a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: whispered alleluias

One: It was dawn. The sun was warming the earth. The birds were singing.
Many: The beauty of the day was lost on the grieving women.
It may as well have been midnight as they approached the tomb.
One: It was dawn. The earth was rejoicing. The breeze whispered alleluias across the land.
Many: It made no sense. The stone had moved. The body was gone.
Confusion and fear shoved grief to the side.
One: It was dawn. The trees swayed in the rhythm of songs from the heavens.
Many: Dazzling clothes, strange voices, familiar words:
On the third day the Son of Man will rise again.
One: It was dawn. The women were running. The words were forming.
Many: Christ is risen! Come and see!
One: Christ is Risen!
ALL: He is risen indeed.

 

Submitted by Laura Viau.

confession: quite a mess

Prayer of Confession

We come to you conflicted, Lord. We want to be people who love well, turn the other cheek and generously share what you have given us. But we find ourselves needing to be right, striving to win the argument and keeping a tight grip on both our stuff and your good news. We are afraid to be vulnerable and frightened by too much honesty in others.  Gathered like this, we must look like quite a mess…  a mess that only your grace can put right.  We come in need of your faithfulness, your cleansing, your healing, your forgiveness.

             (silent personal reflection)

 

Open our eyes to your presence. Loosen our grip so that you might be in control.   Love us most clearly through the ones with whom we have fought, so that the body might regain health and wholeness.  Amen.

 

Assurance of Pardon

Friends, hear this good news: the One who started a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. The saving work of Christ is done, for you and for me. The reconciling work of Christ is happening in you, in me, among us.   In Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.  Amen. 

Submitted by Laura Viau.

affirmation: the gifts of women

We believe in God, Creator and Sustainer of all that lives;
the One in whose image all are made;
the One who kept covenant with Sarah and Abraham and never forgot Hagar,
who answered Hannah’s deepest prayer, and
gave songs to Miriam, Deborah and Mary;
the One who loves, hears and sings over us still today.

We believe in Jesus Christ, Redeemer and Savior of all who believe;
the One who loved Martha and Mary;
the One who fed the crowds,
who healed the woman who bled, and
raised Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus;
the One whose love, life, death and rising re-creates us still today.

We believe in the Spirit, Comforter and Interpreter for all who cry out;
the One who came in fire and wind;
the One who gave courage to Esther,
who caused David to dance, and
made John leap in Elizabeth’s womb;
the One who breathes life into the Word and us still today.

We believe that the Body of Christ is made up of
hands large and small, hearts old and young,
legs strong and weak, and feet made beautiful
as they carry the Good News to the nations.

We join those who have gone before and those in the generations to follow
in praise of the triune God who was and is and is to come. AMEN.

Submitted by Laura Viau.

confession: you are perfect and we are not

Your law is perfect, oh LORD, but we are not.  Rather than understanding the ways your will for us would revive us, make us wise and bring us joy, we bristle at the thought of submission.  We pretend that we know better, that our desires and motives are pure.  In our pride, we lose our awe, our fear of your majesty and power.

Give us hearts that know the value of keeping your commandments and minds that desire understanding of your will more than the purest gold or the sweetest honey.  Grant us humility; clear us from our hidden faults.  Help us to be the people you made each of us to be, so that together we might the body you call us to be.

 

Assurance of Pardon

The truth of God’s love is this: before we knew God, before we knew love and before we understood the depth of our sin, the reconciling work of Christ was done.  Through the Holy Spirit, we reach out the one who lived, died and rose again to reveal God’s resurrection power to us and for us.  Hear and believe the good news: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

 

Submitted by Laura Viau.

confession: battle

Unison:  It is all too easy to forget that we are not in charge of this world.  We create nations, build buildings, fight wars, and change landscapes.  We are part of a culture that builds up people’s reputations and livelihoods only to tear them down. We use words as weapons in skirmishes that leave others wondering why they would want anything to do with us or You.  We seem to be in battle with every enemy but the ones that matter.  Empty us of our pride and fill us with your humility; replace our striving with your contentment, exchange our need to lead for a heart that follows only you.  We give ourselves to you this day, knowing that only you can make us whole through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit.   Amen.
Affirmation: Christ came to conquer death, driving out fear with his perfect love. A Prince of Peace in a world of strife, Jesus offers that same peace to hearts struggling to live in grace.  Friends hear and believe the good news of the gospel.  In Jesus Christ you are forgiven.

Submitted by Laura Viau.

prayers of the people–tune our hearts…

We praise you, O God, with our words and our bodies,
With bells and horns, organs and flutes,
With voices tuned to one another
With hearts and mind tuned to yours.

You give us new songs to sing,
As all creation sings praise to your name
The cry of the eagle, the howl of the desert wind
The thrum of the bullfrog, the creaking of melting glacier

You call forth musicians and dancers to lead us
Like Joshua when he brought down the walls of Jericho
And David as he led the ark into the city

You hear our songs of delight
As sweet as Elizabeth or Mary
As powerful as Miriam and Deborah

You hear our songs of lament
Rising from broken hearts
From captives and exiles
From the left behind and forgotten
From the injured, scared, sick or dying

When words won’t come, your Spirit sings in groans for us
When our hearts are too heavy,
you sing over us, quieting us with your love,

Sing over these, your children, whose names we bring before you today.   <mention needs by name>

We trust that you know their needs.
We trust that your will is best.

Give us the faith to praise you
even in our moments of doubt and fear.
Plant your hope down deep in us,
so that we might offer true hope to others.

Around the world today, the drums of war beat loudly
Threatening to drown out the peace we long for
We lift up the leaders in this world,
Of governments at every level
In education and business
In entertainments and charitable work
And in your church
Tune their hearts to hear your song
of love, mercy and compassion

Give us eyes to see your work among us
Give us voice to speak truth
Give us feet willing to go, hands willing to serve.
And ears willing to hear your music so that we may join the dance

Send your Spirit, whispering and roaring
And give us the faith of your son, Jesus, in whose name we pray the prayer that he taught us,
saying  Our Father, who art in heaven…

 

Submitted by Laura Viau.

prayers of the people: seeking

Prayers of the People (based on Isaiah 55:6-13)

Lord, we have come seeking you this morning,
knowing that you are near,
believing that you want to be found.
We have confessed our sins,
Of word and deed
Of silence and apathy
We give thanks for your mercy and pardon,
freely given as we turn to you.

With feet firmly on the ground, the sky seems so very distant.
And though we feel your presence as close as the embrace of a loved one,
Our understanding of you – of your thoughts and your ways –
Remains as distant as the clouds.
And yet we trust you.

We trust that your Spirit
Will enliven and enlighten us, illuminating the Scriptures.
Like rain and snow provide healing water for the earth
Your Word quenches the thirst of our hearts

You send rain, You sent your Son,
You send your Spirit, You sent your Word
All to accomplish what you desire
Each to achieve purposes you ordained.

And you send us
Like the grain that buds and flourishes in fertile ground
We live to offer seeds of hope and the bread of life to our neighbors

We look to the day, Holy One, when you lead us out in joy and peace
When the mountains and trees sing and clap
And people sing out in praise of the one who was, and is, and is to come

But for now, we trust that
When we turn our faces to you,
When we lift our hearts and prayers to you
You will hear
We come as people ready to move mountains.
We come as people borrowing the faith of others
Trusting our pleas will achieve their purposes.

~specific concerns may be spoken~

We pray all of this, as well as those things left unspoken, in the name of Jesus the Christ…

Submitted by Laura Viau, Orlando, FL (MDiv student at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary)

Benediction in Four Voices

Submitted by Laura Viau, Orlando, FL (MDiv student at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary)

(Based on Luke 4:16-19, Matt 28:16-20, Micah 6:8, Acts 1:4-8)

Reader 1. When Jesus began his ministry he read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah:
Reader 2. The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor; he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the captives free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Reader 1.He prayed for his disciples to continue that ministry.
Reader 3. And for all the generations to come.
Reader 4: That we might help others know God.
(pause)
ALL: And what does the Lord require of us?
Reader 4: Go and make disciples
Reader 2: Teaching them all I have commanded
Reader 1: Walk humbly with your God
Reader 3: And You will receive power.
Reader 4: Act justly
Reader 1: Love Mercy
Reader 4: Proclaim the Good News
Reader 2: And I will be with you
(pause)
ALL: What does the Lord require of you?
Reader 4: Go and make disciples
Reader 2: Love your neighbor,
Reader 1: in Jerusalem
Reader 3: Judea and Samaria
Reader 4: And to the ends of the earth
Reader 2: Baptizing them in the name of the Father
Reader 3: and of the Son
Reader 1: and of the Holy Spirit.
(pause)
ALL: You will receive power
Reader 2: And I will be with you
Reader 4: Giving sight to the blind
Reader 1: Setting free the oppressed
Reader 3: Proclaiming freedom for the prisoners
(pause)
ALL: What does the Lord require of you?
Reader 4: Act
Reader 1: Wait
Reader 3:Give
Reader 2: Love
Reader 1: Teach
Reader 4: Go
Reader 3: Walk
Reader 2: And surely I will be with you, even to the very end of the age.
AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer – Based on Psalm 111

Submitted by Laura Viau, Orlando, FL (MDiv student at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary)

With our whole hearts, we praise you, Lord.
We lift up our alleluias as people who gather to sing and proclaim,
As people who gather to confess and to remember Your redeeming work
As people who gather read and tell of your mighty works,
of your faithfulness and
of your grace.

All glory belongs to you, God.
You are gracious and compassionate.
You provide for us all that we need,
Remembering your promise to hear when we call,
To answer when we knock, and
To reveal yourself when we seek you.

You have revealed your power to us in so many ways:
You heal the sick
You calm the frightened
You bring peace to the grieving
You change the course of our lives

We ask that you reveal you power again today for those on our hearts and minds….

We lift these names to you. To you they are much more than names-
They are your precious children
They are parents, sisters, brothers, children, bosses, employees, aunts, uncles…
They are yours. You know every detail of their lives, far better than we do.
You know their needs.

We can trust you with our prayers,
not only because we know you have the power to answer,
but because we have seen that you are faithful and just.
The promises we claim today are the same as those your
people have claimed across the generations

Through your Son, you have redeemed your people.
You bring beauty and good from what we -in our brokenness and ignorance –
have intended for evil.
And in time, you will redeem the world,
Bringing an end to death
And the beginning of an eternity of worship
When every tribe, tongue and nation will sing songs of praise

Until then, we wait.

Help us not to spend our days looking up at the sky.
Send your Spirit that we might see the world as you do,
Fill us with your compassion for those in need
Of shelter, of a friend, or of an advocate
Send us to the brokenhearted, the discarded
and those who are hungry for the transformation only you can bring.

While our hearts cry Come Lord Jesus,
let our hands reveal your presence in the world we inhabit.

We ask these things in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray saying
Our Father, who art in heaven….