a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: after the parade

God of our salvation…
we grasp our coveted, once-a-year, palm branches…
we sing and shout, “Hosanna!”…
we proclaim in those moments
that we want you to save us…
but we’re not always sure
you understand what we mean. 

You have come to vanquish the status quo…
but we have been comfortable in that life.
You have come to turn the world upside down…
but we’re afraid you will shake things up
more than we intended.
You have come to draw us closer
to your vision for creation…
but, at times, we think you may be
just a little too impassioned. 

We like the palm branches.
We even like the hymns.
But we just want to go home after the parade. 

Forgive our lack of vision…
forgive our lukewarm passion…
and inspire us to step off the curb
and to start marching at your side… 

Submitted by Rev. Scott V. Cervas (Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church; Lexington, KY)

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

confession: upside down kingdom

PRAYER OF CONFESSION: Matthew 5:14-16

ALL: God of the upside down kingdom, reorient us; for we seek to hide what you would have shine. From our fall in Eden, we have been embarrassed by the fullness of our humanity, and in our shame and fear have hidden ourselves from you.

Forgive us, Lord, for it is truly our kingdoms which are upside down, and yours which is right side up. We need your help if we are to see the goodness of your creation, that we may rightly reflect Your goodness to the world. 

Oh God of light, make us to be Your light, for the sake of Your salvation …

… continue in silent prayer and meditation …

 

ONE: Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer

ALL: Amen

 

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

ONE: Hear the good news! The God of creation is a proud and merciful creator.  We who bear God’s image may also expect to receive God’s grace. Though we have sought to recreate ourselves according to our shame and fear, we may be assured of this: If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation! The old has gone, and the new has come. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace!

ALL: Thanks be to God!  

 

Submitted by Will Norman, First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta GA

CTW: Through the Voices of Children

L: “Let the children come to me,” Jesus said.
P: The spirit of the Lord rests on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
L: Receive the kingdom of God as a little child.
P: The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid.
L: To all who receive him, who believe in his name, he gives power to become children of God.
P: And a little child shall lead them.
L: Lord, open our hearts to the Word you speak through the voices of children today.

Submitted by Stephanie Anthony, pastor at First Presbyterian Church (Hudson, WI)