Worship Elements: December 24, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Advent

COLOR: Blue or Purple
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Luke 1:47-55; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

THEME IDEAS

The Holy One cannot be confined, not even in a beautiful house of sweet-smelling cedar. Rather, God is eternal, planted in us through the ages. It begins with God’s promise to Abraham and is reflected in Nathan’s words to David, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for God is with you.” God is surely with Elizabeth, and God is with Mary, the favored one in whom the Holy One is made manifest. In our faith and in our waiting, Christ is planted in us and in our global society for the generations to come. Nothing is impossible with God.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (2 Samuel 7, Luke 1:47-55, Luke 1:26-38)

Host of Hosts, from sunrise to sunrise,
and generation to generation, we are your people.
You have been with us wherever we have gone.
You will be with us wherever we may go.
You planted us in a land flowing with milk and honey,
then you planted our salvation in Mary’s womb.
Jesus, who is the Christ, is planted firmly
in each one of us.
Our souls magnify the Holy One.
Our spirits rejoice in God, our Savior.

Opening Prayer (2 Samuel 7, Luke 1:26-38)

Beloved, Holy Lover,
we welcome you to our house,
the sacred space we have built
to gather together as your people.
Here we come to offer you
our thanksgiving and praise
in response to the abundance
of your creation.
Here we come to share with you
our prayers of confession and petition,
for they lie heavy on our hearts.
Even knowing that you are here
and everywhere,
we come longing to hear you say,
“I am with you always.” Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Luke 1:47-55)

Compassionate, Forgiving God,
we trespass on your mercy
and take your favor for granted.
We think only of ourselves.
We forget the lessons
of those who came before us,
and ignore our responsibility
to those who will follow us.
We grow proud and seek power.
We do not see the destruction of our actions
and how it distances us from you.
We do not recognize our hunger for what it is,
or where it leads us.
We grow faint.
Bring us home to you, Merciful Beloved.

Words of Assurance (Luke 1:47-55)

The Holy One forgives and bestows favor
on each of us, even and especially
when we are lowly in spirit.
We are blessed from generation to generation
by the Mighty One, whose strength and mercy
are forever.

Passing the Peace of Christ

The light and hope of Christ lives in each of us.
The peace of Christ be with you always.
And also with you.

Response to the Word (2 Samuel 7, Luke 1:26-38)

Beloved, when we were in exile,
you dwelled with us in our tents.
When we were afflicted,
you comforted us in your mercy.
Like sheep in the pastures,
you gathered us to you.
In this pregnant time of waiting,
we yearn for the coming of your Son again,
as if for the first time.
For with you, Holy One,
all things are possible.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to the Offering (Luke 1:26-38)

The God of Abundance lays the bounty of all creation before us, strengthens us when we are weak, and fills us when we are hungry. Let us share deeply and joyfully, that all may come to the table of God’s heavenly feast.

Offering Prayer (Romans 16:25-27)

God only Wise,
accept these offerings,
the fruit of our labor and lives,
in obedience of our faith,
through Jesus Christ,
to whom be the glory forever!
Amen.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Luke 1:47-55, Romans 16, Luke 1:26-38)

Be strengthened according to the proclamation
of Jesus Christ.
Go, do all that you have in mind,
for the Holy One is with you.
Nothing is impossible with God.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Gathering Words (Luke 1:47-55, Luke 1:26-38)

In the never-ending flow from Abraham to Christ,
in the ever-reaching flow from Christ to the present,
you are planted in Life by the power
of the Holy Mystery, the power of the Holy Spirit.
We are your people; you are our salvation.
Waiting for your coming, rejoicing in your being,
we offer you our hearts, prayers, and praise.
Merciful One, in you we have found our place.

Praise Sentences (Romans 16:25-27)

Glory to God, through Jesus Christ!
Glory forever and ever!
Glory to God whose wisdom knows no bounds.
Glory forever and ever! Amen.


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

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