December 4, 2022 (Advent II)

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Isaiah 11:1-10

Psalm 72:1-7. 18-19

Romans 15:4-13

Matthew 3:1-12

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Call to Worship  (in one voice)  

Beloved people of God, welcome to worship at _______________ Church.
On this second Sunday in Advent 
 (the season of preparation for the birth of Jesus),
we focus on God’s desire for all people to live in deep and abiding peace.
The prophet Isaiah describes it this way:
   “The wolf shall live with the lamb,
   the leopard shall lie down with the kid…
   and a little child shall lead them.
   They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
   for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
   as the waters cover the sea.”

Opening Prayer  

God of Peace,
It is so hard to find peace, 
in our hearts, in our communities, and in our world.
Yet, how we ache for it.
As we gather for this worship hour, may your will be done. 

Fill us with your fundamental, fulfilling, peace,

so we might rejoice as you lead us on this Advent journey.
Show us the way to your sacred peace not only for today, 
   but for all the days to come!

—adapted from an Advent prayer by the Rev. Won Hur, originally written for Advent Unwrapped)

Moment for Stewardship (from Matthew 3:11-12)

For anyone who believes Jesus is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken, gentle-spirited man, John the Baptist will open your eyes!  John describes Jesus as one who will cut down every tree which does not bear good fruit, to throw it into the fire. 

Or picture this:
Jesus with a winnowing fork, clearing out the mounds of what has been harvested in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.
How can we show ourselves to be WHEAT, not chaff?
How are we to prepare the way of the Lord?

Our actions speak more clearly than whatever words we might offer.

As we come to this time of offering, let’s make our gifts speak out loud:
we want to follow Jesus,
so let our giving declare our desire to be gathered into the granary,
  not thrown into the fire.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Gracious God, 
Receive these gifts, and put each of us into your service, as we seek to prepare the Way of the Lord in this Advent season.

Open our eyes to see, 
  our minds to acknowledge,
  and our hearts to respond in love to
the Powerful One, 

In whose name we pray, AMEN

Invitation to Communion  

The Lord’s Table provides so many facets:  
    training table, birthing bed, feast…
Today, I invite you to focus on this Table as 
    the granary where precious grain is stored.  
It is here we who are hungry can come to be filled.
Here what is valuable may be secured.
Here, when we’re afraid or feeling alone, we are assured of
   the presence of the Savior, who will not leave us comfortless.

Look around.  
No chaff here.  
Only what (and who) the Lord has claimed as valuable.

Breathe in the peace that passes understanding,
and come with assurance
to share in this abundant feast, for which we give thanks to God.