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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: least likely

Your faithfulness is from generation to generation, O God. When we have lost our way, or turned away, you have sought us out, in the least likely of places. We confess that sometimes we would prefer that you stayed in the box we built for you, keeping out of our affairs. The systems we have built work for us, and you disrupt them with your insistence on lifting up the lowly and filling the hungry while sending the rich away empty. Forgive our self-centered ways, our narrow vision of justice, and our restricted love. Show your strength and favor once again, and help us follow in your way, according to your promise. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: cheer at the expense of joy

Word of God, Breath of Life, come and live among us again. Clear away the things that clutter our hearts and lives, making it difficult to see and do your will. And where we have chosen to believe your way is obscure, preferring our way to yours, make your truth shine out. When we have chosen to focus on cheer at the expense of joy, forgive us and cause righteousness and praise to spring up in your world once again. We pray in the name of the coming Christ. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: fading away

Holy and loving God, we hear your voice in the wilderness, and we come, seeking a glimpse of your glory in these days of lengthening darkness. We look for your star shining in the night sky, for the flickering candle holding back the shadows, and we strain our ears to listen for your word amidst the clamor of the festive season.
We confess that we don’t always want to hear what you are saying. We don’t want to turn and go another way, nor to stop and wait in the quiet when there is fun to be had. We are skeptical of comfort that is more than warm fuzzy feelings, or that asks something of us. We confess that we are prone to fading away like flowers and grass, unable to withstand challenges to our way of thinking or our way of life. And yet still you call, still you tell us to take comfort, still you come among us and live within us and believe in us.
Forgive us, O God, our fickle hearts, so often full of things other than you. Forgive our tendency to wander away, to prefer shallow comfort to your deep peace. Open us again to your love, that we may walk with you in every way. We pray in the name of Christ, the prince of peace. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

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.

Confession: work of your hand

You are the potter, and we are the clay, O God. Remind us yet again that we are the work of your hand, not the other way around. When we have insisted you act according to our rules, when we have closed our ears to your call, and warped your design, forgive us. Press and mold us anew, that we may better reflect your image. Give us courage to work not for ourselves, but for the coming of your kingdom that makes all things new. We pray in the name of the coming Christ. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: Thoughts & Prayers

God of peace…we give thanks
that you are our firm foundation
when the waves of chaos thrash around us,
causing the world to feel out of control. 

We give thanks
that you have empowered us
to speak peace into chaos,
and to take action against injustice. 

But too often, we lack motivation,
we are too afraid to challenge injustice,
or it simply is not in our own interest to act. 

So we stand with the oppressor
instead of kneeling with the oppressed…
we carry torches of anger and hatred
instead of bearing the bright light of your love…
and we offer our “thoughts and prayers”
but render them empty and vain
by our silence and inaction.

Yet, we know you desire so much more from us. 

So draw us away from our apathy…
away from our complicity…
and closer to your hope for the world… 

Submitted by Rev. Scott V. Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

Approach and confession: idols

God of love and justice, you are alpha and omega, beginning and end…and in between you are the breath of life, the rock on which we stand and the hand that holds us fast. We come into this place, gathered as your people, listening for the voice of your Spirit, still speaking in the wilderness of our hearts. We know your commandments, we can say all the right words…and yet we confess to you that our lives are not always a demonstration of your love. We have looked for loopholes, or created reasons to follow our own way. We admit that we have trusted in other gods—gods of money, security, family, or power. We are on a first name basis with the gods of greed and jealousy, and we are loathe to turn away from the god of privilege. Our everyday actions often proclaim any number of idols, and we come now to ask your forgiveness and help. We cannot leave them behind without your strong hand to guide us in the right way. Give us once again the joy of your grace, and set us on the sure foundation of your word. It is in you, lord, that we live and move and have our being. As you forgive so freely, fill us again with the blessing of creator, redeemer, and sustainer, that we may show your glory in every word, thought, and deed. We pray in the name of Christ, whose faithfulness is our hope and our light, and who taught us to pray together…

 

Submitted by Rev Teri Peterson, Marchmont St Giles parish, Edinburgh Scotland

confession: guiding light

Lord, you are our guiding light.  But when your world grows dim, when tragedy strikes, we confess that we tend to retreat from faith.  We may lose our way, our vision clouded by anger or gloom.  We fall back to our former ways because we may not know any other way to respond.  Help us in our confusion.  By your Holy Spirit, gird us with your holy strength to hold fast to what you have always taught us.  So that, as the world may seem to fall apart around us, we stand strong, one Church, Your People, faithfully facing the darkness together, lit from within by your wisdom and hope.  ~silence~  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Amy Pospichal, First Presbyterian Tucumcari, New Mexico

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.