a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

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

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: we think too highly

Call to Confession

It is tempting to gloss over our sin and focus on our strengths, but God calls us to focus on the strength of Christ, not ourselves. God, who is faithful and just, offers us a new way to live, and so we join together to confess our faults and failings. Let us pray.

Prayer of Confession

All: God, we are prone to think too highly of ourselves. We forget that it is you who are good, you who are the greatest. We forget that you call us to do your will, not the other way around. When we have fallen into arrogance, forgive us. When we have allowed our good intentions to stand in the way of your grace, forgive us. When we have directed attention away from you, forgive us. Empty us of all things that do not give glory to you, so we are ready to be filled with your love.


One: We pray in the name of the One who emptied himself in order to live your will. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

Hear and live this good news: Love could not be contained in the tomb and will not be constrained by our understanding! Christ is risen, bringing forgiveness and hope to all people. Alleluia! Amen!


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

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 

CTW: follow me

One: To the fisherman Jesus said:
All: “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.
One: To the tax collector Jesus said:
All: “Follow me.”
One: To the rich man Jesus said:
All: “Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
One: At the last supper Jesus said:
All: “Follow me”
One: To you and to me and to all of us Jesus says:
All: Follow me!
inspired by Matt. 4:19-20; Luke 5:27, Mark 10:21, John 21:19
submitted by Rev. Kathleen Sheets, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Jesup, IA

prayer: clarity

A prayer for wholeness for Easter 4 (Psalm 23, John 10), combined with the day of prayer for Colombia.
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church

One: Lord, we pray that we may have clarity of vision,
even when what we see is uncomfortable.
All: We pray that we may have clarity of hearing
as you call us to join your mission.
One: We pray that our hearts remain open to
seeing you in the others you call, from other places,
that there may be one flock, one shepherd.
All: We pray that our voices may sing,
proclaim truth and only speak words of love.
One: We pray that our feet always remain
“eager to bring the gospel of peace.”
All: Help us, O God, to step forward in confidence,
breaking down barriers and welcoming all people
into your life of shalom, of peace and healing. Amen.