Bulletin – Sunday, December 1 (Advent 1 / Communion)
Sunday, December 1, 2019
First Sunday of Advent / Communion
Gathering Song VU #75 – “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Welcome, lighting the candle and announcements
Call to Worship
One: In the midst of frenzied shopping and end-of-year weariness,
All: we have spread out a blue cloth,
One: and read again the ancient stories,
All: lighting a candle in the darkness, to celebrate a visit in the pasture.
Choral Response – Choir
Hark how all the heaven rings
Glory to the king of kings;
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
heav’n and earth unite to say,
“Christ the Lord is born today!”
One: Gathered here we declare our intention to live as if the greatest gift in the world were about to be placed into our hands,
All: We watch in anticipation of a surprising and wonderful gift, as the shepherds watched for a sign in the sky, and as if the Giver has understood our deepest needs, our most heartfelt prayers.
One: Like John the Baptist, may we call out for new life in the wilderness.
All: May we hear the call and turn towards God and the coming gift, as the wise men turned away from their lives to follow a star to a new life.
One: Like Mary, may we be surprised by our calling;
All: May we see God’s glory coming in a new unexpected way, and like Mary open our hearts to God incarnate. (Like Simeon and Anna, may the years increase our faith;)
One: like sleepy shift workers on a hillside, may-our eyes be opened;
All: like Joseph may we listen to our dreams; for this season requires our creative imagination.
One: There is a Presence in our world that asks to be seen, who will stay awake?
All: There is a coming to our world that seeks a welcome, who will offer hospitality? For even now Jesus Christ is moving toward us.
Prayer of Approach
As this sacred time of Advent dawns, we turn our eyes to the stars. We pray that you, Holy God, would tear open the heavens and come down. Where the world is shadowed and cold, where your children are hungry and hopeless, where we look for meaning and purpose in our lives, may your Spirit come. Help us to watch for your coming, dancing in the night sky with the heavenly hots, shattering the chaos all around us; help us to embrace your coming that we find the courage we need to share it with the world. Amen.
(adapted from Nora Vedress, Calvary United Church, used with permission)
Opening Hymn VU #2 – “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, we confess our impatience with waiting and our questioning of the wonder of your love. We want to remember that Jesus taught us that waiting and having faith in you is truly a rewarding way to live our lives, so help us not to rush through this season but rather to take our time to prepare for your holy Christmas gift.
(written by Tony Tuck, First United Church, used with permission)
Words of Assurance
Passing the Peace
Time for All Ages
Hymn VU #76 – “See Amid the Winter’s Snow”
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church
Thanks be to God!
Anthem – “Celtic Advent Carol”
Meditation – “To Watch”
Offering / Response: “Adoration”
Holy Child of God, we adore You now;
Like the wisemen bowed we kneel before You now.
And our gifts we bring as an offering;
Lord, we’ve gathered here to worship You alone.
For all that we are, for all that we have, for all that we are becoming, now and forever. Thank you God of Love.
(adapted from Richard Bott, used with permission)
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.
Christmas Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, all praise to your name.
Your kingdom in heaven, on earth be the same.
By mortals and angels, come, Lord reign alone;
Oh, hear us and bless us, from heaven’s high throne
The bread that we yearn for provide us each day;
As we forgive others, our sins take away;
In times of temptation, to lead us be near;
From evil deliver your children most dear.
For yours is the kingdom, o’er all things you reign,
And yours is the power, all things you maintain.
To you be the glory, resounding again
from all of creation, forever. Amen.
Sharing the Bread and the Cup
One: The Body of Christ,
All: the Bread of Life.
One: The Lifeblood of Christ,
All: the Cup of Blessing.
Let us eat and drink together for our strengthening in the faith, and for the sake of the world.
Prayer after Sharing
Holy Creator, Bread of Life, Everlasting Salvation, light shines in the night and the night will not overcome it. In this meal we have been replenished and strengthened, the light of your love rekindled within. We will be bold to carry this light into the world. We thank you God: thank you Christ; thank you Spirit. Amen.
Closing Hymn “People of God, in Expectation, Wait”
Commissioning / Benediction
May the Spirit of the Christ Child show us how to love to live
For the joy and peace of Christmas is for us to share and give.
May the story of God’s coming, God with us – Emmanuel,
Fill the world with light of Christmas, as in awe we do God’s will.