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Epiphany +2, Ordinary Time 2A

 

Jan. 19 – Sunday in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

 

This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

 

Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.

 

Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

 

Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 40:1-11
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
John 1:29-42

 

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

277 – Christians, We Have Met to Worship

344 – I have decided to follow Jesus

16-Come, thou Fount of every blessing

250-O Breath of life

425 – Let us break bread together

386-We come as guests invited

426- The Voice of Jesus Calls His People

439 – God, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing

 

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.

 

Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

 

Unto the Church of God we turn,

those sanctified in Christ.

Called to be saints in every place:

to all be grace and peace from God!

 

For in this mercy-laden joy

we too articulate

the richness we must all employ

as witness given free.

 

It all is free and gracious now,

this tumbling ecstasy

of wonder in the throes of life.

Confirmed in us, we rise.

 

Attending to the gyring hope,

ascending in a song,

we own abandon, Spirit’s hold,

assertive call to Christ.

 

CM     Suggested tune: This Endris Nyght

 

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin. Where practical, these may be offered here as well. You may also want to visit http://lectionarypsalms.org/  

This week: Psalm 40 is on page 740.

 

Concerning the Following Items: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor. If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention. No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.

 

Call to Worship

L: Sisters and brothers, we are called to follow Jesus.

P: What a challenge! What an opportunity!

L: Called to move, as he did, among the people, to feel with them, to care with them, to touch them and be touched by them.

P: Called to discern those gifts of life which God has hidden deep within each of us, and to share freely those gifts of our hearts, our hands, our whole selves.

L: Called to place our gifts into God’s holy hands, and to follow with hope.

P: We will hear the call to follow Jesus and listen for his voice to lead us, calling us God’s children, calling us each by name.

 

OR

L: Come with me on a journey in faith.  Bring your hopes and visions of a new possibility, for God’s work among us is just beginning.

P: We are called into a future yet unnamed.  We hear the call of Jesus and venture forward, leaving behind our comfort zones and certainties.

L: But as we travel light, in the spirit of faith and expectation, we are led by the One who brings to light God’s dreams for us and for the world.

P: May we be witnesses to God’s new tomorrow, and go with confidence, knowing that we never travel alone.

 

OR for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

L: The God of all creation makes us one in the flesh.

P: Let us join hearts and voices in praise.

L: In Jesus Christ, we are made one in the Spirit.

P: Let us be united in truth through the same one Spirit.

L: We practice our faith in many different ways.

P: Yet we confess one Lord Jesus Christ.

L: We render different forms of ministry.

P: Yet our calling is one because Christ is undivided.

L: Rejoice, people of God: The Risen Christ is among us, calling us together at his one Table.

P: Praise the Lord!  

 

Invocation or Prayer of Approach

O God, source of all beauty and goodness, your grace comes fresh every morning. In each new day you give us light. We praise your for your never‑failing love that satisfies our needs and shows us the way to follow. We rejoice in your constant care, for you are faithful in love for all people, offering the world salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

 

OR

We wait for you, O God, as in the silent watches of the night.  Come and make your presence known here among us, we pray, as we offer you our praise and, indeed, our very lives; for we pray in the name of Jesus the Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

 

OR  (by Editor for Scott Lectures worship at Bethany Memorial Church, 2009)

God whose very nature is wholeness and life, we give you thanks that in this holy assembly today you have called together people from different places, of many gifts, and with a multitude of ways of serving and loving. Make us one, Lord, even as you and your Christ are one, as we hear his clarion call to gather in the one body to feast on the word and receive from your hand the blessed gifts of bread and cup. Make us ready, Lord – ready to listen, ready to hear, ready to go and do your will, that we all may be one in essence, in intent, and in constitution, so that the world may know you in and among us. This we pray in the strong name of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

 

Prayers for Christian Unity  (misc. and unknown sources)

O Lord Jesus Christ, you prayed for your disciples that they might be one.  Look in pity upon the many divisions among those who profess your name, and heal the many wounds which the passions and pride of mortals have inflicted upon your church.  Shed abroad in the hearts of your people the spirit of love, which will break down the walls of separation.  Help us to realize that, as there is in heaven only one holy company abiding in love, so on earth there may be only one holy fellowship of your people abiding in the unity of love and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

We give you thanks, O Lord, for the life and ministry of Jesus, your Child, and for the life and ministry you have opened to us through him.  As this broken bread was scattered on the mountain, but was brought together and became one, so let your church be gathered together into one, that your reign may be known throughout the earth.

 

Great God, you are One, and you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken.  Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth, that we may become one family of your children.  Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit, that we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend.

 

MORE:  See the World Council of Churches page

 

 

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

How vast and deep is your love O God, for us and for all the world. As we give you thanks for the beauty of creation and for the gift of life, we turn to you for strength and guidance to help those of our world in need of care and healing.

We pray for our community, our nation and world that peace and justice might be made known. We pray for our families and friends, especially those who are hurting, sick, grieving or alone. We pray for our own burdens and needs, both spoken and unspoken…

We yield our lives to you as we offer our prayers in the strong and saving name of Jesus.

 

OR

Almighty God, maker of all, with joy we give thanks for all your goodness. We praise you for the love which has created and sustained us to this day, and for the gift of your Christ who brings us into covenant with you and with all your people of faith. Help us to treasure your gifts and to show our thankfulness by lives wholly given to your service.

 

We pray for your church whom you have redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus. Give it pastors and ministers filled with your spirit, and strength to serve by the guidance of your word. Perfect it in love and in compassion, and establish it in the faith of your saints. Unite all your people that one holy church may bear witness to you and your glory.

 

We pray that you would move our nation toward the justice of your peace. Bless our national, state and local leaders to serve all people with integrity. Purge from us all hatred and prejudice, and build within us your love, that even in our dealings with the other nations of earth we may be servants of peace, truth and justice.

 

Bless our homes with the joy of your presence. Strengthen our covenants of family and of faith, that our children may grow into fullness of faith, that together we may show forth your praise in our world through deeds and words of love and compassion—especially with those who are alone and lonely.

Let your grace be seen in seed-time and harvest, in labor and business, in leisure and rest, in arts and culture of our people. May all who do work find fulfillment of their vocations, and all who are in need of work find the relief of new endeavors.

 

Comfort those who sorrow and are in need, sickness or adversity. Have mercy on those to whom death draws near. Bring consolation to those in mourning, and to all give your peace, for these and all our prayers we bring to you in the name of Jesus our Christ. Amen.

 

OR

In these quieter times, God of peace, as in the busyness of our hectic days, you hear the true prayers of not just what we say, but also what we do and who we are.  Hear us as we join our hearts in unity to pray for your church.  May we be united in your truth, committed in your love, and sanctified by your grace, that with one heart and one voice we might proclaim your gospel., in word and deed, praising you for your abiding presence in our midst as a community of faith.

 

We pray for our fellow creatures, this world which you lovingly made, and the people of earth with all their diversity and commonality.  We lift to you those in our world who weep, and those who cause their weeping; those without food, clothing, shelter or a means of sustaining life with the dignity of one whom you have created.  We pray for those who distort the good news of the gospel, who make gods out of things, out of themselves, out of their systems, institutions or structures…and who find it all so hollow and empty.

 

We pray for those who live without meaning and hope, who live as objects of the whims of others, and those who live in broken families, broken communities, and a broken world.  Lead your church, we pray, toward a new vision of our mission to them in Christ—the vision of shalom—both those who are afar off in other lands, but also here, where each of us may encounter them personally.

 

Tender and compassionate friend, give us the assurance that you are here among your people, and the gifts of quiet and rest in this celebration of your word and table.  Enable us with your guidance to be your church and to do your will in our  common life together.  Pour out your Spirit on those who are suffering, especially as we lift to you our own needs and the needs of those whose lives are closely linked with our own:__________, and those we name in the silence of our hearts.

 

Bless us to follow in the paths of those saints who have gone before us in faith, whose steps were taken in the sure and certain comfort of your presence, that we may faithfully glorify you now, in your church and your world, forever.  For these prayers we offer in the name and spirit of Jesus, your Christ, our Lord.

 

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

 

Almighty God,

in Christ you make all things new:

transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,

and in the renewal of our lives

make known your heavenly glory;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

 

Post Communion

 

God of glory,

you nourish us with your Word

who is the bread of life:

fill us with your Holy Spirit

that through us the light of your glory

may shine in all the world.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Additional Collect

 

Eternal Lord,

our beginning and our end:

bring us with the whole creation

to your glory, hidden through past ages

and made known

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light

of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word

and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s

glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the

ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with

you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and

for ever. Amen.

 

Collect of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

John 1:29-42

Our God, we look and thus behold

the Lamb of God,

now taking away the sin of the world.

On him the Spirit comes.

By him, the Spirit does baptize.

In him, we come as those who seek

where he may be

that we may be with him.

Let us behold him now!

 

Service of Table

While all of our congregations navigate the Sacred Board in a different way, it seems, there are common elements in most, which are provided here. We would love to hear if your congregation has variations to these elements which we might address in the future.

 

Offertory / Invitation to Give

Every good and perfect gift comes from God, the Lord and Giver of all. How we manage the gifts we have been given, however, is a matter of the choices we make. We have been given the good sense to use God’s provisions for the purposes God has called us to. And in Christ, we are given the Spirit’s guidance to make those choices well. May we bring forth the best we can offer, the best we can choose, for the blessing of the world, and for the carrying forth of Christ’s mission.

 

OR

Our offerings take us into the mainstream of God’s work through the church. Jesus said that whatever we do to the least of his brothers and sisters we do to him. May our offerings bring him comfort, relief and joy.

 

OR

The apostle writes: “My sisters and brothers, I implore you by God’s mercy to offer your very selves to God; a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for God’s acceptance, the worship offered by mind and heart.  Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world, but let your minds be remade and your whole nature be transformed.  Then you will be able to discern the will of God, and know what is good, acceptable and perfect.

 

Offertory Prayer

We give thanks to you, God of love, for the abundance of life in your presence. As we offer to you our tithes and gifts, may we also offer the very best of ourselves. Bless and use them and use us for your purposes in the world, so that Christ may be known and heard and followed by others whose lives we touch.

 

OR

As we gather at your table, O God, may we also be more aware of the opportunity that is ours to share with others the many blessings you have given us. May this be a time of joy as we give of our resources. Grant us wisdom to use these gifts in the fulfillment of your mission in the world, through Christ our Lord.

 

OR

With hearts of praise, O Lord, we dedicate to you these gifts as tokens of our lives and work. Use them, as you use us, to the fulfilling of your purposes for creation, that we might give glory to you not only in the hearing, but in the doing of your word.

 

Invitation to the Table

The Holy One says: “Why spend money on that which does not satisfy? Why spend your wages and still be hungry? Listen to me, and do what I say, and you will enjoy the best food of all. Listen now my people, and come to me; come to me and you will live.” Christ invites to this table all who confess him as Lord and seek to follow in his way. Come to this sacred table, not because you must, but because you may. Come not because you are fulfilled, but because in your emptiness you stand in need of God’s mercy and assurance. Come not to express an opinion, but to seek a presence and to pray for a spirit. Come, then, sisters and brothers, as you are. Partake and share. It is spread for you and me that we might again know that God has come to us, shared our common lot, and invited us to join the people of God’s new age.

 

OR

At this table, the church remembers and celebrates the love of God. The act of sharing bread and wine is a statement of faith and an expression of assurance. Communion happens in many different ways in different churches throughout the world, and in each place brings a new meaning of life in the Spirit of God that is right for that community.

But above all, here believers join themselves to the Lord of life. Death, which shows itself in sins, injustice, oppression and despair, yields to concrete demonstrations of life which produce peace, justice, hope, liberation and salvation.

This meal is an act of expectation. We, in the midst of our daily lives, proclaim the imminent manifestation of the kingdom of God. Hope replaces sorrow; joy surpasses tears; the power of life triumphs over the reign of death.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving (Prayers for Bread and Cup)

(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)

 

  1. O God, your very nearness to us makes us at once uneasy and filled with great comfort.  In the breaking of this bread, we pray that you will bring confidence where we would waver, and that you will stir us when complacency would keep us from living fully the life of mission to which Christ has called us.
  2. Pour out your Spirit upon us, O God, and upon this bread and cup.  May we know in the receiving of it the lifegiving presence of the resurrected Christ, and be empowered to live as your people in this and every day.

 

OR

O God, you make of many and diverse people one holy Church, through the grace of your Son Jesus Christ. Send now the power of your Holy Spirit upon us to make us anew into his body, and upon these gifts of bread and wine, which we receive as his body and blood. Make us one with you, one with Christ, and one in fellowship and service around the world.

 

Conclusion: Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.

If not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’

 

MORE…

Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service. Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.

Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.

You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University.

 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

 

Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.

 

NOTE: We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday. We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. Send your comments or content here.

 

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Correction for 9/23

Please note that the post for Sep. 23 included the wrong lectionary readings for the week. It has since been updated to include the following:

Proverbs 31:10-31 or Wisdom of Solomon 1:16 – 2:1, 12-22
or Jeremiah 11:18-20

Psalm 1 or Psalm 54

James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a

Mark 9:30-37

My apologies for any inconvenience.

David Chafin, ed.

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Pentecost +4, Proper 6B

 

June 17 – Father’s Day

 

This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

 

Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.

 

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

 

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 or Ezekiel 17:22-24 Psalm 20 or Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15  2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17

Mark 4:26-34

 

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

62-Creator God, creating still

453-Called as partners in Christ’s service

59-This is my Father’s world

140-Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

395-Seed, scattered and sown

610-Living for Jesus

 

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.   

 

Hymn of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2018, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Ezekiel 17:22-24

 

Attentive to distraction, Lord,

we see the high and lofty tree,

the distant sprig you gather, bring

to plant and nurture on the height.

 

Surprising in your ready care,

this vision of the fresh to rise,

to gather as a cedar must

the many to its favored shade.

 

Instinctively, majestic Lord,

we learn your courtesy to free

the least to be the great relief,

the dry to rise and flourish soon.

 

LM            Suggested tune: Uffingham

 

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent).  A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin.  Where practical, these may be offered here as well.  You may also want to visit http://lectionarypsalms.org/   

This week:  Psalm 20 and 92 – neither are in the hymnal. See Call to Worship from Ps. 92.

 

Concerning the Following Items: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor.  If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention.  No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.

 

Call to Worship  (from Psalm 92)

L: It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;

P: to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.

L: For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

P: The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.

 

OR

L: Christ our Lord united his followers together in Christian love.

P: His presence makes our fellowship a blessed experience.

L: When Christ is our life, we experience unity, love and humility toward one another.

P: May Christ live in us, so that we may be like him.

 

OR

L: With fatherly care, God welcomes us to our shared experience of worship, fellowship, prayer, and praise.

P: We gather to be re-invigorated in our witness, and in the relationships that flow from life in God’s family. 

L: Together and individually, we will be cleansed and refreshed by the holy winds of God’s Spirit, as it blows around and within us.

P: The Lord our God gives new life and new blessings as we come together in unity to praise and glorify God. 

 

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

We sing your praise and worship, Almighty God, for you bring forth life in every corner of creation. Help us, we pray, to honor you not only with our lips, but with our lives. Remake us according to your designs, to live in the image of Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray (as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

 

OR

We call on your name, O God, whose fathering love is extended into all the world you have made, for you have offered us the cup of salvation and welcomed us into your family. How can we thank you for the love you have shown us in Jesus Christ? Meet us again in this hour, that we may grow in faith and be responsive to your truth. Fill us with hope, renewing our confidence to face life in faithful trust and obedience. This we pray through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray…)

 

OR

God of Love, you have loved us first and continue to love us. We come before you a people longing to love you in return. We hunger for your healing love in our lives, for we long to love ourselves and our neighbors. Come to us this day and fill our longing. In Christ’s name we pray (as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

 

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Loving and Holy Spirit of God, we pray:

  • that we and all people may increasingly work together to establish on earth the rule of the kingdom of heaven;
  • that the resources of the world may be gathered, distributed, and used with unselfish motives and scientific skill for the greatest benefit of all;
  • that beauty may be given to our towns and cities, and left untarnished in the countryside;
  • that children may grow up strong in body, sound in mind, and trained in spirit;
  • that there may be open ways, and peace, and freedom, from end to end of the earth;
  • that you would hear the prayers we offer to you in silence (silent prayer)
  • and that people everywhere may learn to live in love through keeping the company of Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose great name we pray.

(adapted from Prayers from the Book of Common Order, Church of Scotland, on oremus.org)

 

OR

God of love and mercy, you have called us and all your children into one family through the resurrection of your Son Jesus. By his gracious presence, we look with new eyes at the whole human family in its brokenness and pain. We seek your strength and determination to embrace them, love them, heal them, and share with them your great good news of hope and new life.

 

Hear us as we lift to you our deepest needs, our pressing burdens, our fears and hopes. Be near us, we pray, as your people. Help us to receive your many gifts with gratitude and faithful stewardship.

 

We pray for those who suffer pain or illness, for the lonely and despairing, for the lost and worn and battered of our world.   And we lift to you the leaders of this and every nation, community and faith, that they would be guided by your spirit, and aware of the needs, especially of the least, of their people.

We pray for those whose lives are closely linked to our own; for _______________and for our own needs, which we offer to you in faith.

 

To the sick, O Lord, give your healing; to the grieving, give hope; to the dying, give your peace; and to all of us, O God, give faith to go forth from this place, determined to live in the light of your good news in Jesus Christ. It is in his name that we offer to you our prayers and our lives. Amen.

 

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

 

Almighty God,

you have broken the tyranny of sin

and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts

whereby we call you Father:

give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,

that we and all creation may be brought

to the glorious liberty of the children of God;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

 

Post Communion

 

O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining

and whose power we cannot comprehend:

show us your glory as far as we can grasp it,

and shield us from knowing more than we can bear

until we may look upon you without fear;

through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

 

Additional Collect

 

God our saviour,

look on this wounded world

in pity and in power;

hold us fast to your promises of peace

won for us by your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast

faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim

your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with

compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who

lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now

and for ever.  Amen.

 

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2018, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Mark 4:26-34

 

As scattered seed invites a harvest

in time’s fullness, O God,

and from the least of seeds a bush arises

to shelter birds, provide flavor

for pungent feasts,

so in our midst array your kingdom

that it arise among us

and in us that we may joy

in your new age.

 

Service of Table  

While all of our congregations navigate the Sacred Board in a different way, it seems, there are common elements in most, which are provided here.  We would love to hear if your congregation has variations to these elements which we might address in the future. 

 

Offertory / Invitation to Give

What is right for each of us to give has always been our own decision. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that all must do as we have made up our minds, not reluctantly or under obligation, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

Offertory Prayer

Lord, our gifts are not casually presented. There is sacrifice in each of them. We have prospered and our gifts are prayers that your will may prosper in the lives of all who worship here today. For the saving of the world, we give and pray.

 

OR

Generous God, our lives are renewed as we remember your goodness. You have made us in your image and placed in our hearts the memory of your love made flesh in Jesus Christ. That memory calls us to give and to embrace your world as we offer these gifts. May our lives invested through these offerings create a new reality and extend your grace in remembrance of Jesus, in whose name we pray.

 

Invitation to the Table

The Holy One says: “Why spend money on that which does not satisfy? Why spend your wages and still be hungry? Listen to me, and do what I say, and you will enjoy the best food of all. Listen now my people, and come to me; come to me and you will live.” Christ invites to this table all who confess him as Lord and seek to follow in his way. Come to this sacred table, not because you must, but because you may. Come not because you are fulfilled, but because in your emptiness you stand in need of God’s mercy and assurance. Come not to express an opinion, but to seek a presence and to pray for a spirit. Come, then, sisters and brothers, as you are. Partake and share. It is spread for you and me that we might again know that God has come to us, shared our common lot, and invited us to join the people of God’s new age.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving (Prayers for Bread and Cup)

(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)

Almighty and ever-living God, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth, and for the gifts of Christ at this Table. Send forth the power of your Holy Spirit now upon us, and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that as we receive them, we may be empowered to be Christ’s people, living faithfully in your world, until he comes again.

 

OR

Eternal One, who cares for each one of us as if you had no one else to care for, and who cares for all of us even as you care for each, we come here because you have invited us. We recognize at the deepest levels of our beings that it is at this table that we are affirmed and made whole. Enable us to know now the presence of the Christ, the one who calls us to be family, the one in whose presence no other can be called a stranger. Forgive us that we have been hard of heart, that we have failed to acknowledge others as brothers and sisters. Enable us now to accept the fact that we are members of one another, that we are family with all of your creation, and that we are all loved by you. We pray these things in the name of the Christ who has called us to you. Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever.

 

Conclusion:  Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.

If not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’

 

MORE…

Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service.  Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.

Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.

You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University. 

 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2017.  Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2016 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2017; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992.  The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.  Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.   http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary

 

Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.

 

NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary.  Send your comments or content here.

 

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The following were services used in 2007 at Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Huntington, WV.  You are welcome to use the materials in them as desired.  They are offered to show how Advent Sundays were woven into the texture of those largely traditional orders of worship.  The scripts for the readings used are also republished here from 2014.

Words of Welcome and Call to Worship

Today is God’s day of hope—hope for us, hope for all humanity.  The darkness that surrounds us will not overtake us, for God is light; and in God there is no darkness at all.  Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Organ Prelude and Lighting of Altar Candles

* Greeting—PROJECTED

L: The Spirit and the church cry out:

P:  Come, Lord Jesus.

L: All who await Christ’s appearance pray:

P:  Come, Lord Jesus.

L: The whole creation pleads:

P:  Come, Lord Jesus!  Renew the whole creation!

* Hymn of Praise:  Title                           The Hymnal # 123 

Opening Prayer

Let us pray:  We rejoice in you, O God our hope, for in Jesus Christ you enter our world to bring to life your new creation.  May our lives be remade by the glory of your appearing, and may we lift up the name of your Son in our worship, our work, and our leisure; for we pray as he taught us saying…

* The Lord’s Prayer 

* Praise Chorus:   Gloria Patri                                                 The Hymnal #623

Lighting of the Advent Wreath (from Isaiah 2:2-5)

Response: One Candle Is Lit   projected

Bible Reading:           Romans 13:11-14

Musical Offering:  Just When We Truly Needed Peace

Psalm of Praise (from Psalm 122)

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”

Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem–built as a city that is bound firmly together.

     To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel,

     to give thanks to the name of the LORD.

For there the thrones for judgment were set up,

The thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.

Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”

For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”

For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.

Bible Reading: Matthew 24:36-44  

Reflections on the Word

Invitation and Hymn of Discipleship:  Title     The Hymnal #  133

Those desiring to make public profession of faith, to renew faith commitments, or to

join this faith community may speak with the Pastor during the hymn or following worship.

Moments for Mission and Ministry

Concerns, Celebrations and Expressions of Faith

Song of Preparation:      

Come, O God, commune here with us, as we lift to you our cares.

You, our hope and our deliv’rance, promise to receive our prayers.

God of love and understanding, you alone know heart and soul.

Listen to our intercessions, recreate us, make us whole.

© 2007 David T. Chafin; All rights reserved.

Prayers for Church and World, for Self and Others

Invitation to the Table

Communion Song:     Title                   Worship Songs #118

Thanksgiving for Bread and Cup

Sharing of Bread and Cup

Offering of Our Tithes and Gifts to God

* Doxology  (Praise God from Whom all blessings flow…)  The Hymnal #625

* Prayer of Thanksgiving 

* Sending and Blessing

* Mission Hymn:  “Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates”

 


 

Advent 2 (2007) – beginning of service only

Musical Meditation

Words of Welcome and Call to Worship

Friends, we have heard the promise:  God’s chosen One will soon be among us.  We must make ready our lives for the coming of the Lord.  The wilderness places of our lives may threaten to overwhelm us, and we may easily lose our way.  But the light grows stronger, day by day – the light of the glorious appearing of our Savior.  Let us watch and wait with eager longing.

Organ Prelude and Lighting of Altar Candles

* Greeting—PROJECTED

L: We celebrate the coming of the Promised One in whom dwells the spirit of God –

P:  The spirit of wisdom and understanding,

L: The spirit of counsel and might,

P:  The spirit of knowledge and awe.

L: We bear witness to the fulfillment of God’s promises in Jesus, by living in that same spirit.

P:  We will open ourselves to the presence of God in our lives and seek to live as God’s witnesses.

* Hymn of Praise:  Title                           The Hymnal #   124

Opening Prayer

Let us pray:  O God, you have truly brought to all the earth the hope of peace in your Son Jesus Christ.  By the example of his life, the words of his lips, and the wondrous act of your resurrection power, we have seen and known the extent of your love and grace.  Help us in our worship and in all of our lives to faithfully live after the pattern he has set for us, and to glorify you in all that we do; for we pray as he taught us saying…

* The Lord’s Prayer 

* Praise Chorus:   Gloria Patri                                                 The Hymnal #623

Lighting of the Advent Wreath (from Isaiah 11)

Response: One Candle Is Lit   projected

Litany    projected

etc…

Psalm of Praise (from Psalm 72)

Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.

            May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.

May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness.

            May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the             oppressor.

May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.

            May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.

In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound;

            May righteousness flourish and peace abound until the moon is no more.

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.

            Blessed be his glorious name forever.

May God’s glory fill the whole earth.

            Amen and Amen.

   etc…


Advent 3 (2007)

Musical Meditation

Words of Welcome and Call to Worship

Friends and fellow-travelers in faith, let us listen for the voice of the one who calls out in the wilderness of our world and of our lives: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make God’s paths straight.”  As we gather for worship, may we make space for the coming of the Sovereign Lord, and be empowered to proclaim him through every moment of our lives.

 

Organ Prelude and Lighting of Altar Candles

* Greeting—PROJECTED

L: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John…”  He came to bring witness to the light, and we are called to do the same.

P:  Christ is coming!  We gain confidence from that assurance.

L: Now our hope grows even stronger, as three lights burn where there was darkness.

P:  God, who comes to dwell among us, will quicken our imagination, and we will find new and creative ways to proclaim the wonderful news: Christ is coming; Christ is here!

* Hymn of Praise:  Title                           The Hymnal #  125

Opening Prayer

Let us pray:  All of heaven and earth sing to you, O Lord our God, for this earth which you lovingly made has been given a King and Savior in your Son Jesus Christ.  As we prepare to fully welcome him, help us to be aware of the meaning of his coming—bringing hope among our empty lives, peace among those whose relationships are broken, and joy—great joy—where gloom and sorrow had once reigned.  We open ourselves to receive your great gifts, praying as he taught us saying…

* The Lord’s Prayer 

* Praise Chorus:   Gloria Patri                                                 The Hymnal #623

Lighting of the Advent Wreath (from Isaiah 35)

Response: One Candle Is Lit   projected

Litany   Psalm of Praise (from Psalm 146)

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.

We give thanks to you, O God, for the promise of full joy that this

            season brings to light.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.

            For all the troubles life can bring, you bring amazing possibilities

            that fill our hearts with joy.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.

Renew in us this day the promises of light after darkness, day after

            night, hope after despair, joy in this and every morning, for our trust

            is in you.  Amen.

  etc…

The Song of Mary from Luke 1

My soul magnifies the Lord,

     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

For God has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

     Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

For the Mighty One has done great things for me.

     Holy is God’s name.

God’s mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

     He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the

     thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,

     and lifted up the lowly;

He has filled the hungry with good things,

     and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy.

     This was the promise God made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his

     descendants forever.

  etc…


Advent 4 (2007)

Musical Meditation

Words of Welcome and Call to Worship

Organ Prelude and Lighting of Altar Candles

* Greeting—PROJECTED

L: Long ago the people were given a sign of God’s presence.

P:  “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”

L: God’s promise to us remains sure and true:  God’s anointed Son will soon walk among us, to lighten our darkness, to restore the joy of our salvation, to save us from sin.

P:  God—the God of all love—is with us.  Praise the Lord!

* Hymn of Praise:  Title                           The Hymnal #  131

Opening Prayer

Let us pray:  God of all love, our hearts are moved by your gracious promises fulfilled for us in Jesus Christ.  Give us the grace we need to live lovingly in all of life, and empower us to make your love known through the deeds of our lives; for we pray as your Son Jesus taught us saying…

* The Lord’s Prayer 

* Praise Chorus:   Gloria Patri                                                 The Hymnal #623

Lighting of the Advent Wreath (from Matthew 1)

Response: One Candle Is Lit   projected

Litany   projected

etc…

Psalm of Praise (from Psalm 80)

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock!

            You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth!

Stir up your might, and come to save us!

            Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?

            You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.

You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.

            Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.

            Then we will never turn back from you;

Give us life, and we will call on your name.

            Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

 

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Hanging of the Greens

The following was designed for use on the First Sunday of Advent

Choral Introit – “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming

Lighting of the Altar Candles

The significance of the candles

Organ Prelude

Call to Worship

L:  As quietly as the winter steals upon us, the season of hope approaches.

P:  We wait for our redeemer, for god’s promise to be fulfilled.

L:  The day is coming quickly. The God of mercy draws near.

P:  Therefore, we wait with hope, attentive to all the signs of his coming.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Hymn of Praise:  Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates #129

Invocation and Lord’s Prayer

THE ADVENT WREATH

The First Lesson:  Jeremiah 33:14-16

The significance of the Advent Wreath

The Lighting of the Candle of Hope

The Litany of Hope

L: Christians around the world begin this day to await the advent of Christ.  We join a joyous and hopeful throng in lighting the Advent candles, symbols of our faith and signs of God’s love.

P:  We gather as a people of hope.

L: Christian people around the world stand together in breathless anticipation of a miracle that has been

repeated for hundreds of years, yet that astounds us anew each year.

P:  Our hope springs anew, from an ancient vision.

L:  As we light the first Advent candle, let it stand for hope based not on wishful thinking, but on deep conviction.  We believe, we have seen, we have received the Prom ise and the Great Gift, and therefore, in the midst of darkness and imperfection, we hope.

P:  We gather expectantly, joyfully, and with deep commitment, for we have heard that a special child is to come, that god is to be among us, and that soon we will see a new creation on earth.  We are a people of hope.

The Hymn of Hope:  One Candle is Lit, verse 1, #128

Children’s Lesson:  The Holly and the Ivy

Solo:  The Holly and the Ivy

Congregation at Prayer

meditation:  Creator of the Stars of Night verse 1, #127

response:  Creator of the Stars of Night, verse 2, #127

The Second Lesson:  Isaiah 61: 1-4, 10-11

Sermon:  “Getting ‘Decked Out’ For Christmas

Hymn of Discipleship:  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel   #119

Communion:  Come, O Long Expected Jesus #125

Offering

Dismissal  When God is a Child   #132, verse 1


Full Text

Significance of the Altar Candles (as the candles are being lit)

The lighting of candles has been a part of religious worship for centuries.  The Hebrews burned candles for eight days as a part of their Feast of Lights.  Since Jesus has been referred to as “the light of the world” in the New Testament, the lighting of candles has become an important part of our Christian worship.  Some early Christian leaders stated that the body of the candle represented the body of Christ, while the wick symbolized his soul, and the flame portrayed his divine nature. When Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple, Simeon referred to the Christ child as a “light to lighten the Gentiles.”  As we light these candles upon the altar we symbolize his coming in the world of darkness, sin and evil, war and strife, stress and turmoil, suffering and death.  He came to bring hope and help to those who were held captive by oppression, and to guide them to personal peace and joy through the illumination of the love of God.

Invocation

O God, in the weeks to come, our attention to this blessed and holy event, the birth of your Son, will be continually distracted.  help us to distinguish between the secular and the sacred, and to remember the true meaning of our joy and excitement.  Help us to refocus our minds and hearts on your loving and most precious gift to us, your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in whose name we pray as he taught us, saying, Our Father….

Advent Lighting:

Advent is a time of expectation, and this is symbolized not only by the four-week period of preparation, but also by the lighting of an Advent candle on each Sunday of the season.  The flame of each new candle reminds the worshiper that something is happening, but something more is still to come. The Advent season will not be complete until all four candles are lighted, with the central Christ candle also burning brightly on Christmas Eve.

The tradition of the Advent wreath is traced back to an old Scandinavian custom that celebrated the coming of light after a season of darkness.  In that day candles were placed on the edge of a horizontal wheel.  As the wheel was spun around, the lighted candles would blend into a continuous circle of light.  Today we use a circle of evergreen to remind us of the continuous power of God, which knows no beginning nor ending.

There is also symbolism in the colors of the candles in the Advent wreath.  The three purple, or white, candles symbolize the coming of Christ from the royal line of David.  He is coming as the King of Kings as well as the Prince of Peace.  the pink candle is lighted on the third sunday of the Advent season.  This candle symbolizes joy; its use goes back to the Latin church which asked the worshipers to fast during this period of time.

A progression is noted in the lighting of the candles of the Advent wreath.  The first symbolizes expectation and hope.  The second reminds us that we are involved in a season of preparation for peace in the coming of Christ.  The third candle is proclamation, as we proclaim that Christ brought joy to the world when he appeared.  The revelation of God’s love for all humankind is portrayed by the lighting of the fourth candle.  The culmination of the season comes on Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day, as the Christ candle is lighted.

Let us join now in this season of expectation and hope as we light our first candle, the Hope Candle, and join in our Litany of Hope.

 

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Advent Candle Lighting

Republished from 2014:

The following materials were adapted from various sources, and built around common texts used during Advent lectionaries.  They offer the opportunity for a number of people to participate at the Advent Wreath, as well as a responsive piece and suggested hymn for use by the congregation.  Any parts may be re-assigned or divided as needed for use in your congregation.     — ed.

——————

Advent 1

The text is divided into 4 readers; you may divide it any way you wish, and include someone to light the candles at the appropriate time.

 

Reader 1

Listen to the prophet Isaiah:

In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.   Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.   O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!

(Isa. 2:2-5)

 

Reader 2

The poet George Herbert once wrote: “He that believes in hope dances without music.”

This is a good picture for a life of faith. To hope in God’s grace is to move to a rhythm that other people may not hear. It is to act out a drama others cannot imagine. It is to glide through life guided by a tune that plays only in your own heart.

The hopes of our faith make no sense from the outside. It’s a rough world, with forces that try to dominate our lives. But we hope in a God of truth and justice to have the final word.

In a world where violence and force always seem to win the day, we hope in a force of love that is the supreme power. In a world where wealth and status seem to have the upper hand over desperate, needy people, we hope that poverty and innocence have God’s special blessing.

 

Candle-lighter: Light 1 candle

 

All sing the candle-lighting hymn.(Suggested: “One Candle Is Lit,” Chalice Hymnal #128, verse 1)

Reader 3 As the hymn ends…

            Having hope means constantly expecting a different kind of future, even when history seems to confirm our fears. Hope is for those who feel the pain of the world. Hope is for those who agonize at human cruelty. Hope is for those who hear the cries of homeless and hungry children, and cry along with them.

In a world where hope seems so far away, we are a people of hope. We listen for the voice of angels in the wind. We stretch to see the first light of a new day on the horizon. We long for a new birth of grace in every human heart. We wait. We listen. We hope.

 

Reader 4 (may be offered responsively or by one voice)

Let us pray:

Christ we sit in darkness, but you are our light. We long for your coming into our hearts, into our lives and into our world.

            You are the One for whom all the peoples of the earth wait. Our world has been shaken by fire and earthquake and storm; Our security has been shaken by bombings and wars and uncertainty.

            We wait in anticipation expecting God’s light to penetrate our darkness and radiate within us.

In the midst of our doubts and our insecurities we are reminded that you are never shaken. Your faithfulness reaches to the ends of the earth.

            We watch and wait expecting new light to shine as the season of joy approaches.

You are our rock and our refuge, an ever present help in trouble. Come down, come in, walk with us so that we trust in you and not be shaken.

            We wait in hope attentive to all the signs of Christ’s coming.

 

 

Advent 2

The text is divided into 7 readers; you may divide it any way you wish, and include someone to light the candles at the appropriate time.

Reader 1

Listen to the Prophet Isaiah:

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

ALL:

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.

Reader 1 (continues)

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

 (Isa. 11:1-10)

Reader 2

Advent is about peace. And we do so long for peace. We live in a world of chaos and discord. The trademark of our times is violence. In a nation awash in guns, we continue to raise our children on myths of machismo. Our movie heroes are tough-talking, gun-wielding musclemen. Our streets are dangerous. Our civil dialogue has given way to abusive rhetoric. And a routine trip through a busy intersection is often enough to give us a glimpse of at least one other driver’s middle finger. In all of it, we do long for peace.

 

Reader 3

The state of our minds often mirrors the state of our world. We juggle hyperactive schedules, fragmented families, and hypertensive pressures. We worry about our children, we agonize over how to care for our parents, and no job seems secure. Our choices of antacid are outnumbered only by our spiritual options. We grasp for gurus and scan self-help books in serial confusion. Stress is the name of our days. And we do so long for peace.

 

Candle-lighter: Light 2 candles

 

All sing the candle-lighting hymn.(Suggested: “One Candle Is Lit,” Chalice Hymnal #128, verse 2)

 

Reader 4: As the hymn ends…

Surely the peace of our world starts with the peace of a heart. We are reminded that there is a peace of God which passes all understanding. At the core of each of us, if we will only listen, there is a still, small voice which can calm our fears, quiet our lives, and dispel our desperation. At the heart of each of us, if we only seek it, there is a spirit that rests in the grace of God. An assurance at the center of our lives can tame the chaos at the edges.

 

Reader 5

That spirit of God is also the hope of our world. Peace can come only when we can understand each other, knowing that God’s spirit makes us truly one. In the eyes of even a murderer, I can see my own anger. In the face of a terrorist, I can see my own desperation. In the breast of my enemy, I can feel my own fear. Peace is possible because we share that one spirit that rests in the presence of God.

 

Reader 6

Not one of us is a stranger to the other. Every passion or malice that might separate us I can find and recognize in my own heart, and so our differences lose their force. We are one with each other, and one with God, and that is a peace beyond the power of any stress or violence that can assault us. As we await the Bringer of Peace, the peace of God is already with us.

 

Reader 7 (may be offered responsively or by one voice)

Let us pray:

Prepare the way! The promise is come!

            The lion shall dwell with the lamb.

Prepare the way! The old with the young!

A child shall teach us to stand.

Prepare the way! Make the paths straight!

Earth shall fill her deep valleys!

Prepare the way! Break down walls of hate!

            The Way is approaching! Servants keep watch. Soon we shall see the salvation of our God!

 

Advent 3

The text is divided into 6 readers; you may divide it any way you wish, and include someone to light the candles at the appropriate time.

 

Reader 1

Listen to the word of God from Isaiah:

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. …Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people…the redeemed shall walk there.

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

 (Isa. 35:1-10)

Reader 2

Advent is about joy. But our times seem little suited for rejoicing. Our culture irritates and entertains, intoxicates and numbs, but rejoicing seems like a foreign idea. You can’t do it on cue. Joy can’t be bought and sold. You can’t plan for it or train for it. It doesn’t fit into a well-ordered life, and it’s not FDA approved.

 

Reader 3:

Joy comes only when least expected. We rejoice only when life has been turned on its ear; when—whatever we feared, whatever we steeled ourselves against–some gift of God has presented itself instead. When we rein in our loves to protect ourselves from pain, when we curtain our hopes from fear of disappointment, when we equip ourselves with cynicism to avoid looking foolish, we do so at the expense of joy.

 

Candle-lighter:  Light 3 candles (in places where a pink candle is available, this should be the 3rd one lit)

 

All sing the candle-lighting hymn.(Suggested: “One Candle Is Lit,” Chalice Hymnal #128, verse 3)

Reader 4: As the hymn ends…

As freedom can only be tasted in all its sweetness by those who know the feel of chains, so joy sings with its most full-throated glory only in spirits enlarged by the weight of despair and softened by the brine of tears. Pleasures floats on the surface of life. Happiness flits across a moment or an hour. But joy springs from the depths.

 

 

Reader 5

Joy is new life beating in a heart that has been broken. Joy is awakening to a fair morning from a nightmare of reality. Joy is a flight sunward on wings you had forgotten you had. Joy is the sound of laughter erupting from a procession of grief. Joy is God’s melody amid the discord of life, a song carrying the rhythm of eternity and touching the chords of longing in our souls.

Hand microphone to Reader 6

 

Reader 6: (may be offered responsively or by one voice)

Let us pray:

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.

We give thanks to you, O God, for the promise of full joy that this

            season brings to light.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.

            For all the troubles life can bring, you bring amazing possibilities

            that fill our hearts with joy.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.

Renew in us this day the promises of light after darkness, day after

            night, hope after despair, joy in this and every morning, for our trust

            is in you. Amen.

 

 

Advent 4

The text is divided into 6 readers; you may divide it any way you wish, and include someone to light the candles at the appropriate time.

 

Reader 1

Listen to the Gospel according to Luke:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

 (Luke 1:26-38)

Reader 2

Advent is about love. Francis Bacon once wrote: “A crowd is not company, faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk is but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.”

We are social beings. That is our blessing and our curse. We long for each other. We long to touch, to share, to bare some part of ourselves, to be understood, to invite others into our lives. We all long to lessen the loneliness that lurks in the background of even our most crowded moments.

 

Reader 3:

We are born alone and we will ultimately die alone, but in between we desperately want to be known, to be understood, to belong, to find some kind of acceptance just as we are—some intimacy of soul. And so we reach out with fragile, delicate efforts of love.

But love is dangerous. We can hurt each other. Hearts can be broken. Rejection can come. If you try to belong, you can be excluded, and that can hurt more than being alone.

Love, and the vulnerability that comes with it, can be the riskiest business of all. But there is no love without such risks. Like hunger and thirst, the longing for love is implanted deeply within us, and God offers us many opportunities to care, to reach out, and to love.

 

Candle-lighter: Light 4 candles

 

All sing the candle-lighting hymn.(Suggested: “One Candle Is Lit,” Chalice Hymnal #128, verse 4)

 

Reader 4: As the hymn ends…

There is some part of this gift of life that can’t be stored up or locked away. Some part of this spirit that God has placed in us will die if we do not spend it or share it or give it away.

 

Reader 5

Love is always a risk, but it is a risk upon which the very heart of our life depends. To love is to touch the heart of God. To look into the eyes of another and recognize our common soul is to see the face of God. Even to feel the ache of a heart broken for love is to discover God’s grace.

 

Reader 6: (may be offered responsively or by one voice)

Let us pray:

Your love, O God, is great, and the risks you have taken were supreme.

Teach us the way of love, and help us to walk in it.

From the depths of your creating love, you made us male and female.

Teach us the way of love, and help us to walk in it.

In the goodness of your covenant, you created us a community of your love.

Teach us the way of love, and help us to walk in it.

In the fullness of time you sent us Jesus, a man of love that risked all for the sake of the world.

Teach us the way of love, and help us to walk in it.

In your resurrection power, you have revealed your love to all humanity.

Teach us the way of love, and help us to walk in it.

Help us, O God, to reveal your love as we discover anew the tremendous power of the Christmas story and meet again the Christ-child, born anew among us.

Amen and Amen.

 

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Lent 3C

 

Feb. 28

 

Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

 

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Isaiah 55:1-9  Psalm 63:1-8  1 Corinthians 10:1-13  Luke 13:1-9

 

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

The Oremus Hymnal offers many good choices for the lectionary (although this 2010 version will have incorrect calendar dates). Not all are available in Chalice Hymnal, but some may be helpful in congregations where there is not a Chalice Hymnal available. Visit the Oremus Hymnal.

16 Come, Thou Fount…

73 There’s a Wideness…

339 Just As I Am…

387 Bread of the World… OR OTHER BREAD HYMNS

633 Lead on, O Cloud of Presence

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.

 

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin. Where practical, these may be offered here as well. You may also want to visit http://lectionarypsalms.org/   

This week: Sorry, no suggestions

 

Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2016, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Isaiah 55:1-9

 

Everyone thirsting, come and drink;

who has no money, come and buy.

Buy wine and milk and bread and more,

all without price.

 

For in this gathering of hope

abundantly sup, and take cup,

delight in richest, savored food

at God’s design.

 

All this provision radiates

the wonder God assigns for love,

that in this satiety of joy

we learn our hope

 

Seek now and evermore the Lord:

God may be found for life is near.

And everything is as God hopes

in sowing joy.

 

8.8.8.4.     Suggested tune: Almsgiving

 

Note: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor. If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention. No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.

 

Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer  

L: We are summoned here by our holy God, who calls us each by name, and gathers us together in the unity of Jesus Christ.

P: From classroom and kitchen and carpool, we are called into God’s presence. Young and old and middle-aged, individuals and families, softspoken and outspoken, we hear our names being called to join in worship.

L: This house of worship is a place to pursue God’s vision for all people: unity and joy and faith, expressed through different gifts.

P: Praise the Lord!

 

Prayer of Approach

L: The Lord be with you.

P: And also with you.

L: Let us pray. God whose very nature is wholeness and life, we give you thanks that in this holy assembly today you have called together people from different places, of many gifts, and with a multitude of ways of serving and loving. Make us one, Lord, even as you and your Christ are one, as we hear his clarion call to gather in the one body to feast on the word and receive from your hand the blessed gifts of bread and cup. Make us ready, Lord – ready to listen, ready to hear, ready to go and do your will, so that we all may be one, so that the world may know you in and among us. This we pray in the strong name of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

 

Confession of Sin

L: When all seems lost, Lord, and we are afraid to begin again,

P: Forgive us, we pray, and inspire our hearts with hope.

L: When all our problems seem insurmountable,

P: Give us courage to carry on our daily living in faith.

L: When we think only of self and seek only our own good, without concern for others,

P: Help us to see that our strength is in our union, and that only in working together in your name can we hope to see your reign of peace among us.

L: When tempted to put immediate gain ahead of wise use of the resources you have given us,

P: Grant us wisdom to see the error of our ways, and courage to repent.

L: When we are tempted to lose sight of your great vision for us,

P: Help us to see that our help comes from you, O Lord, and that your people can rise to greater glory only as we trust in you and commit ourselves to actions that we know in faith to be worthy.

 

OR

Our Maker God, we confess to you what we are: We like the path of life to be easy, comfortable, untroubled. We like problems to melt away, hardships to be smoothed over, stones to turn into bread for us. We do not want the hard and faithful way that Jesus takes. By your grace which kept him secure in your love during those forty desert days, arm us against temptation, alert us to corruption, and forgive our sins. Teach us to walk in the paths of Jesus, for his sake.

 

Words of Assurance

God has promised forgiveness of sins to those who repent and turn in faith. May God keep you in grace by the Holy Spirit, lead you to greater faith and trust, and bring you in peace to eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Intercessions

Loving God, you are our hope. We have often lived as though you were so distant, so uninvolved with us, and so aloof. Yet in Christ you have shown us just how near to us you are—walking by our sides, risking all to be near to us—so much that you would come to be our servant, our Savior and our friend.

Hear our prayers for those for whom we should take such risks, as we lift to you the yearnings of our hearts for your creation and its peoples. Help us as stewards of your many gifts to care more diligently for the brokenness of your world. May our lives honor you by caring for the earth and all of your creatures. May we be renewed and reconciled to live in peace with all people.

Many and great are the needs of those around us, Lord. Help us to better remember the poor, the homeless, the needy of our world, by serving those of them that live nearby—those we might too easily pass by on the streets. Teach us the meaning of prayer for the lost, the lonely and the grieving through the consolation of our encounters with them in everyday life. Empower us to heal the hurting, the sick and the dying by the touch and the love of Jesus who lives in us, his body.

We especially lift to you those dear to us (____) along with our own needs in silence.

Raise up your people again to lives of deeper prayer through more ready service, that we in this community of faith might be joined with Christ in his suffering and in his resurrection, for it is in his name and by his faith that we lift our prayers to you. Amen.

 

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

 

Almighty God,

whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,

and entered not into glory before he was crucified:

mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,

may find it none other than the way of life and peace;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

 

Post Communion

 

Merciful Lord,

grant your people grace to withstand the temptations

of the world, the flesh and the devil,

and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Additional Collect

 

Eternal God,

give us insight

to discern your will for us,

to give up what harms us,

and to seek the perfection we are promised

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves

to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and

inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all

adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil

thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus

Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy

Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Collect of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2016, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Luke 13:1-9

 

Provide for our impatience, O God,

another season of preparation,

the reparation of attention

that lies upon the nurture we

too readily abjure.

For into your more fruitful longing, Lord,

we would aspire

by way of sheer abundant grace.

 

Service of Table

Preparation (Invitation to Stewardship)

Through our offerings we identify with the cause of Christ. We proclaim our concern for all people, and we name them all as our next of kin. We identify with their suffering and grief and we rejoice when good comes to them. God gives both our material resources and our personal time and effort to us. Let us now extend them through the body of Christ into this moment of history and into the whole world.

 

Offertory Prayer

Holy one, your heart abounds with gifts. Receive this offering as a sign of our trust in you and our intention to live surrounded by your mercy, inspired by your Spirit, open to the joy of your presence, hospitable to one another, and generous toward your world. Amen.

 

Invitation to Commune

Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit at the table in the kingdom of God. This is the Lord’s table. Jesus invites all who seek to trust him to share in the feast which he has prepared. Let us come to his table now with hope and confidence as God’s children.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving

(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)

Blessed are you, Lord our God; you bring forth bread from the earth, and wine in its season. We praise you, we bless you, we glorify you, we give thanks to you for your great glory. When you took upon yourself to deliver us, you came to us a man. When he had accomplished your purposes, he suffered death for our sakes; raised by the power of your might, he is enthroned forever in majesty where he makes intercession for us an for all believers.

Your holiness calls to us today, Lord, as you called to your people in the life of Jesus Christ. Although many rejected him and reject him still, we remember and celebrate his presence with us.

Send your power and strength to us, Lord, as we gather here in love for you, and upon these gifts of bread and wine. Make them to be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we might be his true body, going about his work in our time and place; that in all things all glory might be given to you, Almighty God, now and forever.

[if not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’”]

 

MORE…

Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service. Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.

Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.

You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University.

 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2015. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2015 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2015; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992. The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.   http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary

 

Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.

 

NOTE: We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday. We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. Send your comments or content here.

 

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