a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: Palm Sunday

On this day, O God, we gather with the children who lead the crowd into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday;

And we consort with the scribes and leaders who condemn Jesus.

We work with the disciples to prepare the way,

And we linger with those who do not understand.

We follow the crowd, shouting, “Hosanna,”

The same crowd who will say all the louder, “Crucify him!”

We celebrate the Son of David,

And we confess we do not follow him to the end. Forgive us, Lord, when we deny you, when we fail to love as you loved or to serve as you served. As we find ourselves in your story this week, reveal the grace you share all the way, even on the cross, Amen. (silent prayer)

Assurance of Grace

One: Brothers and sisters, hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us! (Romans 8:34) Friends, believe the good news!

All: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

 

Submitted by Laura Cunningham, Western Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC

illumination: we love to tell the story

We love to tell the story, O God. As we hear these ancient words again, give us the gift of new insight and clarity. Help us to hear your good news in ways we could never imagine, and to faithfully heed your call. Amen.

 

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

pastoral prayer: you spoke…

Holy God,

you spoke the world into being

telling a story of life and hope and love.

Still you speak, creating with your word

calling forth light from darkness.

You fill the earth with your glory,

visible to any who look for you.

Give us eyes to see.

We give you thanks for you are faithful.

You have promised your presence,

and your love never fails.

Now make us into agents of your grace.

Make your presence known to others

through our love, our compassion, our helping hands.

Speak your creating story through our voices.

And where darkness reigns and silence deafens,

may your Living Word shine through,

from Ukraine to Sudan and Syria to Korea,

from the streets of Nigeria to the streets of Chicago,

from the halls of congress to the halls of our homes,

let your voice ring out,

telling a story of love so great that death cannot end it,

a story of life for all people,

a story of your presence in, with, and among your people.

We seek you, O God.

Not just your path, but you.

Reveal yourself again in your church,

and in your world.

Show your face, and let your voice be heard.

Take your church by the hand

and lead us along your path,

telling us your story again and again

until we cannot help but tell it too.

It is in you that we live, and move, and have our being,

and so we listen for your heart,

until ours beats in time with yours.

We are your people, Lord, your creation and your beloved.

Make us into your body, loving, serving, and caring for the world.

We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, the Living Word, who taught us to pray together…

 

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

 

POP: living your story

God of love, you speak worlds into being,
your word fills us,
your breath gives us life.
We give you thanks for your story,
from before time began to long past our imaginations
you have been spinning the greatest story every told.
Help us to see your creative hand at work,
and to join our stories to yours.
We give you thanks for your presence with us,
and for your grace that makes all things new.
We give you thanks for your love that lights our way,
and for your peace that passes all understanding.

Though we do not always feel grateful,
we continue to give you thanks and praise, O Lord,
even as we pray for your world in need.
Break our hearts for what breaks yours, O God,
that your word may enter in and take root,
growing and bearing fruit for your kingdom.
We bring before you those who are grieving,
and we pray for your comfort that wipes away every tear.
We bring before you those who despair,
and pray for your hope that illumines possibility.
We bring before you those who are sick,
and pray for your healing of body, mind, and spirit.
We bring before you a world of violence and war,
and pray for your spirit of peace to enter all our hearts.
We lift up to you this, your church,
and pray for your light of love to fill us,
heal our divisions, help us to trust and follow you,
guide us in your way,
that the story we tell with our lives may be a story of grace.

God, you created in love, you redeem for love, you sustain with love.
Help us to love in the same way that you love us—
with passion, with fierce hope, with challenge as with comfort.
May our encounter with you transform us into the people you call us to be,
loving, serving, and caring for the world.
We pray these and all things in the name of the One who loved all the way to the cross and beyond the tomb, Jesus the Christ, who taught us to pray together…

 

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

confession: what story?

Call to Confession

Scripture reminds us not to think of ourselves more highly than we should, for we fool only ourselves and obscure the image of God. When we confess our sin, God’s truth and life shines in us. Before God, with the people of God, let us confess to our brokenness. Let us pray.

Prayer of Confession

God, you are a storyteller, and you made us in your image. You call us to share your story in our words and in our actions.
But more often our lips are sealed. We are afraid to tell your story. We think we don’t know enough, and we are afraid of offending. We prefer to keep you to ourselves.

~silence~

Your word, O Lord, is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
Forgive us for letting the book gather dust on the shelf, and the story gather dust in our hearts.
Speak to us, and through us, Lord.
Help us to know you so well that we cannot help but love you, and to love you so much we cannot help but serve you, sharing your good news in every place, for it is in doing your will that we find perfect freedom. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness

The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting—God’s story began before time and continues through and beyond us. As people forgiven and free, let us believe and live this good news: In Jesus Christ, we are loved and can love. Thanks be to God! Amen.

 

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

confession: we have forgotten

One:    Your story stretches from age to age, O God, and you call us to be a part of it.

All:     But we have forgotten your story, left the book to gather dust on the shelf, hoping the bits we remember here and there will be enough.

One:    And still you speak, bringing life and love into being.

All:     But so often we want to write our own story, taking center stage as star of our own play.

One:    Forgive us, O God, for we have not sought your word as a light to our path.

All:     Forgive us, O God, for we have assumed your word was captive on an ancient page.

One:    Forgive us, O God, for we have relied on our own strength, rather than on your living wisdom.

All:     Forgive us, O God, and guide us as we return to you. 

All sung: Kyrie Eleison

silence

 

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

Prayer for Illumination–plot twists

Submitted by Rev. Scott Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church.

God of life,
draw us in by the detailed descriptions;
mesmerize us by the development of the characters;
keep us on the edge of our seats while the plot twists and turns;
and help us discover within the stories of Scripture
our own narrative unfolding before our very eyes,
Amen.