The following liturgy is from the United Church of Canada.
Like Zacchaeus, help us, O God,
to lose our fear of stepping outside our place,
of doing things differently,
of seeking Christ in our lives.
Christ’s invitation awaits us
to start anew,
to make amends,
to live in Christ’s way.
God of change and renewal,
we give thanks for your love
that makes this possible
for each one of us.
Liturgy by Stephen M. Fearing.
I haven’t been writing a lot of liturgy lately so I am trying to get back into the swing of things. Here is a call to confession, prayer of confession, and assurance of pardon for this upcoming Sunday, November 3rd, 2013. It is based off of Psalm 32. As always, I welcome your thoughts!
Call to Confession:
The Psalmist tells us that our silence causes us to waste away.
There is so much that is heavy upon us,
so much that we carry.
so much that we dare not utter.
Let us dare together to declare our brokenness.
Let us no longer remain silent.
Let us acknowledge our sin to God.
God of Goodness and Mercy,
You created us good and we have not lived up to your expectation.
We have stayed silent when we should have spoken.
We have spoken when we should have stayed silent.
We have tried to hide from you rather than trust your protection.
We have been chosen to be covered by our sin
when we could have been covered by your goodness.
We have done all these things…
We are doing all these things…
We will do these things…
Hear our prayer this day…
God of Deliverance,
You create us even this day and in the days to come.
This alone is our hope.
This alone is our life.
This alone is our salvation.
Create within us a hearts of repentance, trust, and faithfulness.
Surround us with glad cries of deliverance
that we may hear your grace,
receive your song,
and sing your goodness.
This we pray in the name of our Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon:
Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Friends, hear the good news of the Gospel:
God has heard our cry,
God has forgiven us,
God has renewed us.
I found this great new text by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette at her website here. It is sung to the tune of AURELIA (to which “The Church’s One Foundation” is often sung). It is based off the gospel lectionary passage for this upcoming Sunday, November 3rd (24th Sunday after Pentecost – Year C). Enjoy!
Zacchaeus was a tax man who one day climbed a tree,
For he was short in stature and said he could not see.
And yet he had a problem that mattered even more:
He didn’t see the suffering his greed had caused the poor.
O Lord, you saw Zacchaeus — so wealthy, yet alone.
You said, “Come down — and hurry! I’m coming to your home.”
For you broke bread with sinners and saw within each one
A person loved and treasured — God’s daughter or God’s son.
It wasn’t just the treetop that helped Zacchaeus see;
Your love and welcome showed him how different life could be.
He said that he’d start over and work to make things fair;
He’d speak the truth, bring justice, and find new ways to share.
O Christ, you bid us welcome and help us all to see!
May we respond by building a just society.
Then children won’t be hungry and all will share your bread.
Then those who now must struggle will live in joy instead.
For more great hymns by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, check out her website here.
The following is a Holy Week Devotional Guide organized by Hillary Ann Golden via asacredjourney.net. The opening prayers for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are taken from prayers previously posted on this blog. May God continue to bless you through this Holy Week as we prepare to praise the Risen Christ! You can download this free devotional guide here.
I will be preaching on the following lectionary text this upcoming Sunday at Silver Creek Presbyterian Church.
1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (NRSV)
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
The following text will be preached at Silver Creek Presbyterian Church this upcoming Sunday, December 23rd.
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be
a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
I will be preaching on the following passages at Silver Creek Presbyterian Church on Sunday, December 16th. I welcome your feedback to help get the conversation going as we journey together through these lectionary texts. Feel free to comment on the blog or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Grace and peace, Stephen.
Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgements against you,
he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
so that you will not bear reproach for it.
I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the Lord.
John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’
And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’
So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.