a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: Arise and Shine

Arise and awaken, children of God!

For our light has come, and the glory of the Holy One shines out!

Lift up your eyes! Look around you!

The people gather together – the people of all nations come together to worship God

You shall see and shall shine with God’s light

Let us rejoice and praise God, whose love shines forth into the world. Amen. 

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

Illumination: help us hear

God our Parent,
your voice claims us as your people
and calls us into new relationships
with ourselves and others.
By your Holy Spirit, help us hear your voice speaking to us
through these words of scripture,
and prepare us for your service,
in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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

POP: God’s Anointed

People of God, Jesus comes to bring God’s mercy to all people.
Therefore we are bold to sing our prayers
to the one whose reign is justice, peace, and joy:

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 1

We pray for those who are captive to violence, oppression, and sin.
We pray for all who are hungry, sick, sorrowing, or afraid.

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 2

We pray for everyone who longs for new beginnings.
We pray for those who celebrate and rejoice.
We pray for all who travel to be with families,
and we pray for those who celebrate the birth of the Savior alone.
We pray for the gift of peace, in our hearts and in our world.

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 3

We pray for those in positions of power,
for those who have more wealth and power than they realize,
and for those whom we are called to serve.

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 4

Let your kingdom come in this world, O God,
and let our hearts welcome the birth of the Holy Child,
who teaches us to pray as we say together:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

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

CTW: what are you looking for?

What are you looking for?
A better job, a bigger house, a smaller car, my cell phone.
What are you looking for?
A vacation spot, a quiet moment, my coffee mug.
What are you looking for?
Peace, wholeness, love, acceptance…
What are you looking for?
You, Jesus, we are looking for you, but we are too busy to realize it.
Let us worship the One in whom all things are possible.

Submitted by  Rev. Shannon Meacham, Ashland Presbyterian Church, Cockeysville MD

Epiphany Communion: Still a Light Shines

Still a light shines, and the darkness does not overcome it.
At this table, Christ is revealed in the ordinariness of life—
as once he was revealed in a child playing in his neighborhood,
a child trusting his parents to keep him safe,
now he is revealed in a meal shared among the family of God,
simple bread and wine, the stuff of life handed down from generation to generation.
It is here, at Christ’s table, where brokenness leads to wholeness.
It is here, at Christ’s table, where cracks allow light to shine forth.
It is here, at Christ’s table, where we see him most clearly,
and where we are given eyes to see him at every table.
This is not a feast for Presbyterians, this table does not belong to the church—
this is the joyful feast of the people of God,
and it is Christ himself who invites you, all of you,
to come, eat, drink, and see.

Let us pray.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe,
for your star shines still in the night sky,
guiding your people in paths of love and justice.
In the beginning, you brought light into darkness,
and created a people to reflect your glory.
When we have lost our way or turned away,
you shone the light all the brighter,
calling us through the words of prophets
and even in the life of your Son,
who was born as we are born, breathed and ate and walked and lived as we do,
who not only revealed your way
but is the way.
And even now, your Spirit burns like flame
in our hearts
in the community
in your word
at this table.
As we come, drawn to the warmth and wonder,
we pray for your light to shine gently on those wounded places of our hearts,
for we carry burdens of shame, of hurt, of grief, of fear.
We carry a world crying out, longing for relief.
We see violence and hatred, apathy and disgust, power misused and people treated as disposable.
Give us courage to stand and see, to refuse to be consoled,
until your creation is healed by the hot light of your justice.
When we shade our eyes against the brightness of your way,
help us see what you see.
When we assume the end of the story,
remind us that you, not we, are the author.
When we are tempted to settle into a comfortable routine
of selfishness, hopelessness, or convenience,
awaken us to your new thing,
and make us partners in your creating.
As we break bread together,
may our hearts be broken with yours.
As we who are many are gathered like grain into one body,
may your Spirit knit us together.
As we bring the gifts we have to offer—though they are not gifts fit for a king—
may our hearts be open to receive your gift once again this day,
and may your church be strengthened to be a gift to your world.
As we share the same meal you, Lord, have shared
with disciples, with enemies, with the church through the ages,
may our eyes be opened and may we recognize you.
We pray these and all things in the name of Jesus Emmanuel, God with Us, who taught us to pray together…

~~~after all have been served~~~

We give you thanks, O Lord,
for once again you have filled us with good things—
not just bread and wine, but your very self.
Now may this glimpse of your kingdom sustain us,
and give us eyes to see you at work in every place,
and strength to be your body in the world.
As you have blessed the bread and broken it,
you have blessed us and let light shine through the cracks.
Make us your people, again and again,
light for the world.
In Jesus name. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

CTW: guided by the star

Leader: Guided by the Star we come
People: To pay homage to the Shepherd of Israel
Leader: Guided by the Star we come
People: To kneel before to the Light of the world.
Leader: Guided by the star we come
People: And we are overwhelmed with joy
Leader: Guided by the star we come to Worship
People: We come to celebrate the Christ, our Savior.
 
Submitted by Pastor Andrew Black, United Methodist Church Arnold-Merna-Anslemo, NE

confession: come and see, go and tell

You call us to come and see, and then to go and tell. So often we are looking the other way—away from your image shining in the face of another, away from your people in need, away from the things we would rather not see. So often our words are not of grace, justice, love, and peace, but rather words of hurt, exclusion, and fear. Forgive us for praying for vision while holding our eyes closed. Forgive us for holding firmly to the logs in our own eyes even as you offer us lenses to see what you see. Forgive us for keeping silent, and for speaking our own desires rather than yours. Give us courage to witness your glory and testify to your good news. Give us grace to admit our shortcomings and still point to you. Give us strength to follow you, wherever you might lead.

~silence~

You call us to come and see, then go and tell. Help us to follow in faith. Amen.

CTW: come and see

One:    Come and see!

All:     We hear the call of Love, ringing in our ears.

One:    Come and see!

All:     We see the light of stars and candles, leading the way.

One:    Come and see!

All:     We long for a sign, an experience, to know God face to face.

One:    Come and see!

All:     We come, to be part of God’s story of Love.

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL.

Epiphany Communion: We Have Come…

We have come asking for the child —
Wondering where that love might be born,
Seeking that joy that might satisfy our thirst,
Wandering through the darkness of so many mistakes.

We have come to this place where
wisepeople and shepherds and young women met.
We have come to this place called Bethlehem.
To this place where our hearts rise like yeast.
To this place where we meet our newborn hope.
To this place where we taste our deepest joy.
In Bethlehem, where we assumed the worst,
Imagining that no good can come,
We somehow missed its name.

Bethlehem.
Lehem meaning bread.
Bethel meaning house.
There is something here that will satisfy our hunger.
No matter how long we have wandered,
Here our hearts arise. Our light has come.
In this bread and in this cup,
We celebrate something we can’t quite understand.
Because God has made a house at this table.
Because God satisfies our hunger in the most unlikely places.
Because God comes to be with us.
Now and always.

It is with this expectation that we come to the table
to taste and see that God is here.

Let us pray:

Holy Spirit, come into this bread and this cup.
Transform these ordinary objects
As you change our hearts
To shape and form your world
With the joy you promise.
Pour your grace upon us,
so we overflow with your love.
Help us to remember how
An newborn baby might grow
Into a little child that would one day
Turn to his hope-filled friends
In an upper room…

Submitted by Rev. Elsa Peters, the United Churches of Olympia, WA.

epiphany prayers of the people

God of wonder and mystery,
God of the stars and the universe,
God of winding ways and straight paths,
we gather today with gratitude for the gift of your constant presence,
your trustworthy guidance,
and your daring risk-taking with us.
You dare to love us despite our inability to respond fully.
You dare to care for us, despite our challenge in caring for others.
You dare to walk with us, despite our fickleness.

On our own journeys toward the stars and guiding points you put before us,
you continue to lead us forward,
guiding us by the teachings of Jesus
to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly in your loving shadow.
As we struggle with the political wrangling of this world,
the wars waged for both justice and greed,
the violence committed daily against the innocent,
let alone the pain of broken relationships and loss,
you remain steadfast in your care and devotion
for your entire creation throughout the universe.
It is almost too much to take in sometimes.
And even in our doubts and disbelief,
our struggle to understand and constant misunderstanding,
and our flat-out ignorance about your ways,
you remain constantly present to us.

We pray for peace in this world, Lord,
the kind of peace in which we celebrate diversity,
are joyfully challenged by adversity,
and share in the joy that is to be found everywhere.
We pray for those who are lonely,
that you might lead us to reach out and be friends.
We pray for those who are hungry,
that you might lead us to offer sustenance.
We pray for those who are lost,
that you might lead us to give hope and direction.

We pray for the countries of the world,
that we might find a way to work together to lift one another up.
We pray for our leaders in Washington,
that your Spirit might guide them set an example for our country and the world
to work together rather than against one another.
We pray for our denomination,
that we may seek to build up this body
and seek to repair the theological divisions that are tearing us apart.
We pray for officers, both those returning and those newly installed,
that they may continually seek your Spirit in their lives and their daily decisions
as they lead this congregation.
And we pray for ourselves,
that we might continue on this journey,
learning the lessons you offer,
seeking the fullness of your perfection,
and live as you would have us live.

These prayers and hopes we offer in confidence and gratitude of your love and presence…

Submitted by Rev. Eric Ledermann, University Presbyterian Church, Tempe, AZ