a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: awaken our faith

Let us pray to God saying:
Beloved God, awaken our faith and guide our hearts.

Gracious God, we come before your word this day
and are reminded of the strong commands of the author of James.
We are humbled to be reminded that there have been times
when we’ve given preferential treatment to those for whom it is easier to do so.
As your people, we have long struggled to give the same love to a stranger
as to the person who we’ve known for so long.
Help us, as a congregation, speak and act
as ones for whom hospitality is the priority.
Beloved God, awaken our faith and guide our hearts.

Loving God,
we give you thanks for the gift of faith
that is found through Jesus Christ, your son.
Help us bring that gift to life through our living,
that we may be missional servants of your Kingdom.
Beloved God, awaken our faith and guide our hearts.

Where there are those who are naked, may we clothe them.
Where there are those without homes, may we house them.
Where there are those without acceptance, may we welcome them.
Where there are those without family, may we make them our own.
In all things, help us to fulfill your commandment to love one another.
Beloved God, awaken our faith and guide our hearts.

We pray this day for congregations such as ours
who are discerning how to be faithful to your calling
in these tumultuous times.
We trust that you do not abandon us when the going gets rough.
Rather, you walk alongside us as a friend
and hold our hand as a loving parent
to guide us in the path of faithfulness.
Thank you, Gracious God, for your steadfast love.
Beloved God, awaken our faith and guide our hearts.

Be with those whom we love and those who love them,
for those who are undergoing health problems…
for those who are struggling with mental health…
for those who lack health care…
for those who have suffered from the plague of gun violence in this country…
for those who have looked to the Church for comfort and found a closed door…
for those who live from paycheck to paycheck despite being fully employed.
Beloved God, awaken our faith and guide our hearts.

Hear us, Loving God,
as we pray the prayer you taught us to pray, saying: Our Father…

 

Submitted by Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

Confession: when our faith is empty

Call to Confession
Let us gather to lament what is broken in our lives and ask God to forgive us.

Confession
Your word reminds us that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.
But we make far too many distinctions,
treating one person with more dignity and respect than another.
We gladly welcome those who look and act like us,
but give a much less enthusiastic welcome to the stranger.
Forgive us for the moments when our faith has been empty,
for the times that our works have not matched our words.
Help us lean ever more towards your goodness
and help our lives reflect that goodness in concrete ways. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
The Psalmist reminds us:
Happy are those whose help is in God, whose hope is in the Lord.
Friends, God has heard our cry and has forgiven us our sins.
Alleluia! Amen.

 

Submitted by Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

communion: bless us…

Invitation

Jesus knew that it would be harder to follow him than to simply understand, so he gathered his friends around a table to hear the story—and then to be filled with the courage it will take to live as part of that story. He still gathers his friends at the table to be strengthened for the journey—not to fill our minds with the right answers, but to fill our bodies with the same love he carried in his body, that we might love with our whole strength, our whole being, our whole mind, our whole heart. In other words—since faith without works is dead, he calls us to the table and sends us out filled so that we might live.

This table is for those who know a lot and those who know nothing, those who love fully and those who want to love more, those who come regularly and those who still seek. This table does not belong to the Presbyterian Church, it belongs to the Lord—and it is he who invites all to share in the feast of love and life.

Let us pray. Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise, for blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe.
You have created something out of nothing.
You have called a people to inhabit your kingdom.
You have filled the earth with good things.
You have offered us your very life that we might live with you.
And so we give you thanks, for your blessedness spills over and blesses us.
We give you thanks for the gift of freedom and for the many people who have laid down their lives for their friends.
We give you thanks for the freedom to worship, to speak as you call, to live and to love in peace.

And we pray for your blessings to cover us again this day.
Bless this, your church, with passion for your good news and a longing for grace.
Bless this city with compassion that we might serve the least of these among us, and so encounter you.
Bless this nation with freedom and justice for all, that every person may share abundantly in its promise.
Bless your world with eyes to see and ears to hear, so that no part of creation goes unloved or uncared for.
Bless us with faith, O God, to help build the kingdom you are creating in our midst.

As we come to this table, celebrating again the feast of your victory over death, remind us that suffering does not have the last word. Where there is pain or illness, may your healing presence abound. Where there is despair or hatred, may your love be visible. Where there is violence or distrust, may your life be a beacon of hope. Bring peace to your world, O God.

Here there is bread and wine, simple gifts offered for a simple cause. Fill us with your bread of life, Lord, that we may be strengthened for this journey. Give us courage to live lives worthy of our calling. Nourished by your very being, make us again into your body loving, serving, and caring for the world.

We pray these and all things in the name of Christ who lived, who died, who rose, and who reigns in power, hosting this and every feast, and we pray as he taught us: Our Father…

 

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

confession: trapped in our intellect

God, you call us not only to believe with our minds, but to love with all our being. We confess that we do not serve you fully. We go our own way, serving our desires before heeding your voice. We look away from your people in need, and we create requirements for our help and our love. Forgive our hardened hearts and closed minds. Forgive us when we trap you in our intellect, forgetting to live as your people of good news outside the church building. Guide us to be doers of your word, not only hearers. 

 

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