This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies. If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call to Worship
Creator, in the midst of our darkness,
we have gathered to wait for Your Light
And to be transformed by Your peace.
Rewrite the stories we tell
about the way things are
About the way things have to be
And replace them
With a story about what happens
When a light enters the darkness.
Peace Candle Liturgy
As we wait for the Light to come into our darkness, we do so in Hope.
[Light Hope Candle]
In our waiting, we also seek the peace of God, that peace that passes all understanding, that puts broken pieces back together, and heals wounds that, by any measure, are beyond repair.
[Light Peace Candle]
Here is God’s promise of peace from Isaiah 11:
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.’”
Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
This week's prayer was written by Val Fisk:
Lord God, who was and is and is to come, let your spirit of wisdom and understanding rest upon us. Teach us to work for the shalom of the world you have created. Fill us with peace as we live in the tension of the already-here and not-yet-arrived Kingdom of God. As we wait with hope for your coming, fill us with shalom that leads to righteousness, greater faith, and a growing love for you and your purposes.
God, as we seek shalom and as we seek you, teach us about hospitality. Teach us to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us. Teach us to welcome the poor, the widow, the orphan. Teach us to welcome the immigrant, the weary traveler, the homeless. Teach us to welcome all races, all genders, all orientations, all of humanity with the grace that you extend to each “me” in this room, a sinner. Teach us to welcome our enemies, for you love them with the same love you extend to us.
Lord, as we anticipate your coming in this season, we anticipate so much - your entrance through birth into human flesh, your daily entrance into our hearts, and your entrance into eternal glory and restoration at the end of time. Let us not become so wrapped up in the image of a baby in a manger that we forget to anticipate your return. As we are filled with your peace and your hospitality, fill us also with your discernment and your love, so that we might be more sensitive to the needs and hurts of those around us.
Today, we pray for those who have experienced loss this year and are celebrating holidays without those loved ones. Fill these members of your body with peace and teach us to love them well. We pray for those who have lost a child, those who have endured miscarriages, and those who have been unable to conceive. Teach us to speak gently as we speak of the coming of the Christ child. Fill these members of your body with peace and teach us to love them well. We pray for those who have received difficult diagnoses this year. Fill these members of your body with peace and teach us to love them well. We pray for those who have suffered abuse at the hands of others. Fill these members of your body with peace and teach us to love them well. We pray for those who have lost jobs, homes, security and plans for the future. Fill these members of your body with peace and teach us to love them well. And God, for so many other hurts, aches, and unknown circumstances, we pray for peace, love, and even joy in the midst of sorrow.
In the name of the Mother, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,