a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Dedication: signs of glory

You, Lord, are our God, and we are your people. As you have placed your generosity in our hearts, we pray now for the blessing of pouring it out for others. May the gifts we bring be of use in your kingdom, bringing hope to the despairing, light in the valley of shadows, peace in the midst of chaos. Make these tokens of our gratitude into a sign that shows your glory, until all come to see your gracious love. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Creative Expression for Lent B Old Testament Track

(Liturgy to go with this creative expression can be found here.)

 

On the way into the worship space, or during a children’s time, or before worship (or during coffee hour the previous week after worship, even), you might invite people to participate in decorating blocks to be used as symbols throughout the season. You will need five blocks, four square and of equal size, one double the height. You can use boxes for a larger symbol, or big toy blocks for something table-top sized. Be sure to use something that will be visible throughout your worship space.

The first week you can invite people to colour part of a rainbow, or to paint the block in rainbow stripes, or to stick on stickers in a paint-by-number kind of way to make a rainbow block.

The second week you can invite people to use a Sharpie or other permanent marker to sign their names on the block.

The third week you can invite people to draw/colour two stone tablets on one face of the block, and/or to write numbers or what they remember of the 10 commandments on the tablets or on the sides of the block.

The fourth week you’ll use the double-height block, and you can invite people to colour in section of a Rod of Asclepius (already outlined for them on the block!), or to draw a desert in the background.

The fifth week you can invite people to add a heart sticker to an outlined heart on the front of the block.

(You can also, of course, simply prepare these yourself ahead of time—though then you might want to print your church roll or something to glue on the box for week 2, so you have people’s names on the block without their stopping to write it themselves.)

Each week after the confession, someone should place the block in a visible spot in the church—on the communion table, on another table put up for this purpose, or if you are using boxes, in front of the table or around the chancel.

On Palm/Passion Sunday, during the assurance of forgiveness, the blocks can be constructed into a cross as follows, with one person holding each block/box and putting it in position until it all holds together: Rod of Asclepius at the bottom, signatures/names at the top, rainbow to the left, tablets to the right, heart in the center like a keystone.

You will need to prepare the blocks whose sides meet in the cross with an adhesive (double sided tape, glue dots, even velcro or wall-mounting strips, depending on the size and material you have used) so they will stick together, of course. Be sure the people assembling the cross press them firmly together!

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

CTW: covenant-making God

One: Hear and believe the good news: God has called us “my people”!
All: God has set up a covenant, over and over again,
choosing us even before we can choose,
faithful even when we are faltering.

One: In the flood, in the wilderness, in exile;
in certainty and doubt, abundance and scarcity;
God’s promise is true to the thousandth generation.
All: We see the rainbow, we hear our names, we learn the commandments,
we look up for our help, we know in our hearts:
we love because God first loved us,
we follow because God first came to us,
we can be faithful because God is faithful.

One: Come, let us worship God together.

 

(On Palm/Passion Sunday, this may be used as an Assurance of Forgiveness with a few minor alterations noted here….and during the assurance, the blocks placed after the confessions throughout Lent can be constructed into a cross as described here.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

confession: hardened hearts

Covenant-making God, you use every possible means to reach us,
breathing your Spirit in us, calling us by name,
showing us symbols of your promise, offering us a new way of life.
We confess that our hearts are hardened.
We choose certainty over faith, anxiety over courage, independence over compassion.
We turn our eyes from our neighbours in need,
and from stories of despair, and from pleas for peace,
and from anything that might bring tears to our eyes,
for we prefer our own comfort.
We get caught up in our own needs and desires,
and forget you have made us to be your people, together.
Engrave your word on our hard hearts again, O God.
Then break them open for what breaks yours,
that your word might sink in and become a part of us,
so we might truly live as if you are our God and we are your people.
We pray in the name of the One whose love breaks all bounds, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

(A block with a heart may be placed near the other blocks.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Other liturgy following the Old Testament readings for Lent B may be found here.

confession: verbs

Call to Confession

As we continue the season of Christmas,
let us confess our sins,
our actions and our inactions,
that are contrary to the kingdom of the newborn King.

Prayer of Confession (Responsive)

Almighty God,
The verbs of Psalm 147 remind us of your actions:
you strengthen, bless, grant, fill, send, give, make, and declare.
But we confess that our verbs do not always match yours:
we argue, fight, lie, steal, oppress, ignore, refuse, and silence.

    Forgive us, Lord, for what we’ve done to tarnish your holy name.
Give us courage, merciful God, to make our actions match yours.
Help us to shed our sin and join you in your redemptive work.
This we pray in your good and gracious name.  Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that our sin does not have the final word.
God will turn our mourning into joy, God will comfort us,
God will give us gladness for sorrow.
Friends, in the name of the Jesus Christ, you and I are forgiven!
Alleluia!  Amen!

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