a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Invitation to the Table–palm sunday

Jesus shared his meals with all kinds of people—doubters, believers, and skeptics; rich and poor; leaders and followers; scholars and fishermen and tax collectors, palm wavers and parade watchers.
He calls us all to come, taste, and see that God is good, that there is enough for everyone, that there is another way.
This is the table where all kinds of people, from all kinds of places, in all kinds of times, meet.
This table does not belong to the Presbyterian church, or to this congregation, it belongs to Christ, and he is the one who promises to meet us here.
This is the table where we can begin a journey, where we can make a turn, where we can be strengthened for the road ahead.
So come, not because you understand, but because you want to know God more.
Come, not because you love God a lot, but because you love God a little and want to love more.
Come, not because your faith is unshakeable, but because you could use some strength for the journey.
Come, not because you are already perfect and worthy, but because it is Christ himself who invites you to share in the feast.

(Let us pray…)


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

call 2 confession / declaration of grace: good news / bad news

Call to Confession

We are capable of making decisions that show regard for everyone…
but we are also capable of making decisions that don’t.
So please join me in the prayer of confession, printed in the bulletin,
followed by a moment of silent reflection and personal confession.

Declaration of Grace

The bad news is…
no matter what you do or don’t do,
these lush, shiny, green palm leaves
are going to eventually wither, dry, and turn brown.

But the good news is…
no matter what you do or don’t do,
The tireless, relentless, limitless love of God
Always remains, unshakably, the same.

So let’s sing and give thanks to God!

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

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.

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)