Sunday December 3, 2017
Year B, First Sunday of Advent
First Sunday of Advent :: Violet ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 80
L: Give ear to our pleas, O Shepherd of Israel.
P: Lead us as your flock.
L: Restore us, O God;
P: Let your face shine, that we may be saved.
L: You have given us life,
P: and we will call on your name.
(Adapted from Isaiah 64)
Everlasting God, from ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you; who works for those who wait for You. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. You have become angry when we sinned. Yet O Lord, you are our Creator; we are the clay and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. We are all your people, gathered in hopeful praise. Accept our gifts, hear our prayers, draw us near to you O Lord.
Advent is a season of waiting for the Lord to come. Not only do we anticipate the Baby in the Manger, but also the return of our Lord, coming in the clouds. As we await that arrival, when the faithful will be gathered from the four winds, we have been called to work to usher in the reign of God. One of the ways we try to do so is through offering experiences which give a glimpse of heaven. It might be a church camp, a moment of joy in vacation Bible School, a retreat, or even a really poignant sermon. However and wherever people experience a glimpse of heaven, we know there is need for more of those experiences. We will now bring the tithes and offerings which make glimpse of heaven ministries possible.
God of hope, We come today bringing our gifts, and dedicating them to your service. Bless these gifts and use them to serve the needs of the many who need to know your presence. We bring them with joy in our hearts, and songs of hope and praise on our lips. Amen.
The message in First Corinthians is one which is written to a faithful, loving church: A Church which happens to be squabbling and back biting over the importance of how long one may have been a Christian. In his greeting to the Corinthians, Paul writes “God is faithful; by God you were called into the fellowship of the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” As we enter this season of waiting, it is helpful to remember that each of us was called into relationship with Jesus Christ by God. When we come to this table, to remember God’s acts of forgiveness and redemption, we come by that same calling. Whether new in our relationship to Christ our Lord, or whether we responded to that call a lifetime ago, we are all invited by the same host.
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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. Check out all of the awesome resources there at http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu