a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

litany for All Saints

(This prayer is designed to be interspersed with the singing of the verses of “Give Thanks for Those Whose Faith Is Firm,” #731 in Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal or #428 in Evangelical Lutheran Worship.)

Let us give thanks to God for all the saints of our lives
and the witness they have shared with us
even as we continue to walk the journey of faith
and make our way to the glory that God is preparing for all of us.

Let us pray.

Eternal God,
our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
we praise you for the saints of all times and places
who have walked the road of faith before us and beside us.
For their witness to your love and their commitment to your justice,
for their trust in your mercy regardless of the circumstance,
we give you thanks and praise.

(verse 1 of “Give Thanks for Those Whose Faith Is Firm”)

God of all creation,
we praise you for all your servants who have witnessed to your truth,
who have shown us your love,
who have inspired us to have hope.
By their example of faith, hope, and love,
remind us of your calling to join in making your new creation real in this world and the next.

(verse 2)

God of grace and peace,
we praise you for women and men and children
who reflect your love into our world.
Guide us to continue their faithful work
as we too walk in the light of your love.

(verse 3)

God of all saints,
today we especially remember the saints from among this community who have departed our company over the past year.
We thank you for the faithful witness of N. and N.,
for their courage amidst strife
and their hope in the face of death.
We remember so many other saints who have walked this road with us,
whom we name before you aloud or in silence:
Continue to inspire us by their faithful witness,
that we too might join in bringing your justice, mercy, and peace to our world.

(verse 4)

Eternal God,
as we walk this pilgrim way,
make our faith firm,
our hope clear,
and our love pure,
that we might join the saints of all the ages in praise eternal,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

All Saints Litany

All-We remember

One-teachers and storytellers who made God’s stories come alive for us and

All-we give thanks!

All-We remember

One-choir members, praise bands, organists, and all the musicians who sang and played your praises and

All-we give thanks!

 

All-We remember

One-preachers and lay leaders who led our worship through the years and

All-we give thanks!

 

All-We remember

One-parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, and brothers who sat with us on Sundays and lived out their faith all week long and

All-we give thanks!

 

All-We remember

One-our church families-this one and others we have loved. We remember all those who have been a part of this faith family and

All-we give thanks!

 

All-We remember

One-our ancestors in the faith whose courage enables us to be here today. For our sisters and brothers in the faith whose names are remember only by God

All-we give thanks!

Submitted by Rev. Susannah DeBenedetto.

awareness and reconciliation for All Saints’ Day

Our lives are full of mistakes and errors – places where we follow self-generated idols instead of the One True God. We are not alone in these mistakes – all of those who have come before us also were plagued with temptation and sin. Let us come before God, just as generations of believers have done, and pray for God’s forgiveness and grace.

Beloved God, who was known to our mothers and fathers, and even to our spiritual forebears, have mercy on us. We do not always love as you would have us love. We do not always do as you would have us do. In our stubbornness, we turn from you when we should turn toward you. Hold us, dear One – comfort us when we mourn the passing of friends and family, and help us to know that they are rejoicing in your presence. We praise you for the grace you shower on us, constantly forgiving our errors, especially the ones that we don’t share with any but you. Hear now the silent fears and worries of our hearts.

A time of silence

Friends, hear the good news! Though thousands upon thousands of our ancestors did not follow God’s ways perfectly, we have hope in the one who did! Jesus, a man of a particular people in a particular time, taught through his words and deeds that God has already forgiven us. Thus, we and all who have come before us are rightly known as saints – the holy ones of God! Thanks be to God for God’s mercy, grace, and love! Amen!

Submitted by Rev. Lucus Keppel, Ancho Community & Corona United Presbyterian Churches, New Mexico

hurricane or no hurricane, Sunday’s Coming: working toward November 4

Many prayers for all our faithful contributors and readers who are in the path of the storm–may you be dry, warm, and safe!

What happened in worship yesterday? What worked, or didn’t work? Was there a moment when the liturgy truly became the “work of the people”?

And looking toward this Sunday…are you going for All Saints, or Ordinary 31, Stewardship Commitment, or some other season/theme/series?

If you’re working on All Saints, then yesterday’s Prayers of the People post might be of use to you as you ponder and prepare. If you write something, or have just a phrase you want to work with but aren’t sure what to do with it yet, put it all in the comments and we’ll all join in the creating–a virtual cloud of witnesses to celebrate the more literal one.

If you’re working on Ordinary 31, perhaps you’ll be pondering the relationships of 3 women in Ruth, or the High Priestly nature of Jesus, or Praising the Lord!!!! with the Psalm, or answering the eternal question about the most important commandment.

If you have stewardship commitment this Sunday…is it also a communion Sunday for you? How do you combine those two things in the service without giving the impression that one pays for the privilege of coming to the table?

Lots to think about this week–let’s create together!

POP: our heavenly parent…

Our Heavenly Parent, who is within us,
We celebrate your many names.

We celebrate your names and we remember the names of those who have been your hands and feet in our lives. We remember the names of those saints who have gone before us – have labored for your church and who now rest from their labor.

(Pause and listen as we name those saints who we wish to remember.)

Your wisdom come;
Your will be done unfolding from the depths within us.

We think and make notes; we plan and keep calendars and yet your will, your will?
Do you have a will? Is there one right path for each of us, for all of us? What happens if we miss it? Can we miss it?
Your will unfolds around us, just like it did for those who walked this earth before us.
Your will lives within us.
Quiet us then. Quiet our restless, planning hearts.
Let us listen and watch for your will.

Silence

Each day
Each day you give us all that we need.

No more, no less. Although sometimes it seems we have more and sometimes it seems we have less.
And then when we, if we would stop being so self-centered, we would see that there are many that have more and many who have less.
And if we are one, if we belong to one another, what matter is this daily bread to us?

You remind us of our limits; And we let go.

Sometimes we let go. Sometimes we hold – tightly. Sometimes we need you, or maybe someone else with your hands and feet to pry our hands open.
If we were to accept your grand love for us… if we were to let that kind of love creep from the earth into our feet, would our breath catch in wonder at your vast love for us, for us – your holy people?

You support us in our power; And we act with courage.

In “our” power – How little would we fear if we – together – the Body of Christ – small, tall, white hair, no hair, little girls and growing young men, experts and learners alike moved as one – would we find our courage together?

For you are the dwelling place within us,
(Take a deep breath)
the empowerment around us,
(Look to your right and to your left)
and the celebration among us now and forever, Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Beth Scibienski, Community Presbyterian Church, Kendall Park NJ.

brainstorming: Reformation and All Saints

Pretty soon we come up on a set of Sundays that some of us celebrate while others of us go on with the usual ending-days-of-the-lectionary.

Some of us will be celebrating Reformation Sunday on October 28–commemorating the 95 theses and other catalysts of reformation in our church’s history. How might you be both remembering/celebrating and looking at how we are Reformed and always being reformed?

Some of us will be observing All Saints Sunday the following week. In some churches that involves reading out the names of those who’ve died in the past year, or other pieces here and there. How will you help us remember our place in the Communion of Saints, as well as the place of those who have gone on ahead?

And in the midst of all of this, many of us will also be contemplating Stewardship Commitment sunday(s). How are you inviting people to commitment? How will you dedicate their pledges, offerings, and commitment to sharing? Does stewardship commitment go beyond a monetary pledge, or is the fall season only for thinking about money? In either case, how will you invite, encourage, dedicate?

Leave your ideas in the comments, because together our efforts produce so much more than any of us alone!

Sunday’s Coming: working toward November 6

Maybe you’re saving All Saints for this Sunday, because yesterday was Reformation Sunday.

Maybe you’re having stewardship commitment/dedication Sunday.

Maybe you’re in the middle of the stewardship campaign.

Maybe it’s a communion Sunday.

Maybe it’s just another Sunday in the endless Year A journey through Matthew.

Whatever you’re doing this Sunday, we want to create together for worship! Join in the comments below as we write together, bounce ideas around, contemplate themes or hymns or creative expression. How are the people of God encountering the living Word this Sunday?

If you follow the lectionary, you might be pondering telling our history and figuring out how to make a choice to serve the Lord. What does it mean to serve the Lord with your congregation’s particular story? How might that relate to All Saints or Communion or Stewardship? Or you might be wondering what’s up with those lazy bridesmaids who didn’t make sure they had enough oil. Aside from singing Keep Your Lamps, what are some ways we can use the liturgy to help our congregations be prepared to encounter God? If you’re pondering the connection between yet another missed rapture date and All Saints, perhaps Thessalonians is your guide. What liturgical language do you need to illuminate this strange and oft-misunderstood idea?

As we contemplate the plot twists, the lives of our communities, and the movement of the Spirit–what language are you leaning toward for this week? What ideas do you hope to convey? What musical ideas do you have?

Let’s create together!