a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: from many places

We have come from many places to gather in this place—from home and school and work, from next door and from miles away.

We have come on foot, by car, bus, and taxi, with friends, and alone.

Whatever the journey has held so far, wherever we find ourselves in our faith or life, God calls us together now, to see what God has done, and to follow wherever he leads us next.

And so we join our voices with voices past, present, and future, to worship God together.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, St. John’s Church of Scotland, Gourock

CTW: for the journey ahead

Come, children of God, and be welcomed here as you are.
We gather in this place to worship God and God alone.
Come, children of God, and be fed at the Lord’s Table.
We come to receive what we need for the journey ahead.
Come, children of God, and let us find the fuel for our faith.
We come to the Table to receive God’s blessing and share it with others.
Come, let us worship God.

 

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

Confession: come with us

Lord of the Way, you said that where you are, your servants will be. We confess that we would prefer you to come with us, rather than for us to go with you. Too often you are found in places we would rather avoid, with people we are afraid of, doing things we wish you wouldn’t. Forgive our inward vision, and call us to your side once again. Give us courage to follow where you lead, to bring others along on the journey, and to live as people filled with your grace, your hope, your truth, your life. We pray in the name of the One who was obedient even to the cross, and beyond to the empty tomb, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

CTW: Advent has come

Advent has come and along with it another journey in need of beginning.
We gather in hopeful anticipation of our Savior’s birth.
This journey of waiting will have moments of sabbath and service.
We take a break from our busy lives to ponder and wonder.
As we seek the newborn king, worship is that which directs our search.
We seek that which has saved and will save us forevermore.
Come, let us worship and seek our savior with hope and thanksgiving!

 

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

CTW: citizens of a kingdom

We come before the God of resident and alien, native and sojourner –
As Adam and Eve fled the Garden,
As Noah drifted rudderless,
As Abraham and Sarah fled famine, followed God, and journeyed everywhere but home

The God whose call knows no borders –
As Israel and Joseph were reunited and reconciled as refugees in Egypt
As Moses, a refugee was saved from death
As the Hebrews fled Egypt without time even to bake bread

The God of refuge, who chooses the poor –
Whose Law a dozen times demands justice for native and alien alike,
Who calls us to leave the gleanings for the poor and refugee,
For whom Cities of Refuge were built to house all those fleeing persecution

We come before this very God, citizens in a Kingdom that is alien to the world –
Called to love strangers as God does,
To follow Jesus the refugee who fled persecution
And to offer hospitality to all; to welcome as we have been welcomed.

 
Submitted by Rev. Doug Hagler, First Presbyterian Church, Phoenixville, PA

prayer for wholeness: we are not alone

 

Prayer for Wholeness

The signposts of our lives cry out “Danger!” “Keep out!” “Detour!” “Stop!” We’re told to proceed with caution and keep our hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. We hit roadblocks and wonder if we’re doing the right thing. Maybe we need to recalculate the map… but how can we if we don’t know what our final destination is? How can we if we’re so set on our final destination that we don’t see the dirt roads wandering off to possibilities unknown? We want to re-imagine, re-think, re-member; but we don’t want to get stuck in our own journey and forget our siblings who are also struggling or who have walked this journey before. When we lift up our heads, we see we are not alone. A vast community journeys with us—some of whom look like us and think like us and many of whom do not. God created us. Jesus calls us to follow. The Spirit pushes us into places we don’t always want to go, but go we must. We don’t go alone.

Assurance

Beloved, I assure you God is present in this community, has been present during all of Unco, and will be present with us as we continue our journeys. God hears our prayers and longs for us to draw closer… closer to Her and closer to each other. Amen.

 

submitted by Emily Morgan, for Unco12’s closing worship.

CTW: Lent call

L:    Pilgrims, we are invited to journey through
this season of Lent
P:    towards the One who calls us each by a new name.
L:    Disciples, we walk with Jesus wherever he leads us,
P:    pulling our fears, our doubts, our longings behind us.
L:    Believers, we seek to trust the God who always
surprises us,
P:    whose promises take on flesh and blood
        in the good news called Jesus.

 

Submitted by Rev Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

confession: flood of worries

Call to Reconciliation

God takes broken promises and turns them into vows of faithfulness.
God takes our biggest failings and shapes lives of service. God
listens to our prayers of confession and changes them into songs
of mercy. Let us come to the One who pours forgiveness into
our lives, praying,

Unison Prayer of Confession

We admit we are hesitant to walk to Jerusalem and beyond with
you, God of Glory. In a world where we worry about tomorrow
before enjoying today, we race by your moments of silence, of
learning. In that flood of worries, which can overwhelm us, we may
miss that assurance that you have not cut us off from your grace.
In the deserts of our desires, we may ignore that feast of hope, of
joy, of life you offer to us.
Forgive us and have mercy on us, Gentle Guardian of our souls.
In humility, may we offer our lives to others. In love, may we share
your grace with everyone we meet. In hope, may we wait for you
all our days, as you come to us in the life and joy of Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon

L: In this place we find God’s word, God’s way, God’s love,
God’s forgiveness. What more do we need to sustain us
as we continue as pilgrims along the Way?
P: In every wilderness, on every road;
in every moment, in every life;
in every journey, in every heart,
we receive the daily bread we need – God’s hope,
God’s mercy, God’s joy. Thanks be to God, we
are forgiven. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

Ash Wednesday prayer–guide us

O God, we seek you out this evening with timid hearts, knowing that this night begins our journey into the darkness and towards the cross. Help us to welcome your guidance on this path and to remember that we cannot travel it alone. Keep our walk straight and true with the strength and courage of your Spirit.
As our focus turns towards your sacrifice for us, may we too make sacrifices for others in ways that show your love for the world, as demonstrated in the death and resurrection of your Son.
Be present with us now tonight and throughout this season of Lent that we may follow you faithfully to Jerusalem and view with new eyes the wonders of your love seen as a heavy cross and an empty tomb. Amen.

(would work especially well to follow this prayer with the hymn “What Wondrous Love is This”)

Submitted by Rev. Rebecca Page Lesley, Suffolk Presbyterian Church, Suffolk , VA

confession and pardon: on a journey, complaining about the road

God, we are on a journey. We do not know where it will end, and often complain about the road. We know that you are at work, and part of that work requires us to be open to you and to transformation. Forgive us when our hearts are closed to you. We do not always change, nor do we desire to go where you send us. When we harden our spirits to your transforming work, make us malleable. When the road seems long and we complain, show us a better way to be. When the mantle of your leadership is offered to us, help us to accept it. Give us ears to hear what you ask us to do, and hearts to follow. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon (based on 2 Corinthians 4:6)

It is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness” who shines in our hearts. Jesus Christ, the light of the world shines in each of us, and in him we find forgiveness. Friends, believe the good news: In Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

Thanks be to God.

submitted by Rev. Julie Jensen, First Presbyterian Church, Cartersville, GA