a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: witnesses

One: Come, let us worship God!
All: We come with joy and amazement. We come, startled and frightened. We come as we are.
One: We assemble together, saying “It is true!”
All: Are not our hearts burning within us?
One: Look! Touch and see! It is Jesus!
All: He has appeared! Our Lord is risen indeed!
One: Christ stands among us, saying “peace be with you.”
All: And we are witnesses of all these things!

Submitted by Rev. Betsy Turner, Luther Hays Presbyterian Church, Hayston, GA

Prayers of the People: eternally victorious

We give you praise, O God,
because you are eternally victorious over death.
In faithfulness you have raised up Christ for us,
and your mercy knows no end.

God of life, we pray for those who are bowed down
under the weight of hunger, injustice, uncertainty, or despair.
You who provide every good thing,
uphold your people.
Open your hands wide
and satisfy the needs of every living thing.

God of hope, we trust in your righteousness
and depend on your love.
Be near to those on whose behalf we call upon you;
to those who face sorrow, illness, injury, or death.
Fulfill our longings for wholeness, healing, and new life;
hear and answer all who cry out to you.

Steadfast God, preserve us in your love,
that we might speak your praise
and bless you forever
in the name of the holy one, the Risen Christ,
who teaches us to pray as we say:
The Lord’s Prayer

 

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

POP: creative grace

O Lord, you are our shepherd;

we shall not be in want.

Your creative grace is visible in lush green pastures

and revealed in still, clear waters.

Your restoring resurrecting Spirit revives our souls and our communities,

and you guide us in ways of righteousness for the sake of your earth.

We pray for the earth you create and love:

for people, families, nations, and species that dwell in the valley of the shadow of death;

for all who fear the evils of pollution, violence, depredation, and illness;

for those whose suffering is on our hearts this morning, and for those whom we will never meet.

Shepherding God, be with your people;

with your rod and your staff, restore us and lead us.

Spread your table of abundance before those who hunger and thirst;

set us free from enmity and division.

Anoint us with your calling to reconciliation,

and let the cup of our life overflow

with justice and life for all your creation.

Let your goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life,

and make this earth your home forever,

in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

Affirmation of Faith for Holy Humor Sunday

We believe in God who was before all things, maker of all things, source of all life. We were made in God’s image for vital work in this world – to do justice, to speak truth, to live in love. But we recognize that God’s image also blossoms in our lighter side when we are curious, playful, laughing. God has given us the gift of humor to laugh at ourselves, to unmask the weaknesses of sin, and to turn back to the arms of love. In Christ Jesus, God came and walked among us, teaching us to embrace the weightier matters with a light touch. Though we sinned and rejected him, he still chose to die for us. The forces of evil grasped to contain him, but he arose, laughing, breaking all the bounds of sin and death. As we follow him, we laugh with him, following the true light that cannot be conquered. We believe in the Holy Spirit who teaches us to smile, to bear with difficulty, and to endure from now until the joyful resolution of all creation. We look forward to the coming kingdom of heaven where laughter and love resound in every home and every heart. Amen.

 

Rev. Elana Keppel Levy, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bixby, OK

Benediction: sent to proclaim

Peace be with you all.
As Christ was sent into the world,
so we are now sent
to proclaim forgiveness
and bear witness to God’s love
in Jesus’ name
by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

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

Illumination: teach us to live

Risen Christ, fill us with your Spirit
and speak peace to us through these words of scripture.
As we hear you, let our love overflow
with knowledge and insight,
and teach us to live in you,
to the glory and praise of God. Amen.

 

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

Dedication—claiming resurrection

God of grace,
you are the source of all we have gained,
but your greatest gift is the new life we receive in Christ.
We offer these gifts as signs of our commitment
to claim Christ’s resurrection as your gift,
for you have claimed us in his life. Amen.

 

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

Communion: reality was thirsty

Our souls long to give you thanks and praise, O God,
just as the deer longs to quench its thirst in springs of water.
When reality itself was thirsty for you, Living God,
you poured out the living water of your presence;
through day and night, you called creation into being.
We join our souls, hearts, and minds
with the multitude of your creation
singing praise and thanksgiving for your good works.
We put our trust in you,
and we give thanks to you, our help and our God.

From the depth of your compassion to the depth of our sin,
you sent your Beloved, Jesus the Christ,
to show your faithfulness every day,
to sing your song of joy every night,
to teach us your ways, O God of our life.
When it appeared that your strength forgot him
and our enemy Death claimed the victory,
you were yet present
and made the grave itself a spring of living water.
We put our trust in you,
and we give thanks to you, our help and our God.

In your righteousness, O God,
pour out your strength upon us again.
As we gather around this meal of bread and cup,
draw us near to you
and lift us up with the lightness of your Breath in us.
Send forth your Spirit of light and truth to lead us,
and bring us to the place you dwell in all people and places.
Then let us worship in joy and gladness,
in spirit and truth,
in song and service,
with all your people in every time and place.
We put our trust in you,
and we give thanks to you, our help and our God.

We pray through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,
who prays with us as we say together:
The Lord’s Prayer

 

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

POP: shines forth

We rejoice in you, O God,
all the earth rejoices and sings glory to your name;
we sing praise and glory to you, O God.
As Christ’s beauty shines forth,
we praise your great salvation
and celebrate the merciful love that reconciles us to you.

As the new year dawns around us,
we pray for the welfare of the earth:
for the healing of the climate;
for the preservation of the beauty and balance of nature;
for the lives of the creatures whose very being sings your praises.

As Christ calls us into renewed discipleship,
we pray for the needs of your people everywhere:
for the forgiveness and redemption of the sins that bind and wound us;
for the deliverance of those who face chaos, despair, and sorry;
for the comfort and courage of all who mourn or face death.
We pray for the lives of the nations:
keep watch, Sovereign,
and teach us to work for justice and lasting peace.

We bless you, O God,
and we join all peoples in praising you,
in the name of Jesus our Savior, our Lord. Amen.

 

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

CTW: Companion, Comfort, Counselor

As we gather together, we remember that we are not alone in our faith:

God is our Companion.

Though the Way is not easy, and we may suffer in righteousness,

God is our Comfort.

When anger fills our hearts, and grief crushes our spirits,

God is our Counselor.

And through it all, we are together:

For we are all children of God, our Companion, our Comfort, and our Counselor. Amen.

 

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