a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Benediction: see greater things

Beloved, we have heard and trusted in
the good news of Jesus Christ.
Go now into the world to do and see still greater things,
to open heaven upon earth
and bear witness to eternal life today;
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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

liturgy for the fourth Sunday of Advent

Prayer of Approach and Confession for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Most High, we sing your praises, for your love endures forever. The Virgin Mary bore the ultimate revelation of your divine love, the baby Jesus. And now we thank you for the privilege of bearing your love in the world. We confess that often we have failed you in this commission. At times, we have questioned this call, saying “How can this be?” Other times, we have failed to offer love out of fear of rejection or self-involvement. Send your Holy Spirit upon us. Strengthen us and show us where revealing your love can bring new life. Amen.


Words of Assurance

When Mary found that she would bear God’s love in the world by giving birth to a baby, she asked the same question: “How can this be?” And the angel answered: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Nothing is ever impossible with God. Be therefore assured that by the power of the Holy Spirit we, too, shall carry God’s love into the world. Amen.


Prayers of the People for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

God of Wonder,
We come before you in anticipation of what is to come;
We are excited
We are fearful
We are relieved
We are uncertain
In all these emotions, you are here with us.

God of No Limits,
We give you thanks for the boundless gifts you have given us:
This universe which you have created with its infinite mystery;
This earth that sustains us with its resources and beauty;
This created life, with all its relationships, of which we are a part;
For all these acts of love, we give you thanks.

God of Love,
We give you thanks for your Church
The community of those who came before, are here now, and are yet to come.
Help us to work together in the building of your kingdom here on earth
That we might live in justice, peace and harmony with all.

God of Many Blessings,
We call to mind all the ways in which you have blessed us individually,
With family and friends that fill us with belonging,
with studies and ministries that challenge and excite us
with good health and happiness.
In silence, O God, we give you are thanks for other blessings that you have laid before us….

God of Wisdom and Understanding,
As we give thanks we also hear the words of Scripture, urging us to bring all the concerns of our hearts to you.
And so we come with prayers of petition and intercession:
For a time when all this world might know peace
When hunger and oppression might end
When those who suffer might know freedom from pain
In our individual lives, O God, we name and offer the sighs of our hearts.
Hear them now as we call out these prayers to you……….

God of Patience and God of Surprises,
Teach us, in this time of waiting, to be open to let go of all those things
That hide your presence from us.
Catch us by surprise, catch us with wonder,
Fill us with the gift of your grace and your love
In this time of Advent and all the days to come.

In the power of the Spirit and in the name of Jesus, your wonderful gift to us,
we pray the words he taught us to say: Our Father…


Commissioning for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

May you be strengthened as you go forth
To carry God’s love, as Mary did.
A love that is radical, powerful, and life-affirming.


Submitted by Rev. Daniel Hayward, Trinity Ingleside and Newington United Churches, South Stormont ON Canada. Written by Karen Boivin, Daniel Hayward and Maggie Melanson while MDiv students at Queen’s School of Religion, Kingston ON.

benediction: fishing for alleluias

One:    O Holy One, worship might be over. We might be done with our praise.
All:       But, let’s not go to our own homes greiving and sad. Let us go fishing for alleluias in the seas of your love! 


Author’s Note: On Easter 7, I’m breaking from the RCL to preach from the Gospel of Peter as we conclude the Easter Season. Though these prayers are based in that scripture, they certainly carry the story of the entire Easter Season – and its end.

Submitted by Rev. Elsa Peters, First Congregational Church, South Portland, ME

commissioning and benediction – back out into the world

Our time of worship concludes, we go back out into the world.

Here we have met the God who chooses to make us clean.
And, having been healed, what is our response?
We share the love of God with all we meet, for they too have been made clean.
As you go to live and serve, go with the sure knowledge that the God who washes and heals us all will go with you.
Always and all ways.
May God bless and keep you this day and forevermore.


submitted by Gord Waldie, St. Paul’s United Church, Grande Prairie, Alberta

Benediction in Four Voices

Submitted by Laura Viau, Orlando, FL (MDiv student at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary)

(Based on Luke 4:16-19, Matt 28:16-20, Micah 6:8, Acts 1:4-8)

Reader 1. When Jesus began his ministry he read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah:
Reader 2. The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor; he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the captives free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Reader 1.He prayed for his disciples to continue that ministry.
Reader 3. And for all the generations to come.
Reader 4: That we might help others know God.
ALL: And what does the Lord require of us?
Reader 4: Go and make disciples
Reader 2: Teaching them all I have commanded
Reader 1: Walk humbly with your God
Reader 3: And You will receive power.
Reader 4: Act justly
Reader 1: Love Mercy
Reader 4: Proclaim the Good News
Reader 2: And I will be with you
ALL: What does the Lord require of you?
Reader 4: Go and make disciples
Reader 2: Love your neighbor,
Reader 1: in Jerusalem
Reader 3: Judea and Samaria
Reader 4: And to the ends of the earth
Reader 2: Baptizing them in the name of the Father
Reader 3: and of the Son
Reader 1: and of the Holy Spirit.
ALL: You will receive power
Reader 2: And I will be with you
Reader 4: Giving sight to the blind
Reader 1: Setting free the oppressed
Reader 3: Proclaiming freedom for the prisoners
ALL: What does the Lord require of you?
Reader 4: Act
Reader 1: Wait
Reader 3:Give
Reader 2: Love
Reader 1: Teach
Reader 4: Go
Reader 3: Walk
Reader 2: And surely I will be with you, even to the very end of the age.