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.
*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.)
*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.
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.
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
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