LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLE
She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them with slow solemnity
convinced every word
they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked and the baby
was inside the lady.
They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?
Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars.
The baby was God.
And she jumped in the air
whirled around, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under the cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.
John Shea, "The Hour of the Unexpected"
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Come, people of faith, come in out of the cold.
Come and share your hopes, your dreams.
Voice 1: We’re hoping that the promise is real;
that the Messiah is on the way.
Voice 2: We’re dreaming of a world where peace and trust
can triumph over war and greed.
Leader: Come, let us wait together for the Promised One.
Voice 1: We wait to celebrate the incarnation.
Voice 2: We wait to know again
our presence in the body of Christ.
All: The days are surely coming.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: Holy One, you have promised to pour out
justice and righteousness on the land.
People: Wars rage and diseases ravage,
hunger pervades and poverty brings low.
Our faith in the promise is fragile.
Leader: Holy One, you have promised redemption
to those who live by your Word.
All: Fear and foreboding rule our hearts.
We flee from the wrath to come.
Our faith in the promise is fragile.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: God meets us as we flee and offers us forgiveness.
This is the Word and the Promise.
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
PRAYER OF DEDICATION AND COMMITMENT
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.
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.
Leader 1: Creator and Sustainer, we give you thanks
that your promise of redemption
is present even in the darkest of days.
Voice 1: We thank you for brothers and sisters on the journey,
who assure us of your faithfulness
when doubts overtake us.
Voice 2: We offer our thanks for the Holy Spirit
whose presence enables us to participate
in bringing your promise to the world.
All: We are thankful for the Good News in Christ
whose life points the way out of darkness
and into the light.
BLESSING THE ELEMENTS
Leader 2: Christ invites everyone to eat the bread of life,
to drink the cup of the new covenant.
Leader 1: 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 2: On the night of his arrest, Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said,
This is my body, which is for you;
do this remembering me.
Leader 1: After supper, Jesus took the cup and said,
This is the cup of the new covenant;
Whenever you drink it, do so remembering me
Leader 2: And so we eat and drink remembering the gift
and affirming the promise
as we proclaim the mystery of faith:
All: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
SHARE THE ELEMENTS
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.
Leader: The Promised One is with us always,
and the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.