December 10, 2023 Advent II

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Advent 2B

Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

2 Peter 3:8-15a

Mark 1:1-8

Call to Worship 

Good news today!

Hear the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The prophet Isaiah declares:

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make those paths straight.”

John the Baptist came, preparing the way as he spoke out.
   Drawing people into the waters of baptism,
   inviting all to repent,
   declaring sin would be forgiven.

John proclaimed: “One more powerful than I is coming”

Let’s sing!  “Prepare the Way of the Lord”  (CH #121)

Opening Prayer 

God of shalom, paz, salaam,
Hear our prayer for peace which passes understanding.
Teach us once again to become peacemakers,
even as we actively wait for the Prince of Peace, Jesus, the Christ.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship 

You may already be tired of hearing advertisements counting down the days until Christmas (hint: 2 weeks from tomorrow!) 
Between television, emails, radio announcements, piles of mailers and newspaper ads, we’re all inundated to be “prepared” with gifts for family, friends, neighbors and assorted others (including postal employees, Uber drivers, hair dressers, teachers…)

And for many of us, we have an internal sound track putting an extra push: “God loves a cheerful giver.”

Beyond that, we also know we’re nearing the end of the calendar year, and recognize this congregation would be delighted to receive a year-end financial gift from us.

Let me put all that behind a big “STOP” sign! 

Instead, today let’s remember sharing gifts is one way to build up relationships of care and love.  Supporting this congregation with both regular and year-end financial giving is a positive action.

Without pressure, but in recognition of the privilege it is to be able to give from our hearts, let us share our tithes, offerings and gifts as expressions of our love for God, for this congregation, and for the ways we reach out with Good News for those yearning for peace in their lives.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Receive this offering, Great and Giving God, as one way of acting out the peace which comes from you.  Accept what we’ve brought.  Inspire us to regularly share a portion of what you’ve given us, so our witness as followers of Christ will go beyond the limits of our physical presence. AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

John the Baptist is a character we most often meet during Advent as we seek to prepare for the coming of “the one more powerful than I”.  Mark tells us people came out to the wilderness from the whole countryside and Jerusalem, too, to meet this strange man (one who dressed in the pelt of a camel and ate locusts). 

We haven’t trekked out to the far reaches of the countryside, but have gathered here.  Before us we center our attention not on that man, John, but on symbols of the man, Jesus: a cross, a candle, tiny thimbles of juice and miniscule morsels of cracker (or bread).

These simple gifts bring Jesus to us, or perhaps more clearly, bring us into the presence of Jesus.  Here we re-member the powerful one into whom we’ve been baptized.  May we breathe in the peace of Jesus, the Christ, in this time of communion.

All are welcome.  Come with repentant hearts, and open hands, that we might be renewed in this meal.