Worship Elements: December 8, 2019

October 31st, 2019

Second Sunday of Advent

COLOR: Blue or Purple
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12

THEME IDEAS

Prophecy, promises, and preparation—all are part of the Advent tradition. They serve as reminders in this hectic season that there is more to prophecy than guessing what is in this package; more to promises than what Santa Claus will bring; more to preparation than cleaning house and putting on a spread for a holiday party. On this second Sunday of Advent, we are called back to the longing, not for a certain present, but for a messiah who brings about a beloved community of harmony and peace—but not without opposition. These passages speak of wishes, desires, and the hint of fulfillment that is Christmas. We need to hear, believe, and get ready.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Isaiah 11, Psalm 72, Matthew 3)

In this season of prophecy, promise, and preparation, we come to be renewed and refreshed. 
We come to be inspired by stories of a messiah
who will change the world—and change us.
We come to listen for words of hope and joy,
promise and challenge.
We come with open ears, open minds,
and open hearts. We come to receive
the blessings God has in store for us
in this season of waiting.
Come! Let us worship our God—
the One who brings all things to fulfillment.

Opening Prayer (Isaiah 11, Romans 15, Matthew 3)

God of hope and encouragement,
we come in the midst of this season
of busyness and preparations:
to find a time and space to slow down,
to reflect on what our true preparations
should be.
We need to prepare our hearts
to receive the gifts of love and hope.
We need to prepare our minds
to focus on your promise
that a messiah will come
and nothing will be the same.
We need to prepare our spirits:
to praise God for prophecy,
promises, and preparation;
to find hope and encouragement;
to find peace and joy.
May we do so now, in our time of worship. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 11, Psalm 72, Matthew 3)

O God,
the stories of our faith have lost their power.
We have heard the prophecies spoken so many times,
the promises retold again and again,
the call to prepare ourselves for your coming
repeated so often,
we don’t really hear or heed them anymore.
We have replaced these messages of life:
with guessing what presents we are getting,
with preparing for parties
and the social obligations of Christmas.
Bring us back to a sense of mystery:
a sense of awe, a sense of wonder,
a sense of excitement, a sense of anticipation,
a sense that something special
is about to break into our everyday world.
Help us prepare our hearts, souls, and minds
for the coming of the messiah. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Psalm 72)

God’s promises are sure—
promises of steadfast love and forgiveness.
God deals with God’s people
with righteousness and justice.
Rejoice and be glad!

Passing the Peace of Christ (Romans 15)

Paul urges the Romans to welcome one another, just as Christ has welcomed them. Let us greet one another with words and signs of peace and welcome. 

Response to the Word

May these words of prophecy, promise, and preparation encourage us to steadfast love and action.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to Offering (Psalm 72)

Our God has done wondrous things, and has done them for us. Let us respond to God’s acts of love and wonder by offering our whole selves, that God’s promises might be fulfilled through us.

Offering Prayer (Isaiah 11)

We thank you, Holy One,
for all your good gifts,
especially the gifts of prophecy, promise,
and calls for preparation.
As a thankful response to these gifts,
we offer our belief, our commitments, and our money,
that we may hasten the time
when no one will hurt or destroy
on all God’s holy mountain.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Romans 15)
May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Contemporary Gathering Words (Isaiah 11)

Get this! Someone special is coming—
someone who will be wise;
who won’t judge on appearances;
who will live a good life;
who will bring about a time
when wolves and lambs,
leopards and goats,
cows and lions
all lie down together.
And we’re invited to be there
to help make it happen.
So come and hear the stories again,
and get ready for quite a happening.

Praise Sentences (Psalm 72)

Blessed be God’s glorious name forever.
May God’s glory fill all the earth.
Amen and amen!


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

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