a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: return to the Lord

Leader: God’s call rings out through the world, God’s message to us.
People: God calls us to come back, to fast and weep, and ask for forgiveness.
Leader: We need to change our entire lives, what is inside of us, not just outside.
People: For our God is loving and compassionate.
Leader: We enter this season of Preparation by returning to the LORD.
All: Together, let us sound the trumpet and worship God!
submitted by Rev. Will Ryan, First Christian Church Burlington IA

Confession: new order

Prayer of Confession

God of grace and mercy,
You create a new order for our lives:
Service before success,
Faith before knowledge,
Partnership over independence,
The cross over the crown.
Forgive us when we fall into the patterns of this world,
Rejecting your call through our action or inaction.
Forgive us, God, and move us to see the world through lens of your great love.
Forgive us, God, and grant us peace.

Assurance of Pardon

God forgives us of our sins,
Not because we are righteous, but because God is good.
God calls us to try again,
Not because we are strong, but because God will help us.
God calls us as disciples,
Not because we are worthy, but because we are loved.
God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom,
and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
Through the love of God in Christ Jesus, we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God! Amen.


Submitted by Rev. Anna George Traynham, Associate Pastor, Central Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

Confession: Love Divine

Advent is a season of singing.

We sing as we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.

Let us sing and pray our confession together:

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling v. 1

Lord Jesus, as we wait for your coming,

we admit the sin that holds us in captivity,

and we pray that you would change our hearts.

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling v. 2

Take away our love of sinning,

as we confess our sins before you in silence.

Time for silent confession.

Liberating God, set us free.

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling v. 3

Friends, hear the good news!

Our prayers have been heard.

Rejoice and sing with gladness, because our sins have been forgiven!

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling v. 4


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

Confession + Pardon: Darkness + Light

Holy and Beloved God, it is hard to hope when all seems lost. The darkness has a way of fuzzing our vision, of taking our eyes off of your holy light. It’s hardest to see your light when our eyes are shut – shut to you, shut to each other, and shut to the suffering that is just barely disguised by thin smiles and haunted eyes. Yet, your light shines. Your hope abides with us, awakening us to your love, and calling us to share your light with each other. Help us prepare a way for you in our hearts, that your love might open our hearts to see you fully in the world. Amen.


silence or musical response: Prepare the Way (Glory to God #95)


Awake, people of God! Open your eyes, open your ears, and open your hearts! The Holy One arose, yes, arose even from the depths of death, and calls you to do the same, with messages of hope, peace, joy and love. Know that God’s love and grace are greater than sin! Know that you are forgiven!

Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bixby, Okla.

Confession/Pardon – Debts

Holy and Beloved God, we pray to you often, asking you to “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” – and then, in the next breath, we turn away from you and shake down our friends and families. Bring justice through the world, holy God, even though we may turn aside. Help us learn from our wounds – and the wounds we have inflicted on others – to turn away from violence both physical and fiscal. Make clear to us your vision, so that we can work together for the benefit of all. Amen.

Friends, hear the good news! God has already forgiven our debts, and repaid our sin.
God’s Spirit fills us with love and peace, and leads us to heal instead of hurt.
Therefore, let us forgive one another as God has forgiven us!


Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bixby, OK

Confession: Choose Life

On our journey with God, we often make mistakes, and hurt each other. By acknowledging these mistakes, and asking for forgiveness, we work to heal that pain, and reconcile with each other and with God. Let us join together in prayer:

Holy and Beloved God, you have blessed us with life itself – and yet, we choose to walk away from you again and again. We get engrossed in the small details and the broad strokes, and lose track of you as the artist. We say we want to be your disciple, but we chase after dreams that you tell us to ignore, and ignore your call to act in love in the world. Help us to turn our hearts back to you. Help us give our whole attention and whole self to you, as Jesus told us to do. Help us to choose life in you over all else. Hear the words of our hearts as we lift up silent prayers.

No matter how often we forget God’s presence, or choose to follow our own paths and dreams, God calls out to us to return to the path, that God has already forgiven us, and that Jesus is waiting for us with open arms.

May we love God and each other as much as God loves us! Amen.


Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bixby, OK

(Based on Deut. 30, and Luke 14, for Proper 19 (Sept 4, 2016))

Confession: wild grapes

Prayer of Confession            from Isaiah 5:1-6

Beloved, God, you had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.  You dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines. You built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it.

You expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.

What more could you do for your vineyard that you had not done in it?

When you expected it to yield grapes, why did our lives yield wild grapes?  What now will you do, Lord?

We confess that we stray from the way you call us, choosing to trust in what is temporary:

do not remove your hedge, or we shall be devoured.

We confess that we build our own walls through injustice and indifference to others:

do not break down your wall, or we shall be trampled down.

We confess that we are destroying this earth you created:

do not make it a waste.

When we confess are many sins to you, Lord, may the Spirit of Truth change our hearts:

prune us so that we shall not be overgrown with briers and thorns.

When we cry out to you in humility:

send your living water so that we may be cleansed. 


Assurance         from John 15:7

Hear the words of Jesus:  “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  When we offer our confession to God with a humble and contrite heart, we will receive forgiveness.

In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!

confession: impatient, overwhelmed, and frustrated

Prayer for Confession (Unison)
Gracious God, we pray for new understanding
because we are tormented by our doubts and mistakes.  
We confess that we have been impatient with your ways.
We have not trusted your wisdom but have insisted on our own ways. We have been so overwhelmed and frustrated by what does not make sense that we have denied your righteousness and your salvation. We have ignored your glory.
We have dismissed your love. Forgive us, Gracious God.
Grant us new understanding.
Affirmation of God’s Grace (Responsive)
Leader: Beloved in Christ, believe in the good news.
For God’s love is made manifest in our flesh.
God’s love has been poured over us with
wisdom and understanding.
 People: We belong to God. Alleluia! Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Elsa Peters.

confession: verbs

Call to Confession

As we continue the season of Christmas,
let us confess our sins,
our actions and our inactions,
that are contrary to the kingdom of the newborn King.

Prayer of Confession (Responsive)

Almighty God,
The verbs of Psalm 147 remind us of your actions:
you strengthen, bless, grant, fill, send, give, make, and declare.
But we confess that our verbs do not always match yours:
we argue, fight, lie, steal, oppress, ignore, refuse, and silence.

    Forgive us, Lord, for what we’ve done to tarnish your holy name.
Give us courage, merciful God, to make our actions match yours.
Help us to shed our sin and join you in your redemptive work.
This we pray in your good and gracious name.  Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that our sin does not have the final word.
God will turn our mourning into joy, God will comfort us,
God will give us gladness for sorrow.
Friends, in the name of the Jesus Christ, you and I are forgiven!
Alleluia!  Amen!

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

confession: clothe yourselves

Call to Confession

Christ has been born and has come before us.
Now let us come before him and confess that which we have done
that is contrary to his peaceful kingdom on earth.

Prayer of Confession

    We are told by your holy word to clothe ourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
But too often we clothe ourselves with hurtful garments;
we clothe ourselves instead with stubbornness, selfishness,
impatience, rudeness, and apathy.
Help us to clothe ourselves with love
that the peace of your son might rule in our hearts.
This we pray in your merciful and forgiving name.  Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

    Hear the Good News of the Gospel:
God has broken into our broken world
and saved us from ourselves.
With God’s help,
we are now able to put on clothes of righteousness and justice.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.  Alleluia!  Amen!

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