a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

communion–independence day

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Creator of the universe,
for you made all things and called them good—
earth, sea, and sky are yours,
every tree and bird, each seed sprouting,
every firefly twinkling and every drop of precious water
is a witness to your grace.
We give you thanks this day for your generosity,
for you are the giver of every good gift.
Today we especially give you thanks for the gift of freedom,
for those who have worked and sacrificed to honor that gift,
and for the many privileges we enjoy in this place.
We thank you for the gift of this community,
the gift of curious minds and ingenuity,
the privilege of learning and teaching.
We thank you for your Son
who became flesh and lived among us
in order that we might know the gift of your abundant life
right here in these bodies, right here in this Body.
When we forget that all we have, from every tiny bone to every big cathedral, is a gift from you,
call us back to your truth.
When we are tempted by the siren song of individual independence,
remind us that we are but one part of your Body on earth.
When we separate this earth from your Spirit,
give us eyes to see and ears to hear your breath in every heartbeat, every gust of wind, every creaking joint, every neighbor’s laugh and enemy’s tear.
We hold in your light those who live in fear, in violence, under oppression.
We remember your people in Syria, in Bangladesh, in Baghdad, in West Virginia, on the streets of Chicago and the homes of our own neighborhood.
As we gather at this table, we remember that many are hungry.
As we share the cup together, we remember that many are thirsty.
May the day come soon when there may be food and water for all.
May the day come soon when justice and peace take the place of violence.
May the day come soon when your freedom may be known by all of creation.
Many grains come together to make bread, and yet our world community is fractured—
as we eat this feast, draw us together in your Spirit.
Make us again into your body, loving, serving, and caring for the world.
We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, who taught us to pray together…

 

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

POP–memorial day weekend

Prayers of the People (based on Psalm 144) – for Memorial Day weekend

Blessed are you, O Lord our rock!

You give skill to our hands and strengthen all who serve their neighbors. 

You are our help and our fortress, and we put our trust in you. 

 

On this Memorial Sunday, 

we acknowledge the fragility of life 

and commend to you those who have been gathered to you. 

Bind us to one another beyond time and memory.

We pray on behalf of the world: Come, Holy Spirit!

 

We lift up especially those who endured fury that made the mountains smoke, 

who laid down their lives in warfare, 

who returned home living but not whole, 

or who were caught up in violence they wanted no part of. 

Let peace, at long last, prevail on earth. 

We pray on behalf of the world: Come, Holy Spirit!

 

We pray for those who seek to be rescued from the deep waters, 

whose lives are facing the dangers of famine, poverty, or disaster. 

Grant refuge to all, and may we open our arms to all in need. 

We pray on behalf of the world: Come, Holy Spirit!

 

We acknowledge those near to us 

and those we have named aloud or silently today 

who suffer from illness, injury, weariness, or brokenness. 

In your tender compassion, nurture your beloved children. 

We pray on behalf of the world: Come, Holy Spirit!

 

We call forth your abundant provision for all people, 

that every need might be met 

in your consoling and enlivening love. 

We pray on behalf of the world: Come, Holy Spirit!

 

Come, Holy Spirit, 

and make all your people whole again, 

in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

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

A Prayer for Back to School

Back to school time is fast approaching where I live. In churches, this time of year (often) means a return to regular schedules. Any group that takes a break for the summer is getting ready to start again. When I think about the children and youth of the church, I am always aware of our responsibilities to them. We promise in the baptismal covenant with these words.

“Do you, who witness and celebrate this sacrament, promise your love, support and care to the one about to be baptized as he/she lives and grows in Christ?

Congregational Response- We promise our love, support, and care.”

(United Church of Christ Book of Worship, 139).

We promise in our Safe Sanctuary covenant to protect our children and youth as we help them live into the baptismal promises. As the new school and program year begins, I think churches should welcome and celebrate this time of year, and we can do that by sharing this prayer.

One-I’d like to invite all of our children and youth to please come up front. If you would sit or stand facing the congregation. We’d like you to be able to see all those adults out there.

(after the children and youth are up front)

Today, we are going to pray for you as summer ends and a new year of school and church begins. You may have already started back to school or may not be in school yet. You may be changing to a new Sunday School class or starting youth group for the first time this year. As so many things in our lives change, some things do not change. All of those people out there have promised to help you grow and know God loves you.

I invite the teachers to stand. Anyone who teaches here at church, youth group leaders, and teachers in our schools please stand.

Teachers-Dear God, we surround these children and youth with our love and support for the coming year. Give them a spirit of curiosity. Give them time to play and learn outside in your creation. Give them a sense of wonder at how much they know and how much there is to learn. Give all of us who teach a spirit of compassion as we journey with our students. Amen.

One-Teachers remain standing. Parents and guardians please stand.

Parents and Guardians-Loving God, give us patience on hard days. Remind us you love our children even more than we do. Give our kids a spirit of kindness in a world that isn’t always kind. Give our kids strength to stand up for what is right. May they always know how much you love them and we love them. Amen.

One-Parents, guardians, and teachers keep standing. Now, I invite the rest of the congregation and any of our guest to stand.

All-God, remind us of the promises we made to protect and love these children and youth. Help us to live those promises daily. Bless all these children and youth that they may know your love and share it with others. We promise to keep these children safe, give them opportunities to know you, and involve them in the life of the church with God’s help. Amen. 

One-Look out at all those people who love you and have prayed for you. I hope you will remember how much your church family loves you and how much God loves you as we start a new year together.

Submitted by Susannah deBenedetto

thanksgiving for the music ministry

This will be offered on the last Sunday with our choir.
Members of the choir will be given party store horns to blow (thus the toot).
We will follow this litany with an alleluia before coming together for Communion.
Celebration of Choir
One: Let every living thing praise God!
All: Let every person with voice lift their praise!
One: Let every heart be joined together!
For we have offered great praise to our God the Creator.
And we give you thanks.
All: We give you thanks for the members of this choir.
One: We praise your holy name for every tune they have learned,
for each new lyric they have memorized
and every Wednesday night they have spent in the basement of our church
lifting their voices to praise your holy name.
We praise you for the gifts that each member of this choir
has offered to our worship from September to June —
for the hours they have spent,
for the love they have offered,
for the gifts they bring every Sunday.
Praise God our Creator in this sanctuary!
All: We celebrate the ministry you have each offered
in our church family. We thank you for your time and your talent.
We look forward to the new songs that you will bring in September.
One: But now, as the skies begin to clear,
and summer comes close, we celebrate your rest.
Let every living part of you praise God!
In these summer months, praise God in resting your voice
and nurturing your spirit. Go and blow your horn!
Choir:  Toot!
All: Thanks be to God!
Submitted by Rev. Elsa Peters, The United Churches of Olympia, WA.

CTW: bless the lord…

Call to Worship from Psalms 103 and 77

L:  Bless the Lord, O my soul,

P:  and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

L:  I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;

P:  I will remember your wonders of all.

L:  I will meditate on all your work,

P:  and muse on your mighty deeds.

L:  Bless the Lord, O my soul,

P:  and do not forget all God’s benefits.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephanie Boardman Anthony, First Presbyterian Church, Hudson WI.

confession: new songs are hard

O God, you call us to sing your song anew, yet we confess that sometimes we don’t feel much like singing. Sometimes we just want to sing of the past. Other times we ignore the witness of your people singing out through the ages. Forgive us when we trap your good news in our preferred language, when we insist that your grace must be known through our approved tunes, when we limit your story to the good old days. Forgive us when our lips are sealed in protest or in fear. Forgive us when we keep our voices low and our feet firmly planted, refusing to join you in the song and dance of holy life. Open our lips, O God, that we may proclaim your praise. Amen.

 

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

The world needs you!!

Well, at least your fellow worship-planners need you!

Two-thirds of your Liturgy Link team is headed out for 3 weeks in Scotland, and we need your help. You might imagine that while we’re traipsing around ruined churches and enjoying worship at Iona Abbey, we won’t be writing our own liturgy. In fact, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to soak in someone else’s hard work and refresh our own creativity.

Which means that we need YOU to share your creativity, your words, your ideas, your prayers. Write a summer call to worship? Send it in! Writing an affirmation to go with all those bread passages coming up? Send it in! Creating a prayer of confession that captures the essence of letting the Lord build your house instead of arrogantly assuming you can build the Lord’s? Have a great invitation to offering for those low summer months? Using a new benediction? Send it in!!

This resource works because YOU share your creativity with your colleagues near and far. Whether you wrote it this week or 3 years ago, as long as it’s yours…please send it in! Email to liturgylink@gmail.com and become a published liturgy author, and help your friends at the same time!

Looking Ahead: Summer Worship

It’s only the beginning of May, but this means that summer is around the corner. WOW! Usually this means that life in the church slows down a bit, and worship often takes some different forms. Sometimes it means a special sermon series or even a very different structure for worship.

What are you thinking about for the summer? Do you have ideas to share to make worship more interesting and relevant through these quieter months? What about special liturgies that highlight the summer season? Share your thoughts, and let’s create together!