mercy heard the Israelites’ cry and called Moses to action.
Your mercy charged Mary with the most special of tasks.
Your mercy strengthened Joseph to care for her.
Your mercy creates Jesus, who has come to save us.
We give you thanks for your mercy; may it continue to shine upon us!

Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.

We remember this day those upon our hearts that crave your shining face,
who long for the light, who need your power to drive out the darkness:
for those who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses,
for those who cannot bring themselves to forgive others,
for those who cannot forgive themselves,
for those who seek refuge, but have been denied shelter,
for those who seek shelter, but have been denied a home,
for those who have lost loved ones in the past year,
for those who have lost physical and mental abilities,
for those who care for aging spouses and loved ones,
for those who have been living with cancer and other debilitating illnesses.

Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.

We ask that you would strengthen us as a congregation:
as we seek to be the best stewards of the money with which we’ve been blessed,
as we struggle with the financial burden of an aging building,
as we search for the truth of your word and do our best to live it out in our lives,
as we hold in tension that which we have been with that which you call us to be,
as we serve one another and those with whom you called us into fellowship,
as we continue to grow together as a congregation in a period of transition,
as we wait, watch, and wonder in preparation of the coming of your Son.

Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.

Gracious God,
as we finish this advent journey,
may we wait with Mary’s joyful anticipation
as we prepare to welcome your Son, our Savior,
into this broken world in need of his redeeming.
Gather us, guide us, and keep us as your people.
Send us into the world that Christ’s hands might be our own,
and his mind one with ours in all that you would have us do.

Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.  Amen.

 

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

dedication: carrying grace

Gracious God,
we thank you for the gifts before us
and ask that you bless them that we might use them to be a blessing to others.
As we finish this journey of Advent,
care for us as you did your servant Mary,
that we might serve you as she did,
carrying God’s grace into the world.  Amen.

 

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

illumination: love leaps

Holy Spirit, Holy Word,
may your love leap within us
and your stories seal themselves to our hearts.
As we prepare to welcome Jesus Christ,
may we first welcome your wisdom to our worship.  Amen.

 

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

confession: restore us, O God

We are a sinful people in need of restoration,
but sometimes we are too stubborn or ignorant to even realize it.
We are capable of such evil as well as such goodness.
Let us confess our sins that we might be washed of evil
and welcome the goodness that God’s intends for us.

 

Give ear, merciful God, to our confession.
Restore us, O God!
Forgive us for the things we have done.
Restore us, O God!
Forgive us for the things we have left undone.
Restore us, O God!
For the people we’ve hurt, and the relationships we’ve broken.
Restore us, O God!
For the societal illnesses we ignore, and the injustices we dismiss.
Restore us, O God!
Forgive us, for we are sorry and recognize our need of your grace.
Make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved!
Make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved!

 

God has given ear to our confession
and God’s face has shined upon us!
In the name of Jesus Christ, you and I are saved:
saved from our sins,
saved to our faithful savior,
whose steadfast love is gifted to the world!

 

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

prayer: magnify

God of our Greatest Joy,
may the joy we find in you leap within us this day.
Give us the imagination to sing your praises
in all that we do and in all that we are,
for you have done great things for us.
Our souls magnify you and our spirits rejoice in you!  Amen.

 

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

liturgy for the fourth Sunday of Advent

Prayer of Approach and Confession for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Most High, we sing your praises, for your love endures forever. The Virgin Mary bore the ultimate revelation of your divine love, the baby Jesus. And now we thank you for the privilege of bearing your love in the world. We confess that often we have failed you in this commission. At times, we have questioned this call, saying “How can this be?” Other times, we have failed to offer love out of fear of rejection or self-involvement. Send your Holy Spirit upon us. Strengthen us and show us where revealing your love can bring new life. Amen.

 

Words of Assurance

When Mary found that she would bear God’s love in the world by giving birth to a baby, she asked the same question: “How can this be?” And the angel answered: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Nothing is ever impossible with God. Be therefore assured that by the power of the Holy Spirit we, too, shall carry God’s love into the world. Amen.

 

Prayers of the People for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

God of Wonder,
We come before you in anticipation of what is to come;
We are excited
We are fearful
We are relieved
We are uncertain
In all these emotions, you are here with us.

God of No Limits,
We give you thanks for the boundless gifts you have given us:
This universe which you have created with its infinite mystery;
This earth that sustains us with its resources and beauty;
This created life, with all its relationships, of which we are a part;
For all these acts of love, we give you thanks.

God of Love,
We give you thanks for your Church
The community of those who came before, are here now, and are yet to come.
Help us to work together in the building of your kingdom here on earth
That we might live in justice, peace and harmony with all.

God of Many Blessings,
We call to mind all the ways in which you have blessed us individually,
With family and friends that fill us with belonging,
with studies and ministries that challenge and excite us
with good health and happiness.
In silence, O God, we give you are thanks for other blessings that you have laid before us….

God of Wisdom and Understanding,
As we give thanks we also hear the words of Scripture, urging us to bring all the concerns of our hearts to you.
And so we come with prayers of petition and intercession:
For a time when all this world might know peace
When hunger and oppression might end
When those who suffer might know freedom from pain
In our individual lives, O God, we name and offer the sighs of our hearts.
Hear them now as we call out these prayers to you……….

God of Patience and God of Surprises,
Teach us, in this time of waiting, to be open to let go of all those things
That hide your presence from us.
Catch us by surprise, catch us with wonder,
Fill us with the gift of your grace and your love
In this time of Advent and all the days to come.

In the power of the Spirit and in the name of Jesus, your wonderful gift to us,
we pray the words he taught us to say: Our Father…

 

Commissioning for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

May you be strengthened as you go forth
To carry God’s love, as Mary did.
A love that is radical, powerful, and life-affirming.

 

Submitted by Rev. Daniel Hayward, Trinity Ingleside and Newington United Churches, South Stormont ON Canada. Written by Karen Boivin, Daniel Hayward and Maggie Melanson while MDiv students at Queen’s School of Religion, Kingston ON.

a dramatic reading of the Magnificat, in three parts

All: And Mary said,
One: my soul magnifies the Lord,
Two: and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
Three: for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
One: Surely, from now on, all generations will call me
Two: blessed (reverently),
Three: blessed (surprised),
One: blessed (excited),
Two: for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
Three: and holy is God’s name.
One: God’s mercy is for those who fear God
Two: from generation to generation.
Three: God has shown strength with God’s arm;
One: God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
Two: God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
Three: and lifted up the lowly;
One: God has filled the hungry with good things,
Two: and sent the rich away empty.
Three: God has helped God’s servant Israel,
One: in remembrance of God’s mercy,
Two: according to the promise God made to our ancestors,
Three: to Abraham and his descendants
One: forever,
Two: forever (more intense),
Three: forever (even more intense).

Adapted from Luke 1:47-55.

Submitted by Rev. Daniel Hayward, Trinity Ingleside and Newington United Churches, South Stormont ON Canada. Written by Karen Boivin, Daniel Hayward and Maggie Melanson while MDiv students at Queen’s School of Religion, Kingston ON.