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Bulletin – December 13, 2020

Advent 3 – Joy in the Wilderness

Candle Lighting

As we light this candle of joy this day help us to learn what real joy is in our lives. We often use ‘things’ to help us cope with this world. As we move towards the coming of love incarnate into the world let us open our lives to you and to the true joy that comes lives in you so that it may come into our lives.

God of Advent, You have given us a playful spirit and You call us to enjoy life. Grant that during this Advent and Christmas season we will find many, many reasons to rejoice and play. Help us to remember that life is not always a serious thing. Awaken the awe-struck, innocent child within all of us. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Sung Response –
We light this candle for Joy.
Await the new life within.
May our hearts now live each day,
So Joy can find a way,
So Joy can find a way. 

Call To Worship

One: The time of waiting and watching is here! Are you ready?

All: We are waiting for God of joy to open our hearts.

One: God of all joy come to us this day to free us from our burdens, to bring joy to a world that longs for something more.

All: We are ready to receive the precious blessings of God.

One: Come, let us worship God who loves us dearly.

All: Let us praise God for God’s blessings in our lives. AMEN.

Opening hymn – VU #35“Good Christian Friends, Rejoice”  

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say:  News!  News!
Jesus Christ is born today.
Ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!  Christ is born today!

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Joy! Joy! Jesus Christ was born for this!
He hath opened heaven’s door, and we are blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
Now ye need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all to gain his everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save!”

Prayer of Approach

Let us pray:  Holy God of Joy, we rejoice in the reality of who you are. We live within the joy of your love for us. Sometimes we know that our contentment comes and goes. Our happiness ebbs and flows. Our feelings depend upon our circumstances, our physical health, our brain chemistry. But our joy is deeply rooted in our identity as your beloved children. God, you share with us words of hope, words of joy. But sometimes we are unable to hear them because they sound so familiar, their source is too familiar. You call us to share hope and joy with those around us. But sometimes we are unable to share, because the people know us too well and we know them too well. We struggle to find joy for ourselves, let alone for anyone else. In the many ways we can and have subverted your message of hope and joy, in all the ways we have kept the Jubilee year from happening, we have left the path that you call us to walk, so we pray as we call upon your Grace to lead us back on track. This we pray in the name of Joy Incarnate, Jesus. Amen.

Sung Response:
Breathe into this moment of joy
With courage to let go, daring to dream.
For the days are surely coming when we’ll rise –
Strong together once again in joy.

Words of Assurance

This is the time of God’s favour, God’s grace continues to proclaim release to the captives, Good News to the poor, and freedom to the oppressed. We live as loved, forgiven and free people through the grace of God! Hallelujah! Amen. 

Time for All Ages

Sung Response – MV #33“Jesus Came Bringing Us Joy”
Jesus came bringing us joy,
Jesus came bringing us joy,
Jesus came bringing us joy,
Hallelujah forever more!

Scripture

Isaiah 61: 1 – 4, 8 – 11

1    The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
    because the LORD has anointed me;
    he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners;
2    to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
3    to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a garland instead of ashes,
    the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
    They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the LORD, to display his glory.
4    They shall build up the ancient ruins,
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
    they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.
8    For I the LORD love justice,
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
    I will faithfully give them their recompense,
    and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9    Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
    and their offspring among the peoples;
    all who see them shall acknowledge
    that they are a people whom the LORD has blessed.
10    I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
    my whole being shall exult in my God;
    for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
    as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11    For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
    so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
    to spring up before all the nations.

Psalm 126

1    When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.
2    Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
    then it was said among the nations,
    “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3    The LORD has done great things for us,
    and we rejoiced.
4    Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
    like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5    May those who sow in tears
    reap with shouts of joy.
6    Those who go out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
    shall come home with shouts of joy,
    carrying their sheaves.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God.

MeditationWhere do we truly find joy?

Anthem – “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen”

Prayer

God, we wait with eager expectation for the coming of Your kingdom when the humble will be exalted and the hungry fed. We pray to you, O God, for enough for everyone.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

God, we prepare for Your advent with searching minds and contrite hearts, trusting in Your healing spirit and redemptive love. As we lift up to you those in this community whom we hope feel that healing spirit in their lives today……(prayer list) We pray to you, O God, for your healing spirit.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

God, we watch with those who wait and weep, longing to see the rule of justice and the reign of peace. We pray to you, O God, for peace and justice.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

God, we seek You among the despised and rejected, knowing that there we will find Your light shining in the dark. We pray to you, O God, for you presence always.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

God, we proclaim sight to the blind and liberty to the oppressed, trusting in Your tender mercy and passion for justice. We pray to you, O God, for justice and mercy.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

God, we work with others to proclaim Your truth, challenging the mighty and raising the meek. We pray to you, O God, for the voice to speak.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

God, we wrestle with our hopes and our fears, our struggles and our joys, laboring with creation to come to new birth. We pray to you, O God, for the coming of your kingdom.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Closing hymn – VU #64 – “O Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary; and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to all on earth.

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessed gift of heaven.
No ear may hear his coming; but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.

O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in; be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.

Benediction

May the light of this Advent season, the light of the candle of joy, shine in your hearts, on your path, and beckon you to joyfully enter into God’s Love and service to the world. Go in peace and joy. May the God of peace and joy go with you today and every day. AMEN.

Sung Response – (tune VU #36)
God, dismiss us with your blessing;
Fill our hearts with joy and peace;
Let us each, your love possessing,
Triumph in redeeming grace;
O refresh us, O refresh us,
Traveling through the wilderness.

Categories: General News