Monday, November 28, 2005

2nd Sunday of Advent - Year B

Call to Worship

Listen to what the Lord our God says to us:
Peace is God's hope for us;
salvation is God's gift to us.
See what the Lord our God reveals to us:
righteousness is the path to the kingdom;
faithfulness is the highway we build.
Tell what the Lord our God
asks us to speak:
prepare God's way;
the Christ is coming to redeem us.

Prayer of the Day

Comfort of the ages,
you come:
so you can fill our empty places
with your hope;
so you can level our pride
with your call to servanthood;
so you can smooth our toughened hearts
with your tenderness.

Herald of Good News:
when we hunger for exaltation,
you feed us with humility;
when we trip over sin,
you gather us up in love;
when we become satisfied with our faith,
you shake us with your Messenger.

Spirit of Advent:
in this hectic season,
give us the gift of patience;
when we overflow with stress,
soothe us with your serenity;
when we are overwhelmed
with the desire for more and more,
speak to us of the needs of the outsiders.

God in Community, Holy in One,
surround us with your presence,
and fill us with your love,
as we lift the prayer taught to us by Jesus, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

God comes! Let us prepare the way.
God comes to forgive us! Let us prepare
our hearts as we confess our sins, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession

We confess that our penalty has been paid, God of Comfort, yet we still insist on earning our way into your heart. We confess that you are patient with us, but wish you would act quickly against those who hurt us. We confess your word will stand forever, but it is our words of pain and anger that cause long term harm to others.

Your Messenger has come, Approaching God, crying out of your forgiveness and hope. ThroughJesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, you speak to us: not of punishment, but of peace; not of judgment, but of justice; not of a sentence, but salvation.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

Hear the Good News God speaks to you:
I love you;
I forgive you;
I restore you to new life.
We will not ignore the fact that God comes:
not to condemn, but to comfort us; not to
scold, but to speak tenderly to us of hope,
of love, of joy. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
(preceded by singing verses 1 & 2 of "In the Bleak Midwinter")

May God be with you.
and may God be with you.
People of God, open your hearts.
We open our hearts to the One who comes to us.
People of God, give thanks to the Living God.
We praise the One who offers comfort and peace to us.

Acclamation, thanksgiving, songs of joy
are the gifts we offer to you,
God of all the ages.
You uttered the Word
and mountains burst forth;
your Breath blew upon the waters,
and stirred life into being;
you reached down and shaped us
in your own image,
from the dusty paths you trod.
In our impatience,
we refused to wait for your glory,
and rushed into sin's sweet embrace.
Yet you were willing
to outwit our foolish wisdom,
and outwait our childish tantrums,
sending the prophets to cry out
of your desire for us to return to you.
Finally, when we continued to cling
to death's strong hand,
you clothed your Word with human flesh,
that we might meet you face to face.

So with those who have waited for you
in every time and place,
with those who seek to live faithfully
for you in these days,
we lift our songs of hope to you:

(verse 3 of "In the Bleak Midwinter")
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim Thronged the air;
But his mother only, In her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the Beloved With a kiss.

All holiness is yours, Righteous God,
and blessed is your Word for whom we wait,
Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace.
When we had lost our way,
he came to straighten out the path to you.
When we wept at our lostness,
he came to comfort us.
When we had fallen hopelessly
at the feet of death,
he gathered us up in his arms
to carry us home to you.

As we come to this Table,
we remember the mystery of the One
who died that we might live forever:

(verse 4 of "In the Bleak Midwinter")
What can I give Him, Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: Give my heart.

As your Spirit moves upon the gifts
of the bread and the cup,
may she touch us with
unexpected hope and the power of patience.
As we wait for Christ's return,
we would fill the empty dreams of the world
with your vision of peace and wholeness;
we would feed the lost
with the bread of hope;
we would gently lead the exiled
back to your Kingdom.

Then, when the end of time comes,
and our waiting is over,
we will gather around your Table
in the new heaven and new earth,
where righteousness is our friend
and justice lives next door,
and you are our God forever and ever,
Creator of goodness,
Friend of the lost,
Spirit of joy. Amen.

Blessing

As you were present with us through your Word, O God:
May we be present to others who will come to us this week.
As you fed us with peace, Bread of Life:
May we grace others with your peace in the coming days.
As you welcomed us to your Table, Spirit of hope:
May we welcome those you send us who have no hope.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, November 21, 2005

First Sunday in Advent - B

Call to Worship

Advent is the season of waiting:
for the One who is faithful in
every season.
Advent is the season of waiting
for the Lord:
who comes doing deeds
we never expect.
Let us wait in this holy season:
Let us keep awake!

Prayer of the Day

You could feed us
with bitterness,
if you wanted,
Approaching God,
but you offer us
the Bread of Heaven;
you could hand us
a glass filled with your tears,
if you wished,
but you touch
the cup of Hope to our lips.

The stars fall down
to shine the way for you,
Babe of Bethlehem,
the powers of the world
tremble at your approach.
You tear open
our hardened hearts
so you can come in
and live with us forever.

Advent's Spirit:
you unclog our ears
so we can hear
the songs of the angels;
you wipe the grit
from our eyes
so we can see
the One who is coming to us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
help us to wait patiently, and hopefully,
as we lift the prayer taught to us by Jesus, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

Advent is the season
of preparing,
of waiting,
of hoping.
Let us confess to the One who comes carrying forgiveness to us.

Responsive Prayer of Confession

God who is drawing near to us:
we live in a world of violence,
which we do not condemn enough:
Come to us, with your peace.
We are filled with the best of intentions,
but are unable to follow through with action:
Come to us, with your will.
We are sinners, who are afraid
to gaze into your mirror of grace:
Come to us, with your mercy.
Word of Flesh:
have mercy;
Friend of the poor:
have mercy;
Bridegroom of the faithful:
have mercy.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

In this season of waiting,
the Good News is this:
mercy, new life, hope, and joy
are the gifts we receive from our God.
Thanks be to the God of Advent, who came
in the Child, who is with us in the Spirit,
who will come again in glory! Amen.

Blessing

Be on guard!
We do not know when Christ will return.
Be alert!
Our hearts will be open
to everyone we meet.
Be on guard! Be alert!
We will welcome each person
as if they are the Christ.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman