a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

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