Liturgy from 2013 National Gathering

We offer here the liturgy used at our 2013 National Gathering. See here for a complete list of music, and here for information about “the ritual of the ribbons.”

Many thanks to Theresa Cho, Adam Fischer, and Corey Nelson for their vision and leadership.

Monday, March 4


Confession: God of birth and renewal, too often we are like Nicodemus. We doubt that anything new can come out of your church. We dwell in houses of worship, echoing songs of ancestors trumpeted by organs loud enough to drown the sound of your voice.  Through our arrogance, we have built elaborate houses of worship, glorious and beautiful, but sometimes lacking in Spirit. Now we seek your renewal as we turn to listen, to discover what is next. Open our minds to your vision. Inspire our slumber with dreams of the future.  In our return let us see you afresh and work to make your kingdom a reality on Earth. Come, dwell with us once more as we confess and let go of all that keeps us apart from you.

Assurance: Let this fabric remind you, you are part of a larger whole. Our confessions can feel like we are being torn apart, separated from one another and banished to an apocalyptic wasteland, yet even though we are torn, we shall be restored in Christ. All:  God has blessed us with all we need. Truly God is at work in our lives to bring wholeness and restoration, even when it feels like we are being torn apart. Hear and know the good news, In Christ we are born again: made whole, restored and forgiven.

Monday, March 4


Blessing of the Waters: 
one:                On that first day, when time began:
all:                   you gave birth to creation; light danced through the darkness; the waters of hope flowed free and clear.
one:                On that first day at the Jordan, when redemption began:
all:                   you spoke of life for all your children, as your Child stepped into the waters of forgiveness, dancing in hope with his cousin, John.
one:                On this first day, gathered together, when we begin anew:
all:                   you call us to faithfulness, as we open our hearts to you, your voice claiming us as your own.  

one:    You and I are now the ones who step forth out of the cleansing waters of baptism, to bring hope, to share a word of grace, to carry healing into the brokenness of our lives. Let us confess how we still struggle to follow in faith wherever Jesus leads us. Join me as we pray; Timeless God,you cast light into sin’s dark placesand call us your Beloved.
all:       Forgive us:             when we still linger in the shadows;             when we treat others in hurtful ways;             when we speak ill of your friends.
one:   As he knelt in the waters of Jordan, you proclaimed Jesus as your Child, pointing to him as the way to you.
all:       Forgive us: when we put ourselves ahead of him;             when we think he is no longer needed;             when we fail to see him in the broken of our world.
one:    Baptized and blessed in your living waters, you would have us be your servants in our time.
all:      Forgive us:
when we fail to welcome the stranger;             when we refuse to forgive as we should;             when we believe we are too good to kneel down             and tie the shoes of the lost, the least, or the last.

one:    Touched by the waters of life, fed at the feast of grace and hope, embraced in the warmth of God’s love and hopes – this is good news for all of us!
all:       Blessed by baptism’s tears, called to servanthood by the Beloved, filled with the peace of the Spirit, we are indeed God’s people – redeemed, restored, refreshed to serve. Thanks be to God!
one:    The peace of Christ be with you.
all:       And also with you


Tuesday, March 5


Confession: (Theresa Cho and adapted from 2005)
Facing the unknown, Mary and Joseph journeyed to birth hope.
Facing the unknown, we too often squash that hope.
Facing acceptance, God claimed Jesus as God’s own Son.
Facing acceptance, we too often forget God’s claim on us.
Facing temptation, Jesus refused to turn stones into bread.
Facing temptation, we too often turn bread into stones.
Facing temptation, Jesus refused to use power for its own sake.
Facing temptation, we too often take power that belongs to someone else.
Facing temptation, Jesus refused to test the promises of God.
Facing temptation, we too often want God to do what we should do ourselves.

Assurance: You are forgiven! God loves you. God blesses you with new beginnings and new life. Put aside your old ways and become new! God gives a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning. Sing, dance, rejoice! Never forget the gift of God’s redeeming grace. Amen.

Tuesday, March 5


Call to Worship: (
With tongues of flame, the Holy Spirit descends to burn in our hearts anew.
Unite us, Holy Spirit!
Like the rush of wind, we sense God’s presence blowing afresh throughout the world.
Unite us, Holy Spirit!
Across the barriers of language and culture, Christ’s message of love and grace is heard.
Unite us, Holy Spirit!
Divine Advocate, we seek your guidance as we search for the Spirit of Truth.
Unite us, Holy Spirit! Amen.

Confession: (Nolan Palsma and Phyllis Palsma)
Our God, we come in humility, confessing who and what we are. We are often unresponsive for we are afraid. When your Spirit speaks, we turn deaf ears, for we fear what you might call us to do. When your Spirit touches our lips, we close our mouths, embarrassed to speak your Word. When the wind of your Spirit blows, we close the windows of our hearts, afraid the breeze will disrupt our ordered lives. When the fire of your Spirit touches us, we quench the flame, afraid of the new life it might bring. Forgive us, O Lord.

This is the good news we have declare: God leads us out of the shadows to walk in the light of Christ.
This is the word we have heard: our faithful God forgives our sins and raises us to new life. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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