This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies. If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call to Worship
In our waiting, we wear thin
In the dark, our eyes forget how to see.
In this long night, our hearts forget how to dream.
We have come that You might strengthen us, O God
that Your Love would weave through our frames
And hold us up right
So that in our waiting, we might find Life.
As we wait on the Light,
Transform the people we’ve become
Into those who know how to shine.
Joy Candle Liturgy
Grasping for Hope, we light the first candle.
[Light Hope Candle]
Longing for Peace, we light the second candle
[Light Peace Candle]
Seeking Joy, we light the third candle
[Light Joy Candle]
Today, we light the love candle. What we mean by “love” when we use it in the context of the Christian story is difficult to pin down. It doesn’t fit neatly into bullet points. Instead, it is best defined in a person: the Person of Jesus. We are beginning a journey through the life of Jesus, and we will become better acquainted with Love throughout the year. But even in the earliest part of the story of Jesus, the Incarnation, God is showing us what love is: God chooses to be God with us when we deserve God against us. This surprising flash of light in the darkness is the heart of love. And we light the fourth candle with this particular love in mind.
[Light Love Candle]
Hear now the Lord speaking out of love for the people of God in Isaiah 7:10-14:
The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of human beings? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
This week's prayer was written by Kareem Shane:
God this week we observe love during the Advent season. God we confess that we don’t know who to love each other and often we don’t know how to love You.
God during this Advent is season we recognize both our holy longing and the healing love you have for us, despite the many barriers we put up between ourselves and You.
This morning God we sit in our chair and simply cry out “Come Lord Jesus!” God if we let ourselves feel what is in our hearts, we know you will fill us with Your love. And we can carry that experience with us as we go through the busiest of our week.
God we know You waits with infinite love, with Your arms outstretched to meet us. The words we say don't matter. We can speak as if you are a Friend that we have not seen in a long time, but one with whom we can sit in a comfortable silence and experience Your love and peace.
God in this moment we choose to slow down. To breathe more deeply. To allow Your love to penetrate our hearts in the midst of a busy season of life. In this moment we cry out again, “Come, Lord, Jesus.”
God we know our lives are messy and we trust You don’t mind messiness of our lives. We believe You love us.
God we trust that Your love can’t find its way to our into wound and broken hearts.
God again we cry out “Come, Lord, Jesus!” We asked that You come into this place but not only this place but our house, into our families, into our struggles. Bring Your healing love and give us joy again.
Come and unite us and let us experience, each in our own way, the love you are offering for us now.”