a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

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

Approach and confession: idols

God of love and justice, you are alpha and omega, beginning and end…and in between you are the breath of life, the rock on which we stand and the hand that holds us fast. We come into this place, gathered as your people, listening for the voice of your Spirit, still speaking in the wilderness of our hearts. We know your commandments, we can say all the right words…and yet we confess to you that our lives are not always a demonstration of your love. We have looked for loopholes, or created reasons to follow our own way. We admit that we have trusted in other gods—gods of money, security, family, or power. We are on a first name basis with the gods of greed and jealousy, and we are loathe to turn away from the god of privilege. Our everyday actions often proclaim any number of idols, and we come now to ask your forgiveness and help. We cannot leave them behind without your strong hand to guide us in the right way. Give us once again the joy of your grace, and set us on the sure foundation of your word. It is in you, lord, that we live and move and have our being. As you forgive so freely, fill us again with the blessing of creator, redeemer, and sustainer, that we may show your glory in every word, thought, and deed. We pray in the name of Christ, whose faithfulness is our hope and our light, and who taught us to pray together…


Submitted by Rev Teri Peterson, Marchmont St Giles parish, Edinburgh Scotland

confession: guiding light

Lord, you are our guiding light.  But when your world grows dim, when tragedy strikes, we confess that we tend to retreat from faith.  We may lose our way, our vision clouded by anger or gloom.  We fall back to our former ways because we may not know any other way to respond.  Help us in our confusion.  By your Holy Spirit, gird us with your holy strength to hold fast to what you have always taught us.  So that, as the world may seem to fall apart around us, we stand strong, one Church, Your People, faithfully facing the darkness together, lit from within by your wisdom and hope.  ~silence~  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Amy Pospichal, First Presbyterian Tucumcari, New Mexico

POP: whatever is true

Gracious God, the words of your apostle Paul ring in our hearts and we pray they are true.  “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” We pray these words ring true because in the world around us, surrounding us in our daily lives, we are bombarded with the cynicism and hardships of the world.

An epidemic rages on as death tolls rise and healthcare-workers scramble to keep it at bay.  Wars drag on in cycles of power-mongering and violence.  Revenge and retribution are viewed as signs of strength while reconciliation and humility are trampled underfoot.  And, playing politics often takes priority to effective resolutions and meaningful change for the betterment of all. These are the images and stories that we encounter on a daily basis.  These are the stories that fill our screens, these are the stories that burden our minds and our hearts, and these are the stories we comment on with one another because they are our common story.

So, this morning, we pray that our hearts might not be hardened, O God.  We pray that these common stories of destructive happenings in our world do not become the primary narrative we know and share.  May we, in the midst of these stories, lift up a trust in the power of reconciliation and peace and may we dwell in expectation that war can and will end.  May we point to the immeasurable power that grace and resurrection has in this world.  May we remember that we believe in a God whose creative Spirit dwells with and among us – And, it is because of your love for the world, O God, that cynicism will not reign above joy; that gentleness and love will not fall victim to pride and greed; and that forgiveness, justice and peace will be experienced by all.

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, [may we] think about these things [, O God].” And live into them boldly. Amen.


Submitted by Rev. JC Cadwallader, Western Presbyterian Church, Washington DC.