a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Confession: God shines

The presence of God shines all around us, and yet our faces are buried in our phones, and our minds are on the tasks that are left undone, oblivious to the miracle of the Holy Spirit that surrounds. Let us together lift up our heads and open our eyes to see the work of God that abounds.

God of the snowfall and coming spring,
Spirit of the journey that leads us to the height of the mountain,
We open our hearts to you and to one another
the many ways we fall short to live into the fullness of life in you.
We create schedules that add to the burden,
And further shelter us from hearing your voice.
We add to the shadows finding the worst in the world around us,
Rather than living as instruments of your hope.
How quick we add to the discord with one another,
unable to see your face in our neighbor
in our disagreements we often miss the transference
of our own scars, disappointments, and should haves,
Help us again today to be renewed by your ever flowing grace
and unending love
Open all of who we are to your holy imagination of who we are yet to become restoring us in your glory. Praise be to God.

Submitted by Rev. Rob Smith, Spirit of Life Presbyterian, Apple Valley, MN

Transfiguration Invocation

God of the high and low, we come before you this day seeking your Holy presence. We come to sing praises, pray petitions, and listen to the Word at your holy mountain. We come to experience metamorphosis, to be changed into your people. Change us in this hour so we might speak your Spirit of hope and grace to the world. We pray this in the name of Christ, AMEN.

 

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

CTW: glory rising

Beyond our busyness,
above the cold winter floor
there is a glory rising born of heaven
and reaching out to each one of us
a light that shines through the clouds
an invitation seeking all of who we are
that transfigures the world
that transforms darkness into hope
that brings life from a cross
where old life end and new life is born
In glory Jesus meets us here
raising us from depths of valley to the height of the mountain
carrying the weight of our humanity
to the heights of heavens glory.
Let us worship from the mountain and hear again
“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
Submitted by Rev. Rob Smith, Spirit of Life Presbyterian Church, Apple Valley, MN

CTW: Arise and Shine

Arise and awaken, children of God!

For our light has come, and the glory of the Holy One shines out!

Lift up your eyes! Look around you!

The people gather together – the people of all nations come together to worship God

You shall see and shall shine with God’s light

Let us rejoice and praise God, whose love shines forth into the world. Amen. 

Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bixby, Okla.

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 + Pardon: Darkness + Light

Holy and Beloved God, it is hard to hope when all seems lost. The darkness has a way of fuzzing our vision, of taking our eyes off of your holy light. It’s hardest to see your light when our eyes are shut – shut to you, shut to each other, and shut to the suffering that is just barely disguised by thin smiles and haunted eyes. Yet, your light shines. Your hope abides with us, awakening us to your love, and calling us to share your light with each other. Help us prepare a way for you in our hearts, that your love might open our hearts to see you fully in the world. Amen.

 

silence or musical response: Prepare the Way (Glory to God #95)

 

Awake, people of God! Open your eyes, open your ears, and open your hearts! The Holy One arose, yes, arose even from the depths of death, and calls you to do the same, with messages of hope, peace, joy and love. Know that God’s love and grace are greater than sin! Know that you are forgiven!

Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bixby, Okla.

Opening to the Light–Advent Candle Liturgies

2016 Advent/Christmas Theme: Opening To The Light
Narrative Lectionary Year 3: Daniel 6, Joel 2, Isaiah 61, Luke 1

Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings (tune: Picardy, except last two lines):

As we light the Advent candle
with the light of hope burning bright,
faithfully we wait for his coming;
faithfully it shines through the night.
In our humble hearts a fire burns as well;
hear the prayer these flames would tell.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel.

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

week 1 (Daniel 6.6-27):
Liturgist: One candle shines as shadows lengthen and chaos roars—
the dawn of God’s kingdom in our midst.
All: Courage awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.

week 2 (Joel 2.12-13, 28-29):
Liturgist: Two candles shine as light peeks through the cracks
and God’s dream overflows.
All: Vision awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.

week 3 (Isaiah 61.1-11):
Liturgist: Three candles shine as God’s promise draws near,
beckoning us to be good news in body and spirit.
All: Justice awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.

week 4 (Luke 1.26-55):
Liturgist: Four candles shine as God’s purpose is revealed
in word and flesh.
All: Possibility awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.

Liturgist: Radiant flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.

 

Here is a bulletin-ready version:

week 1:

Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings
As we light the Advent candle
with the light of hope burning bright,
faithfully we wait for his coming;
faithfully it shines through the night.
In our humble hearts a fire burns as well;
hear the prayer these flames would tell.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel.

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Liturgist: One candle shines as shadows lengthen and chaos roars—
the dawn of God’s kingdom in our midst.
All: Courage awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.
Liturgist: Bright flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.

 

week 2

(Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings)

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Liturgist: Two candles shine as light peeks through the cracks
and God’s dream overflows.
All: Vision awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.
Liturgist: Bright flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.
week 3:

(Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings)

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Liturgist: Three candles shine as God’s promise draws near,
beckoning us to be good news in body and spirit.
All: Justice awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.
Liturgist: Bright flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.

 

week 4:

(Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings)

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Liturgist: Four candles shine as God’s purpose is revealed
in word and flesh.
All: Possibility awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.
Liturgist: Radiant flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.

 

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

***song is an excerpt from “Light the Advent Candle” by Ruth Elaine Schram

CTW: look to the stars

One: Look to the stars—filling the sky with light!
All: God’s word is a light, shining bright in the darkness.
One: Look to the stars—spread across the universe, farther than any eye has seen.
All: God is everywhere present, whether we go to the ends of the earth or depths of the sea.
One: Look to the stars—more than we even have numbers to count.
All: God’s grace is beyond imagining, beyond language, beyond counting.
One: Look to the stars—signs of God’s promise, shining through all generations.
All: We come to worship God, in whom we trust.

 

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

Prayer for Illum. – Divine Light + Breath

Holy Spirit, bring your divine light into the readings this morning. Help us to see as you see – to hear as you hear – to act in the world as you would have us act. Breathe life into us as you breathe into your living Word, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bixby, OK

POP: on psalm 19

O God, the heavens declare your glory,
and all creation reveals your surpassing wisdom.
We give thanks to you for those who reveal your riches to us
and teach us in the way we should go.
We pray for all who are searching,
that you would shine your light ahead of them
and help all people rejoice in you.
We pray for those who struggle and suffer,
especially those we have lifted up by name today.
Revive all our souls and refresh our spirits.
Guide us in your service,
because your will is the desire of our hearts.
Let all that we say or do be acceptable in your sight,
we pray in Jesus’ name, saying together:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

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