a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: we think too highly

Call to Confession

It is tempting to gloss over our sin and focus on our strengths, but God calls us to focus on the strength of Christ, not ourselves. God, who is faithful and just, offers us a new way to live, and so we join together to confess our faults and failings. Let us pray.

Prayer of Confession

All: God, we are prone to think too highly of ourselves. We forget that it is you who are good, you who are the greatest. We forget that you call us to do your will, not the other way around. When we have fallen into arrogance, forgive us. When we have allowed our good intentions to stand in the way of your grace, forgive us. When we have directed attention away from you, forgive us. Empty us of all things that do not give glory to you, so we are ready to be filled with your love.

 ~silence~

One: We pray in the name of the One who emptied himself in order to live your will. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

Hear and live this good news: Love could not be contained in the tomb and will not be constrained by our understanding! Christ is risen, bringing forgiveness and hope to all people. Alleluia! Amen!

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL.

brainstorming: incorporating children in worship leadership

This week the gospel text includes one of those saying of Jesus about welcoming children. While we know that this is primarily a socio-political statement, we also know that it’s important to encourage children to worship with the community and to learn to take on various roles in worship–it’s good for them and for the rest of us too.

So…what are some ways you incorporate young people into the worship life of your congregation?

And what are some liturgical ideas for bringing up the importance of being led by young people? (to get your creative juices flowing, here’s a call to worship from contributor Stephanie Anthony.)

 

confession: what we’re talking about on the way

One:      You call us to follow, not just your footsteps
but your way of life and your way of thinking.

All:      Yet when you ask us what we are talking about amongst ourselves, we fall silent.

One:      The things that occupy our thoughts
are not the things that occupy yours.

All:      We are full of concern about:
Money. Perfect family. Power.
Body type. Privilege. Big Names.
Good grades. Friends. Nice car.
Winning teams. Good job. Big house.
Recognition. Followers. Fame.
Vacation. Honor.

One:      You are full of concern about
grace, love, justice, peace, hope, transformation.
About feeding the hungry, offering rest to the weary,
and ending oppression.
Your life and work seem so opposite
to the way the world works.

All:      Your thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways, O God.

One:      And so we remain silent, or worse, we rationalize our way.

All:      Help us, Lord, to turn toward your way,
to fill our minds with your thoughts,
to fill our hearts with your love,
to fill our footsteps with your will.
Guide us as we seek your vision of success,
though it will mean letting go of our own.
We pray in the name of the One who turned success upside down.
Amen.

 

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

confession: love we cannot earn

Creator God, we come to you today as people who desire to follow you. Forgive us, O Lord, for the times when we think our church attendance, our committee work, or our busy schedules earn us a special place beside you. Remind us, gracious God, that you give us love we cannot earn and salvation we cannot afford. Humble us Lord, so that we may be able to see those who are journeying alongside us. As we reach out to you, let us not forget to also hold up those who have not yet experienced your grace. Amen.

CTW: different roads

L: Our world offers many wide avenues
and beautiful boulevards to walk;
P: Our God invites us to walk the road
of service and sacrifice.
L: Our society suggests we put down our roots
in the shallow soil of pleasure and greed.
P: Our God seeks to plant us on the banks of hope,
watered by the rivers of joy and grace.
L: Our culture promotes achievement, success,
climbing to the top, ringing the bell.
P: Our God tells us if we want to be first
we need to go to the end of the line.

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

Sunday’s Coming: working toward September 23

This is one of those weeks in the lectionary that, when perused on Monday morning, makes you wish for a different lectionary. Perhaps the Narrative Lectionary. Or a nice sermon series on something fun and easy. Or maybe preaching through Ezekiel or something.

But if you’re stuck with the RCL…there’s always the “ode to a capable wife” (which at least we know is not the best translation ever, but still). Perhaps you’ve been following along with Rachel Held Evans’ series on “women of valor” (a better translation of that capable wife business) and will try to tackle Proverbs 31 with a new light.

Or perhaps you’ll be contemplating how faithfulness makes us as strong as a tree…will you address the end of the psalm too, though it seems contrary to experience?

Maybe you want to take on James again this week, thinking about how living from a place of wisdom and peace can create a world of wisdom and peace, and conflict creates conflict. (for fun, take note of the verses cut out of the lectionary…interesting, eh?)

Or maybe you’re wondering: if the lectionary texts had an argument about who was the greatest, who would win, and what would Jesus say? What is success in a gospel-world, and how can we live there and in our earthly-success-world at the same time?

Lots to think about this week–where are you leaning? what seeds of ideas are waiting to sprout into a new way of encountering the Holy in worship? Leave your ideas here so we can create together!