Saturday, December 03, 2011

Second Sunday of Advent: Joy

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 as that is the primary way we become church. Our Welcome Table of Worship, when we gather to be refreshed by God's spirit for engaging in service with God through the week, 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. Our worship is small group worship, participative, real, relaxed, and relational. It isn't for everyone, but everyone, of all ages, is welcome. We don't have separate child care, but share our space with families and embrace a theology of "holy chaos."

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. 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 live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our 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.
O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you As the day rises to meet the sun.
Second Sunday of Advent: Joy
 Scripture: from Mark 1 and Isaiah 40

1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”

4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

3A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.4Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.5Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”6A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.7The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass.8The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.

9Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”10See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.11He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

Lighting The Advent Candle For Joy
One: Joy is all around us—in the children, the lights, the music, the gathering together. But how often do we let our preparations—or our memories—push joy to the side?

All:  Joy is like an underground spring that wells up within us, but joy is also a choice, an attitude. Like a muscle, it needs to be exercised. So today we open ourselves to joy, trusting that God has already planted it in us. All we need to do is give it care and offer it to share.

One: Loving God, we open ourselves to you, trusting that this is how you made us: you created us for joy-filled hearts and lives. Show us the creative power of hope. Teach us the peace that comes from justice. Fill us with the kind of joy that cannot be contained, but must be shared. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, that we may walk in the light of Christ.

All: We will Rejoice for God has created us with the capacity for joy. We will find what makes us joyful, and make that our gift to the world. We will trust in God's good will for all of creation and open ourselves to God's gentle, transforming love. We will welcome new possibilities in our lives. We will offer ourselves to God's goodness. We will go forth in peace, and joy.

Morning Songs: #30, Over My Head; #29, Joyful, Joyful; #95, There Is More Love; Hymn For Advent: #231, Angels We Have Heard on High
Sharing Prayers

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.

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.

"Let us Break Bread Together on our knees"
Passing the Plate and Cup of Communion
“We’re Going to Sit At the Welcome Table”

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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