Classic Worship Connection: December 10, 2017

November 4th, 2017

Second Sunday of Advent

COLOR: Blue or Purple
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1
L: Days are getting darker.
P: Who will come to give us light?
L: The voice of the prophet cries in the wilderness of our lives!
P: Is this prophet the One who brings the light?
L: This prophet brings witness to the Light which is coming for all people.
P: Praise be to God who has heard our cries. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2
L: What have you come to see?
P: We have come to see the Light.
L: The light of hope is here for you.
P: God’s hope shines through our darkness.
L: Come, worship the Lord of Light and Hope!
P: Praise God for the breaking of light into our lives. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3
This call to worship is done in the form of an inclusive skit. The people who have been given the flashlights should be near enough to the front of the worship area to shine their lights on the floor beyond the Person with the packages. You will need a pile of packages and you may decide whether to wrap them or not. These packages represent burdens and you may want to label them with a "burden" such as "sorrow, fear, loneliness, anger, frustration, sadness, etc.

[Person enters with a pile of packages in arms, obscuring their sight and causing the person to weave around.]

L: Hello. May I help you with those burdens you carry?
Person: I can manage. I always have. Just tell me if I’m going to step off the curb.
L: It’s hard to manage when so many obstacles are in the way.
Person: That’s life.....full of obstacles. (Person begins to shuffle packages unsuccessfully as they begin to drop to the floor). Oh, no! Now I’ve done it!
L: Here, let me help you. I can carry some of these for you.
Person: My goodness, it’s dark here. I guess I hadn’t realized how dark things have gotten.
L: There is light available to show the way.
Person: I sure could use some light. I’m far too lost as it is.
L: The Light is coming to the world. We are here to proclaim the good news of that Light.
People: Jesus is the Light that is coming. He will show the way. Meanwhile, let us offer our lights to you. (The choir and congregation members who have flashlights shine them on the floor in front of the Person).
L: This may help. Watch for the light. Wait for the Light. He is coming to you.
Person: Thank you, thank you so much.
People: Praise be to God who brings the light to each of us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4
L: (singing) "This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."
P: Where can we get that Light?
L: This represents the Light of God coming into the world. It’s here for us right now.
P: But it does not give a lot of light.
L: It gives us enough light to begin our journey through the darkness. Come, do not be afraid. God will give us the Light we need.
P: We come this day, seeking Light and Hope in our darkness. AMEN.

PRAYERS, READINGS, BENEDICTION

Invocation/Opening Prayer
Lord of Darkness and of Light, come to us this day in the midst of our growing darkness bringing the light of hope to our lives. Keep our hearts and minds alert to your presence. Give peace to our stressed spirits. In this season of Advent, prepare us to greet the One who will lift our burdens and change our lives forever. AMEN.

The Advent Light
Theme for bulletin insert: Today we will place light from two sources on our worship center. The first light comes from the candle, which was placed here last week, but remained unlit. The second source is a flashlight, with its small, bur directed beam of light to show us the way to Hope.

L: Last week we placed this candle on our worship center, but it remained unlit so that we would take the time to actually think about the darkness and hope for the light.
Person 1: We light this candle, remembering that in the midst of darkness, God created the world and all that is in it. In the midst of our darkness, God has again brought light

[Person 1 lights the Advent Candle].

L: Today we place a flashlight in our worship center as the second light of Advent. This common object becomes uncommon as it reveals God’s love and direction for our lives.
Person 2: We turn this flashlight on, with its small beam. The darkness is great, but God’s powerful light will show us the way, our path is illuminated by God’s gracious love. This light represents direction and hope.

[Person 2 turns the flashlight on. Note: make sure that the light is either shining on the floor or down an aisle, not in the face of any persons in the sanctuary]

L: Let us pray: Lord of love and light, give us direction this day. Draw us from our darkness back to you. Help us to remember that your light and presence are always with us. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
December is upon us, Lord, and we are on the "greased slide to Christmas". Time seems to get away from us and we get trapped in the buy-wrap-send syndrome. Lord, we confess that it is easy to get involved in all these opportunities and stresses that come our way. Forgive us when we put our faith on a back burner and focus instead on pressures in our lives. Help us to take time to see your beam of direction which shines in our path, leading us to peace and hope. Clear our spirits of the frustrations and anxieties of this season, so that the Light which you are sending into the world will truly shine in and through us to others. These things we pray in the name of Jesus, our Hope and our Light. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
Directing God, who has offered us a way through the darkness to your light, be with us this day as we rush headlong into this holiday season. Remind us again of the wonders that you have in store for us. We are getting wrapped up in ribbon, tape, and paper to the point where we can no longer move. We are prisoners of our own best intentions, reflected in our gifts. Break through the clutter and the darkness of our souls. Shine your light on our path. Calm our spirits, lift our hearts to you. As we have lifted so many names and situations to you for your healing and comforting love, we also bring our lives, our selves for your care and mercy. Help us remember that you always care for us. You have sent us your very best, not in a greeting card, but in the person of Jesus, your beloved Son, that we might come out of our darkness and into the light of your Kingdom. Heal and protect us, gracious Lord. Shine your light again in our lives that we may see the true spirit of this season is in loving and taking time to listen and care for our selves and for others. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Offertory Prayer
Giver of the most precious Gift of all, we return to you this day our thanks represented in these gifts and in the lives of all these dear people. Bless these gifts and all these people that they may be lights of your love in our dark world. AMEN.

Litany
L: It gets darker much earlier. I don’t like this deep, foreboding darkness.
P: The Light is coming.
L: I keep looking down, trying not to stumble and fall
P: The Light is coming
L: I don’t know what to expect. I am pressured on all sides to be here or there and to do this or that. I have no time, no peace, no hope.
P: The Light is coming. Look up! Do not be afraid.
L: But if I look up, I might stumble. I don’t know what’s ahead for me.
P: The Light is coming. Do not be afraid.
L: Lord, where is the light?
P: It is here, on your path so that you won’t stumble. It is here in your heart so that you will not fear. It is here in your soul to give you Hope.
L: Lord, help me to see and feel the presence of your light.
P: Dear One, the Light is given to you and to all the World. Trust in the Light. Wait, Watch, it is here.

[If you have given flashlights to the choir or to a group of people, have them shine the light on the worship center or on a central point on the floor in front of the worship center, then slowly turn their lights upward, showing on the ceiling. Have them pause for a few minutes and then turn off their flashlights]

Benediction, Blessing, Commission
On you, dear Ones, the light of Hope has shined. Keep that light in your hearts and spirits. Remember that even the smallest beam of light can illumine a pathway. Let your light shine before others that they may know the love of God. Go in peace and let God’s peace flow through you. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

[Note: It will be important to include in your worship bulletin a brief description of the meaning of this worship visual setting]

[Note: in these Advent services we will be visualizing worship by using various non-traditional sources of light. Last Sunday we began by placing an unlighted pillar candle on the worship center. Today we add a flashlight.]

SURFACE: Place a riser on the left side of the worship center. Place a riser on the right side of the worship center on which a flashlight may be supported or leaned so that its beam will shine on a spot in the aisle or in front of the worship center. If you desire, the light can be focused on the ceiling

FABRIC: Cover the entire worship center with landscapers’ burlap, making sure that it comes to the floor in front of the worship center. Beginning at the riser on the left side of the worship center drape a long strip of blue cloth across the worship center toward the right and then down in front of the center onto the floor, puddling the fabric. Make sure that some of the blue fabric is near the riser for the flashlight.

FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE: No flowers or foliage are used for this week. No greens of any kind.

CANDLES: Use a tall white pillar candle, placing it on the riser on the left side of the worship center.

ROCKS & WOOD: Rocks and pieces of wood may be placed on the floor in the front of the worship center, near the puddled fabric, but use them sparingly.

OTHER: Place a medium sized, working flashlight in the worship center. Determine if you want the beam, when it is switched on to shine on the floor, in an aisle or at the ceiling. Place the light so that it is solidly aimed and the switch to turn on the light is within easy access for the person who will be turning it on. The flashlight should be anchored so that when it is turned on the light direction is not changed. Additionally, have some flashlights for the choir and for members of the congregation. They are used in this worship service, both in one of the calls to worship and in the Litany. You may ask them to bring a flashlight from home or you may provide the flashlights.

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