dedication: you know…

Submitted by Rev. Martha Spong, North Yarmouth Congregational Church, North Yarmouth Maine.


O God, you know the condition of our bank accounts as well as you know the condition of our minds and hearts. We can’t hide anything from you. Receive our gifts and use them for your good purposes in the world. Guide us to be your servants; may we listen when you speak! Amen.


illumination: hoping from the inside out

Submitted by Rev. Martha Spong, pastor at North Yarmouth Congregational Church, North Yarmouth Maine.


Holy One, you have formed us, from the inside out, knitting us together before anyone could see us. We praise you with wonder at the intricacy of human beings, the complexity of body, mind and soul. You have hopes for each of us. Help us to listen for your hopes today, we ask in the name of Jesus.

CTW: You know us well

Submitted by Rev. Martha Spong, pastor at North Yarmouth Congregational Church, North Yarmouth, Maine.


One: We come to worship God, who knows us better than we know ourselves.
Many: We come to worship God, who can understand our thoughts, who knows when we sit down and when we get up and go.
One: O God, you know us well, in all the ways. Before we say a word, you know what is coming.
Many: Wherever we go, you are there. It’s hard to believe, but it’s the truth.
One: Let us worship God, who knows our hearts and our lives.

Simple Confession based on Psalm 139

From Laura Becker, Pastor, Northminster Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, TN

Call to Reconciliation
The psalmist declares that God who creates us – God who loves us, God who redeems us – searches us and knows us completely. Before a word is on our tongues, God knows it completely. And we are assured that there is nowhere we can go that is separated from the presence of God. Let us pray our prayer of confession in silence, and then speak the words of the psalmist together.

Prayer of Confession

(Silent Prayers)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen. (Psalm 139:23-24)

Confession: you speak…we don’t listen

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL.

on reading 1 Samuel 3

One: Lord, you call,
but we do not always recognize your voice.
All: Sometimes we don’t listen carefully.
Sometimes we’re caught off guard.
One: Lord, you call,
but we haven’t always taught others to hear you.
All: Sometimes we stand in the way,
allowing our voice to ring out over yours.
One: Lord, you call,
but we don’t always believe our ears.
All: Sometimes we believe we know better.
Sometimes we think you can’t possibly be calling us,
or her, or him.
Forgive us, Lord, our unpracticed listening,
our closed ears.
Help us to hear.

call to worship – based on Psalm 139

submitted by Michael Morgan, organist, Central Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Georgia; seminary musician, Columbia Theological Seminary; and author of the Psalter for Christian Worship

One: O Lord, you have searched us and known us.
All: Before we move or think or speak, you know our actions and our words.
One: You breathed life into us, and shaped us in human form to serve your purpose and sing your praise.
All: We praise you for the gifts of substance and spirit, of acceptance and expectancy, of lineage and legacy.
One: How wonderful are your thoughts, O God!
All: How vast is the expanse of your grace and love!
One: Praise the Lord!
All: The Lord’s name be praised!

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!