a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: Palm Sunday

On this day, O God, we gather with the children who lead the crowd into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday;

And we consort with the scribes and leaders who condemn Jesus.

We work with the disciples to prepare the way,

And we linger with those who do not understand.

We follow the crowd, shouting, “Hosanna,”

The same crowd who will say all the louder, “Crucify him!”

We celebrate the Son of David,

And we confess we do not follow him to the end. Forgive us, Lord, when we deny you, when we fail to love as you loved or to serve as you served. As we find ourselves in your story this week, reveal the grace you share all the way, even on the cross, Amen. (silent prayer)

Assurance of Grace

One: Brothers and sisters, hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us! (Romans 8:34) Friends, believe the good news!

All: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

 

Submitted by Laura Cunningham, Western Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC

confession: if you had been here…

One: Loving Lord, how often we face tragic news we cannot understand. Our hearts may echo Martha and Mary at Lazarus’s tomb, who said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

All: Lord, if you had been here, our hearts would not be heavy.

One: Lord, if you had been here, these people would not be hungry.

All: Lord, if you had been here, our climate would not be on the brink.

One: We each bring our own situation in silence, when we say, “Lord if you had been here…” (moment of silence) Lord, have mercy on us.

All: Forgive us when we forget your presence and deny love’s work.

One: In prayer, show us you are with us in the deepest sense, and that you weep with all who mourn.

All: Remind us how tragedy and injustice break your heart, and help us see you nearby, wherever people go hungry or your creation is threatened.

One: Grant us faith to trust you are truly here, with us, bringing new life we can now only imagine.

All: Give us hope, that looking towards your resurrection, we might discover and share glimpses of that new life already coming among us, in your name, Amen. (silent prayer)

 

Assurance of Grace

One: Friends, hear the good news: Seen or unseen, God is with us. Bidden or unbidden, Christ is present.

All: May we live assured of what we cannot see, trusting in the power who makes all things new. Thanks be to God!

Sung response: What a Friend We Have In Jesus, verse 1

 

Submitted by Laura Cunningham, Western Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC

confession: in the desert

God who comes where we least expect, your prophets spoke of the coming Messiah as new life growing in dry land, a desert teeming with flowers. Yet we forget the prophecy, and so in our own desolate landscapes see only poverty and despair, frustration and rejection. In this Advent, when we await Your coming, we confess our failure of imagination: our inability to believe You could possibly change the shape of the world.

And yet we know that You have come, long ago, to a forgotten corner of the world, to a people on the verge of losing hope, to a woman no one thought could bear a child, and the world has never been the same. Hear us as we pray, that we might find flowers in the desert and celebrate life where it seems impossible. May we look to the darkness of our time and discover there a Light like no other, waiting to shine in us, in whose name we pray, Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Laura Cunningham, Western Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.

confession: such a time as this

Emanuel, God with us, we know it is Advent, yet we wonder what time it is. Is it time to clean out our homes and our hearts, or is it time to be filled with cider and sweetness? Is it time to sing out carols with candles, or is it time to call out in anguish and lament?
According to scripture, there is a time for every purpose, and we trust that you create us for such a time as this. Give us wisdom to read the signs of our times, whether signs of hope in our halls or protest in our streets. Give us faith to read in all of them signs of the tiny child, the Human One. Give us ears for any alarm set for his hour of peace on earth, quickly coming, and help us all to be there in time. Amen.

Silent Prayer

Assurance of Grace
Friends, Jesus comes so that God’s time might exist in our time, so that we might know the fullness of heaven here on earth. Let us live with eyes wide open! Thanks be to God!

Submitted by The Reverend Laura Cunningham, Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church, Pearl River NY

confession: we lose our way

Loving Christ, you tell your disciples that you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life, yet how often we lose our way, confuse the truth, and choose little deaths rather than live in your abundance. We confess our distractions, how tempted we are by roads more traveled. We admit the seduction of certainty, of those who say what we want to hear. We know our ways of life make us sick and threaten our planet, yet we feel powerless to live otherwise.
Still, in your grace, you give us the cross, the signpost on your Way. Your Truth confronts the powers of this world, revealing their self-service and false promises. Your Life grows as we follow you and so discover an abundance we could never imagine on our own, bringing life to communities everywhere. As we travel our Lenten journey, may we know where you are going, and may we follow and find our home. Amen.

Silent Prayer

Assurance of Grace
In the difficulties of the holiest week, no matter how others gave up on him, Jesus continued to love others. We remember that Jesus still shows us the depths of God’s love and calls us to share that love with others. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Laura Cunningham, Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church, Pearl River, NY

CTW: come together

One:  As we gather for worship, think back on your week…
Have you turned on the news and struggled to find God in it all?
All:  Then come, this is a place for you!
One:  Have you felt guilty because of something we did or neglected to do?
All:  Then come, as together we seek God’s peace and forgiveness.
One:  Have you been anxious about the future?  Celebrated the coming of Spring?
All:  No matter how we have felt this week, this time is for each of us, for us to worship God.
May we discover Christ’s love for us and call to love each other.

 

Submitted by Rev. Laura Cunningham, Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church, Pearl River, NY

confession: open our eyes

Prayer of Confession
Holy God, you call us to faith, but so often we walk by sight:
We want fact to be truth and truth to be obvious.
We seek answers that resemble what already lies in our field of vision.
We value clarity more than reality, what we can see more than what may be, what conforms to our picture more than what shocks, surprises, challenges or confounds us.
Light of the world, forgive us when we privilege our own sight and thus become blind.
Open our eyes to you – your deeper truth and your life within us –
so that we might look around us and within us and see anew.
In faith, may we come to know you more fully, love more deeply,
and see the world and everyone it as you do, according to your grace.  Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
Brothers and sisters, regardless of how we see, we are loved by Christ,
who came to bring sight to the blind in mind and spirit,
who knows our blind spots and gives us new vision.
May we learn to see with the eyes of Christ. Alleluia!
Sung Response: “Amazing Grace,” verse 1
for the Narrative Lectionary, Transfiguration Sunday: John 9
submitted by Rev. Laura Cunningham, Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church, Pearl River, New York

Confession – Blessings we cannot grasp

God, from whom all blessings flow, forgive us when we forget we are blessed
To be alive, present in the world;
To inhale and to exhale;
To feel sun on our faces and earth beneath our feet;
To taste cool water on our parched tongues;
To share a moment or a space with another person;
To know that You are with us and will never leave;
To love and be loved by you.
Remind us that such blessings cannot be counted, but enjoyed, shared, and multiplied. When we confuse a self-centered want with blessing, when we think a blessing something we have achieved rather than received, gently turn our heads and hearts.
Bring us back to the wonders of life in your world, so close that they can never be grasped or taken or hoarded. In the name of Christ, who came that all may know your blessing, Amen.

Assurance of Grace
Beloved of God, hear the good news; let it live in you. We are heirs of God’s promise, that God is with us, that we are each loved by God as if we were the only one, that God’s blessings are always a clue to God’s love. Know that you are blessed, and live in peace.

Submitted by Rev. Laura Cunningham, Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church, Pearl River, NY

confession: until we want no more

Holy Manna, you alone can feed us until we want no more;
yet how often we turn to people or activities or substances to satisfy cravings.
Bread of heaven, you prepare a meal to welcome people from far and near;
yet we decline your invitation, preferring the comfort of familiar tables and food.
Bread of life, you give of yourself to nourish all with abundance;
At times we miss your bounty in our lives and forget how much we can share.
Loving Christ, you promise that all who come to you will never be hungry.
Forgive us when we forget.  May we taste once again and know that you are good, and that your goodness is for us and for all the world.  In your name, Amen.
Silent Prayer 
Assurance of Grace
True abundance does not come because of what we do but because of the Person we know.  Jesus still feeds hungry strangers – even us – and calls us to share food with others.
Thanks be to God.  Let us share God’s bounty.
*Gloria  (to the tune of Holy Manna)
Glory to our Heavenly Maker, glory to the Living Bread;
Glory to the Spirit moving, as each hungry one is fed.
Glory to our God who forgives us, sets us free and makes us new.
God in Christ gives life abundant.  Taste and know it is for you.

Submitted by Rev. Laura Cunningham, Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church, Pearl River, NY