December 15, 2013 (Advent 3)

Liturgical Resources For Sunday December 15, 2013
Year A, Third Sunday of Advent
Third Sunday of Advent :: Blue/Purple ::  Isaiah 35:1-10 :: Psalm 146:5-10 :: James 5:7-10 :: Matthew 11:2-11

Call to Worship (Responsive)  
Adapted from Psalm 146
L: Happy are those whose hope is in the LORD;
P: The Maker of heaven and earth.
L: The LORD executes justice for the oppressed;
P: The LORD gives food to the hungry, and sets the prisoners free.
L: The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
P: The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down and loves the righteous.
L:  The LORD will reign forever;
P: Praise the LORD!
We come into this holy place, O God, with thanksgiving on our hearts and voices filled with joyous song.  We come together to sing your praises and offer our prayers as we continue our journey.  We come following a star and seeking our Savior.  Fill our hearts with gladness, our minds with wisdom, and our souls with joyous freedom.  Speak to us, O God through the words of our leaders.  Guide us in your ways.  Help us to know your presence as we offer ourselves in prayer.
Stewardship Moment:
KATALUMA is the Greek word for the guestroom in a Palestinian home in the 1st century. It appears twice in the gospel of Luke: first to describe the location of Jesus’ birth and second to describe the upper room in which Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Passover meal just prior to his arrest and eventual death and resurrection. In all other instances where “Inn” is referred to, different Greek words are used.  
A typical Palestinian home at the time of Jesus’ life used inside and outside areas for activities of daily living. But at night, the animals were stabled inside the house for both safety and to help heat the home. In some settings, the mangers served as part of the stair steps between the animals and the family living center.  
An abundance of New Testament scholars describe the KATALUMA as a significant part of the Jewish tradition of providing hospitality to all, and it was usually on top of the living area or adjacent to it with its own entrance from the outside.  
Reread the nativity story and think of it this way: Jesus and Mary arrived at a relative’s home at the time of the Census. The kataluma (guestroom) was already full with other relatives. Mary needed privacy for the birth of her baby. The stable was clean and private, so they stayed there and baby Jesus was born, wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in the manger. I can just imagine all the relatives… anxious to take a turn holding the new baby… this baby Jesus who would bring new life, grace, redemption and salvation his life, ministry, death and resurrection!
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Offertory Prayer:
We come before your throne, O Holy One, offering our gifts.  We bring them out of love and devotion to you and the mission to which you call us.  Bless and use these gifts, O God, so the world may come to know your gift in the prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior, in whose name we pray.
Communion Meditation:
Be patient until the coming of the Lord.  Advent is a time of waiting, a time of preparation, a time of hope.  But advent requires patience as we wait for the coming of the Lord.  But even in the midst of all the waiting, we come to this table, and we don’t have to wait.  We don’t have to wait, because Jesus meets us here.  Christ comes to us, in the breaking of the bread, and drinking of the cup, as we seek to remember him.  Come to the table, experience the one for which we wait, Christ our Lord.
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