December 9, 2018
Center for Faith and Giving
December 9, 2018
This second Sunday of December is the second Sunday of the season of Advent – four Sundays of “preparation” for the coming of the Christ.
Many traditions have built up in the church in the last 75 years, including observance of this season with the lighting of a candle, adding one each of the four weeks until the center Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve. Here is a suggestion for creating a call to worship, opening prayer and lighting the candle of Peace.
Call to Worship and opening prayer (adapted from Luke 1:78-79)
(linked to lighting the Advent wreath candle of Peace)
One: Today we come together by the tender mercy of our God!
Many: We’re eager to see the dawn breaking, giving light to those sitting in the darkness.
One: We’ll re-light the candle of Hope, eager for God’s light to break the shadow of death. (candle-lighter lights the first candle)
Many: And today we light a candle of Peace.
May it guide our feet in the way of peace
Solo: (sing just this phrase) “O come, O come, Emmanuel…”
One: And together we pray: (unison)
All:God,we stand in the dimness, eager for your Light to emerge.
Help us live out your call to be peace-makers.
Following in the Way of Jesus, may we be witnesses to Shalom,
so the whole world will come to see your power and your glory. AMEN
All: Sing verse 1, “O Come”, CH #119Stewardship Moment
The four weeks ahead of Christmas come as a time when many of us find we’re stretched to our financial max! Our own family, our work setting, and so much of what we see and hear on television, in the paper and through social media seem caught in the fever of “buy, buy, buy”.
We know for many small businesses, this month brings up to 30% of profit for the year, so there is a huge advertising push to bring in those who are likely to spend.
And then we come to church. Even here, in worship, programs and written materials, some of us get caught in “help us end the year in the black” rhetoric.
Instead, let’s listen to John the Baptist, quoting from the prophet Isaiah: “prepare the way of the Lord…(for) all flesh shall see the salvation of God”
Today is one opportunity for us to help prepare the way, as we offer our financial gifts. Freely choosing to give, we proclaim our understanding that this act helps us see the salvation of God.
Today, we intentionally step away from “buy, buy, buy” with our offering, our giving, our preparing the way.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of all good gifts,
You have made us mindful humans, able to respond in gratitude to the gifts you give us every day. Receive this offering as one way we prepare our hearts and minds for the Coming One.
Open us to recognize and rejoice in every opportunity for modeling our lives on the life of Jesus, who is the true reason for this season. AMEN
Invitation to Communion
John the Baptist, described as a wild and wooly sort of man — (Mark tells us he was in the wilderness, eating locusts and wild honey and dressed not in a camelhair jacket but in camel’s hair) – this John the Baptist already is describing the topsy-turvy preparations underway for the appearance of the Lord.
Things are going to change because the Lord is coming!
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth.
And it’s here, at this table, where we most clearly recognize John’s proclamation: “all flesh shall see the salvation of God”.
You don’t need to be a wild and wooly sort of person to find a place here. We don’t yet have everything all smoothed out.
Yet in these gifts of bread and cup, we can see God’s salvation…
Peace in the form of a loaf of bread and a chalice of juice.
Freely given, and freely accepted.
All are welcome! Come, taste and see God’s salvation.