a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: pursuing individualism

Loving God, you created all things to work together in your kingdom, and you call us to live as one Body. We confess we often prefer to go our own way, and our unwillingness to love when we don’t understand put us at odds with your creation. We pursue our own individual success and we miss the chance to celebrate your gift of community. Forgive us. Open our ears to hear you speaking, and our hearts to embrace your purpose. Amen.    ~silence~

 

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

call to confession / declaration of grace: mind-expanding faith

CALL TO CONFESSION

God doesn’t call us to a blind faith…
but to a faith that is eye-opening and mind-expanding.
But we often find it more beneficial for ourselves
if we pretend we cannot see or understand God’s vision for creation.

So please join me in the prayer of confession…

 

DECLARATION OF GRACE

(NOTE: The words of Jesus in italics, which are the words spoken to Thomas, could be spoken by another person besides the worship leader, perhaps someone sitting within the congregation with a microphone)

This is Good News:

God does not mock us when we fail to trust,
but invites us into a deeper, more intimate relationship.

Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand in my side. Trust me!

God does not shame us when our faith waivers,
but challenges us to be strengthened by God’s promises.

Happy are those who don’t see…and yet trust!

God’s purpose is not to tear us down…but to build us up…
forgiven…refreshed…and renewed!

So let’s sing…and let’s give thanks to God!

confession: resurrect your song within us

Holy God, the Alleluias of Easter still ring in our ears – and it is when we sing along that we get into trouble. It’s so easy to sing our Alleluias so loudly that it drowns out the sound of our neighbors needing help – of our family members’ pain – of our own need for you. After all, it’s much easier to sing than to do the reconciling work you call us to. God, you listen in the darkness for our pleas to you – help us to do the same for our friends, family, and even enemies! Resurrect your Song within us, that we might sing while we work. Through you, may the Song of Life call us together in your Holy Harmony. Amen.

 
submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Ancho + Corona Presbyterian Churches, New Mexico

CTW: in this sacred space

Gather in this sacred space
and hear God inviting us to imagine and create!
Gather in this sacred space
and know that the peace of Christ surrounds us!
Gather in this sacred space
and let the Spirit of God inspire us once again!
Gather in this sacred space
and let’s worship God together!

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

illumination: that we may cling to your heart

Draw us from our tombs…
from the dark, self-imposed prisons of knowing-it-all…
into the light of your unflinching good news.
Use our encounters with the stories of scripture
to unbind us from our fascination with the status quo…
so that we may cling to your heart,
and see the world through your eyes.
Amen.

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

confession: behind closed doors

Sometimes we hide ourselves
behind closed doors…
afraid to love…
afraid to share…
afraid to be vulnerable.

Sometimes we hide ourselves
behind locked minds…
unwilling to love…
unwilling to share…
unwilling to be vulnerable.

But you always invite us
to step outside…
to trust…
and to embrace your new life.

Forgive our faintheartedness…
release us from our reluctance…
and inspire us to go and be and tell and do
your good news…

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

call to worship and prayer: now what?

One: Christ is risen!
Many: Now what?
One: The disciples clung to each other. They huddled in the upper room, waiting.
Many: Would the authorities come to take them, too?
One: Instead, Jesus himself appeared, despite the locked door.
Many: What next?
One: Next came doubts and questions, assurances and instructions, and a last word:
Many: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
One: Christ is risen! Now what?
Many: Now we come together to wait for him.
One: May the risen Christ bless us as we worship what we have not seen, yet believe.

Invocation
God of new life, move through the locked doors of our hearts. Open us to your love moving in the world. Instruct us as you taught the disciples. Make a new church of us, a blessed place where we live in unity. Help us to learn from those first believers who prayed as we do, using the words Jesus taught, etc.

Submitted by Rev. Martha Spong, First Congregational Church, North Yarmouth Maine.

confession: reluctance

Call to Reconciliation
How often have we heard the good news of forgiveness and restoration? Yet, we are still reluctant to believe. God offers us new life, yet we are afraid to let go of the old. Let us confess our doubts and fears to the One who waits to make us whole.

Unison Prayer of Confession
We use a lot of words, Gracious God, but do little to turn them into deeds. Instead of being of one heart and soul, we choose sides and form groups of folks just like us. Blessed with great grace, we have trouble sharing it with those who need it the most. Forgive us, God of love. Forgive us, as we step out of our shadows into your light. Restore us, as we reveal our brokenness. Hear us, as we proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and our God.

(Silent Prayers may be offered)

Assurance of Pardon
L:  This is the good news we have declare: God leads us out of the shadows to walk in the light of Christ.
P:  This is the word we have heard: our faithful God forgives our sins and raises us to new life. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

prayer of the day: Easter 2B

Emptier of Tombs:
you raised Jesus
from the grave
so all fears might be banished;
so the locked doors of our hearts
could be flung open;
so our quivering lips
could declare what
we have seen and heard.

Bright Glory of God:
as you stood in the middle
of your friends
on that first Easter night,
come among us now,
in this time and place,
showing us that death and sin
no longer stand in the way
of our life with you.

Breath of Peace:
strengthen us
so we may stand
with all who fear life;
take our hands in yours,
so we may serve all
who are broken with grief;
inspire us to share
the grace which has been breathed
into our very souls.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

call to worship: the word of life

L:  The Word of life spoke:
P:  so we could hear the angels’ ‘Alleluias!’
L:  The Word of life reached out:
P:  so we could touch the hope which heals us.
L:  The Word of life walked out of death’s dread tomb:
P:  so we could follow him into life forever.

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.