Sunday, December 22, 2019

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Organ PreludeBenedictus (Missa VI)

Words of Welcome and Announcements Rev. Debbie Scott

Choral IntroitCome, O Long-Expected Jesus (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: This is the fourth Sunday of Advent, a time to rejoice in the wondrous things that God is doing.
P: Our hearts are filled with the hope that is coming into the world.
L: The time is fast approaching, not for parties or presence, but for the awareness of God’s loving gift to us – the gift of the Christ child.
P: Help slow us down, Lord, that we may realize that your gift of love is at the center of our lives and our celebrations.
L: Thanks be to God who again reminds us of God’s eternal love.

* Opening HymnLift Up Your Heads UMH 213

1. Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates; behold, the King of glory waits; the King of kings is drawing near; the Savior of the world is here!

2. Fling wide the portals of your heart; make it a temple, set apart from earthly use for heaven’s employ, adorned with prayer and love and joy.

3. Redeemer, come, with us abide; our hearts to thee we open wide; let us thy inner presence feel; thy grace and love in us reveal.

4. Thy Holy Spirit lead us on until our glorious goal is won; eternal praise, eternal fame be offered, Savior, to thy name!

Prayer of Invocation (All)

The prophet foretold it, the psalmist longed for it, Joseph dreamed of it, Paul proclaimed it. God is come to us, to be with us, to restore us, to save us. Let us come in awe and wonder, to worship the God who makes it all so. Amen.

Lighting the Advent Wreath

Leader: We have lit three candles—for hope, for peace, and for joy. Today we light the fourth candle—the candle of love. With this flame we signify the love of God that surrounds and fills us at all times, but that we recognize in a special way in the Christmas story. There is no greater power than love. It is stronger than rulers and empires, stronger than grief or despair, stronger even than death. We love, because God loves us. (Four candles are lit.)

All: Loving God, we open ourselves to you this Christmas season. As these candles are lit, light our lives with your imagination. Show us the creative power of hope. Teach us the peace that comes from justice. Fill us with the kind of joy that cannot be contained, but must be shared. Magnify your love within us. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, That we may walk in the light of Christ. Amen.

Choral ResponseEmmanuel, Emmanuel UMH 204

Sharing Prayer Requests

Pastoral Prayer

Lord’s Prayer

Children’s Moment

AnthemHuron Carol (Jesous Ahatonhia, Gardner Read)

‘Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp’d His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high…
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory
On the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

Prayer of Confession Liturgist

L: We have heard Christmas carols booming throughout shopping malls and supermarkets for so long that they have become part of the background noise of the season. “The silly season” the media tells us – when partying and holidays are the ‘true’ reason for the season.

O God, the Psalmist was right in asking how long will you be angry with your people – because we, in our weakness, get caught up so easily in the ‘silliness’ of this season. Our sense of wonder over the depth of your love for us becomes dulled. Our preoccupation with choosing suitable gifts and preparing acceptable food can make us quite unloving as Christmas draws nearer.
P: Forgive us, O God, when we have failed in word or deed to proclaim that the birth of Jesus is the wonderful and true reason for the Christmas season.
L: Rekindle our sense of wonder, O God, at your choosing to share our humanity by being born, as we all were, a vulnerable and helpless baby.
P: Merciful God, as we watch and wait for your breaking into our world once more, in the person of Jesus, shape and reshape our priorities so that the gift we give which is most cherished will be our witness to your love in ways that are transforming, visible and lasting.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

L: Through God’s love, we are restored and saved, for God entered our world in Jesus Christ, “not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” “Those who believe in him are not condemned.” (John 3,17, 18)
P: Thanks be to God!

Old Testament Lesson – Isaiah 7:10-16    Mike Rouse, Liturgist
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

* HymnTo a Maid Engaged to Joseph (Vs. 1, 2 & 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.”

2. “For you are highly favored by God the Lord of all, who even now is with you. You are on earth most blest, you are most blest, most blessed, God chose you, you are blest!”

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.”

* Gospel Lesson – Matthew 1:18-25

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Sermon – “Joseph Does the Right Thing”   Rev. Debbie Scott

Invitation to Offering

OffertoryShepherds, Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep (Lawson)

Shepherds, shake off your drowsy sleep,
Rise and leave your silly sheep;
Angels from heav’n around loud singing,
Tidings of great joy are bringing.

Shepherds, the chorus come and swell!
Sing Noël, oh, sing Noël.

Hark, even now the bells ring round;
Listen to their merry sound;
Hark, how the birds, new songs are making,
As if winter’s chains were breaking.

See how the flowers all burst anew,
Thinking snow is summer dew;
See how the stars afresh are glowing,
All their brightest beams bestowing.

Shepherds, then up and quick away,
Seek the Babe ere break of day;
He is the hope of every nation,
All in Him shall find salvation.

* 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)

Gracious and loving God, we offer our prayers and these gifts to you in response to your great love for us. May these tokens of our love proclaim that the true reason for our joy this Christmas season is the birth of your love in human form in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in whose name we pray. Amen.

* Closing HymnJoseph Was Troubled (Carolyn Winfrey Gillette)

ADELAIDE D (“Have Thine Own Way, Lord”)

Joseph was troubled by what he knew!
Mary was pregnant; what should he do?
He wanted justice — not to cause shame.
He would dismiss her, placing no blame.

Joseph was sleeping; that night he dreamed.
Nothing was really as it had seemed.
“Don’t be afraid — make Mary your wife.
God has a plan for your baby’s life.”

Hearing that message, Joseph obeyed,
Seeing a new path God’s love had made.
He stood by Mary, waiting that birth,
Seeing God’s Son there — Savior of earth!

God, when our troubles seem far too great,
Help us to listen, wonder and wait;
Sometimes the world is not as it seems.
Give us your vision; give us your dreams.

* Benediction

L: Go forth from this place an awakened people, aware of the world’s darkness, yet reaching for the light.
P: We see God at work in our world, and that makes all the difference.
L: Go forth from this place an expectant people, conscious of judgment in our midst, yet welcoming God’s new order and justice.
P: We welcome God’s new day, believing that Christ will set us free.
L: Go forth from this place a serving people, sensing anew the pain so many bear, yet confident God will bring healing, even through you.
P: We open ourselves as channels of God’s grace, for we have heard good news and we have been empowered to share it. Amen.

* Ringing the Bicentennial Bell

* Choral Response – Christ Is Coming (Neander)

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

PostludeVenit Filius, Venit Deus (Taylor)

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on December 20, 2019

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