a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Confession: looking for mercy

O Lord our Shepherd, maker of heaven and earth,
we lift up our eyes to the hills,
looking for your mercy and forgiveness.
You watch over us night and day,
and yet our feet go astray;
we slip, stumble, and fall into sin.

We confess that we do not watch for your guidance,
trust in your protection,
or offer your comfort to others.
Forgive us.
We need you to save us from the evil we bring on ourselves.
We need you to guide us as we go out into the world
and come back into your presence.

Restore us, we pray in Jesus’ name,
for he promises your mercy from this time forth and forevermore. Amen.


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

communion prayer: great and mighty shepherd

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.


It is right and good to give you thanks and praise, Eternal Shepherd,
for walk you with us each and every day,
through green pastures,
beside still waters,
along the summits of our rejoicing
and in the valleys of our uncertainty.
Your presence has sustained us from generation to generation,
in the wisdom of our mothers and fathers,
in the challenges of your prophets,
and most of all in our risen Lord Jesus Christ,
the great and mighty shepherd of all.
So we raise our voices with all our companions on this journey,
giving you thanks and praise now and always:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

Great God of power and might,
you are holy and yet you are present with us.
In Christ you came among us to be our true divine companion,
to know our humanity and to make us whole.
In Christ you suffered even the pains of death,
but nothing could take away the fullness of your life.
In Christ you rose to new life,
breaking the bonds of death once and for all
so that all creation might live in the fullness of hope.
Remembering all that you have done and are doing and will do,
we take these gifts of bread and cup
to celebrate your presence with us in Christ and in one another,
that they might be our holy offering of praise and thanks
and that our lives might always proclaim your life shared with us in Christ.

Great is this mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen! Christ will come again.

Gracious God,
pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these gifts of bread and cup,
that the bread we break
and the cup we bless
may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
By your Spirit make us one with Christ
that we may be one with all who share this feast,
united in ministry in every place.
As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

Guide us as we embody your love and joy
in all our lives and in your world.
Help us to walk with one another in mercy and peace,
in justice and joy,
each and every day,
that your abundant grace and faith might flow in us wherever we walk,
until we dwell secure in your love all our days.
Through Christ, with Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor are yours, almighty God and Good Shepherd,
now and forever. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, Queens, New York.

CTW: come in and go out

One:    God invites us to come in and go out and find pasture:

All:     to come into the kingdom, into abundant life, into the light;

to go out to serve, out to live our faith, out to be the Body of Christ.

One:    Christ calls us to hear his voice

All:     and so we come to listen and seek and follow.

One:    We stand at the threshold of God’s future,

All:     the Spirit stands at the door and knocks.

One:    Come, let us worship.


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

Advent Hymn: Lord, Our Shepherd…

tune: Genevan 42 (comfort, comfort ye my people)
text: Stephen Fearing

Lord, our Shepherd and our comfort, hear us now, your people cry.
Show yourself and shine upon us, save your sheep and loose your light.
Darkness cannot win the day; guide our feet and show the way.
Lord, your light and love is spoken; never more shall we be broken.

We, your vine, have always needed your provision and your care.
You, our God, brought us from Egypt; all was perfect, all was fair.
Why must we return to sin?  Why must always we give in?
Come, attend and plant within us light that always shines out from us.

We have long rebuked and wandered; you have brought our sins to light.
We have fought and we have tarnished; you have pushed us from your sight.
Give us chance to live and learn!  May no more your anger burn!
Make your face to shine upon us and no more shall darkness hide us.

Lord, our hope and our salvation, hear us now, we pray and plea.
Show yourself and shine upon us.  Open us and help us see.
Darkness will not win the day!  Light will come and always stay!
God will be our jubilation; evermore our restoration!

Submitted by Stephen Fearing. Follow him on twitter: @stephenmfearing

CTW: rest for your soul

Are you lost?

Are you weary?

Do you long for rest for your soul

and joy overflowing?


Come and worship!

Our God is like a shepherd who cares for us,

like a mother who feeds us at her table.


Come let us worship God!

Submitted by Rev. Sarah W. Wiles, Bethany Presbyterian Church (Tacoma, WA)

Good Shepherd Communion

Holy God,
Planter of green pastures where we might be fed;
Pooler of waters which nourish us forever;
Shaper of paths which lead us into your presence:
all that you made is beautiful and good
and given to those created in your image.
Sadly, our wisdom leads us to choose hunger
over the feast you prepare for us;
we thirst in the deserts
when we could drink deeply
from your grace;
we stumble off those paths
leading to your holy presence.
Yet you continue to seek us out,
to bring us home to your kingdom,
preparing a feast for those who will not respond
to your gracious invitation.

Therefore, we lift our voices to you day and night,
with those gathered around your throne
and with those who struggle to be faithful today,
singing your praise and our thanksgiving:

P:    Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of goodness and mercy.
Ggreen pastures and summer nights are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who lays down his life for your children.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, Shepherd of all people,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,
one with you in every respect.
For your name’s sake,
he left the green pastures
to climb the garbage heap of Golgotha;
he waded out of the living waters
to be drenched with the abuse of the world;
he wandered the streets of the kingdom
covered with the dust of sin and death
to lead us into the kingdom of joy.

As we seek to follow the Good Shepherd
into all the places he would lead us,
we celebrate that mystery we call faith:

P:    The Good Shepherd walked through the darkest valley;
the Good Shepherd prepares a Table for us;
the Good Shepherd abides in us.

Pour out your Holy Spirit
upon these gifts of the bread and the cup
you have prepared for your Table.
As the bread which is broken
makes us whole,
and the cup overflows with your grace,
so pour us out for others:
so we may offer shelter
to those who have no home;
so we may comfort those
whose hearts are broken by the world;
so we may share food
with all who ache from hunger;
so we may guide the thirsty
to the pools of life we have found.

And when our journey is ended,
when we are at home in the soft, green pastures,
resting by the still waters, we will find that Feast
of grace, mercy, and hope you prepare for us,
and we will join with our companions
from every time and place, singing joy to you:
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.


Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

easter 4 prayer

On the lonely paths through life,
you are smoothing the way for us.
In the barren soil where we till our souls,
you are nurturing us with love.
Wherever we are, we find you,
Crafter of Creation.

When we go to fill the emptiness
of a hungry world,
you are handing us the bags of food.
When we see children struggling
to get past the potholes of poverty,
you are waiting with the gifts
we can use to smooth their way.
Wherever we are, we find you,
Shepherd of  God’s little ones.

At the corner where anger
intersects with judgment,
you are handing out bottles
filled from peace’s spring.
At every opportunity we have
to share goodness and mercy,
we find our pockets stuffed
with simple acts of kindness.
Wherever we are, we find you,
Shepherd’s Spirit.

Wherever we are, we find you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

confession: by still waters

Call to Reconciliation
We wander from hope to hope, thinking the next person,
the next book, the next new thing will lead us in the ways
in which we long to live.  Yet, if we open our eyes and
pay attention, we will see the Good Shepherd, the One
we will bring us into the kingdom of God’s mercy and
hope, even as we confess all the foolish mistakes we
have done, and all the wrong turns we have made.
Join me, as we pray saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
You long to fill us with your comfort and peace,
Still Waters of Grace, but we continue to take on
more anxiety, more worry, more fear.  You would
comfort us in the gentleness of your hope, but we
welcome the embrace of a world spinning more and
more out of control.  You would feed us with more
than we need, but we continue to hunger for the
sweet sensations offered to us by temptation.
You keep your promises and offer us forgiveness
and mercy all the days of our life.  May we keep our
eyes focused on the path you have shaped for us; may
we listen to the call of the Good Shepherd who leads
us into your joy, that kingdom prepared for us by
Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

  Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
L:    This is the good news: wherever we are, God
is with us; whoever we are, God forgives us,
and offers us new life.
P:    Surely goodness and mercy are the companions
we have been longing for, faithful friends as we
continue our journey as God’s people.  Amen.


Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

Sunday’s Coming: Working toward April 29

We have arrived at the Fourth Sunday of Easter–in many places known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” Are you going with the Good Shepherd this week? Singing Psalm 23, reciting it in unison in an attempt to liberate it from the funeral, or ignoring it completely? Pairing the psalm with Jesus saying, plain as day, “I am the good shepherd“?  And what does all that mean to urban people, anyway?

Maybe you’re headed for the continuation of the story of Peter being questioned by the authorities about his healing activities, and responding with “Jesus, people, Jesus!”

Or perhaps this week you’re loving in truth and action, not just in word and spirit.

Or maybe you’re on a completely different track!

Whatever direction you might be headed, stop in for some brainstorming! Even if all you have is a word or a sentence fragment, it may spark someone else’s creativity! This is a space for letting the ideas fly, bouncing off one another’s thoughts, and letting our imaginations run wild on their way to worship. What are you waiting for?? 🙂