a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

illumination: hush our sure grasp of your truth

Holy God,
in the midst of the loud “Hosannas!”,
as the waving palm leaves rustle in unison,
quiet our pre-conceived notions…
and hush our sure grasp of your truth…
so that we may, perhaps, discover something
about your vision…your hope…your purpose for our life…
that changes the way we think, act, and do.
Amen.

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

CTW: run the risk of being transformed

You may not see it…but the air is full of exciting energy!
You may not notice it…but something is stirring that cannot be contained!
You may not recognize it…but nestled deep within each one of us…
and within this community…are life-changing seeds of renewal!
So let’s sing, “Hosanna!”…and run the risk of being transformed…
As we worship God, together!

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

Palm Sunday Great Prayer

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
Morning by morning,
creation’s voices join in praising you,
God of every goodness.
The forests form a festal procession,
the heavens reflect your glory’s light.
Though we were formed by you,
we looked around at everything
sin and death had to offer,
and followed them through the world,
thinking they could protect us.
You gave prophets
the tongues of teachers,
to comfort our weariness
and teach us the way back to you,
but we turned our back on them.
When judgment did not
lead to redemption,
you sent Jesus to reach out in love,
to bring us home to you.

So with those who spread cloaks before you,
and those who are sustained by your love,
we join our voices, singing,

P:    Holy, holy, holy, God of enduring love.
From every part of creation come glad songs.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who comes in humility and hope.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, Sustainer of the weary,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Love become human.
He emptied himself of glory,
to be filled with our broken hopes and hearts.
He chose the path of suffering love,
so that we could run through
the streets of the kingdom
waving branches of joy.
He walked the sin-cold stones
into the tomb which could not hold him,
so we could join our voices together,
‘Hosanna!  Hosanna!  He is risen!”

As we journey through Jerusalem and beyond,
as we struggle with death, loss, and grief
we would ponder that mystery we call faith:

P:    In trust, Christ died.
In joy, Christ was raised to new life.
in hope, Christ will come again.

Here at the Table graced
with creation’s gifts,
we discover the world you intend.
Here where you love enlivens
the bread and the cup
we are given more than enough
of everything we need.
Sharing deeply in the Spirit,
we can give hope its wings,
as it carries us to serve
the broken all around us.
Strengthened by the grace
with which you feed us,
we can join together
to sustain the weary of the world.

And when the gates of joy
have been opened to us,
we will spend moment by moment,
every knee in creation bending,
singing our praises to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

 

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

palm sunday’s call to reconciliation

Call to confession:

When the parade is over, do we pick up our lives,
brush them off, and live in the old way?  Do we toss
our palm branches aside, so we can grasp the seductions
of the world?  As we begin the journey through the
holiest of weeks, let us speak the truth, as we confess
to our God, praying together,

(Prayer of Confession)

Assurance of Pardon
L:    Laying aside judgment, God offers us redemption;
setting aside anger, God embraces us with love;
letting go of grief, God pours living water upon us.
This is the good news, my friends:
God’s steadfast love endures forever.
P:    Hosanna! Hosanna!
Blessed is the One who brings us
the kingdom of God!  Amen.

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

dedication: looking toward the Passion

O God, you are with us as we plunge to the depths of despair and rise yet victorious.  You understand when we stumble, and you pick us up when we fall.  May our gifts be testaments of our gratitude for all you do for us.  May our pledge to stand by you be shown in what we are willing to share with the world, and may this church help to share your love with all around us.  In Christ’s steadfast name we pray, Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Sarah Rentzel Jones, pastor of St. Peter’s (Lischey’s) UCC in Spring Grove, PA

prayer: palm branches

Steadfast Love:
you hand us the palm branches,
so we can wave them in hope;
you steady us in the days
when pain is stuck
to the bottom of our lives,
when fear is our constant companion.
We empty ourselves
so you might fill us with joy.

Humble Healer:
When our mouths turn numb
and we cannot speak our dreams,
you tenderly caress our cheeks,
leaning over to hear our faltering words.
When our arms have grown weak
from the burdens we carry,
you take them from us,
and strengthen us with your mercy.
We empty ourselves
so you might fill us with grace.

Voice of Wisdom:
when death hovers so close
we can feel it’s cold breath,
you come to us,
the warm breath of resurrection
pushing aside our fears.
When we hesitate to walk into
the unknown stretching before us,
you tightly clasp our hands
and teach us the first step.
We empty ourselves
so you might fill us with peace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we open our hearts to you,
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

 

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

you don’t print everything…

…some things aren’t printed in the bulletin, right?

This week we have lots of things not being printed, because the service is strange. So I’ll be looking for communion prayers, a prayer of dedication, and maybe even a new way to invite people to passing the peace right before communion (instead of in our usual right-after-confession spot). Some of us will need prayers for illumination and calls to confession and invitations to offering…

What do you need or have to share that won’t be printed in the bulletin this week?

confession: we aren’t sure

God of something new…
every year we purchase palm branches,
waving them with one hand
while holding hymnals in the other;
we sing (and sometimes even shout), “Hosanna!”;
and we imagine Jesus riding on the back of a donkey,
as we try to get into the spirit of this strange parade.
We long for something new…
and you surprise us with something unexpected.
You offer us a radical approach to life…
but we aren’t sure we trust your way of doing things.
Help us see your perfect vision for creation…
and help us find the courage to strive for it…
so we may be a lasting grain of hope in the world…
even now…as we offer our silent confessions…

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

confession: you pave the way

Ever constant Love, mixing love and hope together,
you pave the way to the kingdom, but we prefer to stub
our toes on the potholed roads of temptation.  You will
touch the cup of grace to our parched lips, but we seem
to hunger for the ashy taste of bitterness.  You beg us to
learn the songs of salvation, but we hum along with the
chorus death plays in the background of our lives.
Have mercy upon us, God of Holiness.  As you come
to us, you bring healing for our brokenness, peace for
our troubled lives, hope for our doubting minds.  May
we empty ourselves of everything which keeps us from
following you, so we may receive these gifts, and more,
from Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

(Silent prayers may be offered.)

 

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

confession: we kind of like the empire

One: We are mostly the kind of people
who know how to do what must be done, and we do it.
We do it well, and we do well for ourselves.
All: Surely we have earned our success and well-being.
Surely we are entitled to the benefits of our station.
One: We have learned to use the system to our advantage
in order to create a future of opportunity for ourselves.
All: We enjoy the privileges of living in this empire,
and don’t want to do anything
to endanger that privilege.
One: And into that privilege, You speak.
“Those who would be first must be last.”
“Those who want to be great must serve.”
All: In the midst of the empire,
You offer a vision of Your kingdom.
“Let the little children come.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers.”
One: Forgive our opportunistic ways, Lord,
and guide us to follow your way,
though it is not the easy way.
All: Give us grace to hear You.
Give us freedom to trust Your promise.
Give us patience and humility
to yield our privilege to your purpose.
We pray in the name of the One
who calls us to this life. Amen.

 

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