Worship Elements: December 15, 2019

November 1st, 2019

Third Sunday of Advent

COLOR: Blue or Purple
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 1:47-55; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11

THEME IDEAS

These Advent readings proclaim a world turned upside down. For those who are currently poor, hungry, or oppressed, this is great news. But for those who enjoy the comforts of food in abundance, warm places to live, steady jobs, and a voice in the political system, well, this
means acknowledging our role in the world’s injustices. Somehow the good news doesn’t seem quite so good. But the scriptures call us to work side by side with Jesus in bringing about God’s vision of abundance for all. When we claim our calling as partners in the dance, we can truly rejoice in the coming of Christ!

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Isaiah 35)

In the midst of the barren land,
flowers burst into bloom.
In the midst of the dry desert,
streams of water gush forth.
In the midst of sorrow and sighing,
joy and gladness dance together.
We shall see the glory of God!

Opening Prayer (Isaiah 35)

God of Glory,
we rejoice in the good news
of your promises.
Come into our parched world
and shower us with your gushing,
abundant water of life.
Enter into our brokenness,
and renew us with the strength of your love.
Be born anew in our hearts
and in our world.
Come, Jesus; come.
We are ready! Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 35, Luke 1, Matthew 11)

Upside-down God,
you announce your coming with exciting news:
the hungry will eat their fill,
the oppressed will dance
in newfound freedom;
you proclaim your mission with hard news:
the well fed will go hungry,
the powerful will lose their status.
We find ourselves squirming
as we acknowledge our participation
in structures that oppress and marginalize.
Help us accept and proclaim
the coming of your Son
as truly good news.
Give us the courage
to set aside our privilege,
and help bring about this upside-down world,
where everyone can sing together for joy.

Words of Assurance (Isaiah 35)

The desert shall rejoice and blossom.
Waters shall break forth in the wilderness.
The burning sand shall become a pool.
The God who can transform the dry lands
can also transform the desert of our lives.
Abundant forgiveness is ours
from the God who turns sorrow and sighing
into joy and gladness.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Isaiah 35)

The coming of Christ turns the world upside down. For folks who are quite content with things as they are, this may not feel like good news! But a greater vision lies before us—God’s vision of real life for all. Comfort one another with these words of encouragement: “Be strong, do not fear.” Respond in kind with these words of hope: “God will come and save you.”

Response to the Word (Luke 1, Matthew 11)

My soul magnifies the Lord.
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
We will work with Christ to feed the hungry,
for gluttons have no place at God’s table.
We will work with Christ to lift up the lowly,
for the politics of power has no place
in the realm of God.
We will work with Christ to bring good news
to the poor,
for the love of Jesus Christ is too exciting
to keep to ourselves.
My soul magnifies the Lord.
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Offering Prayer (Isaiah 35, Luke 1)

Generous God,
you have given us all that we have
and all that we are.
We thank you for the opportunity
to respond to your love and generosity
by sharing our gifts with others.
Our hearts sing with joy
as we work with you
to bring true peace and justice to our world.
As we prepare for the coming of your Son,
may our lives proclaim your good news for all
throughout the earth. Amen.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Matthew 11)

May the love of God fill you
until you overflow with joy.
May the coming of the Christ Child free you
to live in an upside-down world.
May the Holy Spirit empower you
to work for the reign of God on earth.
At Christmas and throughout the year,
may you be inspired to share the good news
of God’s vision of peace and love. Amen.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Contemporary Gathering Words (Matthew 11)

We hear the echo of a promise:
“I’m coming!”
Are you really the One?
“The blind receive their sight and the lame walk.”
Are you really the One?
“The lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear.”
Are you really the One?
“The dead are raised and the poor eat their fill.”
But are you really the One?
“I’m the One who changes the world.
Are you really ready for me?”
With God’s help, we’re ready to follow you.
We’re ready for you!

Praise Sentences (Luke 1)

My soul magnifies the Lord.
My spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me.
Holy is God’s name.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
My spirit rejoices in God my savior.

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