Welcome & Announcements
Hymn of Praise – Blessed Be the God of Israel (UMH #209)
Blessed be the God of Israel,
who comes to set us free,
Who visits and redeems us,
and grants us liberty.
The prophets spoke of mercy,
of freedom and release;
God shall fulfill the promise to bring our people peace.
Now from the house of David
a child of grace is given;
A Savior comes among us
to raise us up to heaven.
Before him goes the herald,
forerunner in the way,
The prophet of salvation,
the harbinger of day.
On prisoners of darkness
the sun begins to rise,
The dawning of forgiveness
upon the sinner’s eyes,
To guide the feet of pilgrims
along the paths of peace;
O bless our God and Savior
with songs that never cease!
Call to Worship:
Pastor: The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I fulfill my promise to my people.
People: O Lord, if you would only tear open the heavens and come!
Pastor: Of that day and hour, no one knows.
People: We must keep watch, alert and awake.
Pastor: For the arrival of good news is drawing near,
People: When justice and righteousness will fill the land, and all will live in peace.
Advent Wreath Liturgy
Pastor: In ages past, the prophets cried out, longing for God break into their troubled world. They longed to experience God’s awesome deeds, revealing Divine glory and power and salvation of old. They longed for God to remember and turn toward His people, for it felt as if God was hidden from them. They felt defeated and alone.
Those are feelings we relate to, and experience as well.
We share their pain and echo their cries, as we wait in hopeful anticipation for Good News to come; for light to shine again in this darkness; for God’s Reign to be consummated.
Today, as Advent begins, we light our first candle as a prayer for our dark and suffering world. May the real hope found in the Lord of Hosts be revealed to all people.
Lighting of the First Advent Candle
O Come, O Come Emmanuel, verse 1 (UMH #211)
Prayer (Unison): Living God, come into our world and into our lives anew. When your face seems hidden from us, help us to trust in your promises as we watch and wait in hope. Amen.
Message in Music: "Like a Child, I Wait" -Valerie Sharper
Prayer of Intercession
Prayer of Confession
Eternal God, in this time of Advent anticipation we are starkly reminded of a sense of distance; of how you can seem so far away. You appear hidden when we need you near. Yet in our hurt, doubt, and fear we do not draw near to you. We lash out: against you, against our neighbors, against those we love deeply. Forgive us, Lord. Awaken us to your power and glory and peace. Shine your face on us until our tears are dried, our brokenness is healed, and our hope is restored. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Experiencing and Extending the Peace of Christ (Note: we will extend the Peace of Christ without physical contact.)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord’s Prayer
Hymn – O Day of God Draw Nigh v1,2,5 (UMH #730)
O day of God, draw nigh
in beauty and in power;
come with thy timeless judgement now
to match our present hour.
Bring to our troubled minds,
Uncertain and afraid,
the quiet of a steadfast faith,
calm of a call obeyed.
O day of God, draw nigh
as at creation’s birth;
let there be light again,
and set thy judgements
on the earth.
Sermon – Keep Awake - Pastor Brad
Hymn – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, v1,3,4 (UMH #218)
It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious songs of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
from heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
to hear the angels sing.
And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow,
look now! For glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing!
For lo! The days are hastening on,
by prophet seen of old,
when with the ever circling years
shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient splendors fling,
and the whole world send back the song
which now the angels sing.
Accompanist: Brian Barber
Amy Cons, Rebecca Carey, Valerie and David Sharper