a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: in the presence of mystery

Pulpit side: Come, people of God—make a joyful noise!

Lectern side: Come, beloved of Christ—lift up your offering of praise!

Travellers: We gather in the presence of mystery,
grace known and unknown,
promises fulfilled and still awaited.

“Locals”: We have received beyond measure,
building our hope on a foundation of love.

Morning ppl: The Spirit of truth fills this place,
empowering us to lead lives
worthy of Christ’s calling.

Night owls: The Spirit of truth fills this place,
revealing the Way:
to love as we have been loved.

Light eyes: In the triune God we live and move
and have our being,
and so we come to worship, one by one,

Dark eyes: to be remade as the Body of Christ,
together and whole,

Outdoorsy: making God’s justice and peace visible

Indoorsy: even in our days.

Over 45: Come, Body of Christ—see what God has done

Under 45: and see what God will do!

Submitted by Rev Teri Peterson–originally written for a liturgy class at Montreat Conference Center’s Arts Recreation and Worship Conference, as examples of options other than “one – all” or “women – men” responsive liturgy.

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

confession: help us act on hope

Faithful God, your promise is forever true, your care for us is sure. We confess that we have often believed we will have to take care of ourselves, forgetting your promise and your call. We look at the world, and we choose fear rather than hope and love. When it seems life is unraveling, we look for ways to defend ourselves and ensure our security and our desire, rather than following your way. Forgive us, Lord, and give us courage to hope—and to act on hope—in the face of fear. Amen.    ~silence~

 

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

confession: lip service

Your word still rings true, Lord, generation after generation. You are a God who keeps promises. Yet we confess that we would prefer your work to conform to our timeline, and even better to our desires. We sometimes pay lip service to your word while seeking our own glory. And when we are frustrated and yearn for an answer, our words are often bland and cliché while our faith is in turmoil. Forgive us, O God, for our impatience and our unwillingness to be completely honest, even with you. Help us to trust you enough to grow into real relationship with you. Amen.

 

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

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

confession: just enough to be dangerous

Creator God, you made us to live together with you. We confess that we are sorely tempted by the opportunity to be our own gods. We admit to you that we have tried shortcuts to wisdom—we think we know what is best, when really we know just enough to do harm to your creation and your beloved people. Forgive us for acting so arrogantly out of our limited human perspective. Forgive our disobedience, and give us ears to hear your word, and hearts ready to obey your will. Amen.

 

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

CTW: in the beginning

One: In the beginning, when God created, God looked at the world and called it good.
All: Not only way back when, but even now, God is creating, calling us to join the work
of making the world good.
One: Earth and water and air, plants and animals and people, made from dirt and word and love.
All: God gifts us all this and more, so that we can glorify and enjoy God forever.
One: Come, let us worship God together.

 

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

communion: feasting on the word

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 both thanks and praise!

all sing verse 1:
Come, thou Fount of every blessing; tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above;
praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of God’s unchanging love!

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe,
for your grace overflows in your world,
creating and redeeming and sustaining all things.
Your streams of mercy flow from your glory
bringing living water into every place,
nourishing creation, making it bear fruit that will last,
filling our cup until it runs over, spilling out abundant life.
We give you thanks for your generous providing,
and for your call to be your people.
We have wandered in the desert, we have turned our backs,
we have followed the path, we have walked on ahead,
and still your Spirit calls us, tugging us back to your way,
shining your light and singing your grace
so we might follow in faith.

all sing verse 2:
Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.

It is with gratitude, praise, and hearts lifted high that we come to your table,
calling to mind your Son who walked among us,
who ate with sinners and tax collectors and women
the same as he ate with Pharisees and disciples and neighbors.
As he reached out to touch the sick, may we reach out with healing hands.
As he went to the bad neighborhoods and visited the homes of the poor,
may we go out to where your people long for good news.
As he spread health and holiness with every step, every word, every breath,
may we live as if grace is contagious,
sharing your love with people near and far,
those we meet and those we would rather avoid.

As we meet at the feast of your family, O God,
we carry with us those who hunger and thirst,
who cannot imagine the abundance of this table,
who feel excluded or forgotten,
who live with fear and violence,
who wait for justice, who long for peace,
who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.
While we celebrate this day, some in your family see no cause for celebration.
While we have feasted on your word,
some still see reading as an impossible luxury.
While we have learned and spoken and prayed together,
some have been silenced and held aside.
When we break bread together, break our hearts too,
and then by your Spirit bind us together with all your people
to seek your purpose and work your will.
Give us a glimpse of your kingdom, where the whole human family eats together,
and strengthen us with the courage to build your kingdom here on earth.

all sing verse 3:
O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart; O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.

We offer our hearts and lives to you, O God,
praying that you would use grain and grape
to write your covenant of love within us.
until grace overflows.
We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, host at this and every table, who taught us to pray together… the Lord’s Prayer

 

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

communion: do not be afraid

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe,
for your promise is true, you are with us always, even to the end of the age.
We give you thanks
for in the beginning you created with a word
and the whole world reflects your glory.
We give you thanks,
for with a word you called for yourself a people
gave us your breath, your name, your blessing.
We give you thanks,
for your prophets through the ages
who shared your vision, spoke your truth,
called us to your way even when we turned our backs on you,
our eyes set on our own design.
When we would not listen,
your persistent promise sought us,
your word became flesh
you walked among us and offered your very body, your life and love,
to bring us home in relationship to you.
Even when we acted out of fear,
uncertain what a life based on love could accomplish,
you reached out to save us.
Even when we speak out of fear,
blaming and accusing, shouting without listening,
you whisper your still small voice,
do not be afraid, I am with you.
Gratitude and praise fill our hearts, O God,
and lift us up to your heavenly banquet,
where we join our voices with your people throughout the ages
proclaiming your goodness,
praying for courage to live from your grace.
Open our eyes to see your glory at this table,
and to see that your guest list extends far beyond our own.
Give us courage to enact your kingdom feast at our own tables.
In a world where some thrive on fear,
where profit is often more important than people,
and where violence seems the order of the day,
fill us again with your Spirit of peace.
Let your whisper be heard above the roar
of bombs and bullets
of shouts and jeers
of advertising and posturing.
We carry these burdens to your table, Lord Jesus,
and pray that you would carry the load of your world’s suffering—
hear the cries of those who thirst for clean water and for justice,
of those who speak truth and long for someone to believe them,
of those who look at the week ahead and feel only despair.
Give us hope in the midst of grief, and illness, and political campaigns.
Give us courage to live as if your promise is true.
Give us a sure sense of your abiding presence,
in bread and wine,
in the fellowship of friends and the meeting of strangers,
in the work of your kingdom.
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear your Spirit among us and within us.
Feed us at your table,
fill us with your grace,
and then send us out to be your people,
your body on earth,
overflowing with your hope in the world.
We pray these and all things in the name of Christ, host at this and every table, who taught us to pray together…

 

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

POP: our help in ages past

O God, you have been our help in ages past,
and you are our hope for years to come.
We give you thanks for calling us together to worship,
and for hearing us when we pray.
Before the word is on our lips, you know the desires and cries of our hearts,
your healing balm covers our hurt and your spirit of joy dances in our midst.
We celebrate together, rejoicing with those who rejoice,
for life and family, health and opportunity.
Help us to live in gratitude, recognizing all you have done for us.
And we lift up to you a world in need—
people in need of healing,
communities in need of comfort,
nations in need of guidance.
Where there is violence, give us courage to make peace.
Where there is fear, give us courage to stand with hope.
Where there is illness and disease, give us courage to reach out with healing hands.
Open our hearts, O God—break our hearts open for what breaks yours.
Pour in your hope, and then lead us into your world unafraid,
ready to stand with your people near and far,
as signs of your kingdom here on earth, among us and within us,
hope overflowing,
until all creation sings your grace.
We pray these and all things in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

 

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