a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: answer the call

Church! Do not be afraid, God is happy to give you the Kingdom.
We answer the call and follow, preparing ourselves for God’s unfailing treasure.
Give your whole life, including your own treasure, to Christ in faith.
We are waiting, we are ready for Christ. Come, Jesus, come!

 

Submitted by Rev. Will Ryan, First Christian Church, Burlington IA

dedication: usher in your kingdom

We thank you, Gracious God, for the gifts you have given us.
We return money to you that we might do the work of your Son,
and usher in your kingdom here and now
as we wait and hope for the coming of our salvation in flesh. Amen.

 

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

confession: justice is too hard

O God, You are faithful to all generations—from the beginning of time, you have called all kinds of characters to be your people. When we forget that their story is our story, forgive us. When we admire them from afar while insisting that kind of faith isn’t practical for us, forgive us. We confess that your justice is too hard for us to do, and we prefer to create our own. We confess that we do not often bear the fruit you expect of your vineyard, resisting your kingdom’s way when it conflicts with our desires. Forgive us yet again, and plant your word of justice deep in our hearts and lives. Amen.

 

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

CTW: a new world

Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed; it starts out as a small thing, but it grows and grows until it gives a home to the birds of the air.

Can we believe a new day is coming? As surely as the sun rises over the horizon God is creating a new world. 

Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like that someone who casts seed on the ground, and then sleeps and wakes, day after day, while the earth produces the fruit from the seed that was cast.

We do not know how God works out the fullness of redemption. But we know we are partners in that work. 

Praise the name of the Lord who still cares for the world!

Praise the name of the Lord who leads with power and grace. 

 

Submitted by Rev. Lisa Lopez, Christ Presbyterian Church, Hanover Park IL

POP–break us open

Oh God, we come to prayer this day
with no words…
hearts heavy, minds reeling,
fear and grief and anger and hopelessness and resistance
all mingling together
and blocking the things we want and need to say.

And yet you are still God.
We cannot comprehend why these things happen…
Ask us why.
We cannot seem to believe you
when you say we are one body, neighbors with near and far…
Ask us why.
And keep asking, in the silence of our hearts and the conversations of our lives,
until we see you face to face—
in every face.

We lift up to you those who grieve this day—
whose family and friends have been ripped from them
by violence,
by illness,
by cultural complacency.
We pray especially for the families of Mother Emanuel church,
and for their two remaining pastors.
May your spirit of comfort surround them,
even as your spirit of righteousness burns in their broken hearts.
May they know your powerful presence,
and be strengthened as their ancestors in that place were strengthened
to stand up for what is right,
to stand together with all who enter,
to stand firm in your promise that one day all tears will be wiped away,
and in that day we will see the truth that we belong to each other.

We pray also this day for ourselves.
May our eyes be opened to recognize you—even in people who look nothing like us.
May our hearts be opened to love as you love—without reservation or requirement.
May our minds be opened to the reality of this world and our place in it—without defensiveness.
And when you have broken us open,
pour in your Spirit of justice and truth, of transformation and peace.
Where we insist on putting the pieces back together,
provoke our imaginations to new possibilities,
and frustrate our self-preserving goals.
Melt us and mold us, however uncomfortable or painful it may be,
then fill us and use us to be agents of transformation in this world.

We pray reluctantly, and boldly, and fearfully, and hopefully—
my kingdoms go, Lord.
Our kingdoms of entitlement, our kingdoms of self-sufficiency, our kingdoms of privilege, our kingdoms of individualism, our kingdoms of helplessness, our kingdoms of self-righteousness,
whatever kingdoms we have sworn allegiance to, or built for ourselves, or used to hide in…
our kingdoms go,
and may your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Come Quickly, Lord.

We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, the One who sat down at the margins, worked to overthrow the empire, and taught us to pray together, Our father…

 

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

benediction: the kingdom of heaven

Do not be afraid.

The kingdom of heaven comes to change and transform us,

to reshape the world according to God’s reconciling will.

Go forth to bear witness to this community of love.

May the living presence of Christ be with you,

the life-giving power of God sustain you,

and the perfect light of the Holy Spirit shine within you,

now and to the end of the age. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

confession: purchasing the holy

God of heaven and earth, we ask your forgiveness for the devotion we show to the things of this world. We seek to find comfort, healing, and wholeness through the marketplace. We lean on ideas and dreams to carry us through times of deep emotion. We do not seek out the Holy, but expect to be able to purchase it and buy our way into the kingdom. Forgive us, O God, shine the light in our lives that the things of this world will be taken like a thief in the night. Our only true and present hope is in you, heal us and make us whole in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

 

Submitted by The Rev. Dawn Black, First Presbyterian Church Broken Bow, NE

CTW: the kingdom is at hand (a sung liturgy)

the congregational responses are from the hymns Rejoice, the Lord is King!  and Come Sing, O Church, in Joy! both to the tune Darwall’s 148th.

One:    Come, people of God! With open hearts and open hands, let us worship!
All sung: Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore!
            Rejoice, give thanks, and sing, and triumph evermore.
            Lift up your heart; lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say rejoice!
One:    We come, declaring our allegiance to Christ, praising our Lord with a loud voice.
We come, seeking God’s way and committing ourselves to Christ’s path.
We come, longing for the peace and justice of the Kingdom of God.
All sung: Long years have come and gone, and still God reigns supreme,
            empowering us to catch the vision, dream the dream!
            In bold accord, come celebrate the journey now and praise the Lord!
One:    God’s future is on its way, the kingdom is at hand, and God’s vision of hope is true!
Come, people of God! Let us worship!
All sung: Lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, Rejoice!
One:    The Spirit is moving in this place, creating and re-creating the Body of Christ.
We come, eager to be transformed into citizens of God’s kingdom!
Let all the people say: Amen!

 

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

confession: we don’t like kings

We don’t like Earthly kings so much anymore, Lord. No, we don’t. We’ve moved on in this New Century, and have created other things to rule our lives: our cell phones, our favorite sports teams, our shopping malls, our Facebook pages, our calendars crowded with to-do lists and appointments, our worries, our bills to pay…it seems we have agreed to serve just about everything and everybody -except for You. Forgive us. May Your Kingdom come, to a place right here in our hearts, where you rule as our Good Shepherd, with love, compassion and forgiveness. Amen.

Submitted by Jerie Messer Lukefahr, via the comments! 

 

confession: we kind of like the empire

One: We are mostly the kind of people
who know how to do what must be done, and we do it.
We do it well, and we do well for ourselves.
All: Surely we have earned our success and well-being.
Surely we are entitled to the benefits of our station.
One: We have learned to use the system to our advantage
in order to create a future of opportunity for ourselves.
All: We enjoy the privileges of living in this empire,
and don’t want to do anything
to endanger that privilege.
One: And into that privilege, You speak.
“Those who would be first must be last.”
“Those who want to be great must serve.”
All: In the midst of the empire,
You offer a vision of Your kingdom.
“Let the little children come.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers.”
One: Forgive our opportunistic ways, Lord,
and guide us to follow your way,
though it is not the easy way.
All: Give us grace to hear You.
Give us freedom to trust Your promise.
Give us patience and humility
to yield our privilege to your purpose.
We pray in the name of the One
who calls us to this life. Amen.

 

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