Worship for December 12, 2021; the Third Sunday of Advent, Year C

Advent 3

THE GATHERING

* Stand if willing and able

Gathering Music:

Welcome and Announcements    

Prelude:A Rose is Gently Bloomingby Johannes Brahms

* Call to Worship & Lighting the Advent Candle of Joy

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!”

The world says, “Worry,” and we say, “Rejoice!”

The news says, “Fear,” and we say, “Rejoice!”

The world says, “Be happy,” and the church says, “Be faithful.”

As we light our third candle,

We pray for hope, peace, and joy.

Come now, O Child of Mary. 

Come, O Wellspring of Joy.

Let us pray together:

* Prayer of the Day    

Merciful God, you come into our midst longing for communion with us, becoming one of us. Break our resistance to life with you. Like John, show us the hope-filled path toward just relationships, which lead to a peaceable kingdom, and birth in us your unimaginable joy; in Jesus’ name, Amen.

* Advent Carol #163 “Wild and Lone the Prophet’s Voice”

* Invitation to Wholeness

Even as John the Baptist called the people to repent, Jesus calls us now.  Let us turn to the one who is both judge and savior, trusting that repentance is the door to a new life of joy, and that peace beyond all measure has been promised to us.

* Prayer of Wholeness

In your presence, Holy God, we confess that we need repentance. We sometimes break your commands against idolatry. We do not always live in peace with your creation or your people. We struggle to trust your word, and we are tired and fearful of life’s uncertainty.  Sometimes we blindly think only of ourselves and not our neighbors.  Forgive us, restore us, and turn our hearts toward love of you and neighbor, for the sake of the One who proclaims the good news and for the sake of all the world.  Amen.

            Please observe a moment of silent prayer, then sing as one voice:

* Advent Response: #103 “Come Now, O Prince of Peace(x2)

* Assurance of Pardon and Passing of the Peace

Friends, believe this Good News: God is One and God is Three – Love constantly flowing in, out, and through; the gift of Jesus Christ for me and for you. For this we say:

Thanks be to God!

Since God has loved us through Christ, let us love one another; the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

And also with you!

Let us share signs of peace.

* Song of Thanksgiving #658 “God is So Good

Celebrating Joys and Where We Have Seen God at Work

 Hymn #654: “In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful”

THE WORD

Prayer of Illumination:

Holy Word, you are our guide and ultimate assurance.  By your Holy Spirit, open us to your promises and commands and shower us again with the fire of your love.  Amen.

Hebrew Scripture: Zephaniah 3:14-20 p. 1159-1160 OT

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Anthem: “Some Children See Him” arr. Alfred Burt

Children’s Moment

Epistle Reading: Philippians 4:4-7 p. 267 NT

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Gospel Reading: Luke 3:7-18 p. 82-83 NT

“The Gospel of the Lord” “Praise to you O Christ”

Reflection: TL 12-12-2021 YC A3 Ambassadors of Joy~ Pastor Scott Crane

Please spend several moments in silent reflection

RESPONSE TO THE WORD

* Hymn of Response: #134: “Joy to the World”

* Affirmation of Faith: Adapted from the Confession of Belhar

We believe that God has entrusted the church with the message of reconciliationin and through Jesus Christ. We believe that the church is called to be the salt of the earthand the light of the world.  We believe that the church is called blessed because it is a peacemaker.  We believe that the church is witnessboth by word and by deedto the new heaven and the new earthin which righteousness dwells.

Intercessory Prayers of the People

Call and response: “Lord in your mercy,” “Hear our prayers.”

Invitation to Present Our Offerings

People of God, the Lord has given us so much. Let us give, as each is able, for the benefit of Christ’s church and God’s world.

Offertory: “Song of the Shepherd Boy” by Samual Arnold

* Doxology Tune #606

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Praise Christ all creatures here below!

Praise Holy Spirit evermore!

Praise Triune God whom we adore!  Amen!

* Prayer of Dedication

Gracious God, in gratitude for all that you have given us, we bring our tithes, offerings, and labor to help feed a world hungry for healing and hope, peace and joy.  For the sake of Jesus Christ, who taught his disciples to pray, saying:

* The Lord’s Prayer (…debts…debtors…)

SENDING

* Advent Carol: #129 “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming”

* Charge

Beloved, be encouraged in the Lord, and do not be led astray. Stand firm in the witness of the gospel and do good deeds, all for the glory of God.

* Blessing

* Congregational Song: “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

Lyrics found on the inside front cover of the hymnal.

Bathrooms and a diaper changing station are located in the Fellowship Hall.  Please join us across the way for refreshments and conversation following worship.

Questions for Reflection

Imagine that you are in the crowd listening to John the Baptizer.  You hear people in the crowd asking him, “What should we do to prepare?” How might John instruct you, or your family, or your church, to prepare for the coming of God’s presence?  God’s Reign?  And what does that mean to you?

Sometimes wealthy people worry that God or the church is requiring them to be poor.  What is the difference between being poor and being fair?  How do you feel about sharing?

Think about the passage from Isaiah, which is a song of comfort and hope. In this season of Advent as we wait for the Christ child to be born, what feels unsettled and in need of comfort for you?  In what ways do you feel disconnected in body and mind from God and one another?  What does the singing of hymns and/or carols mean to you?  How does it feel to you?

Household Prayer: Morning

Dear God,

Surely you are my salvation!  I begin this day without fear, trusting you, for you are my strength. Help me to meditate all day on the thought that you are rejoicing in me! Keep me keenly aware, as I travel through this day, of ways that I may help others, especially those who may be needy in some way – with a helping hand, a listening ear, or a warm meal.  Then bring me home to you at the close of the day. Amen.

Household Prayer: Evening

Dear God,

Thank you for the gift of this day and for guarding my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. All that I did and all that I left undone, I now give over to your safekeeping, trusting in your peace that surpasses all understanding. Be my rest as I sleep tonight and renew me in your love for another day. Amen.

About Scottrick

Parent ~ Pastor ~ Poet ~ Author
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