a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: spark hope

God of promise,
We come to you this day, at the start of a new season, waiting.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting to be seen.
We remember those among us who are feeling forgotten or alone or misunderstood. Grant them assurance that they are whole, and wholly yours, just the way they are.
May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting to be home.
Whether they have fled their old ones for a better life, been pushed out of them by others because of who they are, or whether they have slipped through systemic cracks to end up on the street, grant belonging and rest to unwilling wanderers.
May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting for justice.
We acknowledge those among us who have been victims of systems set up to make them fail.
May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting for healing.
Hold close those who are hurting in body or mind, whatever the reason. Grant them strength, courage, and the help they need.
May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting for peace.
Our country and world are fractured, and doing the hard word of making it better can feel insurmountable.
May your Spirit spark in us hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Faithful God, whatever our own uncertainties, breathe hope into our lungs and courage into our hearts. Not the easy or comfortable kind, but grant us, O God, hope in the unexpected promise of a world-changing child born from the humblest of beginnings. Grant us comfort in the words that that child would teach us to pray together: Our Father, who art in heaven. . .
Submitted by Rev. Allison Wehrung, Presbytery of St. Andrew (Oxford, MS)

approach and confession: storyteller

God, you are a storyteller, and you made us in your image. You spoke, and you still speak, through unexpected people, through silence, through your word written and proclaimed through the centuries. We come to hear your story once again, to find our place among your people and within your vision for all creation. We hear You call us to share your story in our words and in our actions, but we confess that more often our lips are sealed. We are afraid to tell your story. We think we don’t know enough, and we are afraid of offending. We prefer to keep you to ourselves.
Yet still Your word, O Lord, is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
Forgive us for letting the book gather dust on the shelf, and the story gather dust in our hearts.
Speak to us, and through us, Lord.
Help us to know you so well that we cannot help but love you, and to love you so much we
cannot help but serve you, sharing your good news in every place, for it is in doing your
will that we find perfect freedom.
We pray in the name of the one who is your Living Word, Jesus the Christ.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, St. John’s Church of Scotland, Gourock, Scotland

Illumination: dance in your love

Divine Spirit,
surround us with the wisdom of your word
that we might dance in your love
and be messengers of your truth in this world. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

Prayer: stick with us

Saving God,
you are a God who has made it a habit to stick with us through thick and thin.
Thank you for calling us your own
even in moments when we haven’t been the best investment.
Help us, in our worship of you this day,
to be turned in a direction that pleases you. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

CTW: blessed

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side – let us say together:
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
we would have been swallowed up alive. But such is not the case!
Blessed be the Lord, who is our rock and our redeemer!
Blessed be the Lord, in whose name is our help!
Blessed be the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
Come, let us worship God!

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

illumination: curiosity and wonder

As children welcomed to your presence,
instill within us a sense of curiosity and wonder
as we gather to listen to your Word. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

Prayer: narrative

Author of our Lives,
we praise you for writing us into your narrative of salvation.
As characters in this chapter of your story of creation,
help us tell the truth of your steadfast love and mercy
to all who have ears to hear. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

CTW: praise be

Praise be to God the Creator, who breathes life into being.
Praise be to God the Redeemer, who saves us from ourselves.
Praise be to God the Sustainer, who binds us together as one body.
Come, children of the Triune God, come worship our wild and wonderful Maker.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

CTW: from many places

We have come from many places to gather in this place—from home and school and work, from next door and from miles away.

We have come on foot, by car, bus, and taxi, with friends, and alone.

Whatever the journey has held so far, wherever we find ourselves in our faith or life, God calls us together now, to see what God has done, and to follow wherever he leads us next.

And so we join our voices with voices past, present, and future, to worship God together.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, St. John’s Church of Scotland, Gourock

Illumination: wisdom implanted

Holy Spirit,
stir our hearts to be moved by your Word,
that we might leave this place
with your wisdom implanted within us. Amen.

 

Submitted by Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY