December 15 2019 (Advent 3)

December 15, 2019

Advent III

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Isaiah 35:1-10

Psalm 146:5-10 

James 5:7-10

Matthew 11:2-11

Call to Worship

One:  From the frenzy of long lists and little time, we come.
Many:  From the challenge of grief and the pain of loneliness, we come.
One: We gather in this place because Jesus came, and comes still,
meeting people where we are.
Many:  Together met, together bound by all that God has done,
One:  we share our JOY as we worship God,
Many:  grateful for the love that makes us one.
(inspired by “I Come with Joy”, CH 420, which might be used for communion hymn)

Opening Prayer 

Creating God, source of hope, peace and JOY, we gather to worship you with grateful hearts.  As we move into the next ten days of active waiting, we focus on eager anticipation.  Fill us with exuberant determination to engage our ears, eyes, hands and hearts in serving you as we look for the coming of your Christ.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship 

The prophet Isaiah uses word pictures to draw us in and fill us with eager anticipation for what is not yet.  Isaiah 35 poetically sings “then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.”
(If you can, show this image)

That’s the expectation of what happens when “the ransomed of the Lord shall return…everlasting joy shall be upon their heads…and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10).

Sharing our gifts, our tithes and our offerings provides opportunity for us to step into this picture, and join the celebration.  Come!  Bring your best gifts!
Let the joy of the Lord explode in this place!

Prayer of Thanksgiving (with images from Isaiah 35)

God in whom we rejoice,
We pray through these gifts, and with our lives, you will help the whole of creation celebrate the Coming One.  Use this offering and this congregation to build up a highway for all your people, so sorrow and sighing shall flee and true JOY will be made real.  Amen.

Invitation to Communion 

Advent is a challenge to many of us because it’s designed as a season of anticipation and is characterized by the demand that we WAIT.

Most of us find that difficult!  The culture around us provides Christmas decorations beginning in November, and many stores display Christmas candy, toys, trees and tinsel even before that.

As we come to this table today, the words from James urge us into Advent waiting:  “be patient, beloved, until the coming of the Lord.”  What we have is a simple meal IN ANTICIPATION. We share this bread and cup, recognizing these signs of Jesus’ life and death.  The return of a Messiah – the “coming of the Lord” is not yet arrived.

So come to this table with eager hearts, knowing it’s a foretaste of what is yet to come.