a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: harvest of joy

Lord of glory, Savior of all who call on you,
we pray for your people who are near to our hearts today.
We rejoice with those who rejoice,
whose hopes and dreams have come true today.
Let our mouths be filled with laughter,
and let us sing songs of joy,
for you have done great things for your people.
We give you thanks!
Merciful God, we also weep with those who weep.
We call out on behalf of those whose lives are dry and barren,
for all who long to be restored.
Where there are tears, or suffering, or illness, or grief,
may there be songs of joy once again.
We lift up the prayers of your people
with longing and hope,
trusting that you will bring forth a harvest of joy.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

opening prayer–southwest senses and seasons

Creator God, we thank you for the wide sky and the warm sun, for the bottomless lakes and the flowing rivers, for the massive mesas and the never-resting winds, for trees and for soil underfoot. We thank you for our senses, which let us hear wind blowing through trees, and see the summer clouds cast moving shadows on the rolling hills, and taste the roasted chiles in autumn, and revel in the cold touch of the snow, and smell the breath of the spring after the rain. May you open the eyes of our hearts to this beauty – and keep us from being blind to your glory burning in even the lowly cholla, reminding us of your love for all things and all people, no matter how great or small. As you have made our senses come alive, let us be attuned to your presence in worship today! Amen.

(Based on Thanksgiving Day prayer by Walter Rauschenbusch)
Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Ancho + Corona Presbyterian Churches, New Mexico

communion: thankful

As thankful people we approach this table. As invited people we come to share in the feast that is prepared for us but does not belong to us. We come as Christ’s own at his invitation, for this table is not for the worthy but for the hungry.

Let us pray.

Gracious God, we give you thanks for all your blessings,
but even in this season of thankfulness we struggle to be thankful people

We are thankful that the angel of death passed over our ancestors in Egypt,
but we quickly forget your blessings when we become fearful in our own desert.

We are thankful for clean water to drink and healthy food to eat,
but we forget that you will provide and we demand more than manna.

We are grateful for strong leaders like Moses and the judges,
but we forget to follow them and wander our own ways.

We are thankful for the voices of the prophets, then and now, calling us to be better, to repent, to pray, and to follow your commands –
but we wonder in our thankfulness, do they have to be SOO persistent?

We are thankful for Jesus. Who wouldn’t be thankful for a cute little baby savior?
But we forget that we don’t get to create him in our image.

We are grateful for the teachings of Jesus.
Except for the ones that are confusing, frustrating, or hard to follow.

We are thankful for the night that Jesus shared a meal with his friends and how he took the bread, blessed, and broke it and gave it to them telling them to “take and eat and do this in remembrance of me.”

And we are thankful that Jesus took a cup and poured wine into it saying, “this is the cup of my covenant, poured out in my blood for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink of it, remember me.”

Yes, we are thankful. But did he really have to die?
It is hard to be thankful for death.

But we are grateful that death is not the end. With the women we stare open-mouthed at the empty tomb.
With confused understanding we are grateful for resurrection.

Lord, send your Spirit to lift us above our lukewarm thankfulness.  Turn our desire to be grateful into true gratitude. Take these simple gifts of bread and wine and use them to transform us. Mold us into people who are truly thankful for your blessings as we participate in your very body and blood.

With Christ, in Christ, through Christ, in communion with the Creator and the Spirit we are thankful. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nikki Cooley, First Presbyterian Church, Liberty, MO

Thanksgiving Prayer

On this Thanksgiving Day, let us not forget to start by saying thank you to the Creator and Source of all for which we have to be thankful. Loving God, we thank you for those with whom we spend this day. Thank you for family, friends, and strangers. We thank you for the food we share and remember those who do not have enough to eat. May today’s feast inspire us to share what you have given us with others. As we enjoy a day of relaxation and rest, we ask your blessing on those working today–the people working to keep us safe and healthy, the people working so others can eat, and the people working because they desperately need the money. We pray for families and friend who wish they could be together today. We pray for people who struggle to feel thankful this day. God, we ask that you give us thankful hearts, not just today when it is easy to be thankful, buy everyday. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Susannah DeBenedetto

POP: Be our Rock

To you, O Lord, we call out for help,

for you are our rock and our fortress.

Listen to the prayers we raise before you today.

Rescue those who are under the power of injustice and cruelty,

and cleanse our hearts of the desires that do violence against your people.

O God our protector: Be our rock of refuge.

Protect and nurture the young,

who are just learning the promise of your constant presence;

keep them safe and cover them with your gracious love.

O God our protector: Be our rock of refuge.

Let your mercy surround those who are old,

especially those whose health or mind or family fail them;

let your strength lift them up, and let your praises be on their lips.

O God our protector: Be our rock of refuge.

Stand with all who seek to serve you faithfully.

Give them steadfast hope by the power of your Holy Spirit,

and let them celebrate the righteous acts you do through them day after day.

O God our protector: Be our rock of refuge.

Reveal yourself in family and community gatherings this week,

that as loved ones gather together for Thanksgiving,

each generation may tell another about the wonders of your love.

Bless and watch over all who travel.

O God our protector: Be our rock of refuge.

Revive and comfort those who face trouble and calamity among us,

and let your healing presence be with all who are ill (especially ___).

Bring your people up from the depths, to your honor.

O God our protector: Be our rock of refuge.

Show your faithfulness to those who face death or walk in the shadow of grief (especially ___).

Strengthen your people to sing your praises even in the darkness,

and watch over the souls of all who rest in you.

O God our protector: Be our rock of refuge.

God our rock, we call to you now and always,

trusting in the name of Jesus the Christ,

who taught us to pray as we say together:

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Marion, IA

Thanksgiving Blessing

Blessed are you, O God, for you have brought forth the fruit of the earth, you have gathered a people, you have filled our lives with every good thing. We gather around this table to give you thanks today, for things we so often take for granted: family and friends, health and home, clean water and more than enough to eat. Make our gratitude a way of life, not only a few hours one day. And as we are grateful today, we are mindful of those who do not sit at tables of abundance, those who do not have enough to eat, those who grieve. As you satisfy our hunger with your bounty today, bless us next with hunger for justice, with passion and power to ensure that all may partake of your abundance. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Sunday’s Coming: working toward November 20

Ah, Christ the King Sunday. Reign of Christ Sunday. Last Sunday of the liturgical calendar. The day no one knows what to do with. What just happened here? Sunday. Another One Of These Again? Sunday. It’s Almost Advent! Sunday. Thanksgiving Sunday.

So many different names for this one…

Where are you, liturgically? Lectionarily? Musically?

Perhaps you’re pondering just what more the sheep could want than to be cared for by the most attentive shepherd ever recorded (thanks, Ezekiel, for the imagery!).

Perhaps you’re ending the liturgical year on a bang, making a joyful noise to the Lord and entering his courts with thanksgiving.

Maybe you’re pondering our inheritance, giving thanks for the work of ministry, or wondering just what it means that Christ is head of the church…(oh, Ephesians, could you pack any more stuff into so relatively few verses?)

Or are you working on that perennial favorite, the sheep and the goats?

 

Perhaps you have a Thanksgiving theme with an off-lectionary text–what are you working with?

Over at my (Teri) church, we’re pondering Christ the King through the lens of the Lion King and part of the Matthew reading. Never let it be said that we can’t use our imaginations!

So–what are you pondering this week? What prayers do you need? What litanies are you writing? What hopes and dreams are you exploring? What music do you need?

Put your ideas, your sparks, your beautiful turns of phrase and your words that still need work…we want it all!…in the comments, and let’s get this liturgy party started!