Sunday’s Coming: working toward February 5

The first Sunday in February–we all know what that means, right? the Souper Bowl, of course! Are you working with the Souper Bowl of Caring in your worship service? Will there be a special moment for that, a litany or prayer specific to that collection, or perhaps some kind of liturgical action that allows people to participate in the offering and in praying for those in your community who are hungry while most of us gorge ourselves on junk food in front of a huge TV?

And of course there’s the lectionary–where Jesus meets those people in need, and the disciples show the first signs of not really “getting it.” There’s the good news in Isaiah that God is there even when we fail, and will lift us up. Paul sets the bar really high by claiming that he can be all things to all people–no pressure, pastors and preachers! The Psalm reminds us that God provides and is to be praised–perfect for a call to worship, don’t you think?

What are you thinking this week? What phrases are turning around in your mind, begging to be turned into liturgy? What hymn ideas do you have? Anyone have an original communion liturgy to share, or a dedication of food pantry donations, or other liturgical seeds we can water and grow together?

Sunday’s Coming: working toward January 29

Maybe this week you’re particularly praying for God to put words in your mouth, to raise up a prophet…it’s the middle of winter for many of us, and it’s that part of the Epiphany season when we’re getting tired of the first chapter of Mark and simultaneously our minds are occupied with Lent planning. In many churches (well, okay, mine anyway!) it’s also chili cook-off season…which brings to mind Paul’s discourse on food. Perhaps when someone asks for your secret chili ingredient, you can say “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (ha!) Or maybe you’ll seriously take it on–part of our constant seeking for both holiness and wholeness (of ourselves and community) means thinking about even mundane things. Or maybe you think this aspect of Scripture and everyday life needs to be addressed.

Are you continuing with Mark, the demons who know Jesus, the command to be silent, and the amazement at Jesus’ authority?

Or is this perhaps a week you just need some good news–the kind you can find in the Psalm with its praise, promise, and remembering?

Whatever you’re working on this week, we’re here to create worship together. Drop in to the comments with your ideas, seeds of ideas, words or phrases, hymn ideas, or liturgical resources we need to know about, so we can join in the creative process together!

Sunday’s Coming: working toward January 22

Hello, worshipping friends! How are you this week? Are you weathering the storms, enjoying (or enduring) the snow, plotting a vacation? Whatever you’re doing, we hope you’re also looking forward to Sunday! We’re ready to create something new–are you?

Maybe this week you’re thinking that Paul’s admonition that time is short may not have been about history, but about something else. Or maybe it is–is time short? What does that look like in liturgy?

Maybe you’re pondering good ol’ Jonah and his experience–foreign to many preachers, heehee!–of giving a message and having people do exactly what he says!

Maybe you’re wondering if there’s a creative way to approach the call of the disciples. After all, we’re all called, but we also hear these stories all the time. What ways might we use liturgy and music to let this story speak to us in this time and place in a powerful way?

Maybe you’re praying with the psalmist, being reminded that God alone is the source of our life and faith.

Maybe you’re participating in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this Sunday (or another day during the week). We know about the resources over at textweek, but what else do you wish you had for a Christian Unity theme? What new things can we unite to write together?

Whatever your direction, join us here to create together!

Sunday’s Coming: working toward January 15

Here we are, beginning Ordinary Time all over again, but the stories are anything but ordinary. Or maybe they’re so ordinary they’re extraordinary. After all, it’s not uncommon to not understand what’s happening when we hear the voice of God…or what’s happening when someone else hears God’s voice but we don’t. And the affirmation of the psalmist that God surrounds us all the time is one that brings great comfort to many people (though I’ve met one or two who find it a little creepy!). And how often do we really recognize Jesus in the everyday things, like walking through town, enjoying a picnic under a tree, or talking with friends? Luckily, some of us have friends who will be persistent with their “come and see!” Or maybe this week you’re going with Paul’s very full text, reminding us that all things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial, and our bodies are temples of the Holy, so maybe we should treat them as such.

Personally, I wish I’d not procrastinated on an idea I had months ago, for a skit in which people hear many things but haven’t cultivated the relationship to know what to listen to. It seems it would make a perfect introduction to a sermon on Samuel–if you’ve never talked with God before, how would you know God’s voice? It’s fodder for a drama…but I didn’t get around to it in time. Maybe in three years!

SO: what are you thinking? What are you writing? What are you humming? Let’s write some liturgy together!

Who wants to look ahead this week?

No one wants to look ahead right now–and many of us aren’t really capable of looking much farther ahead than Saturday or Sunday. But we’re still here, working away, writing and dreaming and hoping and planning. So let’s keep this Christmas party going! What are you still working on? Where is your Christmas Eve sermon going? Are you singing any unusual carols? What are some of your congregation’s Christmas Eve traditions? For example: At Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, right before we sing Silent Night with our candles, someone reads a poem. For several years it’s been Ann Weems’ poem Unexpected from her book Kneeling in Bethlehem, but this year the reader asked for something new, so we’ll be hearing Hush by Lucinda Hynett. It was originally published in Alive Now in 2004.

Sssh.
Can you hear it?
An expectant silence,
a hushed anticipation,
as if the very galaxy
is holding its breath.
There are some truths
even the stars know,
like darkness,
like loneliness
and how the night
can be a living thing.
And how once, long ago,
the night waited in wonder
along with the darkness
and the loneliness,
for the sound of a baby’s cry,
for the miraculous
to come down
to the earth mundane.

The Weekend is Coming: working toward Christmas Eve and Day

It’s Winter Church Extravaganza Weekend…with Christmas Eve on Saturday this year, many of us will be worshipping several times this weekend. So…what liturgical brilliance are you hoping to break out on this big weekend? Do you forego prayers of confession, or substitute new affirmations of faith, or have a fantastic Christmas Call to Worship? Do you have a Christmas prayer of dedication that you really enjoy? Do you celebrate communion on Christmas Eve and/or Day, and if so do you write new communion liturgy or go with the tried-and-true book?

Perhaps you’ve already finished the liturgy for Christmas and the bulletin is printed (maybe your office staff goes on vacation, or you work ahead). Perhaps you won’t finish the bulletin until 3pm Saturday. Either way–share your resources, your ideas, your liturgical seeds and needs, and let’s work together to make this a creative and beautiful Christmas weekend.

Sunday’s Coming: working toward December 18

Here we are, the 4th Sunday of Advent. Some of us will be having special musical programs this week, others children’s programs or pageants. Some of us are bursting with anticipation at getting to preach about David’s desire to build a house of cedar for God (now that his own palace of cedar is finished!) and the smackdown David gets from God: “did I ask you to build me a house?” Okay, maybe no one is bursting with anticipation to preach that a mere 6 days before Christmas.

But the Annunciation, where nothing is impossible? Mary visiting Elizabeth? the Magnificat? Some of us got to preach the Magnificat last week, others like to save Mary for the fourth Sunday. Either way, we may be engaging in singing that classic Advent carol The Canticle of the Turning! 🙂

Maybe you’ve been following the Epistle lessons this Advent, and have finally reached the easy part of Romans: “To God be the glory forever!”

What are you doing this week, liturgically? What can we do together? As the season continues toward the climax next weekend, what resources are you using? What prayers are you writing? What hymns are you singing? As we light the fourth candle, let’s create together!

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