I thought I had already posted these, but I guess not. Our scriptures are Matthew 3:1-12 and 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Hannah’s song).
Call to Worship
We come to prepare the way;
The way for Christ–
the hope of Christ, the peace of Christ–
to enter our world,
to enter our hearts.
We cry out together in the wilderness:
The kingdom of heaven has come near.
We come to be part of the light–
the light that shines in the darkness.
Holy God of Peace,
We seek your peace in these darkening days. We seek a calm within, yes. And an absence of conflict between people and nations. But more deeply, we seek your shalom–the deep and abiding peace that will come only through the justice of your kingdom. Amen.
May you carry the light of peace with you this week. A strong and holy peace that strengthens the weak, feeds the hungry, exalts the poor, and guards the feet of the faithful. Amen.
This year for Advent we are looking at four different songs from scripture: Psalm 147, Hannah’s Song in 1 Samuel 2, Mary’s Song in Luke 1, and the Song of the Angels in Luke 2. Secondary readings for each week are chosen from the Lectionary options. This week we will read Romans 13:8-12. The call to worship candle-lighting liturgy and the benediction for this Sunday are below.
Call to Worship:
The night is far gone.
The day is near.
And so we wait.
We wait with hope,
for the brokenhearted to be healed,
for the downtrodden to be lifted up.
We wait for the coming of the Christ child.
In this meantime,
We will sing into the silence.
We will light a candle against the darkness.
Lighting of the Advent Candle
Holy God of Hope,
Give us ears to hear and hearts to trust the promises you offer to us in this season of Advent. As we worship together, we offer ourselves to you and we open ourselves to your abundant grace. Amen.
May you carry the light of hope with you this week. And may that light burn with the power of the Holy Spirit against all the darknesses you encounter–a stubborn light to mark this season of waiting, this season of hope. Amen.
Yes, it’s true. This coming Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Ready or not . . .
Some of the Rev. Gals are helping each other out by sharing Advent resources today, and I thought I would join the party.
Yesterday I posted this piece over at Practicing Families about Advent practices at home.
Last year (2012) Peace Mennonite focused on the themes of the Advent Conspiracy, for which I wrote weekly candle-lighting liturgies:Advent 1
Here is the offertory prayer we have used for Advent the past few years–changing the second word of the prayer to reflect the “candle word” for the week: hope, peace, joy, love.
God of Peace, in this season of Advent, this time of waiting, we offer to you our money, our time, our energy. Accept what we offer. And use these offerings to shine the light of your peace in the dark places of our world. Amen.
And for those truly planning ahead, Christmas Eve services:2012
And a simple liturgy for family worship on Christmas morning.
Finally, here are a few Advent reflections:on Mary
on Ashes and Advent
on living these days “Advently”
on Kairos at Christmas
I’m excited because Jill Clingan, my good friend and a fabulous writer, is preaching at Peace Mennonite this Sunday! We are still worshiping our way through Acts, and she will be focusing on Acts 21:17-26. I’ve chosen Psalm 119:33-40 as the Old Testament reading–thinking about our love for the law and the interplay of grace.
So here is our Call to Worship:
Like the psalmist,
we worship with faithfulness and longing.
God, give us understanding;
Lead us on your paths;
Turn our hearts to love;
Turn our eyes to truth;
Confirm your promise of life–
abundant and eternal life.
May our worship be your praise.
May our lives be holy offerings.
And the prayer of confession (also based on/inspired by these verses from Psalm 119):
Forgive hearts consumed with selfish gain.
Turn our hearts toward love for others.
Forgive eyes gazing at worthless things of this world.
Turn our eyes toward your presence, your action, within us and around us.
Forgive hands that push people away.
Turn our hands to welcome the stranger, the outcast, the enemy.
Forgive feet kicking up dust on dead-end roads.
Turn our feet onto your path of righteousness and life.
By the grace of the forgiving, transforming One–Jesus Christ–
Forgive us, turn us, O God.
And the assurance of pardon: “Hear now the Good News: By the grace of the Holy One, we are forgiven. By the Holy power, we are being transformed. Thanks be to God.”
Just a little Call to Worship for All Saints day. Our opening scripture is Isaiah 25:6-9.
This morning we remember our loved ones who have died,
And we remember God’s promise of eternal life.
This mourning we mourn the absence of many,
And we celebrate God’s continuing presence.
We listen for the Divine voice in ancient words of scripture,
And we hear of miracles, we hear that death will be swallowed up forever.
Through sorrow and through joy, let us worship our Holy God.
Let us be glad and rejoice in our salvation.
This week the sermon will be on Acts 17:22-31, which lead to an opening reading from Genesis 2:4-9, which led to this call to worship and benediction:
We believe God still creates–
We want to see more clearly.
We believe God still speaks–
We want to listen more carefully.
We believe God still guides–
We want to walk more faithfully.
We believe God still breathes life into the world–
We want to inhale more deeply.
May this be a time of seeing, hearing, walking, breathing.
May this be a time of true worship. Amen.
May you go forth to see clearly, listen carefully, walk faithfully, and breathe deeply. And the Holy One–Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer–go with you. Amen.
This week we will be looking at the story of the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 . . . AND we will be worshiping with board members from the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests. (I wish I could say that I plan stuff like this–but I don’t.) Below is the call to worship and benediction that I have written for the service.
Call to Worship
We are here because we have heard rumors of God’s grace,
of Divine love poured out
on people of all colors
from all places
people of all classes
We have heard stories of this Jesus,
of Divine inclusion for former outcasts–
people who were confused
We want to hear more of these stories.
We want to sing and shout and live these stories,
so that we might help spread this scandalous rumor
of Divine grace,
of boundary-less love.
As you go from this place: may you live within the Creator’s divine grace; may you live out Jesus’ boundary-less love; may you live through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
This week’s call to worship is based on Psalm 67 and Acts 14:15-17. The idea is that the leader would read the plain text, the congregation the bold, and everyone the bold italics. (The picture is from my yard.)
We come together to praise you, God.
For you are the Living God
who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and everything in them.
You have shown kindness
by giving us rain from heaven
and seasons of harvest.
You provide us with food for our bodies
and happiness for our hearts.
Let us be glad and sing with joy!
I wish I could say that I carefully planned out our Acts series so that World Communion Sunday would correspond to Peter’s vision-fueled defense of eating with uncircumcised men. (Acts 11:1-18) But I can’t. It was all Holy Spirit . . . or dumb luck. But it is working out well. Below are a couple of pieces I wrote for Sunday’s worship service.
Call to Worship
Here in this place, God offers us food,
so we take and eat.
Here in this place, our neighbors are hungry,
so we share the bread and the cup.
Here in this place, the table extends
beyond our friends
beyond those who agree with us
beyond these walls
beyond the borders
around the world.
Let us taste and see that our God is good.
Let us worship God with joy.
Prayer of Confession
God of deep, abounding, astounding, boundary-breaking love,
Forgive our closed doors;
forgive our closed eyes and ears;
forgive our insulated living,
forgive our safe and comfortable tables.
One of the many benefits of reading through the entire Bible in a year is re-reading scriptural gems that I had forgotten about. This morning I started reading Second Corinthians and ran across a forgotten favorite in verse 20:
For in [Christ] every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.”
Here is a Call to Worship based on that verse. As always, you are welcome to use this in your own worship setting. The intent is for the leader to read the plain text, the congregation the bold, and all read the bold italics.
May you experience the deep “yes” of God in your life today.
Call to Worship:
Paul writes that, “in Christ, every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’”
God says yes to consolation.
Yes to salvation.
Yes to peace.
Yes to love.
of God’s promises
is a “Yes.”
And so we have come this morning to say our own “Yes.”
We say yes to fellowship.
Yes to discipleship.
Yes to faith.
Yes to worship.
May our words
may our music
may our lives
be our “Yes” back to God.