a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

The unprinted parts

Many of us probably have the bulletin done already…but there are always those things that don’t need to go in the bulletin that we wait to do until later. What words will we use to introduce the scripture reading? What words will we use to call people to confession? How will we introduce the offering? What prayer of dedication will we come up with this week? What children’s sermon ideas are floating around out there? Will the charge before the benediction be different this week?

I confess that the prayer of dedication I almost always use is this: “God, you have been so generous to us. You have filled us to overflowing with every good gift. We return these gifts to you and ask for your blessing–use these gifts, and use us, to do your work in this place and around the world. We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.”

Yeah, I could use a new one. What’re you thinking this week for those unprinted parts?

commissioning and benediction – back out into the world

Our time of worship concludes, we go back out into the world.

Here we have met the God who chooses to make us clean.
And, having been healed, what is our response?
We share the love of God with all we meet, for they too have been made clean.
As you go to live and serve, go with the sure knowledge that the God who washes and heals us all will go with you.
Always and all ways.
May God bless and keep you this day and forevermore.
Amen.

 

submitted by Gord Waldie, St. Paul’s United Church, Grande Prairie, Alberta

confession: walls of all about me

Holy God, we sing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, but we act out “A Mighty Fortress Is Our Life.” We make traps around us for others to fall into. We build walls so that we cannot be touched. We put so much in our days that we can only focus on what is next, and never on who is around us. And then we meet Jesus, who chooses to be open and vulnerable to the needs of the world. Forgive us, for our walls, our busy-ness and our fears. Help us, O Lord, to be instruments of the one who calls us out into new life, who makes space for the Other, Jesus our Lord and Savior Amen.

Submitted by The Rev. Jason Carle, Overland Park Presbyterian Church, Overland Park KS.

confession: no sense of direction

Healing God,
sometimes we have no sense of direction.
You point us one way…we stumble the other way;
You tell us to do one thing…we alter your plans;
You give us a clear vision…it often doesn’t suit our notions.
We create our own rules…our own criteria…
and our lives become complicated…
the church becomes smug and exclusive…
and the needs of the world are not served,
because we’re too busy serving ourselves.
So draw us from the limitations of our own minds,
and help us to see the landscape of possibility through your eyes…
so that we might be a healed and healing presence in the world…
even now…as we offer our silent confessions…

Submitted by Rev. Scott Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

confession: we settle

“Beloved, as those who are in need of true and lasting healing, let us, as the family of God, approach the One who heals, saves and redeems us. Let us pray…”
Gracious, tender God, we bring to you our wounded souls, our selfish impulses, our arrogance. You offer us the kindom of heaven, yet we settle for earthly pursuits. Your ways are sometimes so simple, as you tell us “wash and be made clean”, but we insist on complicating grace. Forgive us, loving God. Replace our self-centeredness with your vision for the whole world. Restore us once again with your healing mercy, we pray in the name of the Christ, Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON:
“Brothers and sisters, children of the living God, it matters not who you are, how you got here, or what you brought with you. Christ chooses this day to make you clean. We are all forgiven. Thanks be to God!”

 

Submitted by the Rev. Julie Craig, who writes, prays, preaches and wears cute shoes as a minister member of Milwaukee Presbytery. She blogs at winsomelearnsome.wordpress.com.

CTW: you are…

CALL TO WORSHIP (based on Psalm 30)
Leader: We will praise you, O God, for when we are surrounded by enemies,
People: You are on our side.
Leader: Sick and hurting, we cry out to you for healing,
People: And you are faithful.
Leader: When life feels like the deepest pit,
People: You lift us up.
Leader: In the midst of our sadness and grief,
People: You bring us joy.
Leader: In the midst of such blessing, how can we possibly keep it a secret?
All: Praise the Lord!

 

Submitted by the Rev. Julie Craig who writes, prays, preaches and wears cute shoes as a minister member of Milwaukee Presbytery.  She blogs at winsomelearnsome.wordpress.com

CTW: lift up

One: God is our helper, our healer, our hope.
Many: We lift our voices in thanksgiving and praise!
One: God lifts us up and protects us.
Many: We lift our voices in thanksgiving and praise.
One: God restores our joy after times of mourning.
Many: We lift our voices in thanksgiving and praise.
We cannot be silent! We give thanks to you forever!

 

Submitted by the Rev. Sarah F. Erickson, director of Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur GA.

confession: our way

Call to confession:
If we say our thoughts are pure, hearts clean, and actions blameless, we are not telling the truth. As people in need of God’s cleansing, life-sustaining grace, let us confess together those things that separate us from God and one another.

Prayer of Confession:
God of all creation, we call ourselves your followers and disciples, but we routinely stray from your teachings. We imagine that we set the pace, racing to the finish, certain that winning means doing it our way. We hurt others by our words and our deeds. We harm the earth you entrust to our care. We find it easy to lie, and hard to be truthful.
Lord, we need you to heal us, to cleanse us of our sin, and to return us to the path you would have us follow.
~time for silent prayer~

Assurance of Grace:
One: God gifts us with steadfast love and abundant grace. We can accept these gifts, confident that the God who loves us is faithful and forgiving.
All: We give thanks and praise to God for the gifts of steadfast love and grace. As God’s forgiven people, we can live into the hope of everlasting life today and every day. Amen.

 

Submitted by the Rev. Sarah F. Erickson, director of Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur GA.

prayer of confession and assurance of pardon – wash and be clean

God of grace, you call us to wash and be clean,
but we are proud.
You offer us a simple solution to our dis-ease,
but we think we are important enough for wonders and grand acts.
In those times when our pride blocks our sight of your graciousness,
wash the scales from our eyes, that we may see.
For those times we grow too sure of our own importance,
forgive us.
…time of silent prayer…
Here is Good News! God is willing to cleanse us from our pride, our blindness, our stubborn insistence on having things “our way”. Through God’s grace we are washed and forgiven.
Thanks be to God! Hallelujah! Amen. 

 

submitted by Gord Waldie, St. Paul’s United Church, Grande Prairie, Alberta

call to worship and prayer of approach – why have you come?


Call to Worship

People of God! Why have you come?
We have come to celebrate God’s healing presence among us.
Servants of God! Why have you come?
We have come to be refreshed, to be renewed, to be sent out.
Children of God! Why have you come?
We have come to worship together.
Then let us do so with joy and gladness.

Prayer of Approach

Gracious God, once again you have called us together in this place.
Here we open our hearts and lives before you, here we seek to hear Your life-giving Word.
God in this time of song and prayer and speech,
open our very souls to receive your challenge, open our wills to accept your instruction. Turn our mourning into dancing, replace our sackcloths with garments of joy.
And when our time of worship is ended,
lead us back out into the world to share the Good News with the world around us.
We pray in the name of the One who brought Your healing love, Jesus of Nazareth.
Amen.

 

submitted by Gord Waldie, St. Paul’s United Church, Grande Prairie, Alberta