The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Together with Christians around the globe, we are now in the four-week, ancient celebration of Advent. Advent is a time of communal and personal examination, preparation, and hopeful, expectant waiting of the coming of God’s justice in the world.

PRELUDE Shepherd Pipes JOHNSON

*ADVENT PROPHECY  Isaiah 7:11-16 (insert)

LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES (insert)

*HYMN Watchman, Tell Us of the Night (insert) ST. GEORGE’S WINDSOR

*INVITATION TO CONFESSION

Our God is a welcoming God of refuge, and all are invited to let loose their burdens in this morning’s confession.

*PRAYER OF CONFESSION

God of Interruptions,
we welcome you into our lives, asking that you call our attention to what’s new and urgent alongside what’s old and still worthy of our consideration.
In the vast diversity of your Creation, we understand that advocacy is a complicated thing.
Keep us responsive to the needs of our siblings, all people;
and where we have developed for-granted truths, interrupt us—Let us know that we took them.
Guide us, O God, as we shuffle, bend, and learn, always striving to more faithfully follow the way of Christ, your Beloved, Anointed One. Amen.

(Silent confession.)

CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE:

*HYMN 102 Savior of the Nations, Come, vs. 1 NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND

Savior of the nations, come;
virgin’s son, make here your home.
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.

*ASSURANCE OF GRACE

In this season of waiting, the Good News is this: mercy, new life, hope, and joy are the gifts we receive from our God.

Thanks be to the God of Advent,
who is with us now and always, and
who will come again in glory! Amen.

*PASSING OF THE PEACE

Since we have been reconciled to God, let us now be reconciled to one another.

The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.

(The congregation is invited to exchange signs of peace.)

CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE

*HYMN 95 Prepare the Way of the Lord (sing twice) PREPARE THE WAY

Prepare the way of the Lord. Prepare the way
of the Lord, and all people will see the
salvation of our God.

SCRIPTURE READING

JOHN 3:12-17

For the word of God in scripture, for the word of God among us, for the word of God within us, thanks be to God.

SERMON

“Descending for Love” Jude Romines

*HYMN 105 People, Look East, vs. 1&5 BESANCON

PRAYERS OF SUPPLICATION AND INTERCESSION

O God, in your lovingkindness:
Hear our prayer.

OFFERING                         The Boy Child of Mary

In addition to the offering plate, you may
give electronically through the Give-lify app
or our website’s donation page.


*DOXOLOGY VENI EMMANUEL

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise God all creatures high and low
Praise God in Jesus fully known
Creator, Word, and Spirit, one.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

Lift up your hearts.
           We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Disruptive God, we thank you for discomfort. Life is messy. Truths can be hard to swallow. And sometimes it feels like the more we lean into your Word, the more we notice pain, toil, and suffering.

We are grateful, God, for the ways you alert us, keeping us mindful of the needs of others and the consequences of our actions.

Keep us aware, O God, keep us uncomfortable, so that we may recognize and challenge wrongdoings, seeking justice for all people;

We give thanks to you in all things as we pray, saying:

The LORD’S PRAYER, as we
call it here, can be found on the
back cover of your hymnal.


*HYMN 113 Angels We Have Heard on High GLORIA

*DISMISSAL

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of God’s holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us go forth in the name and Spirit of Christ Jesus. Thanks be to God.

POSTLUDE Old English Carol FEDAK


We’d like to thank those who served in and prepared worship today:

Jude Romines, Preacher
Bill Maul, Music Director
Greg Gardner, Liturgist
Woodland Vocal Ensemble, Special Music

Announcements

Stewardship Pledge:

It’s Stewardship season, and we are now collecting pledges for 2020. As we always say, the amount doesn’t matter as much as the intention, which we are incredibly grateful for! You can make your pledge with one of our pledge cards or by clicking the Give tab on woodlandnash.org!

Christmas Eve Service:

Join us for a simple finger food potluck, festive tunes, and a candlelight Communion service! If you’re able, bring something simple to share for the potluck. Your greatest gift is simply your presence. Bring friends and family. (Tue, December 24th, Potluck @ 5:30pm; Prelude @ 6:15pm; and Service @ 6:30pm)

Weekly Discussion Group

Our weekly discussion group will pick back up this January, meeting at 9:45am every Sunday before service to have open conversations about a variety of faith-related topics. The theme for January will be Feminist Theology, and we’ll have a different host each week covering a topic related to that theme! Please join us on January 4th in the Parlor next to the Assembly Room for our first meeting of the new year!

Woodland 2020 Directory!

If you did not receive an email, let one of the hubbers know and we will get you added to the email list. Additionally, we will be printing a limited amount of copies of the directory for $12 each. If you would like a printed copy, again let a hubber know or email Sara at sara@woodlandnash.org!

The Longest Night

WELCOME

PRELUDE                      Still, Still, Still                                                                STILL, STILL, STILL

OPENING LITANY

One:     Jesus said, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”  And so we invite each other to this time of peaceful worship.  Flee for a while from your tasks;

All:      Hide yourself for a little space from the turmoil of your thoughts.

One:     Come, cast aside your burdensome cares and put aside your laborious pursuits.

All:      Give your time to God, and rest in God for a little while.

HYMN                          Nothing Can Trouble     #820                                         NADA TE TURBE

Noth-ing can trou-ble; noth-ing can fright-en.
Those who seek God shall nev-er go want-ing.
Noth-ing can trou-ble; noth-ing can fright-en.
God a-lone fills us.        (3x)

PRAYER OF LAMENT

Psalm 13, 74 and 79

One:     Do not remember against us the sins of our ancestors; 
let your compassion come quickly to meet us, for we are brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name;
deliver us, and forgive us, for your name’s sake.
Why should the world say, “Where is their God?”

All:      Sometimes our world seems dark and we feel alone.
We grasp for help, 
often seeking solutions that end up hurting us even more.
Hear our cry, O God of mercy.

One:     How long, O Holy One? Will you always forget me?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I scheme just to survive, my mind in anguish every day?
How long will my enemy rise against me?

All:      Sometimes things fall apart; we are hurt and confused.
We look for guidance and turn to those who lead us astray.
See our dilemma, O Holy One of hope!

One:     Respect your covenant; for the dark places of the land are full of violence.
Do not let the humble be disgraced; let the poor and needy praise your
name. Arise, O God, plead my cause; remember how fools scoff at you all day! 
Do not forget the cry of your foes, in constant uproar, rebelling against you.

All:      We are tempted to trust only ourselves; we are angry and fearful.
We call on you, even demand that you hear our prayers.
For you are the one who created us.

ASSURANCE 

Psalm 46:1–5

One:   God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
            Therefore we will not fear if the earth should change,
            though the mountains shake in the middle of the sea;
            Though its waves roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its chaos. 
            There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the Holy home of the
Most High. 
            God is in the middle of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her quickly.

 SCRIPTURE       John 1: 1-5, 10-14, 16-18   

HYMN                          Wait for the Lord          #90                              WAIT FOR THE LORD

            Wait for the Lord, whose day is near.
            Wait for the Lord; be strong; take heart.  (3x)

LIGHTING OF ADVENT CANDLES AND LITANY OF REMEMBRANCE

One:     We light this Advent candle to remember those persons who have been loved and lost. We pause to remember their name, their face, their voice. We give thanks for the memory that binds them to us this season which anticipates Christmas.

All:      May God’s eternal love surround them.

Sing:    O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,

            That mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appear.

            Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Silent Reflection and Prayer

One:     We light this second candle to redeem the pain of loss: the loss of relationships, the loss of jobs, the loss of health. As we gather up the pain of the past, we offer it to You, O God, asking that into our open hands, You will place the gift of peace.

All:      Refresh, restore, renew us, O God, and lead us into your future.

Sing:    O come, strong branch of Jesse, free your own from Satan’s tyranny;

            From depths of hell your people save and give them victory o’er the grave.

            Rejoice!  Rejoice!   Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Silent Reflection and Prayer

One:     We light this third candle to remember ourselves this Christmas time. We pause and remember the past weeks, months and for some of us, years of down times. We remember the poignancy of memories, the grief, the sadness, the hurts, the pain of reflecting on our own mortality.

All:      Let us remember that dawn defeats darkness.

Sing:    O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by thine advent here;
            Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
            Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Silent Reflection and Prayer

One:     This fourth candle is lit to remember our faith and the gift of hope which God offers to us in the Christmas story. We remember that God who shares our life, promises us a place and time of no more pain and suffering.

All:      Let us remember the one who shows the way and who goes with us into our tomorrows.

Sing:    O come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind;
            Bid envy, strife, and discord cease; fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
            Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

PRAYERS OF THE COMMUNITY

HYMN              O Lord, Hear My Prayer             #471                 HEAR MY PRAYER

            O Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord, hear my prayer.
            When I call, an-swer me.
O Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord, hear my prayer.           
Come and lis-ten to me.

THE BLESSING AND AFFIRMATION OF HOPE  

“First Coming” by Madeline L’Engle 

 One:     God did not wait until the world was ready, ‘til…nations were at peace.

All:      God came when the Heavens were unsteady and prisoners cried out for release.

One:     God did not wait for the perfect time.

All:      God came when the need was deep and great.  God dined with sinners in all their grime, turned water into wine.

One:     God did not wait till hearts were pure.

All:      In joy, God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.  To a world like ours, of anguished shame, God came and God’s light would not go out.

One:     God came to a world which did not mesh; to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.

All:      In the mystery of the Word made flesh, the maker of the stars was born.

One:     We cannot wait till the world is sane to raise our songs with joyful voice, or to share our grief, to touch our pain.

All:      God came with love: Rejoice!  Rejoice!

HYMN              Goodness is Stronger than Evil   #750                 GOODNESS IS STRONGER

BENEDICTION

Beloved, the Holy One approaches.
God will lead us out of this present wilderness.
God will lead us out of this momentary desert, where we feel alone and afraid.
God will lead us up out of the valleys and beyond the rough places.
Be strong. Take heart.
Until that time, may our darkness serve as only the backdrop of the approaching promise.
On this winter solstice, be reminded that the light now grows a little warmer.
Go knowing that God is with us, leading us on, leading us home, leading us to light.

Amen.

*Parts of this service have been adapted from the work of Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell at http://rev-o-lution.org and Trinity Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN.

The Second Sunday of Advent

Together with Christians around the globe, we are now in the four-week, ancient celebration of Advent.

Advent is a time of communal and personal examination, preparation, and hopeful, expectant waiting of the coming of God’s justice in the world.

PRELUDE O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Arr. Broud

*ADVENT PROPHECY  Isaiah 11:1-9 (insert)

LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES (insert)

*HYMN 109 Blest Be the God of Israel MERLE’S TUNE

*INVITATION TO CONFESSION

Beloved companions in this journey of Advent, in this season of expectancy and waiting, we are offered space and encouragement to stop pretending everything is “fine,” and to admit that we sometimes need help. We are invited to drop the often unbearable burden of optimism, the illusion of complete self-sufficiency, and to get real about the enormity of the world’s problems. Only then are we able to choose the more substantive, sustainable and bearable Hope. With boldness and assurance, let us approach our ever-faithful God in this morning’s prayer of confession.

*PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Surprising God, we confess that our sense of anticipation has often been dulled, and we sometimes struggle to accept your wonders, too often not seeing the marvels around us in the people and the happenings we view as commonplace. Move us, O God, from those stuck and isolated places, and send your redeeming Light, that it may shine through us to the needs of others, giving us courage to follow more faithfully the way of your justice as embodied in Christ Jesus, your Beloved, Anointed One. Amen.

Silent confession.

*CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE

*HYMN 102 Savior of the Nations, Come, vs. 1
NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND

Savior of the nations, come;
virgin’s son, make here your home.
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.

*ASSURANCE OF GRACE

In this season of waiting, the Good News is this: mercy, new life, hope, and joy are the gifts we receive from our God.
Thanks be to the God of Advent, who is with us now and always, and who will come again in glory! Amen.

*PASSING OF THE PEACE

Since we have been reconciled to God, let us also be reconciled to one another.

The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.

(The congregation is invited to exchange signs of peace.)

*CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE:                

*HYMN 95              Prepare the Way of the Lord (sing twice) PREPARE THE WAY

Prepare the way of the Lord. Prepare the way of the Lord,
and all people will see the salvation of our God.

SCRIPTURE READING                                        

For the word of God in scripture, for the word of God among us, for the word of God within us, thanks be to God.          

SERMON                                                                                                     Paige Huggins

*HYMN 109 Come Now, O Prince of Peace O-SO-SO

PRAYERS OF SUPPLICATION AND INTERCESSION

O God, in your lovingkindness,
         Hear our prayer.

*HYMN 764 For the Troubles and the Suffering PELAS DORES DESTE MUNDO

OFFERING The People Who Walked in Darkness ISAIAH 96

*DOXOLOGY                                                        VENI EMMANUEL

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise God all creatures high and low
Praise God in Jesus fully known
Creator, Word, and Spirit, one.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

COMMISSIONING+                                        Hannah Rae Melis

Precious Creator, in Jesus Christ you called your disciples and, by the Holy Spirit, made them one church to serve you. Be with Hannah Rae as she embraces the opportunity to follow your call, travelling across the great oceans of Creation to continue studying and respecting your Word. Help her open her heart to meaningful experiences and friendships, always seeking to use her talents to lift up others. And even as Hannah Rae empowers those around her, keep her mindful of the value of slowing down and the importance of self-love and care. Gracious God, let your spirit guide Hannah Rae so that the whole church may be joined in love and service to Jesus Christ, who, having gone before us, is coming to meet us in the promise of your kingdom. Amen.

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

(The prayer continues.)

We give thanks to you in all things, O God, as we pray, saying:

Our FatherMother, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive the sins of others; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

**HYMN 144 In the Bleak Midwinter CRANHAM

*DISMISSAL

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of God’s holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us go forth in the name and Spirit of Christ Jesus.
Thanks be to God.

  POSTLUDE From Heaven Above to Earth I Come Kauffmann

*Please rise in body or in spirit.
+ Adapted from the Book of Common Worship

***
The Session of the Church:
Class of 2019: Mark Taylor, Brett Withers
Class of 2020: Alan Stephenson, Tom Eldridge
Class of 2021: Greg Gardner, Rachel Harley
Melinda Sanders, Moderator

We thank those who served in and prepared for worship today:

Paige Huggins, Preacher
Woodland Vocal Ensemble, Special Music  
Bill Maul, Music Director
Eliza Blades, Liturgist

Announcements

Each Sunday during Advent, one of our newest training hub members will be preaching on the theme “Home Another Way.” We are excited to hear what the Spirit has to say through those newest to our leadership team.

Cookie Swap! Please join us for our first annual Christmas cookie swap! Bring two dozen of your favorite homemade Christmas cookies (and a recipe!) and swap your tasty treats and tips with others! (Sat, Dec. 14th @1pm)

Longest Night (Blue Christmas) Service: Christmas is sometimes a difficult time for those experiencing sadness, loss, or grief. This is a service for those wishing to support those who have a difficult time around this time of year. Join us for a brief service of song and prayer to bring warmth and light to the longest night of the year. (Fri, December 20th @ 6pm)

Christmas Eve Service: Join us for a simple finger food potluck, festive tunes, and a candlelight Communion service! If you’re able, bring something simple to share for the potluck. Your greatest gift is simply your presence. Bring friends and family. (Tue, December 24th, Potluck @ 5:30pm; Prelude @ 6:15pm; and service @ 6:30pm)

Room In The Inn: As the weather turns colder, we will be hosting guests from Room In The Inn on Saturday, December 21st. If you would like to be involved in that effort, you can call the church office or reach out to Rachel Harley.

Sing with us! On each of the four Sundays of Advent, the Woodland Vocal Ensemble will sing during worship. If you or someone you know is interested in being part of the ensemble, please contact Bill after worship so we know how many people to prepare for. Ensemble practice will gather around the piano in the Sanctuary at 10am each Sunday.