For Sunday November 27, 2016
Year A, First Sunday of Advent
First Sunday of Advent :: Blue/Purple ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 122
L: I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.”
P: Our feet are standing within the gates of the city of God.
L: To it, the tribes of Israel go up,
P: To give thanks to the name of the LORD.
L: Pray for the peace of God’s holy city:
P: “Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”
L: Peace be within you,
P: For the sake of the house of the LORD, we will seek God’s goodness.
We have come together O God in this your sanctuary, may it be as a holy mountain, set before the world to see. We have come together in your house, O God of Jacob; teach us your ways, and help us to walk in your path. As we come, let us walk in the light of the LORD, Jesus the Christ.
One of my favorite mission trip T-shirts ever simply said “Jesus is Coming: Look Busy!” In the Gospel of Matthew, as Jesus warns about the coming of the Son of Man, and how unpredictable the timing will be, the T-shirt seems especially appropriate. But how do we “look busy” when we are not out in the Mission Field doing intentional work? We look busy by living in ways that show the world our love for God and Jesus Christ is alive. We serve our neighbors, we come to worship, we pray, we read our scriptures, and we give. We do those things not out of compulsion, but because it is simply who we are. Today as we receive our tithes and offerings, we receive not mere gifts, but signs that we believe it matters that Jesus is Coming.
Giving God, who was, and is, and is to come, we bring before you our gifts. We offer them as a sign of our devotion and love for you and the mission to which you have called us. Bless and use these gifts so that others will come to know the love of Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray.
In Romans 13 the Apostle Paul writes: “Salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers.” Why does he say this? Quite simply Paul is saying that because we have known love and given love, we are closer to Salvation. This is a table of love: built by the love of God who sent Jesus. Reinforced by the love of Christ, who willingly gave himself for us. Upheld by the love of the Holy Spirit, which binds us in love to God and to one another. Come to the table of love, and celebrate the fact that because of love, salvation is near.
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Scripture Quotations from the New Revised Standard Version. Online Scripture links a service of the Jean and Alexander Heard Divinity Library, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN