a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Confession: we manipulate grace

Invitation to Tell the Truth About Ourselves
One: Jesus said, “those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, we admit before God and one another our faults and failings. Let us pray.

Prayer of Confession (we tell the truth)
All: You know, O God, how often we set our mind on human things instead of divine things. You know the ways we try to force your Spirit to fit our agenda, to manipulate your grace for our own ends. You know that we are prone to thinking of our desires long before we ever consider yours. We confess these things to you, praying that saying them out loud might make us aware of our own brokenness, so that we can also be more aware of your ever-present grace. Startle us with your truth and your love. Set our minds and hearts on you, and lead us on your way. Amen. ~silence~

Assurance of Forgiveness
One: The grace of God is always doing a new thing—whether we are prepared, or worthy, or not. Let yourself live and believe this good news:
All: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Thanks be to God! Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: sin is a hard word

Lord, sin is a hard word. I try so hard.
I do not do the good I want to do.

Is sin unavoidable, so that the world can see your grace?
I do not do the good I mean to do.

The broken frustrations of the world surround me and are within me.
I seek your will, forgetting that it has found me.

I long to feel a flood of forgiveness, to be transfigured, to be different- somehow, someway.
But you made me, you know me, you love me.

Forgive my sins- what I do, what I avoid.
Forgive my sins- what I say that should go unsaid, what I hold back that should be shouted.

Forgive my sins- the successes I credit to myself, forgetting your Spirit.
Forgive my sins- the shortcomings I see in others, forgetting my own.

Forgive us. Renew us. Transfigure us.

Silence for reflection

The God of creation does not begin work only to abandon it. The good thing that God has begun in you will continue until the day of Christ’s return and, then, eternally. Hear and receive in your hearts and minds to forgiveness of all your sins, consolation for all your griefs, affirmation of your gifts, and hope for your tomorrows. All of this is true and possible, through Jesus Christ- our Savior and Lord!
AMEN.

 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage AK

Assurance: covenant making God

(This is an adaptation of the Lent B Call to Worship, to be useable as an assurance of forgiveness on Palm Sunday if constructing the symbol cross as noted here. You should not print the instructions for the blocks—they are for your reference as liturgist so you can pause while people get pieces into position.)

 

One: Hear and believe the good news: God has called us “my people”!
All: God has set up a covenant, over and over again,
choosing us even before we can choose,
faithful even when we are faltering.

One: In the flood, in the wilderness, in exile;
in certainty and doubt, abundance and scarcity;
All: God’s promise is true to the thousandth generation.
One: We see the rainbow, (rainbow block is held up on one side)
we hear our names, (signature block is held up at the top)
we learn the commandments, (tablets block is held up opposite the rainbow)
we look up for our help, (rod of Asclepius block is put in position at the bottom)
we know in our hearts: (heart block is placed in centre)
All: we love because God first loved us,
we follow because God first came to us,
we can be faithful because God is faithful.

(Blocks are pressed together to stand as a cross)
One: Come, let us worship God together.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: we don’t know what to confess

Call to Confession
Sometimes we must let go of our nets in order to follow Jesus.
Let us confess our reluctance to follow,
and examine what we must let go of in order to follow Jesus.

Prayer of Confession
We confess that we do not often know what to confess, O Lord. We are so consumed by our own projects that we don’t always hear your voice. We know that you speak through the suffering of others, the curiosity of one who needs to know they are not alone, and the opportunity to demonstrate love and forgiveness. Help us, Lord, to know our faults and turn from them. Hear us now, even as we confess our own unwillingness to hear you.
(silent prayer)
Thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayers.
Guide us in the true way of life as we follow you today. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Zach Sasser, First Presbyterian Church, Lafayette, Louisiana

Confession/Pardon: Real Salt, Spiritual Wounds

Holy and Beloved God, you are the great peacemaker, who brings together many different parts and makes the one united body of Christ. Yet, we often turn aside from the peace you offer, and assume that we alone have it right. Instead of listening to your call to comfort one another, we accidentally or purposefully rub salt in the spiritual wounds of our neighbors. Help us to stop making things worse, and instead offer cool, calm comfort to your warm and wonderful people, all in the name of your peacemaking. Amen.

My friends, this is the good news of Jesus Christ: God offers us grace for our mistakes and errors, and calls us to reconcile with one another. In Christ, we have hope for true and just peace.

Just as God forgives us, so we too shall forgive each other. Thanks be to God!

 

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

Call to Confession for Advent, Narrative Lectionary year 4 and John 1

In Advent, we prepare for the coming of Christ,
full of grace and truth.
Trusting in God’s unfailing grace,
let us tell the truth about ourselves,
joining in our prayer of confession.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

Confession + Assurance: Hope for God’s Children

Beloved God, your hopes for us can seem far removed. How can we work for a better tomorrow when today is so difficult? How can it be that people so different from us can also be your children? You call us to serve each other in love, and we instead demand service from others. You call us heirs to your Kingdom of peace, and we act like spoiled children, throwing tantrums when we don’t get our way. Help us to see your way before us – and call us back to right relationship with you and each other. Amen.

Family of God – hear this good news: God’s mercy is boundless, and God’s love is beyond all understanding. God has already forgiven you, and is calling on you again to serve each other, to build the Kingdom, and to celebrate your ties with one another.

Praise be to God! Amen.

 

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

CTW and Assurance: God is in this place

Call to Worship:
Leader:          Surely, God is in this place,
People:          and calls us to worship in spirit and in truth.
Leader:          Surely, the Lord is in this place
People:          receiving our songs and praise.
All:                 Surely, God is in this place! Let us praise the Lord!

 

Assurance of grace:
Leader:          Surely, God is here, reconciling us through the gift of grace.
People:          Surely, Christ is here, bringing the Good News of our salvation.
Leader:          Surely, the Spirit is here, leading us to share this gift with others.
All:                 Thanks be to God, God is always with us.

 

Submitted by Jerie Lukefahr, Commissioned Ruling Elder (PCUSA)

Confession and Assurance: Chaotic Mess of Voices

Holy and Beloved God, though the world calls us in a chaotic mess of voices, your voice stands apart. Yours is the soft, still voice that speaks to our very heart of hearts. If we would pay attention to your voice, we would hear your love and concern for us – and for those whose voice is getting lost in the chaos. Help us to hear you, and through you, to hear the voices of the oppressed, the lost, the seething, and the frightened. May your voice bring justice and mercy to us and to all the world.

 

My friends, God hears your voice – whether you shout from the top of your lungs or whisper softly below your breath. God has already forgiven you for not listening – and is calling you to live this Good News through the Holy Spirit.

Praise God, who sends the Spirit of Truth and Love to the world. Amen!

 

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

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