GPS: Guide to Prayer & Study
A weekly resource with links to worship, a list of prayer requests, and daily scripture readings, reflections, prayers or spiritual practices.

"Peace Can't Wait" | Sunday, December 6
Prayers for our Community

  • Brooke Jetmund shares: “Prayers of Thanks that my dad is now home from the hospital and healing from COVID. My mom is feeling back to normal and my dad is gaining strength.”

  • Diane Hammond requests prayers for Steve’s brother in law, Jerry, who remains in ICU with COVID. He had to have emergency surgery and has a history of MS; prayers for her high school friend’s family who lost Terry to COVID this week; and prayers for herself as she deals with some health issues and awaits a repeat CT and follow up with her oncologist at the end of the month.

  • Prayers for Bonnie Hutchins who was hospitalized after a fall, and for her daughter Sherry who is her primary caregiver.

Have a prayer request?
Submit prayers to the prayer chain to Dixie Bequeaith, or private prayers to Pastor Melody.
Advent Wreath
You are invited to gather together 4 candles for each week of advent (any size or color), as well as a "Christ Candle" (typically white). You can incorporate the advent wreath rituals into a daily home worship practice, as well as to use in lighting the advent candles during online worship each Sunday. We hope this will be a meaningful way for you to mark the time as you worship at home and online. ​

We would love to see a photo of your home advent wreath! We're also collecting videos of individuals & families reading the liturgy and lighting the candles so we can share them in online worship! You can sign up and find instructions here.

Read: During this advent season, we light the candles of the advent wreath to acknowledge that in a season of darkness, we wait in faith for the coming of the Light of the world. Last week, we lit the candle of Hope. This week, we light the candle of Peace. 

Our world is not always a peaceful world. People hurt other people; countries are at war today; people don't take care of the world. But God promises peace. During Advent, we pray that we, as well as all people, will seek God's peace.

At the birth of Jesus, our Prince of Peace, the angels sang glory to God – not only for his coming, but also for the peace that would reign on earth. Peace is more than the absence of war. True peace comes when we are in harmony with God, our neighbor and ourselves. Jesus himself said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We long for God’s peace – in our world, in our families, and in our own souls.

We may be willing to wait for a lot of things, but we can no longer wait for peace. This world is rampant with division, walls, grudge-holding, and self-doubt. We do not want to be passive bystanders in this division. So today we light the candle of peace as a reminder that we have a role to play. May the desire to sow peace kindle in us like a light in the darkness.
Light: Light two candles for two weeks of Advent: one for “hope” and one for “peace”
Pray: Please join me in prayer: God of hope, Prince of Peace, You speak peace into the world in the way of the Christ child. Breathe your Spirit into us that we may become instruments of Your Peace. Give us your shalom that we may be reconciled to all enemies in the peace that passes all understanding, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Isaiah 40:1-11
40:1 Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
40:2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
40:3 A voice cries out: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
40:4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
40:5 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
40:6 A voice says, "Cry out!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.
40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass.
40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.
40:9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!"
40:10 See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
40:11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
85:1 LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
85:2 You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin. Selah
85:8 Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
85:9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
85:10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
85:11 Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
85:12 The LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
85:13 Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
2 Peter 3:8-15a
3:8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.
3:9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
3:11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness,
3:12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire?
3:13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
3:14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish;
3:15a and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him.
Mark 1:1-8
1:1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
1:2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
1:3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'"
1:4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
1:5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
1:6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
1:7 He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.
1:8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
SCRIPTURE REFLECTIONS (based on Mark 1:1-8)

  • Imagine yourself as one moving with the crowds, retreating to the margins of the wilderness to seek repentance and change. What risks are involved in your decision to respond to John the Baptist’s cries? What are you leaving behind? What are you sacrificing? And how, through the power of baptism, are you transformed?

  • What are real life examples of preparing the way?

  • When has a dream interrupted or re-routed your life?

  • John the Baptist had a dream—but it wasn’t his to fulfill. What dreams have you helped to pass along, knowing you couldn’t fulfill them entirely? How can the Church prepare the way for God’s dreams to continue for generations to come?

“Prepare” | based on Mark 1:1-8
poem by Sarah Are

My dad built me a changing table.
For nine months, my mom watched her ankles swell and her belly grow.
For nine months, my dad would come home from work,
kiss her on her forehead—
Pressing bangs to skin—and tell her she was beautiful.
Then for nine months, he’d slip into the garage
To build sawdust sand castles and a dresser out of dreams.
I imagine she smiled, perched in that rocking chair.
He was in his woodshop, preparing the way.
Eighteen years later I left for college.
As I packed my bags, my mom baked blueberry muffins for the road—
the smell of home.
She wrapped them in foil and placed them in a cardboard box,
Willing similar layers of protection to be wrapped around me, her little girl.
She was preparing the way.
My aunts and uncles bought sweatshirts in my new school colors.
My dad taught me how to change a tire.
My mom gave me the earrings I’d been sneaking from her jewelry box
for the last four years.
I hid sticky-note love letters on the kitchen door for them to find
when they returned home.
We were quiet in the car.
My brother cried.
We were all preparing the way.
And through these moments, I have come to see,
That preparation and love can be the same thing.
For there is something about love that makes us want to prepare.
There is something about love that compels us to
Throw open the doors,
Yell it from the rooftop,
Set the table,
Decorate the nursery,
Leave love notes on the back door,
Build the changing table,
Trim the tree,
Bake muffins for the road,
And when it’s time,
If you must,
Let go.
Preparation and love can be the same thing.

“For Unto Us – Peace”
spoken word poetry by Lo The Poet

from Worship at Home: Advent & Christmas 2020 by Mary Scifres and B. J. Beau

  • What does it mean the Peace has left its country to make of us citizens of peace?

  • From what restlessness do you want to be set free?

  • Where are the shut up places in your hearts? How might this Advent season help you open more fully to God and to others?

  • What does it mean that God became an immigrant that we might become natives through Nativity?

  • Lo the Poet reminds us that Jesus’s tiny hands are “destined to build the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.” Where do you see this in the world today? How are your hands connected with Jesus’s hands in creating God’s realm?
Choose an activity or come up with your own way to share God’s peace in the week ahead

  • Place a tea-light or votive candle on each doorstep in your neighborhood with an index card saying: “Wishing you the light of God’s peace.”

  • Send emails or place calls to friends and families who are struggling to know God’s peace.

  • Make a donation or give your time to a charity or ministry that helps people without homes find shelter and safety; or to a charity or ministry that provides food and support for people who are food-insecure.

  • Listen or read the lyrics to these carols, paying attention to messages of peace and guidance that Christ may be offering you during this season:
             “Do You Hear What I Hear”
             “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”
             “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”
             “Let There Be Peace on Earth”
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