a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: resurrection light

We give thanks to you, O Lord, for you are good:
your mercy endures forever.
We sing and shout for the joy of your salvation,
secured for us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Your living strength has triumphed!
The power of life has redeemed us!
We declare your saving works, O Mighty One.

Give us grace, O God, to open the gates of your righteousness
so that all your beloved ones may enter.
Let our lives bear witness that you are our salvation.
Christ, the stone which the builders rejected,
has become the cornerstone of your renewed people.
This is your doing, O Lord,
and it is marvelous in our eyes;
let all people rejoice and be glad in it!

We cry hosanna to you, O Lord: save us!
Work out your salvation for those who are in need today,
especially for those who labor under the shadow of death.
Shine your resurrection light upon us
and lead us like a joyful parade into your presence.

You are the God of life, and we thank you;
you are the God of new life, and we exalt you;
you are the God whose mercy endures forever,
and we pray rejoicing in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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

Dedication: proclaim glory

God of life,
in raising Jesus from the dead,
you triumphed over the power of the grave
and opened the way to your kingdom of life.
You have called us to bear witness to your good news.
Let the gifts we dedicate, and the lives we lead,
proclaim the glory of the risen Christ,
in whose name we pray.
Alleluia! Amen.

 

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

Illumination: hearts burn

Risen Christ,
you opened the scriptures to your disciples
and made their hearts burn within them.
Open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts,
so we might recognize you once again
in these words of scripture,
by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

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

CTW: whispered alleluias

One: It was dawn. The sun was warming the earth. The birds were singing.
Many: The beauty of the day was lost on the grieving women.
It may as well have been midnight as they approached the tomb.
One: It was dawn. The earth was rejoicing. The breeze whispered alleluias across the land.
Many: It made no sense. The stone had moved. The body was gone.
Confusion and fear shoved grief to the side.
One: It was dawn. The trees swayed in the rhythm of songs from the heavens.
Many: Dazzling clothes, strange voices, familiar words:
On the third day the Son of Man will rise again.
One: It was dawn. The women were running. The words were forming.
Many: Christ is risen! Come and see!
One: Christ is Risen!
ALL: He is risen indeed.

 

Submitted by Laura Viau.

Easter confession

All: We come running, looking for you, Risen Christ,
but you are not where we expect you to be.
As always, you are to be found among the living—
those living at the edge, those living with uncertainty,
those living in ways we cannot imagine and may not approve.
We come running, our hands full of things and our minds full of self-reliance,
only to find that you have been here already,
you have rolled away the stone and called us to trust your word.

One: If this good news is true, it means everything is different now.
We confess that our excitement is a little bit nervous—
it’s hard for us not to be in control.

All: Today as we peer once again into your empty tomb,
remind us of all you have told us, and then guide our feet to follow.
Fill the empty tombs of our hearts with your love that cannot be contained.
Breathe new life into us, into your church, into your world,
and overcome our fear of change so that we too may be found among the living.
Turn our expectations upside down,
and lead us into the new and different world you are creating, even now, even here.
Amen.

 

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

Easter communion: at this table, still you work

Invitation

Jesus said “I am the gate, and you will come in and go out and find pasture.”
At this table, Christ opens the door for all people, calling us by name and inviting us to be nourished.
At this table, it does not matter if we have denied, betrayed, forgotten, or turned away—Christ bids us come.
At this table, we do not need to understand, we only need to be open to love.
At this table, we do not need to be Presbyterian, to all think or believe the same things—all we need is to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, calling us to enter and be fed.
At this table, we are filled with the good gifts of God so that we can go out and feed others.
At this table, Christ is the host, and each one of us is a treasured guest.
So come, for you are invited to come in and go out and be fed.
Prayer

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.

Let us pray together:
It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise,
O Lord our God, Creator of the universe,
for you worked in darkness to bring all life into being,
and to bring new life through Christ your Son.
Out of that darkness you bring marvelous light, again and again.
When we shield our eyes, unwilling to see what you are doing, still you work.
When we shut the doors, afraid to step into your new world, still you work.
When we deny and betray, with words and with actions, still you work.
And so we give you thanks, O God,
that your love does not depend on our faithfulness,
that your saving grace does not depend on our worthiness.
You are the breath of life and the light of the world,
giver of every good gift.
As we come to your table of grace, filled with your bounty,
we cannot forget the emptiness that plagues so many bellies,
the hunger of our neighbors near and far.
We cannot forget the rawness of your earth,
exploited for our gain and groaning under our weight.
We cannot forget the world at war—in Syria, in the Congo, in the streets of Chicago.
We cannot forget the world preparing for war, and we beg for peace in North Korea and Ukraine.
We cannot forget those who suffer at the hands of those who should love them.
We cannot forget those who feel trapped in the tomb, with no hope of life ahead.
We pray that you would come quickly, Lord, with good news for this troubled world.
Come quickly, Lord, with your spirit of justice and peace.
As you rose in darkness to bring about a new thing,
rise again in our darkness, bringing light that dispels the shadows of despair.
As we come to your table of grace,
we hear again your call to be made one,
and to show the world your love in our every action and every word.
Send your Spirit again to this place,
that just as many grains become one bread and many grapes become one cup,
we who are many may become one with you and with your people in every time and place.
May this feast nourish us for your kingdom,
and may your kingdom come here and now.
We pray these and all things in the name of Jesus the Christ,
who is victorious over death and who calls us by name,
and who taught us to pray together, Our Father…

 

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

Sunday’s Coming: EASTER!

Okay, so many of us are covered in snow. But still–Easter is coming! Like, really soon.

And before that, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Do you have plans? Worship services every day, or just one or two days? Do you do an Easter Vigil?

What kind of liturgy will you use this week? Footwashing? Communion? Stripping the Sanctuary? Sunrise?

Are you planning to stick to your congregation’s traditions and do what you did last year, or write something new?

We’re here, ready to brainstorm, commiserate, plot, and create with you!

Easter day communion: a stop at the table

Invitation to the Table

As we go into the world on this Easter Day,
we first stop here at the table of our risen Lord.
We were just here a few nights ago,
remembering how Jesus shared a meal with his disciples before he was arrested,
but he promises to meet us here again and again and again.
This is the table of our risen Lord,
the table where we remember how he gave of himself for us,
the table where we share the great feast of earth and heaven even now,
the table where we can expect to meet Jesus.

[Read more…]

illumination: the tombs of our mind

Holy God,
remove the stones that block the portals of our minds…
shine your light so that it may take over the darkness within…
and fill our thoughts with your perfect vision for creation
so we may go, and tell, and be, and do.
Amen.

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

CTW: share the mystery & wonder

The sun had just risen from behind the horizon…
the world was quiet, but for the chirping birds and buzzing insects…
the three women walked slowly to the tomb
only to quickly leave with shocking news they never expected to receive:

JESUS IS RISEN!
HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

Let’s share in the mystery and wonder of those words…
let’s allow our hearts to ponder and our minds to reflect…
and let’s celebrate the glory of God, together!

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)