Saturday, December 15, 2018

Liturgy with communion for December 23, 2018 (Advent 4 - C)

Texts:  Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80:1-7; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-55

Call to Worship
We come to glorify God,
to rejoice in the One who saves us.
God comes, so we might believe,
so we might be blessed.
Our hearts leap for joy!
For God is coming to us in a child.
God comes for those who hunger for hope,
for those who thirst for grace.
Holy is the One who comes in God's name,
who fulfills every promise of God.
God comes to walk with those who follow in faith,
to bring peace to a shattered world.

Prayer of the Day
Holy God,
scattering the proud,
you look with favor
on those the world ignores.
For you,
we wait for the One
who will feed us;
for you,
we wait for the One
who stands with us
in our loneliness and pain.
For you, we wait.

Jesus Christ,
born in a backwater town:
in you,
God fills the hunger
of our hearts;
in you,
God lifts us
from our hopelessness;
in you,
all the promises come true.
For you, we wait.

Holy Spirit,
Hallower of God's people:
from you comes faith,
    so we might believe;
from you comes belief,
    so we might be blessed;
from you come all blessings,
    so we might give them away.
For you, we wait.

God in Community, Holy in One,
for you, we wait, even as we pray:
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Every notion we have about power, success, wealth and achievement, God takes and tosses out the window.  More importantly, God comes to us, to upset our idea that we must save ourselves.  In Jesus, God comes to us, removing our sin, our failures, our expectations, so we might have life.  Please join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We confess we are not the people you hope us to be, Advent God.  The very ones you favor?  All too often, we ignore them, or worse fill them with ridicule.  The ones you knock off their pedestals?  We continue to admire them, seeking to emulate their ways.  The drumbeat for more and more?  We give into the rhythm so easily, we risk being sent away empty.
     Forgive us, Mighty God who comes in the weakness of a baby.  Look with grace upon us, so we might see your love shining down.  We could live secure in your hope, we could be the ones of peace for our world, we could learn to do your will, if we but welcome Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into our hearts and into our lives.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God passes the heirloom of mercy down
from generation to generation, always loving,
always forgiving, always calling us to new life.
As we open our hearts to God, we are filled
with the joy that was sung at the Birth, 
with the Hope that walked among us, 
with the Grace which is always with us.  
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
In these moments, God who comes, remind us of those who are yearning to be lifted to their feet, those who hunger for hope, those who look for peace, and may our gifts be used to serve them.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May salvation’s Rock be with you!
May that foundation be with you!
As God approaches, let us lift our hearts in hope.
God comes to strengthen them with grace.
May our songs tell of God’s love which never ends.
We will sing of God’s faithfulness which lasts forever.

With patience, with gentleness,
you entered the emptiness of chaos,
God of wonder and awe,
spreading the rich soil of creation
from which sprang flowers and fields,
vegetables and trees, our ancestors in life.
You looked with favor upon them,
doing wondrous things for them.
But they wandered far from you,
losing themselves in the maze of thoughts
crafted by temptation and death.
You would not give up on them,
time after time sending prophets
with words of welcome and hope,
but they could not do your will.
So you sent Christ into the world,
filled with the Holy Spirit,
exclaiming with a living cry
of our salvation for all time.

With all those who trusted in what was unseen,
and those who believed the best would come,
we join our voices in singing your Advent praise:

Holy, holy, holy, God of holiness and peace.
All creation waits for your purpose to be revealed.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to do your will.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, God of unending glory,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Hope of the world.
He came with haste, leaving your side
to set out on his journey for us.
The joy of your heart,
he come to proclaim your love;
the Word of your hope,
he came to call us home;
the fruit of your grace,
he was born to offer himself
for our salvation and freedom
from the power of sin,
making us your holy people
by his death and resurrection.

As we prepare to celebrate his birth,
as we remember the gift of his resurrection,
we would tell of that mystery we call faith:

P:    Christ was born, that we might see
            hope in the flesh;
        Christ lived, that we might hear
            grace spoken aloud;
         Christ died, that we might feel
            the breaking of God's heart;
        Christ is risen, that we might know
            that the promises are true;
        Christ will come again, that we
            might be blessed as God's children.

Pour out your Spirit
upon the gifts of this Table
and upon your children
who gather for your feast.
In this place, we are filled
with the strength of hope,
so we may serve those
who hunger for goodness and grace.
Restored by the Cup of life,
we can dare to go out
to empty ourselves for those
who wander the streets of life,
unnoticed by the rest of the world.

And when our journey has ended,
when your Advent has come to gather us home,
we will join with Elizabeth and Mary,
with Joseph and John the Baptist,
with our sisters and brothers from all time,
forever singing our joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

O come, Child of the covenant,
to lead us to the heirs of the promises made long ago.
We will go with you to those who have been forgotten,
to lift all those knocked down by life to their feet.
O Come, salvation’s servant,
to show us the way to the joy of this season.
We will go with you to welcome the outsider,
and to throw our arms around those whose hearts are broken.
O Come, Lover of the lowly,
to fill our hands with the shawls of grace and peace.
We will go to wrap them around those who grieve,
to place them on the shoulders of those damaged by violence.  

(c) Thom M. Shuman