a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: the Spirit is with us

One: As we walk into the wilderness, setting our face toward the cross,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: As we focus and prepare, fasting by letting go and by taking on,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: Facing temptations, finding help from unexpected quarters,
All: The Holy Spirit is with us.
One: Come, let us seek God’s way together.


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession: we resist

God who pushes and pulls, coaxing and sending, we confess to you that we often resist your movement, wishing you would let us go our own way. If we’re completely honest, we give in to temptation more often than we resist. We confess that we have preferred to gorge ourselves on things other than your word; we have longed for power over others; we have bargained with your promise and begged for minor miracles. Forgive us, Holy One. Show us your way in the wilderness. Guide us to your path, and teach us to follow. We pray in the name of Christ, Amen.


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: we cannot imagine a way out

Loving God, you gift your whole creation with abundant life, plenty for all. So often we see only what we lack, and we cannot imagine a way out of the rules and systems we have set up to portion out your gifts. We confess that we are often more tied to our human regulation than we are to your ever-expanding grace. We confess that there is often no room in our faith for you to speak a new word, especially one that breaks down those boxes we put each other in. Forgive us. Open our ears to hear you speaking, and our hearts to embrace your purpose. Amen.          ~silence~

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

confession: in the wilderness

Call to Confession
Like John the Baptist and like the Israelites,
we often find ourselves in wildernesses.
Sometimes, the toughest wildernesses are the ones we build ourselves.
Join me in confessing the wild sin that so often takes over our lives.


Prayer of Confession
Forgiving God,
in this season of Advent,
we welcome the coming of your light
in a world filled with darkness.
We confess to you the ways in which we have added to that darkness
rather than obeyed our call to live as children of the light.
We ask your forgiveness:
for times when we worship violence and belittle peace,
for times when we fight amongst ourselves,
for times when we forget that we are all children of God,
for times when we do not stand up for the helpless among us.
By your tender mercy,
may the dawn from on high break upon us,
and give light to those of us that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace. Amen.


Assurance of Forgiveness
By the mercy and grace of our Good God,
we may live in peace with one another
for we have been forgiven
and Christ welcomes us
as a parent welcomes home a long-lost child.
Alleluia! Amen!


Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

confession: if only…

The whole congregation complained in the wilderness, saying

“If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of [insert your town here],
where we gathered up our wealth and ate our fill every day;
for you have brought us out into this wilderness
to kill this whole congregation with hunger.”

“Draw near to the Lord, who has heard your complaining.
Look deeper into the wilderness;
God is there, not here.
God will provide enough for each,
and the price is that no one will have too much.”

That is how you will know who your God is,
when you see whether everyone has enough.

Submitted by Rev. Doug Hagler, First Presbyterian Church, Phoenixville PA

confession: idolizing past and future

Call to Confession

If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation—the old has gone, and the new has come. Yet we often have difficulty living in that new reality, clinging to the old ways that have passed. When we confess our sin, we make room for God’s truth to dwell in us, clearing the path for a new way of life. Before God, with the people of God, let us confess our faults and our failings. Let us pray.

Prayer of Confession

God, your faithfulness is for all generations, yet we often have a hard time living with you in this generation.
We love to look back, idolizing the past while forgetting we wear rose-colored glasses. We love our anxiety about the future, fretting about our individual long term security. We love our ideas about you, our lofty words and abstract concepts that do not affect our everyday lives.
We confess that it is rare for us to trust, to love, to follow with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Forgive us when we trap you in our memories or our intellects. Forgive us when we forget that you are also right here, right now, with a calling and a promise for us in this time and this place.


Gracious God,
speak into our wilderness again, that we may learn to be your people. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. From before the beginning until long beyond our imagination, God’s love endures. Know that you are forgiven, loved and free. Thanks be to God! Amen.


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