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Bulletin – Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday, November 29, 2020
First Sunday in Advent
Hope in the Wilderness

Approach

Lighting the Christ Candle

We light this candle of hope this day. Each one of us has, in our hearts, our hopes and dreams for our lives and the lives of the ones that we love. We hope that things will work out, that all of our planning will work out as we hoped it would. This year we hope that we will soon be returning to normal. As we move towards the coming of love incarnate into the world, help us to open our hearts to you so that the hope that lives in you might come into our lives.

God of Advent, you enter our lives in many ways and many places. During this Advent season open our hearts to welcoming and being ready to greet all we meet. Help us to be ready and able to receive and to recognize You in the many ways You are revealed. We pray in the name of the one whose coming we await, Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Response

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

Call to Worship

The time of waiting and watching is here! Are you ready?
We are waiting for God of hope to open our hearts.

God of all hope come to us this day to free us from our burdens, to bring hope to a world that longs for something more.
We are ready to receive the precious blessings of God.

Come, let us worship God who loves us dearly.
Let us praise God for God’s blessings in our lives. Amen.

Hymn – “Once in Royal David’s City”

Once in royal David’s city stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed.
Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven who, with God, is over all,
And his shelter was a stable, and his cradle was a stall.
There among the poor and lowly lived on earth our Saviour holy.

For he is our lifelong pattern; daily, when on earth he grew,
He was tempted, scorned, rejected, tears and smiles like us he knew.
Thus he feels for all our sadness, and he shares in all our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see him, through his own redeeming love;
For that child who seemed so helpless is our Lord in heaven above;
And he leads his children on to the place where he is gone.

Prayer of Approach

“Patient God, I want patience…and I want it right now!”

That can be us. We can be that impatient person. Waiting for holidays, waiting for special news, waiting for anything. We want things to happen right now. There are those of us who want to know how everything ends before it begins. Some of us don’t mind knowing because we enjoy the journey of getting to the end.

There are times when we need to be told: “Wait! Pay Attention! Be Alert! Good things will be happening soon. We can often thing of the Hebrew people who for generation after generation endured great suffering, waiting for some relief, waiting for Messiah.

Now in this first Sunday of Advent we are told to “Pay Attention! Stay Alert!” “Keep your eyes open.” Yet we know how difficult that can be. It is only the first Sunday in Advent, and we are caught up in the pressures and stresses of the holiday season. Pursued by the temptation to spend our funds, our energy, our spirits, we feel that there is no way for us to be hopeful, to be patient, to be calm in the world today.

God of eternal light and peace, shine on us this day. Forgive us when we have so easily succumbed to the anxieties and fears and temptations of the season. Slow us down. Calm our spirits. Give us an awareness that this is the season of waiting and of preparation. Pour peace into our lives and help us to be bearers of peace to others. For we ask this in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.

Response:

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

Words of Assurance

Time for All Ages

Hymn – “Jesus Came Bringing Us Hope”

Jesus came bringing us hope,
Jesus came bringing us hope,
Jesus came bringing us hope,
Hallelujah forever more!

The Word

Scripture Reading:

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock!  You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
4 O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
17 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.
18 Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Mark 13:24-37

24 “But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35 Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

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

Meditation – “What Do We Truly Hope for in Advent?”

Anthem – “Carol for Advent”

The Response

Prayer

Into our troubles and weakness, into the barren places of our souls, Come Lord,
Come down, come in, come among us and make us whole.

Into the war torn and the refugee, into those who live in conflict, Come Lord,
Come down, come in, come among us and make us whole.

Into the homeless and the unemployed, into those who feel abandoned, Come Lord,
Come down, come in, come among us and make us whole.

Into the sick, into those with whom we pray will feel your presence with them this day…, Come Lord,
Come down, come in, come among us and make us whole.

Into the poor and the starving, into those who are oppressed or abused, Come Lord,
Come down, come in, come among us and make us whole.

Into the lives of loved ones, into those from whom we are estranged, Come Lord,
Come down, come in, come among us and make us whole.

Into our joys and celebrations, into our work and our achievements, Come Lord,
Come down, come in, come among us and make us whole.

O Christ, we long for your coming. Hasten that day when those who seek you in every nation will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south and sit at the table in Your Kingdom. Hasten the day when your Kingdom will come in all its glory and suffering and pain and sickness and oppression and death will be overcome forever. Hasten the day when we will be resurrected as a great multicultural family and live in peace, harmony, joy, and love together in your kingdom. Amen.

Hymn – “Advent Hymn”

A prophet’s words shared long ago
Remind us that God guides each day;
Amid new journeys we shall take
We’ll find our path, locate God’s way
That leads us to a treasured birth;
God’s promised gift of such great worth.

We know that storms can rise in haste
Within this season’s wintry blast.
We seek to rise above those storms
Just as we have in days now past.
We travel onward without fear.
Assure us, God, your love is near.

Whenever we embody love
Then God’s revealed each night and day;
For life’s affirmed and wasted not
When we share love at work, at play.
Now is the time to speak this fact:
“We share God’s love through faith-filled acts.”

Our Advent journey soon will pass,
A new day dawns, a birth is near!
This day we pause to sense, again,
The love of God that’s crystal clear.
Let’s serve the world that’s by our door –
And live God’s love forevermore.

Benediction

As we leave from this time together, remember this: all God’s gifts are right in front of you! Not only that, but God is right alongside, to keep you steady and on track when you falter and are tired. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, will do this, for God is faithful. God will never give up on you. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Response

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.

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