The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before. … What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s hindquarters fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.
Jan Richardson, Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas, p. xiii
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: We come, we linger, we wait,
searching the horizon for your face.
People: Restore us, Holy One;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Leader: You have shown your strength.
You have brought down the powerful
and lifted up the lowly.
People: We stay, we ponder, we wait,
for your glory will be revealed.
Leader: We wait for the coming of your day,
the fulfillment of your promise:
new heavens and a new earth,
where righteousness is at home.
All: Something is on the horizon.
We stay, we wonder, we wait,
for nothing will be impossible with you.
Leader: The Holy One calls us to be aware and keep alert
for the revelation which is just on the horizon.
People: We are too busy meeting deadlines and pushing our own agendas
to even lift our eyes to the horizon.
Leader: The Holy One asks us to stop, sit, ponder,
and wait for the revelation that is coming.
People: We think that, if we worry and rush around,
we can force your revelation.
Leader: It is possible to miss the revelation of the Holy One,
to not see what is on the horizon.
All: We think our busyness will save us.
Forgive us, Holy One, for our unwillingness
to allow the mystery of your revelation
to unfold while we wait and wonder.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The Holy One forgives us.
Behold, something is on the horizon!
THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE
INTERCESSION AND PETITION
All: O Holy One, we come today
to claim our relationship with you.
We pray for the commitment to grow together,
sharing the gifts you give us with others
here and in the wider world.
Forgive us for the hurt we have inflicted,
and help us forgive those who have hurt us.
Give us strength and discipline
to nurture our relationship with you;
to care for every part of your creation;
to foster justice and be in solidarity with those in need;
to work to end all war, and violence, and discord;
and to respond joyfully when you call,
freely giving our selves as you have shown the way.
We open our hearts to you and your creation
in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ. Amen.
Leader 1: This is the table of the heavenly feast,
the joyful celebration of the people of God.
Leader 2: We gather now as one body, joined around the table.
Here we celebrate God’s presence among us,
united in Christ’s spirit, broken and whole all at once.
All: Nourished and hungry, loved and loving,
sinner and forgiven, we make one circle
of knowing, believing, rejoicing, being,
as God lights and rests among us.
Leader 1: Holy Promise, we give you thanks and praise
for what we now see and know of you
and your revelation of what is to come.
People: We give you thanks for Jesus the Christ,
who cared so much for each person
that he became your gift for all.
Leader 2: We offer gratitude for your Holy Spirit,
teaching us to sit, stay, and wonder,
while revealing the new on the horizon.
People: We give you thanks for your Holy Church,
offering both comfort and challenge
as we wait and watch.
BLESSING THE ELEMENTS
Leader 1: Christ invites everyone to eat the bread of life,
to drink the cup of the new covenant.
Leader 2: Jesus said, I am the bread of life.
You who come to me shall never hunger;
you who believe in me shall never thirst.
Leader 1: On the night he gave himself up, Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said,
This is my body,
broken for the healing of the world.
Whenever you eat it, do so remembering me.
Leader 2: After supper, Jesus took the cup and said,
This is the cup of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for all.
Whenever you drink it, do so remembering me.
All: O Holy One, send down your Spirit
that these gifts of grain and grape,
and work of human hands
may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Unite us with Christ forever
and bring us with the whole creation
to your eternal realm.
SHARE THE ELEMENTS
Please use what you have at home as you eat the bread and drink from the cup today.
If you do not have grape juice, use whatever is convenient.
As a sign of gathering in spirit while scattered, you may want to lift your bread toward your camera as we break bread together.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AND DEDICATION
All: God of abundance and mercy,
we give joyful thanks
for your eternal love and healing presence
in our celebration of bread and cup.
Bless this Body of Christ
that we may attend faithfully
to our call to be your servants,
with each other and throughout the world. Amen.
Leader: As we wait for the revelation
of new understanding,
let us go forth open to the possibilities of the season.
Trust in God, who is on the horizon, holding the future.
In the name of the One
who is more than we can imagine,
let us greet one another with signs of peace.