Tag Archives: confession

Awaken Us: A Confession for Romans 13:8-14

Living God,

You beckon us to wake from our sleep,

to open our eyes to the goodness of your reign,

the injustice of our world, and the gap in between.

You call us to follow in the path of your love.

Forgive us, O God, when we choose the easy way.

Forgive us, O God, when we choose the selfish way, the fast way,

the successful way, the nice way,

the friendly way, the comfortable way.

Convict us, awaken us, empower us, and enliven us

to follow the Way of justice and love.

Amen.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under confession, liturgy, prayer, Uncategorized

Common Ground: Liturgy from the Garden

A few years ago, I planted my first vegetable garden. I fell in love with the way the soil felt under my fingernails, with the looks of surprise on neighbors’ faces when I brought them fresh vegetables, and, of course, with the taste of a freshly picked cherry tomato, still warm from the summer sun.

I often find metaphors in the garden, and, luckily for me, so did Jesus. This liturgy was written for Central Presbyterian Church, based on the lectionary gospel for this Sunday: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23.

 

Garden

My happy place

Opening Sentences

Listen, O people, for the word of God,

Giving seed to the sower and bread to the hungry.

Listen, O people, for the word of God,

Growing trees in the desert and fruit in the wilderness.

Listen O people, for the word of God,

Planting faith in the weary and hope in the desperate.

Listen O people, for the word of God,

And worship God with gladness.

Prayer of Confession

God the maker of all things good,

Have mercy upon your creation.

We gather on Sundays to nourish our faith,

But we find the seeds scorched in the light of Monday morning.

We want to bear fruits of compassion and kindness,

But we  fall into selfish habits,

and our discipleship withers.

Forgive us, God of mercy.

Shower us with your grace, and free us to try again.

The Affirmation of Faith draws from several of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s writings. While his words are not explicitly about gardening, they ring in my head every time my hands are in the soil. Weeds in one corner of the garden mean weed seeds in every corner. Earthworms in one place means good soil in another. Pesticide in one place means poison in every place. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. 

Affirmation of Faith Adapted excerpts from the writings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We believe that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

We refuse to believe that we are unable to influence the events which surround us.

We refuse to believe that we are so bound to racism and war,

that peace, brotherhood and sisterhood are not possible.

We believe that we need to discover a way to live together in peace,

a way which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.

The foundation of this way is love.

We believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.

We believe that what self-centered people have torn down,

other-centered people can build up.

By the goodness of God at work within people,

we believe that brokenness can be healed.

1 Comment

Filed under liturgy, prayer, Uncategorized

Baptism of Christ: Matthew 3:11-17

This coming Sunday is one of my favorites: Baptism of Christ Sunday. It’s an occasion to reflect on who we are, whose we are, and how we are called to live. It’s a reason to remember that we are washed and claimed by a God and a community who love us, and we are marked with an irreversible sign of God’s grace.

"This is my son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased."

“This is my son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

The lectionary text for this week is Matthew 3:13-17, but I’ve chosen to include verses 11-12, as well. Those two verses give us John the Baptist’s words about Jesus, and they remind us that Jesus was not what the world expected. He wasn’t even what John expected. John predicted a Messiah who would bring fiery judgment. Instead, Jesus was a Messiah who would bring living water.

Matthew 3:11-17  ‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’ Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and to you come to me?  But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

Below is some liturgy I’ve written for this text. May it remind you of the flowing abundance of God’s grace in our lives.

Call to Worship                                                                                

Hear these words from Scripture. “And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” (Gen 1:6)

“Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty.” (John 4:14)

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Rev 22:1)

“And early in the morning Jesus came walking towards them on the water.” (Matt 24:25)

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (Isa 43:2)

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the waters were divided.” (Ex 14:21)

Let us worship the God of living water.

Let us worship the living God!

Prayer of Confession

God of grace and mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have heard your words of justice rolling down like waters, and yet we often ignore our neighbors’ cries. We have felt the presence of your spirit among us, and yet we are afraid to listen to your voice. Have mercy on us, O God. By your grace, cleanse us. By your providence, help us to learn from our mistakes. By your Holy Spirit, equip us to love and honor you. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Children of God, hear the good news: The grace of the Lord quenches our thirst, and God’s mercy satisfies our hunger. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. Amen.

Baptismal Prayer of Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

We truly praise you, almighty God, for your faithfulness to creation through the gift of water.

In water, you provide, nourish, and sustain all life. In water, we are born, and in water we are claimed.

Through water we are connected to one another and to all creation. Through water we are reminded of your covenant promise.

The scriptures tell us the stories of your faithfulness—your faithfulness expressed through the gift of water.

In the time of Noah, you sent a cleansing flood which offered renewal;

through the sign of the rainbow, you gave us a covenant.

In the days of Moses, you led your people Israel out of Egypt through the waters of the sea;

through the parting of waters you gave them freedom.

In the waters of the Jordan, Jesus was baptized and proclaimed as your son;

through the waters of the river, you gave us new life.

Through the baptism of his death and resurrection, you set us free.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon this water, that it may be a sign and seal of your abundant grace.

May the ones who passes through this water find new birth.

May we know that we are cleansed and redeemed, washed and claimed.

May these waters move us all from sin to righteousness as we seek to live as your faithful people.

All praise, honor, and glory to you, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, One God who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized