a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Confession: conditional faith

Voice 1: Show us a sign!
Voice 2: Make us understand!
Voice 3: If you can explain, we will believe!
All: We confess, Holy One, that often our faith is conditional. We trust you when we can see where you are going, and we believe your word when it makes sense with what we already know. The rest of the time…our voices can often be heard in the midst of the crowd demanding that you meet our expectations. Forgive us. Help us to trust where we have not seen. Teach us your way, foolish step by foolish step, until we find ourselves living your wisdom. Amen

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: come with us

Lord of the Way, you said that where you are, your servants will be. We confess that we would prefer you to come with us, rather than for us to go with you. Too often you are found in places we would rather avoid, with people we are afraid of, doing things we wish you wouldn’t. Forgive our inward vision, and call us to your side once again. Give us courage to follow where you lead, to bring others along on the journey, and to live as people filled with your grace, your hope, your truth, your life. We pray in the name of the One who was obedient even to the cross, and beyond to the empty tomb, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: we want to see you, but

We want to see you, Jesus…but sometimes we are too afraid to ask for help.
We want to see you…but we aren’t sure if those people should be allowed to come too.
We want to see you…but we don’t love the way you talk about sacrifice and death, or about outcasts and sinners.
We want to see you…but we also want to know how it’ll go first.
Forgive us.
Fill us
with courage to step forward and seek,
with openness to those around us,
with vision to see your big picture,
with trust to follow you.
In Christ’s name, and for his sake. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession – Turning Our Backs

Holy and Beloved God, Sovereign of the Universe, we pray for forgiveness. It is so easy to lose your way—even with the light of the sun and the moon to guide us, we often prefer to turn our backs and head out on our own path. Then, when we have adjusted to the darkness, turning back to your light seems to hurt our eyes, and we squeeze them shut to block out our pain and the pain around us. Help us to open our eyes again. To trust that the pain of seeing the world as you see it is reduced when we do your work. Hear the pains and burdens we bear—and take them from our hearts, that we may instead be filled with your heavenly joy and love.

 

Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bixby, OK

 

(for a service remembering Buzz Aldrin taking communion on the moon)

confession: we are not looking

All:       You walk among us, O Lord, hoping we will see your face in the crowd. We confess that most of the time, we are not looking. And when we do look, we are afraid of what we see. We close our ears and laugh it off when you call our names. When we are too wrapped up in our own concerns to recognize you, forgive us. When we are too certain, and there is no room for your mystery, forgive us. When we have locked our doors, our minds, and our hearts, forgive us. Show us your face again, living God. Teach us to see, and to welcome you in. Amen. ~silence~

 

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

POP: on the wings of your Spirit

God of our awakening…

we have named our fears;
we have named those things
that hold us back
and keep us from moving beyond
where we are.

You have taken our fears…
our inhibitions…
and our complacencies…
and you have invited us
uninhibited…courageously…
passionately and COMpassionately
to fly on the wings of your Spirit.

We look to the sky…
we look on the streets…
we look in the alleyways…
we look in our homes…
we look to the mountains and the rivers…
the valleys and the seas…
we look into the eyes of one another…
those we know,
and those we are meeting for the first time…
we look at individuals,
we look into communities…
we look throughout your whole creation…
and we see potential.

Where there is despair…we see the potential for hope.
Where there is hunger…we see the potential for satisfaction.
Where there is war…we see the potential for peace.
Where there is prejudice…we see the potential for fellowship.
Where there is oppression…we see the potential for justice.

This list could go on…
but when we dare to look at the world through your eyes…
when we make enough room for your Spirit to enter in…
when we have the audacity
to trust your perfect vision for creation…
all there is to see is potential.

So inspire us…
in the midst of hatred and destruction,
abuse and neglect,
natural disasters and human-generated disasters…
inspire us with the stories of loving and building up,
respecting and caring,
helping and sharing and repairing…
so we may cling to your Spirit
as she leads us beyond where we are
into a way of life that reflects your goodness…

just as Jesus prayed…

OUR FATHER…

 

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

confession: painted with vision

Creator God, you paint the world with your vision, you whisper through our voices, you write on our hearts. Yet we turn our eyes away, close our ears, and harden our hearts. Where you have created, we have destroyed. Where you have brought together, we have divided. Where you have loved, we have ignored, and feared, and hated—often in your name. Forgive our lack of vision, and help us to see as you see, in order that we might love as you love.

~silence~

Assurance of Forgiveness

One:     God’s promise is sure: in Christ we are forgiven. Rejoice in God’s strength and live in Christ’s light.
All:       God is with us! We will love as we have been loved. Amen.

 

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

Advent Candles: light in the darkness

Advent Candle Liturgy 2014
(Narrative Lectionary Year 1: Habakkuk 1-2-3, Esther, Isaiah 42, Matthew 1)

One: In the darkness a light shines
though shadows lengthen, the flame burns bright.
All: Day by day God draws nearer;
day by day we prepare.

Hymn 350: Keep Your Lamps, verse 1

~the candle is lit~

One: In the depths of creation, God planted a vision
breathed it into life,
wrote it on our hearts.

add in week 2 (ideally a second single voice):
In every time and every place,
in this time and this place,
we are called to witness to real power, real authority:
Love made flesh.

then add on for week 3 (with 3rd voice):
God declares a new thing,
heavens and earth sing glory.
The promise is true,
and we are its messengers.

then add on for week 4 (4th voice):
Do not be afraid:
God is with us!

All: The Spirit calls us still to share the good news:
light shines, and darkness will never overcome it!

 

(It’s possible that each week we’ll begin with no candles lit, and light a new one between each additional segment.)

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

confession: abandoned your mission

God of all time, of history, of things present, and of things to come, we confess our own abandonment of the mission you have given us. You gave us power through your Spirit and an indefinite timeline for your return. We have squandered time and wasted our gifts to fulfill selfish motives, separating us from one anotherLike the disciples, we look to the sky for Jesus, instead of in the faces of the least of these among us. Forgive us, O God, and make us whole again. Reignite a holy passion within us, that we may fulfill your charge to be witnesses of your grace and glory. Amen.
 
Submitted by Rev. Elaine Murray Dreeben, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas

confession: come and see, go and tell

You call us to come and see, and then to go and tell. So often we are looking the other way—away from your image shining in the face of another, away from your people in need, away from the things we would rather not see. So often our words are not of grace, justice, love, and peace, but rather words of hurt, exclusion, and fear. Forgive us for praying for vision while holding our eyes closed. Forgive us for holding firmly to the logs in our own eyes even as you offer us lenses to see what you see. Forgive us for keeping silent, and for speaking our own desires rather than yours. Give us courage to witness your glory and testify to your good news. Give us grace to admit our shortcomings and still point to you. Give us strength to follow you, wherever you might lead.

~silence~

You call us to come and see, then go and tell. Help us to follow in faith. Amen.