a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: theological education sunday

Let us pray to God saying:
Holy and Merciful God, hear our prayer.

Today is a Sunday that many Presbyterian Churches
celebrate and support places of theological education.
We give thanks for the 10 seminaries of our denomination including:
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary,
Columbia Theological Seminary,
University of Dubuque Theological Seminary,
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary,
McCormick Theological Seminary,
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary,
Princeton Theological Seminary,
San Francisco Theological Seminary,
Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary,
and Union Theological Seminary.
We give thanks for the two other seminaries
in covenant relationship with our denomination:
Auburn Theological Seminary and Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico.
We also pray for our local seminaries, including:
Lexington Theological Seminary and Asbury Theological Seminary
May these places continue to teach faithfully the future leaders
of our faith families here and abroad.
Holy and Merciful God, hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
today’s scripture reminds us that words matter
and that the way we choose our words
holds within it the capacity to either harm or heal, to wound or welcome.
In this time when words are tossed around so casually,
may our words be used to build up the Body of Christ
and share love and compassion in a broken and battered world.
Holy and Merciful God, hear our prayer.

Healing God,
we pray for those who have been hurt by words of late:
for refugees and immigrants with or without documentation,
for women and girls who have endured words of sexism,
for people of color who hear words of racism,
for people with disabilities who are told they are “less than,”
for elderly people who are told they are useless,
for young adults who are told they are entitled, selfish, and irresponsible.
God of the Living Word, help us speak the truth in love
and to care for one another with the words we choose to speak.
Holy and Merciful God, hear our prayer.

God of Healing and Wholeness,
we lift up to you our words of prayer
for the people near and dear to our hearts
as we lift them up silently before you…
Holy and Merciful God, hear our prayer.

Triune God,
we love you for you hear our voice and our supplications.
We lift these prayers to your ears
along with the prayer you taught us to pray, saying: Our Father…


Submitted by Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

Confession: other things

Call to Confession
Friends, let us confess the ways that we have failed to live up to God’s bountiful invitation.

God of Mercy and Steadfast Love,
You gave us our tongues that we may speaks words of love, wisdom, and grace.
But often our tongues are the vehicles of other things:
instead of love, hatred,
instead of wisdom, foolishness,
instead of grace, rage.
Like a small fire that sets a forrest ablaze,
too often a word can set forth a flood of fear and anger.
Help us use our tongues to start other things:
kindness, compassion, and courage.
In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
We love the Lord because God has heard our voice and our supplication.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I announce to you this day: our sins are forgiven!
Alleluia! Amen.


Submitted by Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

Prayer: voices of creation

God of Creation,
all of the world proclaims your praise,
from the highest heavens to the deepest recesses of the sea.
Make our voices true and faithful
as we join the voices of all of creation to sing your praise. Amen.


Submitted by Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

Illumination: lead us to treasure

Your word, O Lord, is sweeter than honey
and more precious than gold.
Inspire this reading by your Holy Spirit
and lead us to the treasure of your will,
in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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

POP: on psalm 19

O God, the heavens declare your glory,
and all creation reveals your surpassing wisdom.
We give thanks to you for those who reveal your riches to us
and teach us in the way we should go.
We pray for all who are searching,
that you would shine your light ahead of them
and help all people rejoice in you.
We pray for those who struggle and suffer,
especially those we have lifted up by name today.
Revive all our souls and refresh our spirits.
Guide us in your service,
because your will is the desire of our hearts.
Let all that we say or do be acceptable in your sight,
we pray in Jesus’ name, saying together:

The Lord’s Prayer


Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Marion, IA

POP–not our way, but your way

Loving God,

we come this day with gratitude for the gift of life,

for the beauty of your world and your people around us.

We also come this day with hurt, with grief, with confusion—

and we lift up to you those who are in pain,

those who suffer, those who live with illness.

We ask for your comfort to surround your people who sorrow,

your peace to surround your people who live with violence,

your hope to surround your people in despair.

There are many things we do not understand,

and so we pray for your wisdom.

Even as we watch news

of riots and typhoons and shooting in our streets,

we call out for your kingdom of justice and peace and love.

And yet we do not always act as if your kingdom is at hand.

Remind us, Lord, to keep our attention on you.

Set our minds on divine things, that we may be agents of your healing.

Focus our eyes on you, that we may not be seduced by other gods.

When our hearts turn to other ways, call us back to your way.

Help us, O God, to follow you, to live like you, to seek your will,

that the world may know your grace.

Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.


You have called us to let go of our own vision to follow yours,

and have promised to be with us on the way.

Walk with us and help us to be faithful.

We pray these, and all things, in the name of our Risen Lord Jesus,

who taught us to pray together…


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

confession: we long for wisdom

We long for wisdom, O Lord, but prefer that it be our own.
We turn away from the ideas of others
and ignore the possibility and promise that come from life together with you.
Most of all, we drown out your gift of Wisdom as she seeks to get our attention,
for we believe that we know better
or would prefer to decide where we make her welcome.

Forgive us, loving God.
Bring an end to the self-righteousness that ignores you,
and awaken us anew to the Wisdom that comes only from you.
Show us how to walk in your ways and listen to your promise each and every day.

Submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, Queens, New York.

Invocation: set your spirit loose

All-encompassing God
This hour is devoted to worshipping you
Though it is our whole lives that you require.
Set your spirit loose among us today
That we might be free from all which binds us
And all which divides our focus:
The lure of football games,
The rush to get on to lunch,
The chores and responsibilities awaiting us at home.
Let our worship be unhindered,
We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Dan Mayes, First Christian Church of Spencer, IA

Sunday’s Coming: working toward September 16

This week we have lots of hard teaching…have you ever wondered why wisdom can’t just be easy?


Wisdom calls out–standing on street corners, hawking her wares…and yet, few seem to be listening.

Even the creation–from sky to sea–is trying to offer us God’s way of wisdom.

But still we have trouble taming our tongue.

And so we come to the path of wisdom: take up your cross and follow me.


So…how will you approach these hard words this week? Anyone want to work on a confession using that proverbs text? a call to discipleship or a charge-and-benediction based on the gospel story? A call to worship expanding on the psalmist’s imagery?

Leave your ideas–big or small, fully formed or just a seed–in the comments, so we can create together!

confession: wisdom

(based on Psalm 19, CEB)

One:      The Lord’s instruction is perfect,
reviving one’s very being.
All:      But we chafe at instruction and perfection,
            preferring to give you our instructions.
One:      The Lord’s laws are faithful, making naive people wise.
All:      But so often we think your way is naïve
      compared to our own human wisdom.
One:      The Lord’s regulations are right, gladdening the heart.
All:      It seems strange to think of regulation
      bringing gladness, so we go our own way.
One:      The Lord’s commands are pure, giving light to the eyes.

They are more desirable than gold—
than tons of pure gold!—
and they are sweeter than honey—
even dripping off the honeycomb!
All:      Forgive us, God, for wanting gold and honey
      more than we desire You.
      Forgive us, God, for preferring darkness to your light.
      Forgive us, God,
      for closing our ears and eyes to your word.
One:      No doubt about it: your servant is enlightened by them;
there is great reward in keeping them.
All:      Turn us again to your way,
      that we may hear and follow you. Amen.

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