Sunday, December 23, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Advent: LOVE

Organ PreludeChildes Blisse (Medieval English melody)

Words of Welcome and Announcements Rev. Debbie Scott

Choral IntroitCalm and Bright (McFee and Bell)

Silent night, holy night …
It was the night when Love was born,
And, just as now, the world was torn;
But all was calm and all was bright
The star above gave out its light.

Dear people all around the world,
Let us unite and we will show
How Love can change us,
How Love can help us grow.

So let your Love shine in the night
And let your life burn warm and bright.
This Love we give the world is balm
And in this truth we find our calm.

* Call to Worship

L: The trees are up with their twinkling lights, the streets are hustling and bustling with holiday shopping, and the radio plays 24 hours of Christmas tunes. It is definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And I love it!
P: All of the excitement of Christmas makes me happy, too. But the days are way too short to get everything done that I have to get done. I still have to finish my shopping, mail my cards, and cook for the Christmas dinner. It makes me feel exhausted! I cannot wait for it to be over!
L: We miss so much of the holidays “doing” Christmas. We all need to slow down, enjoy the coming of the Christ child, and jump for joy with the merriment of the season! That’s my wish for this Christmas.
P: Help us, O God, to allow the amazing gift of the Christ Child to make us truly feel the surge of Christmas joy. Bless us this Christmas as we search for the joy that can lead to leaping! Help us to once again feel the happiness of Christmas and the coming of the Prince of Peace. Amen!

* Opening HymnThe Lowly Will Be Lifted Up (“O God, Our Help in Ages Past”)

1. The lowly will be lifted up, the humble will arise,
And hungry homes will overflow with all that God supplies.
2. O God, we sing of blessedness as we await Christ’s birth;
May we who know abundant love reach out to love your earth.
3. As Mary sang her thanks and praise, we sing of living Bread.
May we reach out to share Christ’s life till all the world is fed.
4. God, you uphold the cause of those who hunger, long-oppressed.
May we your church seek justice here, and share your blessedness.

Prayer of Invocation (All)

Lord, be with us this morning as we encounter Mary & hear of the wondrous news that she received. Remind us that, like Mary, each one of us is a bearer of your Good News. We are called to proclaim hope, peace, joy & love in your name. Open our hearts & spirits today to receive with great joy the love that you have for us. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Lighting the Advent Wreath

Choral ResponseEmmanuel, Emmanuel UMH 204
Emmanuel, Emmanuel, his name is called Emmanuel. God with us, revealed in us, his name is called Emmanuel.

Sharing Joys and Concerns

Pastoral Prayer

Lord’s Prayer

Children’s Moment

Anthem – Sleepers, Awake! (Larson)
Sleepers, awake and hear the glad tidings!
Sleepers, awake! Abandon the night!
Comfort and joy are coming to Zion.
Sleepers, awake and rejoice in the light!

All of the blind shall see the Messiah,
Every ear shall hear and believe.
Rivers of joy shall flow in the desert;
Comfort shall come and sorrow will leave.

All of the weak shall dance in the morning,
All the silent join in the song!
We shall be saved, for God shall redeem us!
All of our darkness shall flee with the dawn.

Israel’s strength and our consolation,
the Hope that never departs;
Dearest Desire of every nation,
The Joy of our longing hearts.

* Affirmation of Faith (Unison)

I believe in the Living God who is directly involved in the affairs of the world. I believe that God chooses the meek and the poor to shame the proud and the rich. I believe in the incarnate Word, leaping in a woman’s womb, cradled in poverty. I believe in Jesus, true son of Mary, true Son of God, who came among us in weakness, that we might come to know the profound strength available to common people who turn to God in trust and with love. Yes, my friends, this I truly believe.

* Hymn Gloria Patri UMH 70
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Amen.

A Reading from the Old Testament – Micah 5:2-5                                       John Hutchinson, Liturgist

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.

If the Assyrians come into our land
and tread upon our soil,[b]
we will raise against them seven shepherds
and eight installed as rulers.

Prayer of Confession (All)                                                                                          John Hutchinson, Liturgist

Lord, hear us this day as we open our hearts and our spirits to you. These times in which we live are often confusing and fearful. We are pushed to make preparations for a season which is supposed to bring hope and peace; yet we crowd it with obligations and stresses and shut the door to your healing love and compassion.
Slow us down. Encourage us to take some time to listen rather than shout, to stop and rest rather than run. Cause us to look around at situations and people who are in need and to place our focus on helping them. For it is in helping and reaching out in love that we will find true peace. These things we pray, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Words of Assurance

L: Jesus said, “I am bring you peace, not the kind of peace the world would give to you. My peace I give to you, now and forever.” Be at peace. Know God’s love is given for you. Amen.

* Hymn of PreparationTo a Maid Engaged to Joseph (vs. 1, 4-6) UMH 215

1. To a maid engaged to Joseph, the angel Gabriel came. “Fear not,” the angel told her, “I come to bring good news, good news I come to tell you, good news, I say, good news.”

4. “Fear not, for God is with you, and you shall bear a child. His name shall be called Jesus, God’s offspring from on high. And he shall reign forever, forever reign on high.”

5. “How shall this be?” said Mary, “I am not yet a wife.” The angel answered quickly, “The power of the Most High will come upon you shortly, your child will be God’s child.”

6. As Mary heard the angel, she wondered at his words. “Behold, I am your handmaid,” she said unto her God. “So be it; I am ready according to your word.”

A Reading from the Gospel – Luke 1:39-56

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Sermon – “Our Hope and Fears”                                                                                           Rev. Debbie Scott

The Offering of Gifts & Tithes

OffertoryWhere is the Savior? (Purifoy)
Where is the Savior, and where is our king?
Where is the song that our hearts long to sing?
When will we see Him, the long-promised One?
Come now, Emmanuel, God’s only Son.

Hope for the hopeless,
Help of the helpless,
Almighty Prince of Peace.
Bread for the hungry,
Rest for the weary;
His reign will never cease.

Where is the Savior, the One Who will show
Mercy and kindness His people to know?
What shall we bring Him, our love to impart?
If we but meet Him, we’ll give Him our heart.

* Presentation of OfferingPraise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow UMH 95

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, yet heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Offering Prayer (All)

Dear God, you blessed Mary by making her the mother of your only Son, Jesus Christ. You have blessed us, as well, with the gift of your Son, and indeed, with the gift of life itself. Out of all these blessings, we give you back these offerings this day. Knowing that your promises will be fulfilled, we pledge our lives to you in anticipation of the coming of the one who brings us peace. Amen.

* Closing HymnLove Came Down at Christmas UMH 242

1. Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine; Love was born at Christmas; star and angels gave the sign.

2. Worship we the Godhead, Love incarnate, Love divine; worship we our Jesus, but wherewith for sacred sign?

3. Love shall be our token; love be yours and love be mine; love to God and [all men], love for plea and gift and sign.

* Benediction

Go with the love of God, who extends mercy from generation to generation.
Go with the illumination of the Holy Spirit, who prepares us for the coming of our Lord.
Go with the peace of the Christ child, who comes to partner with us
to bring the kingdom that will never end. Amen.

* Choral ResponseWe Need A Silent Night In Here (Moors-Charles and Bell)

We need a silent night in here;
We need Your presence to be near.
Give us the hope we need and the peace we seek.

* Ringing of the Bicentennial Bell

* Organ PostludeCon slancio (Preston)

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on December 21, 2018

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