a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Communion: Word made flesh

The Lord be with you.  And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.  We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Good and gracious God,
we thank you for your presence among us,
that you would bring us the eternal Word made flesh,
that you would call us your beloved children,
that you would send your light into the darkness.
To you we ascribe all thanks and praise,
for you alone are our hope and our salvation.
Through the power of your speech,
you brought all creation into order;
all things have come into being through you;
not one single thing is exempt from your creation.

With all creation, with people in every time and place,
we join the everlasting chorus:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.  Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.  Hosanna in the highest.

We remember how, on that holy night,
Mary and Joseph could find no place to stay,
so they found a manger and made their bed with the animals of the stable.
Through these marginalized people seeking refuge,
you made your presence known to the world.

We remember how the shepherds and the wisemen gathered
to worship the child who would redeem all of creation.
Their gifts were brought to pay homage to the true King.
We give you thanks for the gifts of this Table,
which are given to us to proclaim your holy and majestic name.

We remember how this child grew up,
growing in wisdom and in years,
embodying your goodness in word and deed,
healing people, comforting people, loving stranger and friend.

We remember how he gathered his friends on the night he was betrayed,
how he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:
“take, eat, do this in remembrance of me.”

Likewise, he took the cup and, pouring it, said:
“this is the cup of salvation, shed in my blood, for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

For as long as we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim the resurrection of our living savior until he comes again.

As we wait, watch, and wonder with the wisemen and the shepherds,
we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

We give thanks for your gifts of grace and goodness in this season of Christmas.
May this meal of remembrance transform us into your servants,
going out into the world to proclaim your resurrection
and to welcome all to partake in your reign of peace, love, and harmony.
As we prepare to live as your disciples,
hear us as we pray as you taught us to pray, saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.  Amen.

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

illumination: a feast

God of all wisdom and might,
send your Spirit this day that we might hear your word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and believe in you.
May your scripture be a feast upon our lips
and a gladsome song to be sung for all eternity.  Amen.

 

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

prayer: Christmas God

Christmas God,
because you came to us as a helpless little baby,
we are reminded that each of us, young and old alike, are your children.
Through the incarnation of your Son, Jesus Christ,
the Word has been made flesh and light has shattered the darkness.
Bless this our worship and lead us to your everlasting light.  Amen.

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

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

CTW: a new year

A new year begins, and with it new opportunities to preach the Gospel!
    We give thanks to God for the year past,
and look with anticipation at what God will bring in the year to come.

God has destined us for adoption as God’s children,
the season of Christmas reminds us of the fulfillment of that adoption.
    We are God’s children, and the Lord is our God!
In Christ, we have obtained an inheritance;
    We, who have set our hope in Christ, live for the praise of his glory!
Come, let us worship the newborn King!

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

prayer: other side of Christmas

God of our fulfillment,
as we gather on the other side of Christmas Day,
we rejoice that we have just scratched the surface
in understanding the good news that is before us!
How great you are that you have chosen us as your dwelling place!
Bless our worship this day that we might hear it with fresh ears and open hearts.  Amen.

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

benediction: Christmas Eve

You have heard the stories of old, the stories of God’s salvation.
With Mary, we have pondered these things in our hearts.
Go out into the world to love and do as Christ would have you do.
With Joseph, we realize that our work has just begun.
As you depart, know that the love of God goes with you wherever you go.
We are strengthened by Christ’s presence with us.  Alleluia!

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

Prayers of the People: Christmas Eve

God of our Salvation,
we come to you on this wondrous night to gather in praise,
to lift up your name with friend, family, and stranger.
In the beginning, your creative work began with a word,
and tonight, your creation continues with the Word made flesh.
On this holiest of nights, we join the everlasting chorus saying:
    Glory to God on highest!  Great is your name in all the earth!

Like Mary, we ponder these things in our hearts,
and wonder how you could love us so much
as to actually become one of us, one with us.
We remember these stories this evening
that remind us of your steadfast love,
that affirm that you have never, and will never, give up on your children.
    Thank you for your steadfast presence in our lives!

And yet, even on this night on which we celebrate the fulfillment of love,
we recognize that there are many who are still waiting for fulfillment:
the fulfillment of adequate food and shelter…
the fulfillment of peace and the end of violence…
the fulfillment of reprieve from the fierce grip of grief…
the fulfillment of a restoration of a broken relationship…
the fulfillment of a renewing of heart, mind, or body…
the fulfillment of healing from a chronic illness…
the fulfillment of an end to substance abuse…
Giving God,
        give us the courage to do your work in the world
and to share the peace coming to us in the manger this evening.

We pray this night especially for those who have traveled to be here…
for those who have lost loved ones in the past year…
for those who struggle with mental illness…
for those who fight alcoholism’s onslaught…
for those who will be traveling in the coming days and weeks…
for those who work on Christmas:
especially medical workers, police, and emergency personnel…
for those who cannot make it home for Christmas…
hear us we pray, O God,
    Restore us and make your face to shine that we might be saved.

In all that we do and in all that we are,
send your Spirit to send us forward with the majesty of this night
and to share the grace we find with everyone we encounter.
This we pray in the name of your Son, who taught us to pray saying:

    Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.  Amen.

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

Christmas Affirmation

We believe that God has come to us as a little child,
making our weakness his strength,
securing our salvation by becoming one of us,
blessing us with with a steadfast savior,
filling our hearts with joy to be shared with one another.
We believe that God has birthed righteousness and justice into the world,
giving us a law that will be written upon our hearts,
making the cause of the oppressed the highest priority,
declaring an everlasting reign of peace,
defeating the power of pain and suffering.
We believe that God calls us to participate in this reality of love,
inviting us to proclaim Christ’s resurrection at the Table,
transforming us as disciples to go out into the world,
sending us forth to announce his kingdom of peace and comfort,
challenging us to see everyone as nothing less than beloved children.
This we believe.
This we preach.
This we seek to embody in word and deed.

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