a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: glory rising

Beyond our busyness,
above the cold winter floor
there is a glory rising born of heaven
and reaching out to each one of us
a light that shines through the clouds
an invitation seeking all of who we are
that transfigures the world
that transforms darkness into hope
that brings life from a cross
where old life end and new life is born
In glory Jesus meets us here
raising us from depths of valley to the height of the mountain
carrying the weight of our humanity
to the heights of heavens glory.
Let us worship from the mountain and hear again
“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
Submitted by Rev. Rob Smith, Spirit of Life Presbyterian Church, Apple Valley, MN

confession: in the desert

God who comes where we least expect, your prophets spoke of the coming Messiah as new life growing in dry land, a desert teeming with flowers. Yet we forget the prophecy, and so in our own desolate landscapes see only poverty and despair, frustration and rejection. In this Advent, when we await Your coming, we confess our failure of imagination: our inability to believe You could possibly change the shape of the world.

And yet we know that You have come, long ago, to a forgotten corner of the world, to a people on the verge of losing hope, to a woman no one thought could bear a child, and the world has never been the same. Hear us as we pray, that we might find flowers in the desert and celebrate life where it seems impossible. May we look to the darkness of our time and discover there a Light like no other, waiting to shine in us, in whose name we pray, Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Laura Cunningham, Western Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.

Advent Candles: Light of the World

Light of the World: Hope from Romans 8:19-25

We gather this morning as the children of God.

In hope that all creation will be set free from bondage and decay.

We offer ourselves as the first fruits of this redemption.

For in hope, we were saved.

We light this candle in the hope that saved us and the hope of what we do not yet see.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Peace from Isaiah 9:2, 6; John 14:27

We gather as people who walked in darkness but have seen a great light.

Once we lived in a land of deep darkness—on us, the light of peace has shined.

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.

He is the Prince of Peace.

We light this candle in the peace of Christ and for the peace the world has yet to know.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Joy from John 15:11, 16:20-22

We gather as people of hope and peace.

May our joy be complete.

Though the broken world may bring us to lament and repentance, our sorrow will turn to joy.

No one can take away the joy Christ completes in us.

We light this candle with the joy of those who have heard and experienced the Word made flesh even as we wait for Christ to come again.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 12

We gather in the love of Christ: a love that is patient and kind; love that is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude.

In love, we rejoice in the truth.

Through the love of Christ, we find we can bear all things, believe all things, endure all things.

In love, we hope in all things.

We light this candle to declare a love that never ends and for the day when it is fully known in the world.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Submitted by Michelle Henrichs

Advent Wreath Liturgies: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

Advent Wreath Liturgies
Advent 1 – Hope
Today we light the first candle of Advent, the candle of Hope. (Light Candle)
We put our hope in the one to come, the promised one who comes from God to
bring good news of salvation. We hope in the one who will lead us to walk in the light of the LORD. We hope he will not let us live in dark valleys, but on the high mountain of God.
We light this candle in Hope.
On this day, we remember to hopefully look for the coming of Christ.
Advent 2 – Peace
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ. (Light Candle). Today we light the second candle of Advent, the candle of Peace.
God has a peaceful dream for the world, and we dream it too. We dream of peaceful world full of wolves and leopards and lions eating and sleeping and dancing with lambs, kids, and calves. We dream of a peaceful world where nations come together, where war is a memory, and we eat at one table.
We light this candle in Peace.
On this day, we remember the Lord of All who brings peace surpassing all understanding.
Advent 3 – Joy
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ, and we lit the candle of Peace, remembering God’s dream of a peaceful world. (Light Candles). Today we light the third candle of Advent, the candle of Joy.
In Advent, we are in a time of waiting. Like the Israelites who wandered through the Wilderness, waiting to come into the Promised Land, we wait for the coming of the Joy of Ages. We wait for the day where we can join our voices with the angels to sing “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” We wait for the day when everlasting joy will be on each of us.
We light this candle in Joy. (Light Candle)
On this day, we remember the Spirit who breathes joy into our lives.
Advent 4 – Love
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ, the candle of Peace, remembering God’s dream of a peaceful world, and the candle of Joy, remembering the Spirit within us who brings joy. (Light Candles). Today we light the fourth candle of Advent, the candle of Love.
Scripture tells us “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18). God created this world in love and this world will end in the love of God. God’s love pervades all aspects of this life. From birth to death, pain to delight, strangers to lovers, God’s love is there.
We light this candle in Love. (Light Candle)
On this day, we remember God is Love.
Christmas Eve – Light
Throughout this season we have lived, waited, and remembered the hope, peace, joy, and love of God found in Christ. (Light Candles) Tonight we gather together and light candles in honor of the Christ Child.
With the birth of Christ, salvation has drawn near. The God who ordered the chaos of the universe has come down into the chaos of our world. The Word which was with God at the beginning came down and lived with us. While we were yet living in the valley of the shadow of death, the light of new life burst forth.
We light this candle for Christ.
On this night, we remember God has come in the Christ Child.
Submitted by Rev. Will Ryan, First Christian Church (DOC), Burlington, Iowa

Confession + Pardon: Darkness + Light

Holy and Beloved God, it is hard to hope when all seems lost. The darkness has a way of fuzzing our vision, of taking our eyes off of your holy light. It’s hardest to see your light when our eyes are shut – shut to you, shut to each other, and shut to the suffering that is just barely disguised by thin smiles and haunted eyes. Yet, your light shines. Your hope abides with us, awakening us to your love, and calling us to share your light with each other. Help us prepare a way for you in our hearts, that your love might open our hearts to see you fully in the world. Amen.

 

silence or musical response: Prepare the Way (Glory to God #95)

 

Awake, people of God! Open your eyes, open your ears, and open your hearts! The Holy One arose, yes, arose even from the depths of death, and calls you to do the same, with messages of hope, peace, joy and love. Know that God’s love and grace are greater than sin! Know that you are forgiven!

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

confession: help us act on hope

Faithful God, your promise is forever true, your care for us is sure. We confess that we have often believed we will have to take care of ourselves, forgetting your promise and your call. We look at the world, and we choose fear rather than hope and love. When it seems life is unraveling, we look for ways to defend ourselves and ensure our security and our desire, rather than following your way. Forgive us, Lord, and give us courage to hope—and to act on hope—in the face of fear. Amen.    ~silence~

 

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

Christmas Eve wreath lighting

Lighting the Four Candles

(the sung response between each candle is optional. For the Christ Candle liturgy, scroll to the bottom)    

Together, we light this candle of hope
to represent the longing that resides in our hearts:
for a safer world,
for a world rid of warfare and oppression,
fear and hatred.
Only light will drive out the darkness.
    This hope is found in the God who has come to save us.

Light One Candle For Messiah–Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 1)

Together, we light this candle of peace
to represent the unity we have amongst each other:
as human beings,
as beloved children of God,
as disciples called to live in harmony with one another.
Only as partners in peace can we stand against violence.
This peace is found in a newborn child, cradled in his mother’s arms.

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 2)

Together, we light this candle of joy
to represent the delight that is found in the coming of our savior:
in the birth of hope,
in the fruition of faithfulness,
in the warmth of God’s love for a broken world.
Only joy can give us strength to continue our work.
    This joy is found in a God who finds joy in us!

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 3)

    Together, we light this candle of love
to represent the home we have in God’s steadfast shalom:
a home built with peace and kindness,
righteousness and justice,
where all are invited to the Table to partake in the feast.
Only love can bring us together.  Only love can save our souls.
    This love is found tonight in a manger, in Mary’s arm and in our own.

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 4)

~~~~~~~
Christ Candle
    Our wait is over, the Christ-child is here!
    Long we have waited, long we have watched for his coming.
God is not satisfied to remain apart from us, God must be one among us.
    We are God’s people, shepherd of God’s flock,
children of God’s redeeming.
We light this candle to represent Christ’s presence, his everlasting reign.
    We give thanks to God for the fulfillment of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

Prayers of the People: Advent 1

God of our beginning and our end,
we confess to you that we live in a world that needs your mercy now more than ever.
As we celebrate joyfully in anticipation of your coming son,
we recognize that joy does not come as easily to everyone’s lips.
So many people are using their lips to cry out for healing in a broken world.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray this day especially for children in places of violence,
who struggle to find happiness and fulfillment,
who hunger for love and compassion.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for women and men who are the victims of domestic violence,
who endure pain and physical abuse,
who long for peace and healing.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for people who suffer from alcoholism and substance abuse,
who seek an escape from that which they cannot solve by themselves,
who despair at seeing no way out.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for worshiping communities of all faiths that seek to heal the world,
who preach love in the face of hate and welcome the stranger as a friend,
who work to better themselves and share their blessings with others.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for those dear to us who struggle with cancer and other illnesses,
who desire comfort in the face of constant pain,
who wait for healing and peace.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for those who will call Maureen’s Haven their home this winter,
who shiver in the cold and fear the unknown,
who search for people to acknowledge them as human.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for those who have lost loved ones recently,
who grieve the loss of children and parents and other family and friends,
who find the holidays a difficult time where joy is hard to find.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for those who we lift up to you in silence or out loud…
(personal petitions may be made here)
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We trust that you are a God of righteousness, mercy, and steadfast love.
We hope for the day when you will wipe away every tear
and death and pain will be no more.
Until that day comes, be mindful of your mercy and forget not your children.
This we pray in you holy and merciful name. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

dedication: usher in your kingdom

We thank you, Gracious God, for the gifts you have given us.
We return money to you that we might do the work of your Son,
and usher in your kingdom here and now
as we wait and hope for the coming of our salvation in flesh. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

confession: prepared

call to confession
We are called to lift up our souls to God.
Often, we would prefer only to lift up the parts of our soul that we are proud of.
But it is equally important that we lift up to God our sins as well.
Let us do so together with honesty and courage.
Prayer of Confession
We are told to be on guard, to be prepared for your coming.

We confess, merciful God, that too often we are lazy
and do not trouble ourselves with the prayerful sabbath
that is required on this Advent road.
Help us to be alert at all times,
to be aware of your presence in our lives.
Make us to know your ways, O Lord;
teach us your paths and lead us in your truth.
This pray in your holy and merciful name. Amen.

 

Assurance of Pardon
The prophet Jeremiah reminds us
that the days are surely coming
when God will fulfill the promise God made to us.
A righteous branch is springing up!
God shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
The Lord is our righteousness!
Friends, I proclaim to you that our sins are forgiven!
Alleluia! Amen!

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY