Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine. God created order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos, and God can do so always, can do so now―in our personal lives and in our lives as nations, globally. … Indeed, God is transforming the world now―through us―because God loves us.
― Desmond Tutu, from the introduction to God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time
LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLES
Leader: God of hope, God of peace, God of joy, God of love,
as we light these Advent candles,
teach us how to love one another
as reflections of your light in the world.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: The Holy One, who created cosmos out of chaos,
calls us now to wake up and prepare for change.
People: Like John the Baptist,
we seek the One who is to come,
who brings order to our disorder.
Leader: What do you hear? What do you see?
People: The One who is to come is already here.
We are blind receiving sight; we are lame walking;
we are poor, hearing the good news.
Leader: We come, with all our chaos and brokenness,
to worship the Holy One, who creates order.
All: We rejoice in the Holy Mystery,
who was and is and is to come.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
SONG AS THE CHILDREN LEAVE FOR 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: What do you hear?
People: All we hear is the sound of our own voices
and the clamor of those around us.
Leader: What do you see?
People: All we see is our own faces
and countless images on glittering screens.
Leader: The chaos and brokenness all around us
distract us from noticing
that you are transforming the world.
All: Forgive us, Holy One, for our blindness to your light,
our deafness to your voice.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: God speaks to us through the chaos and disorder,
and forgives us for closing our senses to transformation.
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: Holy Maker of order and wonder, we give you thanks
for flinging the stars across the cosmos,
for filling our eyes and our hearts
with visions of grace.
People: We give you thanks for Jesus,
who comes into the past and future,
inviting us to hear the good news
that we, too, are fully human and fully divine.
Leader 2: We give you thanks for your Holy Spirit,
who lives in us and around us and through us,
breathing in the pain of the world,
breathing out healing and compassion.
All: We give you thanks for your Holy Church,
the body of believers both visible and invisible,
where we become your instruments of change,
transforming the world with your love.
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 grain and grape,
and work of human hands
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.
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: God is transforming the world right now,
creating order out of disorder,
cosmos out of chaos.
Let us trade doubt and despair and hate
for faith and hope and love
as we greet one another with signs of peace.