a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: let go and pick up

As we gather for worship, O Lord, help us let go . . .
Of the things that trap us, the fears that silence us, the anger that haunts us.
As we gather for worship, O Lord, help us let go . . .
Of the worry, stress or anxiety that have filled us since the last time we gathered in your presence.
As we gather for worship, O Lord, help us let go . . .
Of grief, sadness, or a desire for something else.
As we gather for worship, O Lord, help us pick up . . .
The gift of your grace, your love and your life that fills us.
As we gather for worship, O Lord, help us pick up . . .
The gift of each other, the gift of this community, the gift of this time of worship.
As we gather for worship O Lord, help us say together,
We are here.  We are not alone.
Jesus Christ is among us today.
Alleluia!  Amen.  

Submitted by Rev. Shannan R. Vance-Ocampo, Transitional Presbyter. Albany Presbytery. New York

Maundy Thursday prayers

Opening Prayer (in unison)

O Lord our God, tonight we gather to remember our Savior Jesus and his sacrifice of love for us.  We pause to remember his last meal with his closest friends and disciples.  We pause to remember the betrayal he would suffer.  We pause to remember the pain that would be His to bear.  We gather to bear witness to our Savior.  We gather to grow in our faith and be renewed once again by the Story of mystery, Story of the Resurrection.  Send your Spirit to be with us this night till Easter morning.  In Christ we pray.  Amen.  

Prayer of Confession (in unison)

We confess tonight that we are like those who crucified our Lord.  

We are like those who denied Jesus—refusing to claim him as Lord of our whole life.  

We are like those who have mocked him—forgetting his power in this world.  

We are like those who made him a crown of thorns—diminishing his authority in our lives.  

We are like those who hung him on a Cross—choosing the allure of violence and fear rather than justice and peace.  

We are like those who turned away their gaze—afraid to enter into the suffering of this world.  

Forgive us.  Have mercy upon us.  

On these days of emptiness and death before the Resurrection we begin tonight to offer our confessions to you in silence…..

 

-Silence is Kept-

 

Assurance of Pardon (responsive)

Even in the darkness of this night, even in the emptiness of these hours that stretch out before Easter morning the promise of the Resurrection is still at hand.

It is a dim light, and yet to the light we cling.

Give us grace to receive this assurance of your love.

Grant us peace on this night.  Amen.  

 

Submitted by Rev. Shannan R. Vance-Ocampo, Transitional Presbyter, Albany Presbytery

poem: On This Day

On this day,

we gather.

Wandering into the pews,

wondering what the next hour might bring.

Some of it familiar,

some will be new.

Bringing God alongside with us, we beckon the Spirit.

Remembering saints of the beloved past

our hearts stir, our spirits cry out.

 

Concerns, worries, joys, delights

all sit in these pews with us.

Common friends, old friends, new friends, strangers, enemies.

Mixed together.

Just like last Sunday.

just like next Sunday.

Over and over and over again.

The rhythm of worship.

 

All muddled together.

Yet we are here.

Some broken and bruised.

Others shouting our alleluias.

God is here in this place.

Jesus is challenging us once again.

Are you living the prophets life?

The Spirit is breathing new life.

Do you hear her whispers?

Alleluias.

Once again.

 

Submitted by Rev. Shannan R. Vance-Ocampo, Transitional Presbyter, Albany Presbytery.

Confession: season of anxiety

Jesus our Christ, Prince of Peace, Savior of the Creation, we praise you.  We give you thanks for this holy time of preparing for your birth, of renewing our calling as your people.  And yet as get closer and closer to the stable, we acknowledge that we have fallen short of following Your Way.  We have allowed the allure of other gods in this season to draw us in.  We have permitted anxiety to rule our lives and fallen victim to the myth of scarcity when you have already prepared the Table of abundance for us.  We are always in need of your renewal, and so we open our souls today that the Baby in the Manger–full of trouble and full of opportunity will be our only Guide.  We offer our very selves to you this day, this community, all of who we are.  Walk alongside us O Lord our God, who is always birthing and renewing.  In Christ we pray.  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, North Plainfield, NJ

confession: forgotten prophets

Your Prophets call us!
Your Promises invite us!
And yet we have forgotten our prophets and we no longer believe so many of Your promises.  Have mercy upon us O Lord of Love…
(Silence is kept)
Be with us as we journey through Advent.  We confess to you our doubts, worries and fears that hold us back….
(Silence is kept)
Be with us as we prepare for the birthing of the Christ Child into this world.  We confess to you our failings as we seek to follow him alone….
(Silence is kept)
O Lord our God, hear our prayers of confession this day.  Remind us of your love and the high calling you place on the live of discipleship we seek.
Have mercy upon us this day and send us out from this place refreshed and renewed.
Submitted by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, North Plainfield, NJ

CTW: wonderful things

The Lord has done wonderful things for us,
offering us new life when we were in the wilderness…
Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!  O my soul!
The Lord has done wonderful things for our community,
offering us the gift of new opportunities, new vistas in ministry…
Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!  O my soul!
The Lord has done wonderful things for us,
offering us the challenge of changing paths…
Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!  O my soul!
Praise the Lord!  Let us gather to praise our God!
Let us gather for worship in this Advent Season
of waiting, of preparation, of new life, and new possibilities!
Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!  O my soul!  Amen.  
submitted by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampon, Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, North Plainfield, NJ

confession: lost sight of your peace

O Lord our God, too often we have lost sight of your peace, forgetting your call upon our lives. Instead we have believed the lie that peace is elusive, or that it will never arrive or that it is dream we should stop wishing would come true. We have turned over our faith to other things, weapons of war, instruments of violence, or monetized “values.” We have ignored the prophet’s proclamation and have turned our back on the teachings of our spiritual ancestors.

Have mercy on us in this Advent Season.

Restore in us once again your peace.
Re-ignite in us once again your hope.
Renew in us once again your call.
Remind us that we are to be the people of peace, no matter the cost, no matter where it takes us.
Reconnect us again to Jesus, for whom we wait with expectant souls in this holy season of Advent.
Amen. Amen. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, North Plainfield NJ

CTW: O Advent Day of Peace

One: O Advent Day, O Day of Peace!
All: May the reign of Christ outlast the sun, outlive the moon—age after age after age!
One: We gather to wait together for our Savior, the Christ, whose birth is drawing near.
All: May he outlast the sun, outlive the moon—age after age after age!
One: Today, Scripture reminds us of our calling…to be those that co-create Peace…
All: May our efforts outlast the sun, outlive the moon—age after age after age!
One: Salvation will come from the places we least expect it, and arrive in the places most in need!
All: Come let us Worship! Come let us gather to hear the Story once again!
Let us remember that Jesus the Christ, the Savior of all
will outlast the sun, outlive the moon—age after age after age! Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, North Plainfield, NJ

Advent 1: peace be within you

Call to Worship

One: As we begin this Advent Season let us say to one another…
All: Peace be within you!
One: As we begin this Advent Season let us say to the communities we live, work and play in…
All: Peace be within you!
One: As we wait for the birthing of the Christ Child, full of newness and light…
All: Peace be within you!
One: As we open our hearts, our souls to your transforming ways…
All: Peace be within you!
One: Advent begins today! Let us wait and watch together saying always…
All: Peace be within you!


Prayer of Confession

As we begin this Advent Season we confess that we have not always been patient. We have wanted life to speed up quickly, our prayers to be answered yesterday, or our lives to make sense today. We have wanted to rush rather than wait, we have seen slowing down as a sign of weakness. We struggle to live with unanswered questions, wanting instead absolute truths so that we do not have to engage in the practice of discerning your will.
As we begin this Advent Season, O Living Spirit, help us to slow down so that we might see you. Guide us to let go so that we might hear you. Allow us to trust so that we might embrace. We pray all these things in the name of the Risen Christ, for whom we long in this Advent season. Amen and Amen.

 

submitted by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield, NJ

confession and assurance: not enough

O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

We confess that we are no longer seeking anything because we believe we can longer be surprised.  As those who live in a place of security we do not understand what it means to faint or to thirst.   Have mercy on us.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.

We have come into this sanctuary today with not enough reverence, not enough praise, and not enough awe for You.  Have mercy upon us.

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

We are afraid to make a spectacle of ourselves when we sing, or pray or praise You.  Our worship is too clean, organized and so stay an arm’s length away from You.  Have mercy on us.

But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; they shall be given over to the power of the sword, they shall be prey for jackals.

We look for revenge, we gloat and we rejoice when some around us stumble or fall.   We have lost sight that we have participated in the destruction of life and are in danger of Your disappointment, wrath or anger.   Have mercy on us.

Silent Confession

Words of Assurance

O Lord, You have been our help.  In the shadow of Your wings we sing for joy.  Our souls cling to you.  Your hands hold onto us.  We are reminded of Your forgiveness and Your mercy.  We are reminded that in You we have new life.  Alleluia.  Amen.

Passing of the Peace

(Can be read responsively with the leader reading the scripture and then the Congregation responding, or by two voices, or by voices sprinkled throughout the Congregation.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, North Plainfield, NJ