a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

communion: life blooms

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe,
for you have provided for your people.
You have turned manna in the wilderness into the bread of life,
You have turned water from a rock into a spring of everlasting life,
You have turned law into love.
You have called us to this table, to know you in the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup.
Here is grace, here is promise, here is love, here we see you face to face.

You, Lord, are the one who makes life bloom in the desert.
We give you thanks for your creating spirit, creating still,
and for the hope of your promise.
Where people still wait for fulfillment of your promise, give a glimpse of your glory.
Where people have lost hope, breathe your peace.
Where we have turned our eyes away,
choosing instead only to see what we think we already know
call us once again back to your way and your truth.
May your justice spring up in the desert like a river,
your love grow as tall as the trees,
until your whole creation thrives in your kingdom.

We come today bearing the hurts of the world,
seeking your forgiveness,
seeking your healing,
seeking to know your presence with us as we walk this journey.
Walk with us, Lord, and speak.
Walk with us, and show us your transforming grace at work in places we have left behind,
in people we have dismissed, in action and word together.
Walk with us, and then sit down at table
and open our eyes in the breaking of bread.

We pray now, O God,
that you would pour out your spirit again on us
and on these gifts of bread and wine,
that they might be for us the rich feast of life
and that we might be transformed once again into your people,
joined with your body all around the world,
fed with the bread of grace
and the wine of your everlasting love.
As we are fed and nourished,
send us forth as people of grace–
people who answer the call to build
your kingdom on this earth.

We pray all these things in the name of Christ, who taught us to pray together…

 

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

confession: rationed abundance

One:    God, you provide beyond our imagination

All:     and yet somehow, not quite up to our expectation.

One:    We desire so many things, forgetting your desires.

All:     We long to control what you do, how you act, who you favor.

One:    But you call us to a feast full of guests we would never choose.

All:     Forgive us when we act as if your giving is restricted to our pleasure.

Forgive us when we try to ration your abundance.

Forgive us when we fail to share your generosity.

One:    Fill us again, O God, with your goodness, and nurture our faith,

All:     that we may grow in your love.

sung: Kyrie Eleison

silence

 

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

Sunday’s Coming: working toward June 3

It’s Trinity Sunday! One of my friends once told me it was one of her favorite High Holy Days, and I nearly did a double take on the phone. I’d never thought of Trinity as a High Holy Day before. Or if I had, it was way down the list, far past Easter/Pentecost/Christmas/Advent/Lent/AshWednesday…right up there with Christ the King and T-Fig. but I digress…this high holy day is here.

So, will you be singing Holy Holy Holy, and reading the text that forms the foundation for that classic hymn? Or perhaps reading John 3 (again) and reaching for one of the few vaguely trinitarian moments in the gospels, hoping to extrapolate from there?

Maybe the psalm and its many descriptions of how we can experience God could be the spark that lights a new trinity liturgy? Or perhaps Paul’s discussion of how we interact with God’s Spirit will send you down a perichoretic path?

Or are you jumping into a summer sermon series this week, leaving Trinity Sunday in the dust?

Whatever sparks your imagination, join the creativity in the comments! Who knows, the word you type could be just what someone else needs to build on, or you might find just the right turn of phrase in a friend’s wonderings. Let’s create together!

confession: joy vs. cheer

submitted by the Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL.

One: God, you promise joy—
and to fulfill that promise you give us many gifts:
gifts of doing justice, loving mercy,
and bringing good news.
All: But we prefer Christmas cheer.
It’s more fun for less effort.
One: You call us to rejoice—
to live with a joy deeper than cheer or happiness.
More than sparkle and parties, a joy that brings you glory.
All: But we prefer our own glory, our own smiles.
Forgive us, O God, our forced cheer and shallow celebration.
Show us again your way, that we may rejoice in you.
Lead us in your promised path. Amen.

Looking Ahead–more advent candle ideas

This week as we continue to look ahead to the fast approaching season of Advent (when did it get to be only 10 days away?) we offer a set of Advent Candle lighting liturgies from the Rev. Elsa Peters, who currently serves the First Congregational Church (UCC) of Portland Maine. This is an interactive candle lighting, with space for conversation amongst the congregation, looking for God’s breaking-in to this world.

Do you have Advent ideas to share, tweaks, comments, thoughts, sparks, or liturgies? Put them in the comments!

First Sunday in Advent: Hope

[Ask worshipers to be seated]

*Introductory Sentences
One: Today we begin the Advent journey in search of hope. We search for hope in the trees and the branches of our own lives. We look for that moment where we might proclaim as the prophet Isaiah did:

*Scripture: Isaiah 64:3
One: When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

*Lighting the Candle
One: O God, we light the first candle of Advent.
We light the candle of hope.

[First Candle is lit.]

We light this candle to illuminate those moments we’ve already seen the mountains quake, as we did… (name a vision of hope you’ve recently seen in your daily life, in your relationships or in the news).

*Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Light of our World, we hope for change in our own lives and in your world. We wait for war to end. We wait for violence to cease. We wait for your people to live with more love. In the warmth of your Light, we wait for hope to be revealed more fully. We wait together by the light of this candle, praying, Our Father…

~~~~~

Second Sunday in Advent: Peace

[Ask worshipers to be seated]

*Introductory Sentences
One: Today we continue our Advent search. We look for comfort in a broken world. We cry out for the peace we have not yet found. We find comfort as the prophet Isaiah did, when he remembered:

*Scripture: Isaiah 40:8
One: The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.

*Lighting the Candle
One: O God, we light the second candle of Advent.
We light the candle of peace.

[Second Candle is lit.]

We light this candle to shine like the sun on the buds of peace, which we see blooming in… (offer an image of some little hint of peace that you see growing in a friendship that was broken, in a family feud that has eased or in some other illustration you can imagine).

*Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Light of our World, we hope for change in our own lives and in your world. We wait for relationships to heal. We wait for peace to come. We wait for your people to live with more love. In the warmth of your Light, we wait for hope to be revealed more fully. We wait together by the light of this candle, praying, Our Father…

~~~~~

Third Sunday in Advent: Love

[Ask worshipers to be seated]

*Introductory Sentences
One: Today we stoke the fires of God’s love. We rejoice that love is within is. It is revealed when we bind up the brokenhearted and comfort those who mourn. We hope that love will blossom in the justice we seek, as the prophet Isaiah imagined:

*Scripture: Isaiah 61:11
One: For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

*Lighting the Candle
One: O God, we light the third candle of Advent.
We light the candle of love.

[Third Candle is lit.]

We light this candle to spring up with love. In the light and the warmth of this candle, we hope that love continues to grow in… (Share a brief story about how love has grown in the love that you share.)

*Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Loving God, pour into our hearts this day the light of your love, warming us to one another, enlightening our understanding of others, and blooming abundantly as only your love can, in Jesus’ name we pray, Our Father…(debts, debtors)

~~~~~

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Joy

[Ask worshipers to be seated]

*Introductory Sentences
One: Today we celebrate joy. Even though we don’t feel ready, we praise God. We celebrate the wonder that something amazing is happening in our lives. We marvel with Mary that this joy turns the whole world upside down:

*Scripture: Luke 1:52-53
One: God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

*Lighting the Candle
One: O God, we light the fourth candle of Advent.
We light the candle of joy.

[Fourth Candle is lit.]

We light this candle with joy for what God is doing. We see the signs of promise in… (Share a brief story about a sign of God’s joy you see in the world right now, perhaps in something that has indeed turned everything upside down..)

*Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Eternal God, who magnifies each of our souls, help us to pay attention to your signs in these last few days before Christmas. Point us toward your joy. Orient us toward the joy that you offer to us now and always, in Jesus’ name we pray: Our Father…(debts, debtors)

~~~~~

December 24 – Christmas Eve: Christ is Come!

*Introductory Sentences
One: On this Christmas Eve, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. As we wonder what this birth means to us, we recall where we have come on the journey.

*Lighting the Advent Candles
One: We recall our experiences of hope, peace, love and joy. Tonight, we re light the candles that marked our journey.

(Reader pauses as each candle is lit in order.)

The light of hope … (Candle is lit.)
The light of peace … (Candle is lit.)
The light of love … (Candle is lit.)
The light of joy… (Candle is lit.)

On this journey, we have been born into a new hope as the prophet Isaiah recalls:

*Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
One: For a child has been born for us, a child is given to us; authority rests upon this child’s shoulders; which we call Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Creator, Prince of Peace.

*Lighting the Christ Candles
One: O God, we light the Christ candle. We light the candle of our Savior.

(Christ candle is lit.)

We light the Christ candle to remember that the miracle of birth didn’t happen just once, but happens every day we choose to see you in our world. God, we see you… (name a time, at Christmas or some other time, when you’ve been able to see God.)

* Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Holy God, we rejoice in your presence! The birth of your holy child is your answer to our unrest, our confusion and our sorrow. Tonight, we live in Hope, we pray for Peace, we share your Love, as we are filled with your Joy. Now, let us be your Hope, your Peace, your Love and your Joy in this world, as Christ Jesus grew to teach us all: Our Father . . . (debts, debtors)