December 20, 2020 (Advent 4)

December 20, 2020
Advent IV

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Luke 1:47-55 

Romans 16:25-27

Luke 1:26-38

 Call to Worship  (inspired by Luke 1)
One:  Greetings, favored ones!  The Lord is with you.
Many:  We’ve come to rejoice, and sing our praise to God.
One:  With Mary, we magnify the Lord!
Many:  We give thanks for the great things God is doing,
One:  Holy is the name of the Lord!
Many:  May God fill us with good things, as we pray.

Opening Prayer 

Mighty God, you created the cosmos and called each of us into life.
We’ve come today to respond with thanksgiving and praise,
as we step ever closer to the coming of the Christ.
So fill our hearts with your Spirit,
and bind us together even when we’re scattered because of COVID.
Like Elizabeth and Mary meeting, let us be lifted up and filled with joy!

Moment for Stewardship 

(if you are able to sing, use CH #452, “Here I Am, Lord” as your offertory song.  If you use video, you might use this as an offertory:
Luke 1 begins with John the Baptist, then an angel appearing to Mary and the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth.  In all three of these encounters, God appeared in some form.  John, Mary and Elizabeth all responded with a “yes” to God’s invitation for their lives.

Mary heard she would have a child, who would be holy and called the Son of God.  As astonishing as this was, Mary’s response was “Here am I, the servant of the Lord.”

What about you?  God continues to appear in a variety of forms.
How have you experienced the Holy?  For me, ________________________ (describe your own experience, in just a couple of sentences).

Week by week, as we focus our minds and center our lives in worship, God invites us to be God’s own beloved ones –  “daughters and sons”,
or “servants”, or “covenant partners”.

Today, will you answer “Here I am”?  Re-committing your life to the One who offers us life will open doors we can barely imagine!  Such as we have, we can then offer back to God our time, our talent, our treasure.

Today is your day to say “YES”.  It’s your moment to join John, Mary and Elizabeth, and me, in this morning’s offering.

 Prayer of Thanksgiving  (adapted from Thom M. Shuman’s prayer found here:

Holy God, thank you for this time of offering back some of what you’ve provided.  We pray these gifts may be signs of the yes we will say to you, not only in this season, but in all the days to come.  May they bring hope, peace and joy to those who’ve most often heard “NO!” echoing in their ears.  Allow each of us, and all we affect, know your love and grace as abundant gifts in this gift-giving season.  We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 Invitation to Communion  (adapted from Thom M. Shuman,

Today we gather at this Table of love,
eager to say Yes to God’s amazing gift of Jesus.
Here, we remember the story of Jesus’ birth, and
the Gospel- “good news” of his life, his death
and his world-changing resurrection.

On this last Sunday of Advent, we bring our weary selves
to share in this feast prepared for all who accept Jesus’ invitation.
Though broken, the bread can make us
strong enough to say No
   to the builders of unjust systems;
to the bullies who stalk our world;
to the braggarts who deceive with false words.
Though just a cup, God’s grace, made known to us in Jesus,
fills us with the courage to say Yes to follow our Lord’s lead;
   to the ill, in need of medicine;
to the lonely, longing for acceptance;
to the hungry, eager to receive food for body as well as soul.

And when God’s realm of grace is finally complete,
when “your kingdom come” comes on earth,
then we, gathering from every time and place,
will be seated around your banquet table,
where we will sing Gloria to God forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.