a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: god of wisdom

Let us pray to God saying:
God of Wisdom, draw near to us

Ever-present God,
we look around the world and we see places where people cry out to you:
in places torn by the ravages of war,
in countries demolished by natural disasters,
in areas of rural Kentucky where there are no jobs,
in families across our state who have been devastated by opioid addiction.
Help us bear your light into the places in the world that need illumination and healing.
God of Wisdom, draw near to us.

Gracious God,
give us a gentleness born of wisdom
that we might go out into the world and serve as your ambassadors.
In order to do that, bless us with the wisdom needed to do so –
a wisdom that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield,
full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.
God of Wisdom, draw near to us.

God of all mercy and grace,
give us the courage to seek you out,
to search our hearts for your truth,
and to be guided by the stories of scripture.
Since our hearts do not rest until they rest in you,
lead us to the pastures of your protection,
that we might be faithful members of your flock.
God of Wisdom, draw near to us.

Healing God,
we pray for those among us this day who need your love:
for those who struggle with depression’s grip,
for those who journey with physical disabilities,
for those who are lonely,
for those who are hopeless,
for those who are addicted,
for those who are angry and bitter,
for those who are broken and battered,
and for those we lift up to you in silence this day…
God of Wisdom, draw near to us.

Giver of Hope and Truth,
hear us today as we pray the prayer you taught us to pray, saying: Our Father…

 

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

illumination: curiosity and wonder

As children welcomed to your presence,
instill within us a sense of curiosity and wonder
as we gather to listen to your Word. Amen.

 

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

Confession: not enough

Call to Confession
With humility and honesty, let us confess our sins to our God
who is slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Confession
Abundant God, so much of our harmful behavior is rooted in our envy.
You have given us our manna – our daily bread – but we want more.
We have allowed ourselves to be seduced by commercialism,
telling ourselves that we are not complete until we have the nicest things.
Forgive us when our actions convey that you are not enough for us.
Help us to live our lives simply and faithfully,
trusting in your steadfast love to provide all that we need. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
Friends, our salvation is not something that can be purchased with money or fame.
Our salvation comes from Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone.
I announce to you this day, our sins are forgiven.
Alleluia! Amen.

 

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

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!