Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving
The first Sunday of the season of Advent is also the first Sunday of the church year. Resources will be provided in the familiar format for November 27, December 4,11 and 18. Resources for Christmas Day will be adapted to a more casual format, and will be available early in Advent.
Check out John August Swanson’s Festival of Lights as a visual you might use in worship for Advent 1.
(I do not have information about how to get permission to use this) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_August_Swanson#/media/File:
Call to Worship (in one voice)(adapted from Isaiah 2)
The prophet Isaiah draws a word picture of nations streaming to the Lord’s house. Many people on the journey say to one another:
Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the Lord,
for God will teach us, and allow us to walk in God’s ways.
We step into this new season,
eager for this to be the time when we,
and all people,
will beat our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks.
May this time of preparation be a time of speaking with care, and acting in love.
Let’s begin today,
to walk in the light of the Lord!
Shine your light, Lord, on this gathered congregation (both here and online).
We’re eager to start this Advent, season of preparation.
We WANT to walk in your light.
So make your presence known to us, walk with us on the way.
Challenge each of us, today and throughout these next four weeks,
to let go of our weapons
(our cynicism, our sarcasm, our bullying, as well as our guns)
and learn of your love,
made known most clearly in Jesus, whom we await. AMEN
Consider using We are Walking (CH 442) as an opening hymn
(or use part of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwMnsCPzCQw)
OR “I ain’t gonna study war no more”
(in this classic Pete Seeger singing and playing, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43cCChEPM3E)
Moment for Stewardship
Matthew’s Gospel records Jesus teaching his followers of the uncertainty of timing for the coming of the Son of Man. (If a homeowner knew when a thief was coming, the owner would be prepared.)
This is prime teaching for each of us at the beginning of Advent, as we move toward the end of the calendar year. Because we don’t know when the Messiah is coming, we’re urged to “be ready” in every moment!
If people were to look over your credit card statements and your checkbook for this last year, could they see your commitment to this congregation? Could they discern your desire to care for the poor? Would your desire to feed the hungry and clothe the naked be evident?
Today is a perfect day to launch into a new practice: to make your giving match your intention to be a follower of Jesus.
No one of us knows the day or the time when our lives will come to an end, but we DO know this is the day, and this is the time, when our life’s financial decisions can proclaim our claim to be a Christian.
Let your good intentions be translated into action, not only today, but for life!
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of us all, thank you for your grace at work in our lives, in our church and in our world. As we begin Advent, may we model our living and our giving on the teachings of Jesus. Please accept this offering. Help us use it fully and completely, recognizing we do not know the day or the hour when you will send the Messiah among us.
Invitation to Communion
Do you know Henry Van Dyke’s story, “The Other Wise Man”?
It’s the story of a man who started out to find the infant Jesus, but missed his rendezvous with the other Magi. For thirty-three years, he searched, giving to others in need. Finally, after sharing all his resources and the jewels he intended to give the infant, Arteban heard a voice “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…”
Have you yearned to see Jesus? Do you wonder whether waiting for Jesus makes sense for you?
Friends, we know Advent is a season of waiting, but not inaction. We’re expected to become waiters like those in a busy restaurant – always serving those around us.
Today, like staff gathered for a meal before the restaurant opens, you’re invited to prepare for this waiting season by joining in this feast.
This bread. This cup. They are for YOU.
Even if you’ve missed joining with companions.
Even if you’ve never quite seen the Savior in a recognizable form.
Come! For the table is set, and our host, Jesus, has a place for you to be welcomed and nourished in the breaking of the bread.
If you have not yet planned for a way to engage folks on Sunday, Christmas Day (Dec. 25), consider Sanctified Art’s suggestions for Lessons and Carols:
This could be adapted to include just one verse of each carol, and an assortment of musicians (or pre-recorded music).