a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Confession: least likely

Your faithfulness is from generation to generation, O God. When we have lost our way, or turned away, you have sought us out, in the least likely of places. We confess that sometimes we would prefer that you stayed in the box we built for you, keeping out of our affairs. The systems we have built work for us, and you disrupt them with your insistence on lifting up the lowly and filling the hungry while sending the rich away empty. Forgive our self-centered ways, our narrow vision of justice, and our restricted love. Show your strength and favor once again, and help us follow in your way, according to your promise. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: cheer at the expense of joy

Word of God, Breath of Life, come and live among us again. Clear away the things that clutter our hearts and lives, making it difficult to see and do your will. And where we have chosen to believe your way is obscure, preferring our way to yours, make your truth shine out. When we have chosen to focus on cheer at the expense of joy, forgive us and cause righteousness and praise to spring up in your world once again. We pray in the name of the coming Christ. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

A Spark of…. Advent Candle Liturgies (year B)

Week 1 (Hope) Candle (Isaiah 64, Mark 13)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is over-full of things that do not satisfy.
We watch and prepare, for divine presence to shake our complacency.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of hope lights the way—
Clearing our vision and renewing our minds
To recognize God’s glory in our midst.

 

Week 2 (Peace) Candle (Isaiah 40, Mark 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is not ready, the field is still uneven,
Yet we watch and prepare to see God’s glory revealed, together.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of peace lights the way—
Despite our fast-fading courage,
We w
ill follow the voice calling us in the wilderness toward Shalom.

 

Week 3 (Joy) Candle (Isaiah 61, John 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
Days grow short and to-do lists lengthen.
We watch and prepare, for the Word is coming, full of grace and truth.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of joy lights the way—
Though the flame flickers against the shadows,
We will rejoice in God’s covenant of everlasting love.

 

Week 4 (Love) Candle (Luke 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The time draws near, each moment magnified
As we watch and prepare, for God is doing great things!
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of love lights the way—
Turning the world around to match the promise:
That we love because God first loved us.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

Confession: fading away

Holy and loving God, we hear your voice in the wilderness, and we come, seeking a glimpse of your glory in these days of lengthening darkness. We look for your star shining in the night sky, for the flickering candle holding back the shadows, and we strain our ears to listen for your word amidst the clamor of the festive season.
We confess that we don’t always want to hear what you are saying. We don’t want to turn and go another way, nor to stop and wait in the quiet when there is fun to be had. We are skeptical of comfort that is more than warm fuzzy feelings, or that asks something of us. We confess that we are prone to fading away like flowers and grass, unable to withstand challenges to our way of thinking or our way of life. And yet still you call, still you tell us to take comfort, still you come among us and live within us and believe in us.
Forgive us, O God, our fickle hearts, so often full of things other than you. Forgive our tendency to wander away, to prefer shallow comfort to your deep peace. Open us again to your love, that we may walk with you in every way. We pray in the name of Christ, the prince of peace. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: work of your hand

You are the potter, and we are the clay, O God. Remind us yet again that we are the work of your hand, not the other way around. When we have insisted you act according to our rules, when we have closed our ears to your call, and warped your design, forgive us. Press and mold us anew, that we may better reflect your image. Give us courage to work not for ourselves, but for the coming of your kingdom that makes all things new. We pray in the name of the coming Christ. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

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