Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Hope Liturgy

The Welcome Table
A Free Universalist Christian Missional Community

Following the radical Jesus in deeds not creeds. Join us in service to our community throughout the week. Our Welcome Table of Worship is open to all who welcome all, regardless of belief or denomination, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, economic status, or political affiliations. We don’t think Jesus would have it any other way.

Free because we are non-creedal. We don’t give theological tests for admission, but encourage you to test us and try us to see if this way is for you. Universalist because we believe God is Love and All who abide in Love abide in God for all time (1 John 4:16). Christian because the generous compassionate way and story of Jesus, while not exclusively so, is our primary pathway opening up to God. Missional because we are sent to serve others more than ourselves. Community because we are made not to be autonomous individuals but to be a people of God.

Today is the day which God has made: Let us rejoice and be glad therein.
What does the Eternal require of us? To do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Chalice Lighting Covenant
This is our covenant as we walk together in life as a people of God striving to make Jesus visible in the world: In the light of truth, and the loving and liberating spirit of Jesus, we gather in freedom, to worship God, and serve all.

Fourth Sunday of Advent: The Candle of Hope

Scripture: Luke 1: 26-38

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.37For nothing will be impossible with God.”38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Lighting The Advent Candles For Peace, Joy, Love, and Hope

The Gospel of John speaks of Christ as the light coming into the world. In commemoration of that coming, we light candles for the four weeks leading to Christmas and reflect on the coming of Christ. Christ is coming. Christ is always coming, always entering a troubled world, a wounded heart. And so we light candles of peace, joy, love, and hope as the markers along our way in this season of Advent leading toward the manger in Bethlehem and the renewal of our spirit in the coming of Christmas.
All: Loving God, as we move through the days and weeks of this Advent season, We open all the dark places in our lives and memories to God’s healing light. Show us your creative power. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, That we may walk in the light of Christ always coming into the world.

One: The light of peace, may it guide us through our hurts, away from violence, grounded in justice and compassion, knowing that the deepest peace comes not from goods for the self but from The Common Good. All: Blessed are the peacemakers. Halleluia. One: The light of joy, may it surprise us with the spirit of wonder and new creation, and may we find it in the simple things of the Spirit all around us. All: We Rejoice in the Spirit of the Lord, that brings sight to the blind and healing to the wounded, freedom to the captives, liberation to the oppressed, justice to the poor, Halleluia. One: The light of love, may it open our hearts and hands to the plights of others, reminding us of the love of God for us unconditionally, renewing our lives, bringing all together in the oneness of God. All: God is Love and all who abide in Love abide in God. Halleluia. One: The light of hope, that even when we do not feel the spirit of the season, even when God seems far removed from this world and peace and justice and joy and love seem empty words, when fear is all around and our own actions and thoughts have closed the door to the inn shutting ourselves off from others and they from us, may this light of hope still shine, and with every flicker grow stronger with the faith that God is still present, still speaking, still giving birth to that which may save us all. All: In peace, in joy, in love, and in hope, we pause and ponder and pass on to others the ways of God. Halleluia.

Morning Songs of Hope and Advent: #95, There Is More Love Somewhere; #346, Come Sing A Song With Me; #241 In the Bleak Midwinter; #244 It Came Upon The Midnight Clear

Prayer of Confession:

 Gracious and Loving God, we acknowledge to you, to one another, and to ourselves that we are not what you have called us to be. We have stifled our gifts and wasted our time. We have avoided opportunities to offer kindness, but have been quick to take offense. We have pretended that we could make no contribution to peace and justice in our world and have excused ourselves from risk-taking in our own community. Have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and help us to live our lives renewed in your Spirit. We long for peace within and without, for harmony in our families, for the well-being of our neighbors, and help us to love our enemies. Yet we have too often not made the hard choices that love requires. Show us how to walk in your path of faithfulness, hope, and love. Amen.

Please share prayers and blessings, joys and sorrows

Now we join in saying the prayer Jesus taught for all those who would follow in his way of radical compassion, courage, conscience, and commitment.
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Last Advent in Prison: A Poem of Hope

Prayer: O God, in the loving and liberating spirit of Jesus, we gather at this welcoming table open to all, remembering how Jesus gathered people from all the walks of life, stranger and friend and enemies, gave thanks to you, offered all the bread of life and the cup of blessing and proclaimed a covenant of love for all in your name. We remember too the wonder of his life, as we remember the wonder of all of Creation given unto us and how all are One. We remember the agony of his death, and all the terrors and the tyrannies that oppress people today. And we remember the power of resurrection, the mystery of faith in the everlasting Spirit, the triumph over fear. Help us to remember to practice resurrection everyday, as we remember all those who have given Love the ultimate trust and the last word and who have worked to create the beloved community of renewed and abundant life. Help us to remember with this meal especially all those who are hungry, and may we treat all our meals as sacred and to be shared. Take us, bless us, so that even in and with our brokenness we may serve others. Amen.
Jesus said I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me. And they said, Lord, when did we do this? And he said, You did this for me when you did it for the least of these. Here is the bread of life, food for the spirit. Let all who hunger come and eat. Here is the fruit of the vine pressed and poured out for us. Let all who thirst now come and drink. We come to make peace. We come to be restored in the love of God. We come to be made new as an instrument of that love. All are worthy. All are welcome.

Let us Break Bread Together on our knees, let us break bread together on our knees when I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun o Lord have mercy on me Let us drink wine together on our knees let us drink wine together on our knees when I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun o Lord have mercy on me let us praise God together on our knees let us praise God together on our knees when I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun O Lord have mercy on me.

Passing the Plate and Cup of Communion

1.We’re gonna sit at the welcome table, we’re gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days halleluia We’re gonna sit at the welcome table, gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days 2.All kinds of people round that table, all kinds of people round that table one of these days halleluia, all kinds of people around that table, gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days 3.No fancy style at the welcome table, no fancy style at the welcome table one of these days halleluia, no fancy style at the welcome table, gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days.

Let us go out into the highways and byways. Let us give the people something of our new vision. We may possess a small light, but may we uncover it, and let it shine. May we use it to bring more light and understanding to the hearts and minds of men and women. May we give them not hell but hope and courage. May we preach and practice the kindness and everlasting love of God. Amen

“Shalom Havyreem, Shalom Havyreem, Shalom, Shalom, Shalom Havyreem, Shalom Havyreem, Shalom, Shalom”
“Go Now in Peace, Go Now in Peace, May the Love of God surround you, everywhere, everywhere, you may go.

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