a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

ctw: beginnings, middles, and ends

Here, we worship God as one Church:
The Church Reformed and always Reforming.

Here, the Holy Spirit pours over us:
Reforming us into the Body of Christ.

Here, we return to our roots:
Seeking the beginnings, middles, and ends of our faith. Amen!

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

prayer for Reformation Sunday

Eternal God, infinite in power, wisdom and goodness: Let the desire of our souls be to you; let us draw near you with our hearts, and not only with our lips; and worship you in spirit and truth. Let your word be spoken and heard by us as the word of God. Give us attentive, hearing ears, and opened, believing, understanding hearts, that we may no more refuse your calls, or disregard your merciful, outstretched hand, or slight your counsels, but be more ready to hear. Put your laws into our hearts, and write them in our minds, and let us all be taught by you. Let us magnify you with thanksgiving, and triumph in your praise. Let us rejoice in your salvation, and glory in your holy name. Open our lips, O Lord, and let our mouths show forth your praise. And let the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord and only Saviour. Amen.

Adapted from Richard Baxter’s Savoy Liturgy of the English Presbyterians, 1661, by Daniel Hayward, South Stormont Pastoral Charge, The United Church of Canada, South Stormont Township ON.

confession: reform and transform

Call to Reconciliation
Seeking to follow Jesus, we often wander down the wrong roads. Impatient
with God’s schedule, we rush off to do things our way. Let us confess our
foolishness, that we might receive God’s hope for our lives.

Unison Prayer of Confession
Your words are given to us, Author of Life, so we might be reformed,
but we are intent on changing others.  Your words are offered to us so we
might be transformed, but we are focused on conforming to our culture. Your
words are spoken to lead us into new life, but we hold our old ways tight to
our chests.
Forgive us, God of Wonder. Do not remember our sins, but continue to
touch us with your steadfast mercy. Show us how to be persistent in living
out our faith, even as you were so tenacious in offering us your grace and
life in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  Jesus reminds us that we are to be resolute in our lives of faithfulness
and service.  The good news is that God is steadfast in filling us with love
and grace.
P:  We are forgiven people. May we live as sisters and brothers in Christ,
God’s children in word and deed, in hope and joy. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies.

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.

illumination for Reformation

Holy and Mysterious God, open our eyes to see you in our midst, open our ears to hear your word afresh, open our hearts to know your grace. Give us understanding minds and willing spirits, that we might be continually made new by your love. In the name of the living Word we pray. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL.

Sunday’s Coming: working toward October 28

so–are you on Reformation Sunday? All Saints? Something else? The usual lectionary? The narrative lectionary?

Perhaps you’ll be thinking about Blind Bartimaeus and his request: “let me see again.”

Perhaps you’ll be thinking about a psalm–either the Mighty Fortress one or taste-and-see.

Perhaps you’ll be contemplating Job or Jeremiah.

Or are you thinking about Hebrews and the atoning sacrifice and the priestly nature of Jesus?

Or something else entirely?

Grab some coffee or tea, a snack, and a brainstorming hat–join the conversation as we create for this week!

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!

confession: humility

God…
We want to be humble.
We don’t like to call attention to ourselves…
unless we’re doing something.
We don’t assume that we have all the answers…
unless we’re still breathing.
We don’t want to be given titles…
unless we can use them for our own advantage.
We want to be humble…
because you said it will make us great.
Help us understand what humility means…
and teach us to be faithful servants…
to ourseves, to one another, and to those around us…