a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Illumination: teach us to live

Risen Christ, fill us with your Spirit
and speak peace to us through these words of scripture.
As we hear you, let our love overflow
with knowledge and insight,
and teach us to live in you,
to the glory and praise of God. Amen.


Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church. West Des Moines, IA

A Spark of…. Advent Candle Liturgies (year B)

Week 1 (Hope) Candle (Isaiah 64, Mark 13)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is over-full of things that do not satisfy.
We watch and prepare, for divine presence to shake our complacency.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of hope lights the way—
Clearing our vision and renewing our minds
To recognize God’s glory in our midst.


Week 2 (Peace) Candle (Isaiah 40, Mark 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is not ready, the field is still uneven,
Yet we watch and prepare to see God’s glory revealed, together.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of peace lights the way—
Despite our fast-fading courage,
We w
ill follow the voice calling us in the wilderness toward Shalom.


Week 3 (Joy) Candle (Isaiah 61, John 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
Days grow short and to-do lists lengthen.
We watch and prepare, for the Word is coming, full of grace and truth.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of joy lights the way—
Though the flame flickers against the shadows,
We will rejoice in God’s covenant of everlasting love.


Week 4 (Love) Candle (Luke 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The time draws near, each moment magnified
As we watch and prepare, for God is doing great things!
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of love lights the way—
Turning the world around to match the promise:
That we love because God first loved us.


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

Confession: fading away

Holy and loving God, we hear your voice in the wilderness, and we come, seeking a glimpse of your glory in these days of lengthening darkness. We look for your star shining in the night sky, for the flickering candle holding back the shadows, and we strain our ears to listen for your word amidst the clamor of the festive season.
We confess that we don’t always want to hear what you are saying. We don’t want to turn and go another way, nor to stop and wait in the quiet when there is fun to be had. We are skeptical of comfort that is more than warm fuzzy feelings, or that asks something of us. We confess that we are prone to fading away like flowers and grass, unable to withstand challenges to our way of thinking or our way of life. And yet still you call, still you tell us to take comfort, still you come among us and live within us and believe in us.
Forgive us, O God, our fickle hearts, so often full of things other than you. Forgive our tendency to wander away, to prefer shallow comfort to your deep peace. Open us again to your love, that we may walk with you in every way. We pray in the name of Christ, the prince of peace. Amen.


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession + Assurance: Hope for God’s Children

Beloved God, your hopes for us can seem far removed. How can we work for a better tomorrow when today is so difficult? How can it be that people so different from us can also be your children? You call us to serve each other in love, and we instead demand service from others. You call us heirs to your Kingdom of peace, and we act like spoiled children, throwing tantrums when we don’t get our way. Help us to see your way before us – and call us back to right relationship with you and each other. Amen.

Family of God – hear this good news: God’s mercy is boundless, and God’s love is beyond all understanding. God has already forgiven you, and is calling on you again to serve each other, to build the Kingdom, and to celebrate your ties with one another.

Praise be to God! Amen.


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

Illumination: nothing but your will

God of love, through these words,
let your Holy Spirit teach us to love you completely.
Let our heart desire nothing but your will.
Let our soul feel nothing but your joy.
Let our mind know nothing but your truth.
Let our strength serve nothing but your peace.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


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

Advent Candles: Light of the World

Light of the World: Hope from Romans 8:19-25

We gather this morning as the children of God.

In hope that all creation will be set free from bondage and decay.

We offer ourselves as the first fruits of this redemption.

For in hope, we were saved.

We light this candle in the hope that saved us and the hope of what we do not yet see.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.


Light of the World: Peace from Isaiah 9:2, 6; John 14:27

We gather as people who walked in darkness but have seen a great light.

Once we lived in a land of deep darkness—on us, the light of peace has shined.

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.

He is the Prince of Peace.

We light this candle in the peace of Christ and for the peace the world has yet to know.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.


Light of the World: Joy from John 15:11, 16:20-22

We gather as people of hope and peace.

May our joy be complete.

Though the broken world may bring us to lament and repentance, our sorrow will turn to joy.

No one can take away the joy Christ completes in us.

We light this candle with the joy of those who have heard and experienced the Word made flesh even as we wait for Christ to come again.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.


Light of the World: Love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 12

We gather in the love of Christ: a love that is patient and kind; love that is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude.

In love, we rejoice in the truth.

Through the love of Christ, we find we can bear all things, believe all things, endure all things.

In love, we hope in all things.

We light this candle to declare a love that never ends and for the day when it is fully known in the world.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.


Submitted by Michelle Henrichs

Advent Wreath Liturgies: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

Advent Wreath Liturgies
Advent 1 – Hope
Today we light the first candle of Advent, the candle of Hope. (Light Candle)
We put our hope in the one to come, the promised one who comes from God to
bring good news of salvation. We hope in the one who will lead us to walk in the light of the LORD. We hope he will not let us live in dark valleys, but on the high mountain of God.
We light this candle in Hope.
On this day, we remember to hopefully look for the coming of Christ.
Advent 2 – Peace
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ. (Light Candle). Today we light the second candle of Advent, the candle of Peace.
God has a peaceful dream for the world, and we dream it too. We dream of peaceful world full of wolves and leopards and lions eating and sleeping and dancing with lambs, kids, and calves. We dream of a peaceful world where nations come together, where war is a memory, and we eat at one table.
We light this candle in Peace.
On this day, we remember the Lord of All who brings peace surpassing all understanding.
Advent 3 – Joy
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ, and we lit the candle of Peace, remembering God’s dream of a peaceful world. (Light Candles). Today we light the third candle of Advent, the candle of Joy.
In Advent, we are in a time of waiting. Like the Israelites who wandered through the Wilderness, waiting to come into the Promised Land, we wait for the coming of the Joy of Ages. We wait for the day where we can join our voices with the angels to sing “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” We wait for the day when everlasting joy will be on each of us.
We light this candle in Joy. (Light Candle)
On this day, we remember the Spirit who breathes joy into our lives.
Advent 4 – Love
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ, the candle of Peace, remembering God’s dream of a peaceful world, and the candle of Joy, remembering the Spirit within us who brings joy. (Light Candles). Today we light the fourth candle of Advent, the candle of Love.
Scripture tells us “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18). God created this world in love and this world will end in the love of God. God’s love pervades all aspects of this life. From birth to death, pain to delight, strangers to lovers, God’s love is there.
We light this candle in Love. (Light Candle)
On this day, we remember God is Love.
Christmas Eve – Light
Throughout this season we have lived, waited, and remembered the hope, peace, joy, and love of God found in Christ. (Light Candles) Tonight we gather together and light candles in honor of the Christ Child.
With the birth of Christ, salvation has drawn near. The God who ordered the chaos of the universe has come down into the chaos of our world. The Word which was with God at the beginning came down and lived with us. While we were yet living in the valley of the shadow of death, the light of new life burst forth.
We light this candle for Christ.
On this night, we remember God has come in the Christ Child.
Submitted by Rev. Will Ryan, First Christian Church (DOC), Burlington, Iowa

Opening words for Easter 2

Call to Worship

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week,

Jesus came and stood among the disciples and said: Peace be with you!

The Risen Christ is with us now, offering us the gift of peace.

Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

                We too have seen the Lord. Let us rejoice and give thanks!

Let us worship God!


Opening Prayer

Living God,

When our Risen Lord appeared to his disciples,

he greeted them in peace

and breathed the Holy Spirit upon them.

Breathe your Spirit upon us

                as we gather to welcome Christ

                with glad hearts and joyful voices.

Meet us here, we pray;

open our ears to hear you speaking

and our hearts to respond with joy.

Fashion us into an Easter people,

and send us out

to proclaim what we have seen and heard:

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Sudie Niesen Thompson, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, DE

Christmas Affirmation

We believe that God has come to us as a little child,
making our weakness his strength,
securing our salvation by becoming one of us,
blessing us with with a steadfast savior,
filling our hearts with joy to be shared with one another.
We believe that God has birthed righteousness and justice into the world,
giving us a law that will be written upon our hearts,
making the cause of the oppressed the highest priority,
declaring an everlasting reign of peace,
defeating the power of pain and suffering.
We believe that God calls us to participate in this reality of love,
inviting us to proclaim Christ’s resurrection at the Table,
transforming us as disciples to go out into the world,
sending us forth to announce his kingdom of peace and comfort,
challenging us to see everyone as nothing less than beloved children.
This we believe.
This we preach.
This we seek to embody in word and deed.

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

Christmas Eve wreath lighting

Lighting the Four Candles

(the sung response between each candle is optional. For the Christ Candle liturgy, scroll to the bottom)    

Together, we light this candle of hope
to represent the longing that resides in our hearts:
for a safer world,
for a world rid of warfare and oppression,
fear and hatred.
Only light will drive out the darkness.
    This hope is found in the God who has come to save us.

Light One Candle For Messiah–Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 1)

Together, we light this candle of peace
to represent the unity we have amongst each other:
as human beings,
as beloved children of God,
as disciples called to live in harmony with one another.
Only as partners in peace can we stand against violence.
This peace is found in a newborn child, cradled in his mother’s arms.

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 2)

Together, we light this candle of joy
to represent the delight that is found in the coming of our savior:
in the birth of hope,
in the fruition of faithfulness,
in the warmth of God’s love for a broken world.
Only joy can give us strength to continue our work.
    This joy is found in a God who finds joy in us!

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 3)

    Together, we light this candle of love
to represent the home we have in God’s steadfast shalom:
a home built with peace and kindness,
righteousness and justice,
where all are invited to the Table to partake in the feast.
Only love can bring us together.  Only love can save our souls.
    This love is found tonight in a manger, in Mary’s arm and in our own.

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 4)

Christ Candle
    Our wait is over, the Christ-child is here!
    Long we have waited, long we have watched for his coming.
God is not satisfied to remain apart from us, God must be one among us.
    We are God’s people, shepherd of God’s flock,
children of God’s redeeming.
We light this candle to represent Christ’s presence, his everlasting reign.
    We give thanks to God for the fulfillment of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY