a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: spark hope

God of promise,
We come to you this day, at the start of a new season, waiting.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting to be seen.
We remember those among us who are feeling forgotten or alone or misunderstood. Grant them assurance that they are whole, and wholly yours, just the way they are.
May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting to be home.
Whether they have fled their old ones for a better life, been pushed out of them by others because of who they are, or whether they have slipped through systemic cracks to end up on the street, grant belonging and rest to unwilling wanderers.
May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting for justice.
We acknowledge those among us who have been victims of systems set up to make them fail.
May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting for healing.
Hold close those who are hurting in body or mind, whatever the reason. Grant them strength, courage, and the help they need.
May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Your children, O Lord, are waiting for peace.
Our country and world are fractured, and doing the hard word of making it better can feel insurmountable.
May your Spirit spark in us hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.
Faithful God, whatever our own uncertainties, breathe hope into our lungs and courage into our hearts. Not the easy or comfortable kind, but grant us, O God, hope in the unexpected promise of a world-changing child born from the humblest of beginnings. Grant us comfort in the words that that child would teach us to pray together: Our Father, who art in heaven. . .
Submitted by Rev. Allison Wehrung, Presbytery of St. Andrew (Oxford, MS)

Confession: looking for mercy

O Lord our Shepherd, maker of heaven and earth,
we lift up our eyes to the hills,
looking for your mercy and forgiveness.
You watch over us night and day,
and yet our feet go astray;
we slip, stumble, and fall into sin.

We confess that we do not watch for your guidance,
trust in your protection,
or offer your comfort to others.
Forgive us.
We need you to save us from the evil we bring on ourselves.
We need you to guide us as we go out into the world
and come back into your presence.

Restore us, we pray in Jesus’ name,
for he promises your mercy from this time forth and forevermore. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

POP: creative grace

O Lord, you are our shepherd;

we shall not be in want.

Your creative grace is visible in lush green pastures

and revealed in still, clear waters.

Your restoring resurrecting Spirit revives our souls and our communities,

and you guide us in ways of righteousness for the sake of your earth.

We pray for the earth you create and love:

for people, families, nations, and species that dwell in the valley of the shadow of death;

for all who fear the evils of pollution, violence, depredation, and illness;

for those whose suffering is on our hearts this morning, and for those whom we will never meet.

Shepherding God, be with your people;

with your rod and your staff, restore us and lead us.

Spread your table of abundance before those who hunger and thirst;

set us free from enmity and division.

Anoint us with your calling to reconciliation,

and let the cup of our life overflow

with justice and life for all your creation.

Let your goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life,

and make this earth your home forever,

in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

Confession: we don’t want to understand

Holy God, we like to claim that your way is mysterious and we are uncertain how to follow. We confess that we don’t want to understand the fast that you choose. You call us to loose the bonds of injustice, to let prisoners free, to break every yoke, to bring the homeless into our house, to feed our neighbours and pray for our enemies. We make it sound like a difficult metaphor so we don’t have to act on your word, because we don’t like to be uncomfortable. Forgive our apathy, our wilful ignorance, our false modesty, and our unexamined privilege. Create in us a clean heart, and lead us into a Holy Lent…and beyond, to abundant life for all your creation. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

CTW: the Spirit is with us

One: As we walk into the wilderness, setting our face toward the cross,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: As we focus and prepare, fasting by letting go and by taking on,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: Facing temptations, finding help from unexpected quarters,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: Come, let us seek God’s way together.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: we resist

God who pushes and pulls, coaxing and sending, we confess to you that we often resist your movement, wishing you would let us go our own way. If we’re completely honest, we give in to temptation more often than we resist. We confess that we have preferred to gorge ourselves on things other than your word; we have longed for power over others; we have bargained with your promise and begged for minor miracles. Forgive us, Holy One. Show us your way in the wilderness. Guide us to your path, and teach us to follow. We pray in the name of Christ, Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

CTW: from mountaintop and valley

One: We come from mountaintop and valley
All: From highways and quiet streets.
One: We come with joys and concerns
All: with expectations and excuses.
One: We come seeking Christ
All: to know and follow his way.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: on our terms

We name you Christ…and in the next breath we explain what we mean by that.
We offer our hearts and lives…on our terms.
We make sure you know when we think you’ve gone wrong.
We are full of human thoughts and there’s little room for God’s thoughts.
Forgive us again. Correct us.
Turn us around, and teach us your ways,
and lead us as we let go of all that we have grasped so tightly,
that we may pick up the cross and follow you.
Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Illumination: open

Open your good news to us, O God…and open us to your good news, that we may find ourselves in your abundant life. Speak, Lord, and help us to listen. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: conditional faith

Voice 1: Show us a sign!
Voice 2: Make us understand!
Voice 3: If you can explain, we will believe!
All: We confess, Holy One, that often our faith is conditional. We trust you when we can see where you are going, and we believe your word when it makes sense with what we already know. The rest of the time…our voices can often be heard in the midst of the crowd demanding that you meet our expectations. Forgive us. Help us to trust where we have not seen. Teach us your way, foolish step by foolish step, until we find ourselves living your wisdom. Amen

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson