Worship Elements: December 3, 2023

October 15th, 2020

Color: Blue or Purple
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

Theme Ideas

Advent begins with shadows of tension between hunger and hope. We hunger to know God’s presence in our lives, but we fear that by our thoughts and deeds we’ve blocked the coming of the good news in Christ. We know that God has reason enough to turn away. And yet, when we look closely, there are signs of hope. Christ is coming, but we won’t know exactly when. We must be ready!

Invitation and Gathering

Call to Worship (1 Corinthians 1)

Come, people of faith, come join your hearts
in worship.
We hear the invitation
and hunger to join in the feast.

God is faithful and calls us into the loving presence
of Jesus, who is the Christ.
We come to join with those who watch
and wait and celebrate. Amen.

Opening Prayer (Isaiah 64, Psalm 80, Mark 13)

O Holy God,
maker of every thought and thing,
open our hearts this day,
that we may know your presence
in this time and place.
Restore us now,
so we may see the special gift and calling
that you have for each of us.
Masterful potter of life,
mold us into the vessels
you would have us be.
Help us be ready for your promised return,
when you will be among us and within us
with new, creative, healing energy. Amen.

Proclamation and Response

Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 64)

Patient, everlasting source of life,
we know that you are present
with those who gladly do what’s right;
we know that you remember
those who remember you;
we know that your judgment is just.
We hunger for the assurance of your love,
but in our hearts we feel unclean.
We fear that the acts we think so righteous
are more like filthy bits of cloth,
unfit to dress a wound or to clothe the naked.
Do not be angry beyond measure,
O holy and loving champion of the forgotten.
Do not remember our sins forever,
but embrace us with your love,
for we are all your people,
even though we so often forget.

Words of Assurance (Isaiah 64)

Fear not, for our creator is the loving maker
of every thought and thing.
We are the clay; each one of us is being formed
by God’s all-loving hand, crafted for a purpose
and cherished as a vessel made for love.
In the name of Jesus, who is the Christ,
you are forgiven.
In the name of Christ, you are forgiven. Amen.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Psalm 80)

The face of God shines brightly on us,
that we might be saved.
The love of God revives us,
that we might call upon God’s name.
Seek out the shining face of God in one another
as we share the peace of Christ.
We share the peace of Christ.

Response to the Word (Mark 13)

God of promised new beginnings,
open our hearts to the nourishment of your word,
so we might know that stirring tremble
deep within us;
open our lives to the fresh bud of fruitful service,
so we might grow with mounting hope
as we wait for your advent among us. Amen.

Thanksgiving and Communion

Invitation to the Offering (Isaiah 64, Mark 13)

During this late harvest time, when fruit and grain are gathered in and many are preparing for the cold of winter, God invites us to share what we have gathered so others may have enough. The Holy One, the gracious, giving source of comfort, shapes us into vessels of compassion and invites us to give of our bounty so that others may be fed and clothed and healed and loved. Let us be generous and joyful in our giving.

Offering Prayer (Mark 13)

Holy God, triumphant liberating savior of all,
receive these gifts
and the hopeful hearts that offer them
as part of your bountiful harvest.
Strengthen and sustain us
through our hungers and our fears
until your unexpected advent.
Help us as we wait
to know each day
that we are a part
of your generous, expectant household,
the body of Christ. Amen.

Great Thanksgiving

O Holy God, since ancient times
your splendor has filled the world.
We praise the wonder of your being,
O wonderful potter of reality!

Loving Christ our savior, we remember
your redeeming presence, even as we wait.
Christ our savior, we long for your return.
Empowering Holy Spirit, we pray to know
your presence in this time and place.
Come fill us as we gather now
to share your presence in the bread and cup.

Sending Forth

Benediction (Mark 13)

As we go out to meet a hungry world,
know that God will give us what we need.
We go forth to make ready as we wait.
The Holy One, whose love turns fear aside,
will show us what to do.
Keep watch! The risen Christ is on the way!

Contemporary Options

Gathering Words (Mark 13)

In times of hunger, keep watch!
The Living Christ is on the way!
In times of hope, rejoice!
The Loving Christ is on the way!
Keep watch!
The Risen Christ is on the way!

Praise Sentences (Psalm 80, 1 Corinthians 1, Mark 13)

Holy God, awaken your might; come and save us.
Make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved!

The saving grace of Christ fills us with thanksgiving.
Make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved!

We watch for the coming of Christ.

Make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved!

From The Abingdon Worship Annual, edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. 

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