Sunday, December 1, 2019


Advent is a season of waiting. During Advent, we are waiting for something to come into the world, something to be born for us and in us. It is an expectant waiting, and it requires not will, but willingness — a willingness to receive the new, the unexpected. It requires a decision to be open to the ways God will be at work in our lives. This season is an advent-ure and we have a part to play — waiting, opening, staying watchful. Something new is coming. Consider that Christmas will be a time of giving and receiving. God has a wonderful gift for you. Prepare to receive it.

Organ PreludeIn Wynter (Medieval Scottish)

Words of Welcome and Announcements Rev. Debbie Scott

Choral Introit – Come, O Long-Expected Jesus (Wesley/Gregor)

Come, O long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every waiting heart.

* Call to Worship

L: On this first Sunday of Advent, let us look with gladness toward the season ahead. And throughout these days, may we keep faith with the coming Christ.
P: Help us to reject any seasonal pace that allows for no genuine peace.
L: Guide us to refrain from gift-giving that meets obligations but inspires no joy. Inspire us to resist any holiday preparations that feel more like compulsions than celebrations.
P: God, you graciously provide us with this time of Advent. Help us to reflect upon the ways of peace, to give thanks for a gift that brings joy to the world, and to celebrate the coming of the One whose love binds together all people. With gratitude to God, we thank you for this Advent season. Amen.

* Opening HymnO Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Vs. 1-4)   UMH 211

1. O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

2. O come, thou Wisdom from on high, and order all things far and nigh; to us the path of knowledge show and cause us in her ways to go. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

3. O come, O come, great Lord of might, who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height in ancient times once gave the law in cloud and majesty and awe. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

4. O come, thou Root of Jesse’s tree, an ensign of thy people be; before thee rulers silent fall; all peoples on thy mercy call. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Prayer of Invocation (All)

O God, we come, seeking light:
light to reveal your majesty;
light to clear our blindness;
light to illuminate our understanding;
light to brighten our times of preparation.

Come into our hearts and lives as we worship, so that we may serve in your kingdom as bearers of light and guide others to the Light. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Lighting the Advent Wreath

L: Today we enter Advent, a season of possibilities, a time of “not yet.” But daily lives reflect human struggles. Sometimes we are surrounded by brokenness–in our lives, among our friends and families, in our worldwide family. Hope seems a far-off vision; yet we yearn for it to fill us. We cry together.
P: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
L: When hope is lost, P: Restore us, O God.
L: When people are hurting, P: Restore us, O God.
L: When nations are fighting, P: Restore us, O God.
L: When children are hungry, P: Restore us, O God.
L: Restore us, God of Life. Bring us closer to hope, the hope that lights the way on the journey to Bethlehem. During this season of waiting may we be open to signs of your restoring love. As we light this first Advent Candle, let us pray for God’s restoration in the midst of brokenness and despair.
P: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Amen.

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

AnthemAbove the Hills the Advent Light (Hutson)

Above the hills the Advent Light
Awakes the midnight sky;
Great God, our Judge, enthroned in might,
Descends from heaven on high.
Rejoice, rejoice, the Lord is nigh!

In God’s own time shall evil cease,
When His day shall appear.
Repentant souls shall know His peace,
Meek hearts His Gospel hear.
Rejoice, rejoice, the King draws near.

Then let all men prepare Him place
Within their hearts to dwell,
Make ready to receive His grace,
Set free from sin and hell.
Rejoice, rejoice, O come, Emmanuel.

Above the hills the sun’s first rays
Their golden splendor fling;
O God, send in the glorious days
Whereof the prophets sing.
Rejoice, rejoice, we greet our King!

Old Testament Lesson – Jeremiah 33:14-16   Jackie Noller, Liturgist
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Prayer of Confession Jackie Noller, Liturgist

L: God of light and life, you set before us today the challenges of laying aside the works of darkness; of putting on the light of Christ; of being watchful and prepared for your coming in our midst in the person of Jesus Christ. As the people of God in this place we know that a crucial part of our witness is in revealing Christ to the world through the way we love and care for one another.
P: Forgive us if people do not see any evidence in us of the One who is to come.
L: So many people, young and old, grope in the gloom of despair and suffering, yearning for the light of hope to dawn in their lives.
P: Remind us that the light of Christ shines through people like us – people who claim to follow him.
L: Merciful God, cleanse our hearts and minds of all that hinders us from loving you and loving our neighbor.
P: May our lives radiate faith active in love, as we watch and wait for your breaking into our world once more in the person of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness Jackie Noller, Liturgist

L: Salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers: the night is far gone, the day is near. That day of salvation is experienced as we lay aside the works of darkness and put on the protection of the Light of the world – Jesus Christ – in whom and through whom we are forgiven.
P: Thanks be to God!

* Hymn of PreparationI Want to Walk as a Child of the Light UMH 206

1. I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus. God set the stars to give light to the world. The star of my life is Jesus. In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

2. I want to see the brightness of God. I want to look at Jesus. Clear Sun of Righteousness, shine on my path, and show me the way to the Father. In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

3. I’m looking for the coming of Christ. I want to be with Jesus. When we have run with patience the race, we shall know the joy of Jesus. In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

Gospel Lesson – Matthew 24:36-44
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Sermon – “Living in Expectancy”                                                                                            Rev. Debbie Scott

The Offering of Gifts & Tithes

OffertoryCreator of the Stars (Cherwien)

Creator of the stars of night, your people’s everlasting light,
O Christ, Redeemer of us all, we pray you hear us when we call.

In sorrow that the ancient curse should doom to death a universe,
You came, O Savior, to set free your own in glorious liberty.

Come in your holy might, we pray, redeem us for eternal day;
Defend us while we dwell below from all assaults of our dread foe.

* 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)

God, fulfiller of promises, we come to this season of Advent with expectant and thank-ful hearts. We welcome the renewed promise of your love, justice and righteousness breaking into our world. We offer these gifts and the witness of our lives in gratitude for all you have done, are doing and will do. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sacrament of the Last Supper

Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the Approaching God be with you.
And also with you.
In the days to come, People of God,
offer your hearts to the One who comes near.
We will lay aside all that keeps us from
opening ourselves to God.
Now is the time to sing praises to the One who loves us.
We offer our thanksgiving to God,
as we find ourselves standing within the gates of Advent.

You spoke of the days to come, Architect of life,
when anthills would erupt from dirt,
when cattle would gather under shade trees,
when cats would nurture little children,
when chaos would be transformed into creation,
and we stood within your garden of goodness.
All this beauty, all the wonder, was offered
so, we might walk in your light,
but we preferred the shadows of sin,
opening our hearts so that thief, death,
could come and steal us away from you.
You sent the prophets to us,
urging us to lay aside our foolishness,
but we continued to put on
the armor of apathy and anger
so, we could rebel against you.
Finally, when no one expected,
you came, not in power but poverty,
a crying baby born to nobodies.

With those who worry about your return,
with those who have forgotten to tell time,
we sing of your praises:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of the welcoming heart.
All creation sings of your great love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes when we least expect.
Hosanna in the highest!

In the days to come, God of life,
may we be reminded of your holiness,
and the blessing of your Child, Jesus.
When we fear what lies over the horizon,
he comes, arms filled with grace.
When worries fall like leaves on our lives,
he stands on the front porch,
arm in arm with hope.
When the rumblings of angry rhetoric
waken us in the night,
he lullabies us with songs of your love.
When sin would lock us away
in the shadows of death,
he comes like a thief in the night,
to steal our hearts back for you.

As we begin our journey to Bethlehem,
as we seek to be alert and awake,
we would proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ died, seeking the good for all;
Christ was raised, putting on resurrection’s love;
Christ will come, precisely when we least expect him.

Now, pour out your Spirit upon
the gifts of the bread and the cupand on those gathered in these moments.

Feed us with the bread which is broken,
so, in the days to come, we may
bring healing to the shattered,
embrace the lonely,
invite strangers to our family feasts.
Pour the grace of the cup into us,
so, in the days to come, we may
wrap others in warm coats,
lay aside our differences,
walk with others in the light of justice.

And when you come when we least expect,
to bring all history to an end,
gather us around the Table of joy,
where we will join our sisters and brothers
of every place and time in forever praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen


Sharing Bread and Cup

Prayer after Receiving (All)

We give thanks to you, O God, for renewing, refreshing and sustaining us in this meal by the presence of your love revealed so fully in Jesus Christ. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to be daily revelations of that love- in Jesus’ name. Amen.

* Closing HymnGod, We Await Your Advent Here (Carolyn Winfrey Gillette)
Tune: “O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee”

1. God, we await your advent here:
When will these desert lands rejoice?
When will new blossoms bright appear
And all earth praise you with one voice?

2. We live in deserts we have made;
Gifts of your love we pass right by.
We seek possessions, more each day,
And then in thirst for joy, we cry.

3. God, we prepare for Jesus’ birth–
Searching for gifts from store to store!|
Yet when you sent your Christ to earth,
You gave us joy worth so much more.

4. When in the love of Christ we grow,
Streams in this desert shall abound.
Then by your Spirit we will know:
True wealth in Jesus Christ is found.

* Benediction

L: Take time, in the busyness of this season, for quiet reflection—
For the light of God’s love is discernible everywhere.
P: We will let ourselves be surprised by wonder,
And set aside time to offer quiet thanks.
L: The good news of Advent is this:
Christ is coming. Christ is always coming.
P: We will welcome Christ into our hearts.
We will let ourselves be guided by his ministry.
L: We will go forth from this place in hope.

* Choral ResponseChrist Is Coming (Neander)

Christ is coming! Come, O blessed Prince of Peace.

* Ringing of the Bicentennial Bell

* Organ PostludeAdveniat Redemptor (Markham)

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on November 27, 2019

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