Advent 1994: Longing for the Mantle of Light
A Christian Community
In the Tradition of Church of the Saviour
Longing for the Mantle of Light
Our hands that reach out with the fullness of our desire must fold and rest. The fire that has burned with such glory in the autumn colors dies down, and we are left to tend our own inner fire, our heart's desire, alone … to care for our heart and the seed of fire that is ours to nourish — to water it with our tears and warm it with our longing.
Take off the garment of our sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
And put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God.
Put on the robe of the righteousness from God;
put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting.
For God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven.
LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLES
CALL TO WORSHIP (Unison)
Open wide the window of our spirits, O Lord,
and fill us full of light;
Open wide the door of our hearts,
that we may receive and entertain thee
with all our powers of adoration and love.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
LITANY OF LONGING
Leader:These cold, grey days can turn the brightest smile.
Voice 1:My soul doth magnify the Lord.
Voice 2:We face the holidays,
discouraged by commercial happiness,
uncertain about how to claim the Gospel
in a crowded shopping mall.
Voice 1:Our spirits rejoice in God, our Saviour,
who has regarded the low estate
of all God's servants.
Leader:This is a season when our longing
turns to Christ among us.
We hunger for a saviour
clothed in the radiant mantle of light.
Voice 2:God has scattered the proud
in the imagination of their hearts.
Voice 1:The opulence, conflicting celebrations,
greed and need, are all struggling for the headlines.
Voice 2:God has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich empty away.
Unison:We wait for Christ to come again,
the Light, the Hope, the Promise in our midst.
Leader:Holy Darkness, blessed Light,
we come with mixed emotions.
People:We long to live into the prophetic vision,
yet we fear this longing requires
that we give up much.
Leader:We glimpse the light, yet we turn away.
People:We lose the memory of your Paradise,
its hope forgotten, buried in our day's routines.
Unison:Deliver us from our double-mindedness;
forgive us and give us courage
to receive the light again.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Lord, we gather the prayers of this household,
confident that just as every day you transform darkness into light,
so, too, you will deliver us, restore our hope,
and we will dwell secure.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
My people, go in peace.
The light will surely come.
For now, the Holy Night prepares you;
in her, grow, and wait.
At the coming of the Light,
arise to meet Him,
full-bodied, strong and bright.
Call to Worship: Christina Rosetti. Methodist Hymnal, #477
Benediction: After Gayle Boss (Potter's House Church)