a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

ctw: let’s celebrate chipmunks

The earth…
and everything on it, around it, in it, and beyond it…
belongs to God!
According to the creation hymn of Genesis, chapter 1,
we have the distinct pleasure of being responsible for the earth’s care.
So let’s celebrate creation…
let’s celebrate bees and trees and manatees…
let’s celebrate mangos, chipmunks, mountain peaks, and each other…
and let’s worship God together!

 

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

illumination: beyond your words

As we read the words of scripture,
we are pointed to your living Word who walked among us;
and we are surrounded by your Spirit,
who whispers words within our hearts and minds.
Inspire us in our hearing and reflecting,
that we may move beyond your words
into life-changing acts of grace, love, hope, and peace.
Amen.

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

confession: beyond our words

Holy God,
as of the year two thousand ten,
according to Google,
one hundred twenty-nine million,
eight hundred sixty-four thousand,
eight hundred and eighty books
have been published in modern history.

We like words.
We enjoy good speeches.
And, too often, because of that,
we spend more time saying things,
and less time doing things.

But you remind us,
and…to tell you the truth…we know,
that what really matters are our actions.

So inspire us with our words,
but also inspire us beyond our words,
so we may be a constant, visible reminder
of your love in the world…

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

communion prayer: great and mighty shepherd

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

 

It is right and good to give you thanks and praise, Eternal Shepherd,
for walk you with us each and every day,
through green pastures,
beside still waters,
along the summits of our rejoicing
and in the valleys of our uncertainty.
Your presence has sustained us from generation to generation,
in the wisdom of our mothers and fathers,
in the challenges of your prophets,
and most of all in our risen Lord Jesus Christ,
the great and mighty shepherd of all.
So we raise our voices with all our companions on this journey,
giving you thanks and praise now and always:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

Great God of power and might,
you are holy and yet you are present with us.
In Christ you came among us to be our true divine companion,
to know our humanity and to make us whole.
In Christ you suffered even the pains of death,
but nothing could take away the fullness of your life.
In Christ you rose to new life,
breaking the bonds of death once and for all
so that all creation might live in the fullness of hope.
Remembering all that you have done and are doing and will do,
we take these gifts of bread and cup
to celebrate your presence with us in Christ and in one another,
that they might be our holy offering of praise and thanks
and that our lives might always proclaim your life shared with us in Christ.

Great is this mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen! Christ will come again.

Gracious God,
pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these gifts of bread and cup,
that the bread we break
and the cup we bless
may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
By your Spirit make us one with Christ
that we may be one with all who share this feast,
united in ministry in every place.
As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

Guide us as we embody your love and joy
in all our lives and in your world.
Help us to walk with one another in mercy and peace,
in justice and joy,
each and every day,
that your abundant grace and faith might flow in us wherever we walk,
until we dwell secure in your love all our days.
Through Christ, with Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor are yours, almighty God and Good Shepherd,
now and forever. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, Queens, New York.

CTW: come in and go out

One:    God invites us to come in and go out and find pasture:

All:     to come into the kingdom, into abundant life, into the light;

to go out to serve, out to live our faith, out to be the Body of Christ.

One:    Christ calls us to hear his voice

All:     and so we come to listen and seek and follow.

One:    We stand at the threshold of God’s future,

All:     the Spirit stands at the door and knocks.

One:    Come, let us worship.

 

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

communion: God our shepherd

Invitation to the Table

Sisters and brothers,
this is the joyful feast of the people of God,
a table prepared for us in the presence of our enemies,
a banquet of love in the face of hatred.

Here God’s love for us overflows,
and here we find the depth of God’s kindness and mercy
as we share this strange and wonderful feast in God’s house.

So let us pray for God’s full presence with us here,
for our great shepherd is our host
and invites us to meet him here.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Loving God,
you are our shepherd,
granting us everything that we need,
showing us comfort and peace and hope,
restoring us when we are weak,
guiding us when we are going astray.
You stay with us through the darkest valley
and show us the fullness of your love to beyond overflowing.

In Jesus you gave us the fullness of all these things.
You prepare a table for us
just as he prepared a table for his disciples the night before he was killed.
He took bread and gave thanks to you,
broke it, and gave it to his disciples and said:
Take, eat. This is my body, given for you.
Then after supper,
he took a cup of wine and gave thanks once again.
He passed it among his disciples and said:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it.
This is the cup of the new covenant
sealed in my blood for the forgiveness of sin.
Do this in remembrance of me.

So take these ordinary gifts of bread and cup
and use them to show us your presence and love.
Gather us with Jesus, the disciples, and the believers of every time and place,
that we might be one in this feast
and sustained for the days ahead by the power of your love.
Follow us from this table with your goodness and mercy and peace and love,
that we might rise to serve you with new life and hope
as we dwell in your house forever.
Lord, come quickly! Amen.

Distribution of the Elements

The bread of heaven.
The cup of salvation.

Friends, these are the gifts of God for us, the people of God.
Come, let us keep the feast.

 

Submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, NY

confession: psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

But, O Lord, we are consumed with wanting more.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.

But, O Lord, other pastures seem greener.  The waters aren’t always still.  Our souls still thirst.

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

O Lord, we long to be led by you, though we may complain along the path.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff– they comfort me.

And yet, O God, we do sometimes fear.  May we feel your presence, your comfort and your forgiveness anew.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

O God, sometimes we refuse to sit down at your table.  Forgive us and help us to see your overflowing mercy.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Forgive us, God, and lead us into your house.

 

Submitted by Rev. Emily Schlaman Larsen, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Winston-Salem, NC 

Good Shepherd Communion

Holy God,
Planter of green pastures where we might be fed;
Pooler of waters which nourish us forever;
Shaper of paths which lead us into your presence:
all that you made is beautiful and good
and given to those created in your image.
Sadly, our wisdom leads us to choose hunger
over the feast you prepare for us;
we thirst in the deserts
when we could drink deeply
from your grace;
we stumble off those paths
leading to your holy presence.
Yet you continue to seek us out,
to bring us home to your kingdom,
preparing a feast for those who will not respond
to your gracious invitation.

Therefore, we lift our voices to you day and night,
with those gathered around your throne
and with those who struggle to be faithful today,
singing your praise and our thanksgiving:

P:    Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of goodness and mercy.
Ggreen pastures and summer nights are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who lays down his life for your children.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, Shepherd of all people,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,
one with you in every respect.
For your name’s sake,
he left the green pastures
to climb the garbage heap of Golgotha;
he waded out of the living waters
to be drenched with the abuse of the world;
he wandered the streets of the kingdom
covered with the dust of sin and death
to lead us into the kingdom of joy.

As we seek to follow the Good Shepherd
into all the places he would lead us,
we celebrate that mystery we call faith:

P:    The Good Shepherd walked through the darkest valley;
the Good Shepherd prepares a Table for us;
the Good Shepherd abides in us.

Pour out your Holy Spirit
upon these gifts of the bread and the cup
you have prepared for your Table.
As the bread which is broken
makes us whole,
and the cup overflows with your grace,
so pour us out for others:
so we may offer shelter
to those who have no home;
so we may comfort those
whose hearts are broken by the world;
so we may share food
with all who ache from hunger;
so we may guide the thirsty
to the pools of life we have found.

And when our journey is ended,
when we are at home in the soft, green pastures,
resting by the still waters, we will find that Feast
of grace, mercy, and hope you prepare for us,
and we will join with our companions
from every time and place, singing joy to you:
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

 

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

easter 4 prayer

On the lonely paths through life,
you are smoothing the way for us.
In the barren soil where we till our souls,
you are nurturing us with love.
Wherever we are, we find you,
Crafter of Creation.

When we go to fill the emptiness
of a hungry world,
you are handing us the bags of food.
When we see children struggling
to get past the potholes of poverty,
you are waiting with the gifts
we can use to smooth their way.
Wherever we are, we find you,
Shepherd of  God’s little ones.

At the corner where anger
intersects with judgment,
you are handing out bottles
filled from peace’s spring.
At every opportunity we have
to share goodness and mercy,
we find our pockets stuffed
with simple acts of kindness.
Wherever we are, we find you,
Shepherd’s Spirit.

Wherever we are, we find you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

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

confession: by still waters

Call to Reconciliation
We wander from hope to hope, thinking the next person,
the next book, the next new thing will lead us in the ways
in which we long to live.  Yet, if we open our eyes and
pay attention, we will see the Good Shepherd, the One
we will bring us into the kingdom of God’s mercy and
hope, even as we confess all the foolish mistakes we
have done, and all the wrong turns we have made.
Join me, as we pray saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
You long to fill us with your comfort and peace,
Still Waters of Grace, but we continue to take on
more anxiety, more worry, more fear.  You would
comfort us in the gentleness of your hope, but we
welcome the embrace of a world spinning more and
more out of control.  You would feed us with more
than we need, but we continue to hunger for the
sweet sensations offered to us by temptation.
You keep your promises and offer us forgiveness
and mercy all the days of our life.  May we keep our
eyes focused on the path you have shaped for us; may
we listen to the call of the Good Shepherd who leads
us into your joy, that kingdom prepared for us by
Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

  Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
L:    This is the good news: wherever we are, God
is with us; whoever we are, God forgives us,
and offers us new life.
P:    Surely goodness and mercy are the companions
we have been longing for, faithful friends as we
continue our journey as God’s people.  Amen.

 

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