Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Liturgy, Advent 1: The X(Mas) Files: WHO?; Isaiah 40:1-5, Luke 3:2-9, 15-16 (December 3, 2023)

*You are welcome to use or adapt any of my resources for free, but I ask that you provide proper citation AND comment on this post to let me know.*


Hymn GTG #88, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (vv. 1, 3, & 7)
Hymn GTG #95, "Prepare the Way of the Lord"
Hymn GTG #145, “What Child Is This?”

*Call to Worship & Advent Wreath

Leader: We gather today in joyful anticipation of hearing the old, beloved stories of our faith. But familiarity can lead us to complacency.
People: Prepare ye the way, listening anew with open ears and hearts!
Leader: Let us dig deeper into these holy words and ask, “Who is this story really about?”
People: Prepare ye the way, exploring the familiar with inquisitive minds and hearts.
Leader: [Lighting purple candle] As we listen, as we explore, as we prepare, we also wait.
People: Come, O come, Emmanuel.

Call to Confession (based on Luke 3:8)

Leader: The prophet John calls us to show the fruit of our repentance: not as a means to escape judgment, but as a way to prepare the way of the Lord. Let us, therefore, make the rough edges of our hearts plain by confessing our sin to God.

Popcorn Prayer of Confession

You are invited to speak a word or short phrase that describes a personal or collective sin of which you repent and seek forgiveness.

When the gathered community is finished sharing, we pray together:

People: O Divine Mystery, as we search for the long-awaited Messiah, we are quick to look to the people we think will lead us to victory and slow to look to the one who leads with humility. Our hearts are hardened by our own vain assumptions and desires. Send us the one who defies all our expectations and prepare our hearts to welcome him. Give us the courage to follow him and him alone. In your mercy, hear our prayers… (Silent prayers of personal confession)

Declaration of Forgiveness (based on Isaiah 40:1)

Leader: “Comfort, comfort, my people!” says your God. Our sin oppresses us, but God has set us free us from its burden: in the name of the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, we are forgiven!
People: Thanks be to God!

Communion Liturgy

The Lord be with you (And also with you)

Lift up your hearts (We lift them up to the Lord)

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God (It is right to give our thanks and praise)

We thank you, God, for your wonderous creation, for the stories we’ve passed down from generation to generation, and most of all, for the mysteries of flesh and spirit that draw us to you again and again. We give you thanks for the curiosity that you have placed within our hearts, and for the joy of learning more and more about you and your love for us.

Therefore, we join our voices with the choirs of heaven and with all the faithful of every time and place who forever praise your name: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

We give you thanks, Holy One, for the mystery of Emmanuel, God with us: Jesus the Christ. He came to answer the ancient questions, and to raise still more. He showed us that faithful questioning can be a means of kindom work: challenging what is and paving the way for what should be. It is through him that we find our salvation and our purpose, and so we lift our voices in praise.

Even as we prepare once again for his coming, we remember with thanksgiving the night of his arrest. Sitting with his friends, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take; eat. This is my body broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant, sealed in my blood, shed for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink of it, do this in remembrance of me.” For as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim Christ’s saving death and resurrection until he comes again.

Great is the mystery of faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us—this bread, this cup, these people—so that we might be fed, body and spirit, with your love. Send us out into the world to share the good news of this love with all we meet. Give us the courage to ask questions, of ourselves and of one another, so that we might remain your Church, reformed and always reforming towards your will. And help us to live our lives with the same generosity, grace, and love that we learn from the one whose birth we await even now.

Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God, now and forever. Amen.

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