a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: we cannot imagine a way out

Loving God, you gift your whole creation with abundant life, plenty for all. So often we see only what we lack, and we cannot imagine a way out of the rules and systems we have set up to portion out your gifts. We confess that we are often more tied to our human regulation than we are to your ever-expanding grace. We confess that there is often no room in our faith for you to speak a new word, especially one that breaks down those boxes we put each other in. Forgive us. Open our ears to hear you speaking, and our hearts to embrace your purpose. Amen.          ~silence~

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

confession: pointing the finger

God, we come to you recognizing that we often forget that you made the world and all that it is in it. We so quickly point the finger at the other, the neighbor, the outcast, the one who is different from us. Forgive us for expecting to be forgiven without forgiving others. Forgive us for rash decisions and hateful words. Forgive us for projecting our fears onto those whom we fear. Help us to see past our differences, past the barriers that we have created, and remind us to love others as you have loved us.

 

Submitted by Rev. Greg Bolt, First Presbyterian Church, Nebraska City, Nebraska

post-communion prayer: God of the inside & the outside

God: You are God indeed, the God of all. You are God of our comings and goings and strivings, and you are God of all that we cannot master or manage, force or control. You are God of our hopes and dreams, our scheming and our plans, but you are also God of all we attempt to wall out, to wall in, to force-feed or resuscitate or kill, but which bleeds through and around anyway. You are Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, the front and the tain of the mirror. We encounter you, God, broken and scattered, in the bread and the wine, both without and within, inside the margins and outside of them too, God in death and loss but also God of new life and joys beyond death and loss. In receiving these gifts may we learn to be, like these wide-scattered gifts, nimble navigators of boundaries and barriers, both those which wall up life and those which nourish and sustain life. We ask this in your name, the loving, the just, the merciful, the one God everlasting, in Jesus the Christ, and in the overflowing promiscuous ecstasy of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Submitted by Brian Cubbage, member and elder at Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Louisville, KY) and he blogs at bcubbage.wordpress.com.

morning prayer: the table we surround

God of imagination and creativity…
we gather from many different places…
we gather from many different contexts and situations…
we gather with many different questions,
and many different hopes…
but we’re all here for the same reason…
to discover the joy of a
safe, barrier-free, intentional community.

This table we surround
has reminded us this week
that life is not always as you intend it to be.

We often encounter these same signs.
No Trespassing!
Keep Out!
Private Property!
Under Surveillance!

And when we’re not encountering them ourselves,
we’re nailing them to our own fences.

This table we surround
has reminded us this week
that life is not always as you intend it to be.

And yet,
it also paints for us
your perfect vision for creation.

A vision that does not exclude.

A vision that celebrates the good-ness of your creation.

A vision that does not reach full satisfaction
until everyone has sat…
until everyone has eaten…
until everyone has drank…
and until everyone has loved and been loved.

So help us all…this day…
to fully discover your image within us…
to draw our own pictures…
to paint it with our fingers…
to color outside the lines with our jumbo boxes of crayons…
and to make it all into one, big, messy…
yet absolutely perfect…
collage of creation
that dares to challenge our deep-rooted prejudices
and quiets the cacophony of pre-conceived notions
that plague our minds.

Give us the courage
to embrace the energy and enthusiasm
that flows deep within us…
so that our discussions today
might inspire us…
transform us…
and move us forward.

We look for this inspiration…
even now…
as we gaze upon the Christ…
whose words and actions
challenge us to a life
that moves each of us far beyond ourselves
toward every OTHER that surrounds us…
even now…
as we sing that familiar prayer of Jesus together…

(We closed with a sung version of “The Lord’s Prayer”)

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY), this prayer was used in a morning prayer service at Unconference East at Stony Point Conference center (Stony Point, NY) on May 22, 2012.