Monday, December 18, 2023

Liturgy, Advent 4: The X(mas) Files: WHERE?, Micah 5:1-5a/Matthew 2:1-8 (December 24, 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 #105, “People Look East”
Hymn GTG #467, “Give Us Light”
Hymn GTG #317, “In Christ There Is No East or West”
Hymn GTG #93, “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates”

*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 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, “Where is our Messiah?”
People: Prepare ye the way, exploring the familiar with inquisitive minds and spirits.
Leader: [Lighting purple candle] As we listen, as we explore, as we prepare, we also wait.
People: Meet us where we are, O Lord.

Call to Confession (based on Matthew 2:3)

Leader: Fear is contagious. If we who worship the Lord are afraid of God’s judgement, then we, like Herod, will become a means for fear and its cousin, hatred, to spread. But if we trust in God’s mercy and love, then we can show the world that there is nothing to fear. Let us boldly and faithfully confess our sins to the Lord.

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, like Herod, we are afraid of that which is different. We embrace the myth of scarcity, and we hate that which threatens our power. We are unwilling to believe that God’s love is big enough to be for all people…but we are wrong. Lord, forgive us, and help us to see all people as our fellow heirs to your holy kindom. In your mercy, hear our prayers…
(Silent prayers of personal confession)

Declaration of Forgiveness (based on Micah 5:4-5)

Leader: The prophet Micah proclaims that the people of God will dwell in God’s great peace, and I now offer you the same assurance: In Jesus Christ, we have been reconciled to the Lord and we are forgiven fully!
People: Thanks be to God!

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