a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: Companion, Comfort, Counselor

As we gather together, we remember that we are not alone in our faith:

God is our Companion.

Though the Way is not easy, and we may suffer in righteousness,

God is our Comfort.

When anger fills our hearts, and grief crushes our spirits,

God is our Counselor.

And through it all, we are together:

For we are all children of God, our Companion, our Comfort, and our Counselor. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bixby, Okla.

communion: our faithfulness comes from you

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe,
for you have loved the world into being,
formed it with a word, enlivened it with your breath,
cared for it with your life.
We give you thanks for your faithfulness,
upholding your promise even when we fail.
As you created in love, so you call in love—
again and again, bringing us together, making us your body.
When we lost our way, or turned away,
still you sought us.
Through the voices of your prophets,
you showed us your vision and offered us your hand.
Though we do not often show it well, we are grateful, O God.
We give you thanks for Christ who came to walk among us,
living our life and dying our death,
teaching and eating and healing,
drawing us close to you,
feeding us with your word and your presence,
and showing us the extent of your love.
Though we did not recognize you in our midst,
our hearts full of our own ways and gods of our own making,
you stretched out your arms and gave us your last breath,
and then in the shadows of the morning you broke the last barrier,
bringing life yet again into your world,
proving love always has the last word.
It is still hard to see you, Lord Jesus, in the world today.
Love is elusive, healing seems far off, peace an impossible dream.
We pray that just as you fed the multitudes,
you would once again make your abundance known.
Where your children go hungry, break us open like bread.
Where your people are thirsty, pour us out in streams of clean water.
Where the earth groans, let your dew refresh and your shade protect.
You promised flourishing life, abundant,
and we beg you to continue your promise, O God.
Make your reality seen among us, even now.
May your Holy Spirit open our eyes and ears, hearts and minds,
to know you and your call,
and to serve you with every breath.
Give us courage to be makers of peace and doers of justice,
courage to confess our own shortcomings without highlighting the sins of others,
courage to trust your word of hope in a world of fear.
God of grain and grape,
from our many stalks and vines we pray that you would create one body,
as we share one bread and cup,
broken and poured for the healing of your world.
Lift us into your presence yet again, that we may feast at your heavenly banquet,
and then send us out nourished and prepared to build your kingdom here on earth.
We pray these and all things in the name of Christ, whose healing spirit overflowed into all who even touched his cloak, and who taught us to pray together…

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

Advent Hymn: Lord, Our Shepherd…

tune: Genevan 42 (comfort, comfort ye my people)
text: Stephen Fearing

Lord, our Shepherd and our comfort, hear us now, your people cry.
Show yourself and shine upon us, save your sheep and loose your light.
Darkness cannot win the day; guide our feet and show the way.
Lord, your light and love is spoken; never more shall we be broken.

We, your vine, have always needed your provision and your care.
You, our God, brought us from Egypt; all was perfect, all was fair.
Why must we return to sin?  Why must always we give in?
Come, attend and plant within us light that always shines out from us.

We have long rebuked and wandered; you have brought our sins to light.
We have fought and we have tarnished; you have pushed us from your sight.
Give us chance to live and learn!  May no more your anger burn!
Make your face to shine upon us and no more shall darkness hide us.

Lord, our hope and our salvation, hear us now, we pray and plea.
Show yourself and shine upon us.  Open us and help us see.
Darkness will not win the day!  Light will come and always stay!
God will be our jubilation; evermore our restoration!

Submitted by Stephen Fearing. Follow him on twitter: @stephenmfearing

confession: You, O Lord…

You, O Lord, are our strong tower, our refuge and help in every trouble. Forgive us when we hide away from the challenges of following your call, using your word to build walls that insulate us from your world.

You, O Lord, are everywhere present. Forgive us when we want you to walk alongside us, when we ought to ask for the grace to walk alongside you wherever you are going.

You, O Lord, are the one who hears and answers our cries. Forgive us when our prayer is only self-serving, asking your stamp of approval or your help for our desires, and not for your glory.

You, O Lord, are our counselor and comforter. Forgive us when we seek only comfort, ignoring what we have done wrong and refusing to be confronted or challenged.

You, O Lord, are the one who calls us to come and follow. Forgive our blindness to your people in need, our deafness to your creation groaning for relief, our hearts hardened against the new thing you are doing. Teach us to pray, teach us to listen, teach us to serve, teach us to follow you wherever you are going.

~silence~

One:  Help us, O God,

All:  to know you so well that we cannot help but love you, and to love you so much we cannot help but serve you, sharing your good news in every place, for it is in doing your will that we find perfect freedom. Amen.

 

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