Category Archives: Liturgy

What’s Next? Confession Series

This is a series of five confessions I wrote for an eschatological sermon series entitled “What’s Next?” Pastor Kelly’s five sermon topics (with Scripture readings) were:  A New Heaven and a New Earth (Genesis 1-2:15), The Intermediate State (1st Thessalonians 4:13-5:11), The Great Multitude (Revelation 7:9-17), An Eternity of Worship (Revelation 5:11-14), and Angels (Genesis 1:26-27).

Each confession has a short Scripture reading (God’s Promises), a unison prayer of confession, an assurance of pardon, and a suggested hymn of response.

A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH (GENESIS 1-2:15)

God’s Promises: Revelation 21:1-6
Unison Prayer of Confession

We repent, Lord, of all the ways we doubt your promises. Open our hearts to the reality more true than anything we can now perceive: There will be a New Heaven and a New Earth. God will dwell among his people and wipe every tear from our eyes. Help us to live our lives in anticipation of this sure conclusion. Let all our words and actions sow the seeds of God’s Kingdom, foreshadowing the perfect peace and justice that will prevail.

Assurance of Pardon (Revelation 21:7)

He who is seated on the throne promises us: “Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

Song of Response: “Jerusalem the Golden” (Lift Up Your Hearts #488)

THE INTERMEDIATE STATE (1st Thessalonians 4:13-5:11)

God’s Promises: Philippians 1:20-26
Unison Prayer of Confession

We repent, Lord, of all the ways we doubt your promises. Open our hearts to the reality more true than anything we can now perceive: When we die, we will be with Christ. And when Christ returns, we will be bodily resurrected and will live with him forever on the earth made new. Help us to live our lives in anticipation of this sure conclusion. Let our words and actions sow the seeds of God’s Kingdom, honoring God with our bodies and caring for his creation, foreshadowing restored bodies and a renewed creation more glorious than we can imagine.

Assurance of Pardon (John 14:2-3)

Jesus promises us: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

Song of Response:  “I Know Not Why God’s Wondrous Grace” (Lift Up Your Hearts #690)

THE GREAT MULTITUDE (REVELATION 7:9-17)

God’s Promises: Daniel 7:13-14

Unison Prayer of Confession

We repent, Lord, of all the ways we doubt your promises. Open our hearts to the reality more true than anything we can now perceive: We are members of a family of people from every nation, race, ethnic group, and language, spanning all of time and space. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, and one day we will join them around God’s throne. Help us to live our lives in anticipation of this sure conclusion. Let our words and actions sow the seeds of God’s Kingdom, relinquishing lesser loyalties to nation, party, and race, seeking oneness with all who follow Jesus, caring for all people, and working for peace in all situations, foreshadowing the peace and unity of all who worship the Lamb through all eternity.

Assurance of Pardon (Isaiah 43:5-7)

God promises us: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

Song of Response:  “Amid the Thronging Worshipers” (Lift Up Your Hearts #511)

AN ETERNITY OF WORSHIP (REVELATION 5:11-14)

God’s Promises: Isaiah 45:22-24
Unison Prayer of Confession

We repent, Lord, of all the ways we doubt your promises. Open our hearts to the reality more true than anything we can now perceive: Our worship here today is just a foretaste of the eternal worship of God by all creation. Help us to live our lives in anticipation of this sure conclusion. Let our words and actions sow the seeds of God’s Kingdom, offering up our lives as a sacrifice of worship, joining with believers across the world for Lord’s Day worship, and adding our voices to the heavenly chorus praising God throughout all eternity.

Assurance of Pardon (Philippians 2:10-11)

God promises us: “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

Song of Response: “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty” (Lift Up Your Hearts #538)

ANGELS (GENESIS 1:26-27)

God’s Promises: Matthew 18:10
Unison Prayer of Confession

We repent, Lord, of all the ways we doubt your promises. Open our hearts to the reality more true than anything we can now perceive: God has appointed angels as our fellow workers and worshipers. Though we cannot see them, angels are encamped around us. One day we will see them and worship with them throughout eternity. Help us to live our lives in anticipation of this sure conclusion. Let our words and actions sow the seeds of God’s Kingdom, trusting in God’s protection and joining in worship with the heavenly choir.

Assurance of Pardon (Psalm 34:7)

God promises us: “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the LORD is God; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

Song of Response: “Holy God, We Praise Your Name” (Lift Up Your Hearts #540)

 

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What’s Next? Confession Series by David Schweingruber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Confession Based on Luke 12:32-40

This is a confession I wrote based on Luke 12:32-40, which was the Gospel reading for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C.

We have a section of our service called “We Are Renewed in God’s Grace,” which typically consists of a confession, an assurance of pardon, and a hymn of response. One variation is to open with a Scripture reading as “God’s Will for Our Lives.” Here I used Luke 12:32-40 as “God’s Will for Our Lives” and followed with a unison prayer of confession I composed and an assurance of pardon from the passage.

WE ARE RENEWED IN GOD’S GRACE

God’s Will for Our Lives: Luke 12:32-40
Unison Prayer of Confession

The watch seems long and too often we are distracted, weary, or fast asleep.
Lord, awaken us from our slumber.
Make us good servants
and good stewards of the gifts you have given us to serve our neighbors.
Draw our hearts to heaven—
to your Kingdom and your will—
so that we can build our treasure with you
and be ready for the hour of your return.

Assurance of Pardon

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

Song of Response

“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” (or another appropriate hymn)

 

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Confession Based on Luke 12:32-40 by David Schweingruber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

“Make Way for Christ the King!” Advent Candle-Lighting Liturgy Series

This is a series of five Advent (and Christmas Eve) Candle-Lighting Litanies Naomi Friend and I wrote for use with Graham Kendrick’s hymn “Make Way.” Kendrick’s full version has four stanzas; a two-stanza version of the song, which we used, can be found in Sing! A New Creation (#98). We sang the hymn as a response to each litany. Each week’s litany is based on the Bible readings from the Revised Common Lectionary Year A so it is especially appropriate for that liturgical year.

“Make Way for Christ the King!”

Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy for use with
Graham Kendrick’s “Make Way” (Sing! A New Creation #98)
For RCL Year A

First Sunday of Advent

Leader: Fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into your lives! Make way for Christ the King!

People: How can we prepare for the arrival of the King?

Leader: The night is nearly over; the day is almost near! Put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light! Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ!

People: Praise the Lord! Make way for Christ the King!

Lighting of the Advent Candle

Leader: The candle we light today reminds us to prepare for Christ’s coming by putting aside the darkness that so easily entangles us and seeking the true Light of the World!

People: We fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into our lives! Make way for Christ the King!

Hymn of Response: “Make Way”

Second Sunday of Advent

Leader:  Fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into your lives! Make way for Christ the King!

People: How can we prepare for the arrival of the King?

Leader: Repent and prepare your heart for the coming of the Lord! Put on a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another just as Christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God!

People: Praise the Lord! Make way for Christ the King!

Lighting of the Advent Candle

Leader: The candle we light today reminds us to accept one another and become servants to each other just as Christ became a servant on behalf of God’s truth.

People: We fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into our lives! Make way for Christ the King!

Hymn of Response: “Make Way”

Third Sunday of Advent

Leader:  Fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into your lives! Make way for Christ the King!

People: How can we prepare for the arrival of the King?

Leader: Be patient until the Lord’s coming! Stand firm with your brothers and sisters in the face of suffering as God’s Kingdom is made real in this world!

People: Praise the Lord! Make way for Christ the King!

Lighting of the Advent Candle

Leader: The candle we light today reminds us to patiently wait for the Coming of Christ who will end all suffering and wipe away all our tears.

People: We fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into our lives! Make way for Christ the King!

Hymn of Response: “Make Way”

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Leader:  Fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into your lives! Make way for Christ the King!

People: How can we prepare for the arrival of the King?

Leader: Be careful, be calm and don’t be afraid. Don’t lose heart, but trust in the Lord for his promises are sure. His Kingdom is near! Jesus will come to save his people from their sins!

People: Praise the Lord! Make way for Christ the King!

Lighting of the Advent Candle

Leader: The candle we light today reminds us to cast aside fear and trust in God’s promises—even when they seem impossible.

People: We fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into our lives! Make way for Christ the King!

Hymn of Response: “Make Way”

Christmas Eve

Leader:  Fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into your lives! Make way for Christ the King!

People: How can we prepare for the arrival of the King?

Leader: Burst into songs of joy together for the Lord has comforted and redeemed his people. Receive the King into your lives and believe on his name.

People: Praise the Lord! Make way for Christ the King!

Lighting of the Advent Candle

Leader: The candle we light tonight reminds us that the true light that gives light to everyone has come into the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

People: We fling wide the gates and welcome Jesus into our lives! Make way for Christ the King!

Hymn of Response: “Make Way”

— Naomi Friend and David Schweingruber

 

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“Make Way for Christ the King!” Advent Liturgy by Naomi Friend & David Schweingruber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Psalm 130 Lenten Litanies of Confession and Assurance

As a sequel to my recent discussion of Psalm 130, here is series of Lenten Litanies I wrote for the section of our service we call “We Are Renewed in God’s Grace,” which typically consists of a confession, assurance of pardon, and (if neither of those was a song) a song of response. Last Lent I put together a five-week series that used five different musical settings of Psalm 130—two from the gray Psalter Hymnal, which we then had in our pews, and three from Psalms for All Seasons.

The first week, we read the entire Psalm 130 responsively using a standard translation (TNIV) as the confession. The second week, we read a paraphrase (Eugene Peterson’s The Message) of Psalm 130 responsively as the confession. After that I assumed the congregation was familiar with the text and used hymns for the week 3 and 4 confessions and a prayer based on the psalm for week 5. The songs also moved from close versifications to looser ones.

If we used this series again, I would reconsider the songs—with “Out of the Depths I Cry, Lord” (PH87 #130) as the most likely to be dropped  and “In Deep Despair I Cry to You” (PFAS #130E) or “Out of the Depths I Cry to You” (PFAS #130D) as the likely replacement.

Week 1

Confession: Responsive reading of Psalm 130 (TNIV)

Assurance of Pardon: O God, you come to us in the depths of our darkest despair through the suffering of Jesus Christ. By the rising your Son, you give us new light to guide us that we may always praise your holy name, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Song of Response: “Out of the Depths I Cry, Lord” (PH87 #130)

[The assurance of pardon text is an altered version of the Psalm 130 collect in the Book of Common Worship: Common Prayer.]

Week 2

Confession: Responsive reading of Psalm 130 (The Message) (“Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!”)

Assurance of Pardon: People of God, wait and watch for God. By the sacrifice of his Son, He shows us love, buys us from captivity to sin, and grants us life forevermore. Amen.

Song of Response: “Out of the Depths I Cry to You on High” (PFAS #130C/LUYH #655/PH87 #256/PH57 #273).

Week 3

Confession: “From the Depths of Sin and Sadness” (PFAS #130F)

Assurance of Pardon:  When we realize the depth of our sin, O God, we are driven into dark despair. It is only when we realize the height of your mercy and the breadth of your forgiveness, that we begin to see the dawning of new life in Jesus Christ. Thanks be to you, O Lord our Redeemer. Amen.

[The assurance of pardon text is the Psalm 130 collect in Lift Up Your Hearts.]

Week 4

Confession: “Out of the Depths I Cry to You” (PFAS #130A/HFW #10) (Luther’s version)

Assurance of Pardon: People of God, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem his people from all their sins. Amen.

Week 5

Confession/Assurance: “A Prayer of Hope” (PFAS #130H)

Song of Response: “For You, My God, I Wait” (PFAS #130G)