a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Approach and confession: idols

God of love and justice, you are alpha and omega, beginning and end…and in between you are the breath of life, the rock on which we stand and the hand that holds us fast. We come into this place, gathered as your people, listening for the voice of your Spirit, still speaking in the wilderness of our hearts. We know your commandments, we can say all the right words…and yet we confess to you that our lives are not always a demonstration of your love. We have looked for loopholes, or created reasons to follow our own way. We admit that we have trusted in other gods—gods of money, security, family, or power. We are on a first name basis with the gods of greed and jealousy, and we are loathe to turn away from the god of privilege. Our everyday actions often proclaim any number of idols, and we come now to ask your forgiveness and help. We cannot leave them behind without your strong hand to guide us in the right way. Give us once again the joy of your grace, and set us on the sure foundation of your word. It is in you, lord, that we live and move and have our being. As you forgive so freely, fill us again with the blessing of creator, redeemer, and sustainer, that we may show your glory in every word, thought, and deed. We pray in the name of Christ, whose faithfulness is our hope and our light, and who taught us to pray together…

 

Submitted by Rev Teri Peterson, Marchmont St Giles parish, Edinburgh Scotland

Approach and Confession: complicit

Most loving and gracious God, we give you thanks for your unending faithfulness. We come into your presence with praise and with hope, for you are good, and you call us your own. You created us in your image, and you shepherd us through this life, calling us by name and leading us in your way. We confess that we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have wandered from your path, choosing to walk in shadow rather than light. We have built fences and believed they make us better neighbors, we have created requirements and believed they were yours, we have stood silent as the door was shut, we have called for peace without working for justice. Forgive us, Lord. Forgive our inadequate imaginations, for we cannot see the height and depth and breadth of your love. Forgive our closed eyes and hearts and minds, keeping the light at bay. Forgive our complicity in the systems of injustice that make the world go round. Open us to know your truth, and to live according to your word. Help us to experience the fullness of your grace, and then make us true reflections of that grace for others. Guide us once again into the abundant life that you desire for all creation. We ask in the name of the One whose love we see on the cross and in the empty tomb, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Marchmont St. Giles Parish Church, Edinburgh, Scotland

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