Worship Elements: December 5, 2021

September 2nd, 2021

Second Sunday of Advent

COLOR: Purple or Blue
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6


The exhortation to “prepare the way of the Lord” echoed in the ears of God’s people through the centuries and stands center stage in today’s readings from Malachi and Luke. Despite these urgings and warnings, the world was taken by surprise on the day that Christ appeared. John the Baptist was sent as a herald and a messenger to prepare for the Lord’s coming, and the Holy Spirit prepares a place in our hearts for the appearance of God’s love and presence in our lives. The passage from Philippians assures us that whether we’re ready or not, the one who started this amazing work will surely bring it to completion in each of us “for the glory and praise of God.”


Call to Worship (Luke 1, 3)

A voice cries out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord!”
Make God’s paths straight.
Every valley will be filled,
and every mountain will be leveled.
The crooked will be made straight.
The rough and rocky ways will be smoothed.
All will see the salvation of God.
See the light from on high.
The dawn is breaking.
The Lord is coming! The Lord is coming!

Opening Prayer (Malachi 3)

Blessed is the Lord,
and blessed are God’s people
to whom God sends a savior, the messiah,
who is Christ the Lord.
Blessed is our God,
and blessed are God’s gifts,
that grace us with forgiveness
and every good gift.
Lord, you have come to dwell within us.
Build your temple within our hearts. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Malachi 3; Luke 1, 3)

O Lord,
darkness surrounds us
like a cold stone tomb,
until your light bursts into our lives
like a clear, bright dawn.
We cover our eyes,
we’re so unprepared for your coming.
Your light blazes forth like a white-hot fire,
consuming all that it touches.
How can we stand before you, Lord?
The road that we thought was straight and wide
is now exposed as a twisted, crooked path,
blocked by a mountain of sin.
Where can we turn?
Who will guide us back to the way of peace—
the way that leads to you?

Words of Assurance (Luke 1, Malachi 3, Philippians 1)

The Lord is merciful and forgiving,
a great and compassionate savior.
God rescues us from darkness
and frees us from fear.
Like a refiner’s fire, the Lord makes us shine
with the brilliance of the purest gold and silver.
The one who began this work in us
seeks to bring it to completion.
May the day of Christ find us flawless
and without blame.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Philippians 1)

Look around. This place is filled with those who thank God every time they think of you. By the Lord’s grace and compassion, this place is filled with those who hold you in their hearts, those whose prayers for you are filled with joy. Share the peace of Christ Jesus with one another.

Response to the Word (Philippians 1)

Living Word of God,
live within us,
live within our hearts.
Let your light and love
overflow more and more each day
as we await your coming. Amen.


Invitation to the Offering (Malachi 3, Luke 1)

The Lord is coming. Prepare the way! Prepare to welcome
the messiah! Welcome the redeemer with your very lives.
Know the Lord’s tender mercy. Let all that you are become
an offering pleasing to God.

Offering Prayer (Luke 1)

We delight in your love and salvation, Lord,
there can be no greater gifts than these.
We will gladly serve you
in holiness and righteousness.
We offer ourselves.
We offer all that you have provided us.
May it be used to bring your light
to those who dwell in darkness.
Prepare us and complete us, Lord. Amen.


Benediction (Philippians 1)

May your love overflow,
rich and wholesome in the world.
May you be found pure and blameless,
having prepared a way and a place
for the Lord in your hearts.
May you reap the bountiful harvest of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ,
to the glory and praise of God. Amen.


Contemporary Gathering Words (Malachi 3, Luke 1)

The messenger of God’s holy covenant is coming!
Prepare the way of the Lord!
The messenger comes to prepare the way before us!
Prepare the way of the Lord!
Who can endure, who can stand when the Lord appears?
Prepare the way of the Lord!

Praise Sentences (Luke 1)

The Lord has redeemed all people.
Blessed be the Lord God!
The Lord has redeemed all people.
Blessed be the Lord God!

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

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