Tag Archives: responsive

Benediction (Iona) | Easter (Year C)

This is a prayer from the Iona community. It is a responsive benediction that is best led (in my opinion) not from the pulpit, lectern, font, or table but in the very midst of the people with confidence, conviction, and clarity.*

The cross, we will take it.
The bread, we will break it.
The pain, we will bear it.
The joy, we will share it.
The Gospel, we will live it.
The love, we will give it.
The light, we will cherish it.
The darkness, God shall perish it!

This is a prayer that I first experienced at a worship service at Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. I have used this as the responsive benediction for most of the Sundays that I have been preaching at Silver Creek Presbyterian Church in Rome, Georgia. I love this prayer for many reasons. First and foremost, like any good liturgy, the language is rhythmic, poetic and yet very easy to grasp. The responsive nature of the benediction gives a sense of shared responsibility among the congregation. It is almost as if the one presiding and the congregation are making a promise to themselves or, perhaps more accurately, are keeping a promise already made to them by God. As this prayer is uttered as we prepare to follow the Word into the world, this prayer empowers us by reminding us that it is our job to cherish the light and it is God’s job to perish the darkness!

*worship spaces differ greatly. For some communities, the table and font are the central focal point with the congregation gathered around them. If so, this prayer would best be done from that location. If not, care should be taken that the physical location of this liturgy is intimate!

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Responsive Confession | Easter Sunday (Year C)

The following responsive confession is from the United Church of Christ.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.
We anoint the death of our dreams, even before we allow them a chance to live.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in,
they did not find the body.
We give up on hope so easily, on the expectation that God will do something incredible.
While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them
God speaks through the strangers we encounter, but we don’t hear,
we don’t want to be challenged by a new word.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here, but has risen.”
We seek life from the death of the past. We hold to that which breathes only in our memory;
to mistakes long past; to hurts long inflicted; to strings attached to forgiveness.

“Remember how Jesus told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man, the ‘Human One,’ must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified and on the third day rise again.”
Too often torn and scattered, we feel unworthy of the healing of God’s grace or the promise of restoration.
Then they remembered Jesus’ words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.
We forget the promises of God, even those whispered just moments ago. We want proof before we’ll believe, before we’ll be faithful.
Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.
We don’t risk enough to trust the messengers in everyday appearance. We don’t dare ourselves to understand.
But these words seemed to the apostles an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
We think our problems too big for God! We act like frightened disciples, unwilling to allow
God into our crowded lives, unwilling to make room for the One who creates and creates
again.

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in,
he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
We are like Peter. We deny God; we fail to share the miracle; we keep the good news to ourselves.

Forgive us, God, for our disbelief—for seeing an empty tomb and thinking a cruel trick;
for discovering a discarded burial cloth yet still holding to death;
for hearing words of life but keeping them to ourselves. Restore us even in our unbelief. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon:

“Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11 NRSV) Do not be afraid! Receive the good news with great joy! God’s promises are true.
Christ has risen. Believe and be alive.

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Congregation Liturgy (Psalm 126) | Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

I stumbled across the liturgy by Dan Schifeling and was intrigued by the contextual specificity of this prayer. He takes the fortunes that are named in the Psalm and combines them with the narrative of his community. How might you use the language of Psalm 126 to give voice to the grace that God has bestowed to the community which you serve?

When God brought our people back from captivity in Babylon,
we were like those who dream.
Then we shook with laughter, then we shouted for joy!
When God came to us in a poor baby born in a stable…
When God spoke to us from a mountain top…
When God shattered the power of the tomb…
When God poured out Spirit from the heavens…
When God built our church on a farm field…
When God blessed us with children and a church school…
When God called us into small groups…
When God empowered us to serve the hungry…
When God comforted our broken hearts…
When God helped our youth build houses for the poor…
When God strengthened us in a time of illness…
When God joined our voice for justice with other churches…
When God inspired us to create wonderful music…
When God moved our 3rd & 4th graders to raise a mile of pennies…
When God started us thinking about an elevator…
When God opened the way for us to welcome all kinds of people…
Then we shook with laughter, then we shouted for joy!
May we always trust in your goodness, Loving God!
May our tears of sorrow water seeds of joy.
May our times of tribulation bear a harvest of justice and peace.

~ written by Dan Schifeling, and posted on the WorshipCalls blog. http://worshipcalls.blogspot.ca/

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Prayer of Confession (1) | Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

The following liturgy was shared via LiturgyLink.

One: God, you have called us into community, and gifted us with ways to celebrate your presence and to mark our journey.

All: Forgive us for the times when we have believed that our way is the only way, trusting in the words and actions rather than in the One to whom they point.

One: Through words ancient and new, you speak. Through bread and water, journey and prayer, feast and fast, you show us your way.

All: When these rituals of your people become nothing but empty rote recitation, not worth our attention, forgive us.

One: We hear your words of invitation, but sometimes we are certain they do not apply to us.

Reader 1: We are not worthy of your notice.

Reader 2: We are too smart and sophisticated for such things.

Reader 3: We aren’t sure we believe it all.

All: We are not ready, we do not understand, if you knew what we’d done…

One: And you say: You are my beloved, and I have called you by name.

All: We offer ourselves to you, O God, not because we are good, but because you are good.

sung: Kyrie Eleison

silence

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

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Call to Worship | First Sunday in Lent (Year C)

One: The Lord has called upon us
Many: and we will answer!
One: The Lord is our refuge and our stronghold;
Many: in God we will place our trust.
One: Do you dwell in the shelter of the Most High?
Many: We abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
One: Let us continue our Lenten journey;
Many: Let us depart for it is Christ who leads the way!

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Responsive Charge and Benediction for Transfiguration Sunday (Year C)

Responsive Charge

Leader: Go from this mountain, you people of God.
All: We go with the wisdom of God’s Word.
Leader: Go from this mountain, you sisters in Christ.
Women: We will go and follow the Lord.
Leader: Go from this mountain, you brothers in Christ.
Men: We will go and follow the King.
Leader: Go from this mountain, you young ones in Christ.
Youth: We will go and follow the Holy One.
Leader: Go from this mountain, and go forth in the Spirit.
All: We will go for Christ shows the way.

Benediction

And as you go from this mountain, you Sisters and Brothers in Christ, go with the assurance that the God who creates you, who redeems you, and who sustains you goes with you from this place to wherever the path may lead. Amen.

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Call to Worship for Transfiguration Sunday (Year C)

Leader: Come to the mountain, you people of God.
All: We come to hear God’s Word.
Leader: Come, you sisters, to proclaim God’s greatness,
Women: for the Lord is righteous and just!
Leader: Come, you brothers, to proclaim God’s goodness,
Men: for the Lord is the Holy One!
Leader: Come, you youth, to proclaim God’s brilliance,
Youth: for the Lord is clothed with light!
Leader: Come, you people, to the mountain of God
All: for we are gathered to worship our Lord!

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