Advent is a season for our imaginations to run wild as we contemplate a God who becomes human. We are given a wider glimpse of God when we allow Advent to be an invitation to dream beyond our comfort zones of what we think can happen in our lives or what God can do.
Enuma Okoro, Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent, p. 9
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Comfort, O comfort my people, says our God.
People: We come, looking for comfort, looking for peace.
Leader: In the wilderness prepare a way for our God.
People: We come, preparing a way for our God
in the wilderness of our hearts.
Leader: Bring good news to all
who huddle in the shadows of fear.
All: We are here, yearning to see the glory of our God.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
SONG TO SEND THE CHILDREN TO CLASS
Jesus loves us as we grow,
meets us on the paths we go,
keeps us safe and keeps us free,
helps us learn who we should be.
Yes Jesus loves us,
Yes Jesus helps us,
Yes Jesus shows us,
the best way we can go.
Leader: Holy One, you broke into our history as one of us,
yet often we think of you as distant and remote.
People: We fear the storms and violence that surround us,
yet you are in the center of our deepest fears.
Leader: We feel powerless to change the system
that enriches some and keeps others poor.
People: When we despair in the chaos and failures of our lives,
we blind ourselves to the image
in which we are created.
Leader: We wait for your coming,
yet often we fall asleep at the watch.
All: Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: Though we are like the grass that withers,
the flowers that fade,
even so the glory of the Holy One shines on us.
The One who faithfully calls us
forgives us and comforts us.
THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE
INTERCESSION AND PETITION
All: O Holy One, we come today
to claim our relationship with you.
We pray for the commitment to grow together,
sharing the gifts you give us with others
here and in the wider world.
Forgive us for the hurt we have inflicted,
and help us forgive those who have hurt us.
Give us strength and discipline
to nurture our relationship with you;
to care for every part of your creation;
to foster justice and be in solidarity with those in need;
to work to end all war, and violence, and discord;
and to respond joyfully when you call,
freely giving our selves as you have shown the way.
We open our hearts to you and your creation
in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ. Amen.
Leader 1: This is the table of the Heavenly Feast,
the joyful celebration of the people of God.
Leader 2: We gather now as one body, joined around the table.
Here we celebrate God’s presence among us
united in Christ’s spirit, broken and whole all at once;
All: Nourished and hungry, loved and loving,
sinner and forgiven; we make one circle of knowing,
believing, rejoicing, being,
as God lights and rests among us.
Leader 1: God of grace and generosity,
we thank you for the comfort that flows from you.
People: We thank you for Christ always with us,
as we wait for Christ coming.
Leader 2: We thank you for your Holy Spirit moving in us
as we wait in anticipation.
People: We thank you for your holy church,
where we find loving communion
with our sisters and brothers.
BLESSING THE ELEMENTS
Leader 1: Christ invites everyone to eat the bread of life,
to drink the cup of the new covenant.
Leader 2: Jesus said, I am the bread of life.
You who come to me shall never hunger,
You who believe in me shall never thirst.
Leader 1: On the night he gave himself up, Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said,
This is my body,
broken for the healing of the world.
Whenever you eat it, do so remembering me.
Leader 2: After supper, Jesus took the cup and said,
This is the cup of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for all.
Whenever you drink it, do so remembering me.
All: O Holy One, send down your Spirit
that these gifts of bread and cup
may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Unite us with Christ forever
and bring us with the whole creation
to your eternal realm.
SHARE THE ELEMENTS
If you do not wish to receive the elements today you are welcome to join the circle and allow them to pass, or remain in your seat. We serve grape juice in our cups. The crackers are gluten-free.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AND DEDICATION
All: God of abundance and mercy,
we give joyful thanks
for your eternal love and healing presence
in our celebration of bread and cup.
Bless this body of Christ
that we may attend faithfully
to our call to be your servants,
with each other and throughout the world. Amen.
Leader: And now, filled with the courage to dream,
let us go forth, open to the possibilities of the season,
trusting in God, who is both human and divine.
In the name of the One
who is more than we can imagine
— comforter, teacher, and guide —
let us greet one another with signs of peace.