advent

Liturgy 12-16-2018

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, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to direct our attention
to the One who made all things

to worship the One
who is making all things new

to enter into the story of God
and the people of God

and find our own stories transformed

into places where the dry land is glad,
where the desert rejoices and blossoms

where a Lights shines in the darkness
and the darkness does not overcome it

Amen

Joy Candle Liturgy

Here in the middle of the darkest days of the year, our Advent journey invites us to grasp for Joy; to embrace the truth that reality precedes and reaches beyond the present darkness.  The joy of Advent is a way of seeing where we stubbornly refuse to call the way things are “the way things will always be.” It’s a way of looking back to look forward, knowing that God is still working to reconcile all things to Godself, and raising this as a light in defiance of the dark.  It is for this joy that we light a candle this week.

[Light Joy Candle]

Hear now of the Lord coming into the darkness of Exile to lead us home in Isaiah 35:1-10.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God. 

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees. 
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert; 
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 

A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray. 
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there. 

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

Scripture

Zephaniah 3:14-20

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!

The Lord has taken away the judgments against you,
the Lord has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;

the Lord will rejoice over you with gladness,
the Lord will renew you in his love;
the Lord will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival.

I will remove disaster from you,
so that you will not bear reproach for it.
I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.

And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.

At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the Lord.

Luke 3:7-18

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin 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."

And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He said to them, "Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you."

Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what should we do?" He said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages."

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

Setlist 12-16-2018

Yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent.  Our songs were gathered with this in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

Joy (Brightest) by ubcmusic

Hope (There Will Come A Light) by ubcmusic

Peace (Change Everything) by ubcmusic

After the Dust Clears by Jameson McGregor

There by Jameson McGregor

Doxology

**Note: You can stream ubc’s advent ep from a few years ago here.

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

Joy (Brightest): This song explores the expectation of Advent Joy, wondering what sort of thing might be that star just out of sight and what changes it might bring to the world as we know it.  What might it tear down, and what might it lift up?

Hope (There Will Come A Light): This song proclaims the coming of a fundamental shift to the world where the newborn cries of Light beat back the darkness that plagues our existence.

Peace (Change Everything): This song is plea for God to bring peace into the chaos of our world, from the systems within which we operate, to the cells that compose our bodies.

After the Dust Clears: I don’t really want to talk about this song.  Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I think it invites you to find your own connecting point within it.  I suppose it might be worth pointing out that it’s about the way that we carry conflict and the way we embrace reconciliation, but beyond that, I leave it to you.

There: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week’s songs. This is what we said about There then: We sang this song to confess the transcendence of God, and to anchor ourselves to the peace of God in the midst of chaos.

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos. 

-JM

Setlist 12-9-2018

Yesterday was the second Sunday of Advent.  Our songs were gathered with this in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

Hope (There Will Come A Light) by ubcmusic

Peace (Change Everything) by ubcmusic

There by Jameson McGregor

Like It Was Then by Jameson McGregor

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Doxology

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

Hope (There Will Come A Light): This song proclaims the coming of a fundamental shift to the world where the newborn cries of Light beat back the darkness that plagues our existence.

Peace (Change Everything): This song is plea for God to bring peace into the chaos of our world, from the systems within which we operate, to the cells that compose our bodies.

There: We sang this song to confess the transcendence of God, and to anchor ourselves to the peace of God in the midst of chaos.

Like It Was Then: This song grasps for some sort of reassurance that Advent hope is merited in our time.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week’s songs. This is what we said about O Come, O Come Emmanuel then: We sang this song to begin Lent with a plea for God to enter as a Light into our dark world.

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos. 

-JM

Liturgy 12-2-2018

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, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to learn to wait
for the Light in the Darkness

to tune our hearts to hope

to step into God’s story

and find our own stories transformed

that our lives might bear wonder and love
in the midst of uncertainty and fear 

like flames against the gloom

 

Amen

Hope Candle Liturgy

On this first Sunday of Advent, we are reminded that we live by Hope.  Hope in the coming of the Messiah.  Hope that God will bring Light into our present darkness.  Hope that those pinned in by anxiety will find rest. Hope that those who feel worthless will find their true Value.  Hope that the poor, the homeless, the refugee, and all those trampled by systems of power will be caught up in the mercy and justice of God.  And hope that Love will cast out every fear.

For now, we wait, trusting that God is faithful and at work redeeming all things.  

[Light the Hope candle]

Hear God’s promise of hope from Isaiah 2:2-4: 

In days to come
   the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
   and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it. 
   Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
   to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
   and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
   and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 
He shall judge between the nations,
   and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
   and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
   neither shall they learn war any more.

Scripture

Jeremiah 33:14-16

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness."

Luke 21:25-36

Jesus said, "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 

Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 

Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

"Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.

Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

Setlist 12-2-2018

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent.  Our songs were gathered with this in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Wayward Ones by The Gladsome Light

Come Thou Fount

Afternoon Sun by Jameson McGregor

Hope (There Will Come A Light) by ubcmusic

Doxology

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

O Come, O Come Emmanuel: We sang this song to begin Lent with a plea for God to enter as a Light into our dark world.

Wayward Ones: This is our communion hymn, and it contemplates Christ's self-giving love that is displayed and remembered in the eucharist.

Come Thou Fount: This song invites us to look back on who God has been for us in order to tune our hopes of who God will be for us, which is a primary theme of Advent.

Afternoon Sun: This song raises a question into the thin days of December of whether or not we will see mercy and truth meet, righteousness and peace kiss, and justice flow like a gushing stream, in the coming of Christ, and whether or not we would truly have eyes to see if something so monumental occurred.

Hope (There Will Come A Light): This song proclaims the coming of a fundamental shift to the world where the newborn cries of Light beat back the darkness that plagues our existence.

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos. 

-JM

Liturgy 12-17-2017

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, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to learn to wait
for a light in the darkness

to take up the Joy
of all things being made new

to step into God’s story

and be transformed by it

into people whose stories bear
wonder, hope, peace, and joy

and who join with God
in the re-Creation of the world

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy Candle Liturgy

In directing our attention to the Light that God is giving us, we are captured by Joy.  This joy is neither fleeting, nor is it limited to the range of emotions that we might call “happy.” Instead, Joy is a way of seeing where we stubbornly refuse to call the way things are “the way things will always be.” It’s a way of seeing that looks back to look forward, knowing that God is still working to reconcile all things to Godself. With this in mind, we light the third candle.

[Light Joy Candle]

Hear now of the Lord coming into the darkness of Exile to lead us home in Isaiah 35:1-10.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
   the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
   and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
   the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
   the majesty of our God. 
Strengthen the weak hands,
   and make firm the feeble knees. 
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
   ‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
   He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
   He will come and save you.’ 
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
   and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
   and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
   and streams in the desert; 
the burning sand shall become a pool,
   and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
   the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 
A highway shall be there,
   and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
   but it shall be for God’s people;
   no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray. 
No lion shall be there,
   nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
   but the redeemed shall walk there. 
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
   and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
   they shall obtain joy and gladness,
   and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

Scripture

Isaiah 61:1-11

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.

Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
    foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines;
but you shall be called priests of the Lord,
    you shall be named ministers of our God;
you shall enjoy the wealth of the nations,
    and in their riches you shall glory.
Because their shame was double,
    and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot,
therefore they shall possess a double portion;
    everlasting joy shall be theirs.

For I the Lord love justice,
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
    and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
    and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
    that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
    my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
    to spring up before all the nations.

Luke 1:46-55:

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Setlist 12-17-2017

Yesterday was the third week of Advent, and the songs were gathered with that in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

Hope (There Will Come A Light) by ubcmusic

Peace (Change Everything) by ubcmusic

Mystery by Jameson McGregor (adapted from Charlie Hall)

Joy (Brightest) by ubcmusic

Rise Up by BiFrost Arts

Doxology

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

Hope (There Will Come A Light): This song clings to the hope that God's inbreaking Kingdom will enter the darkness of our world of broken systems, bringing justice to the oppressed.

Peace (Change Everything): This song pleads for God to bring peace into the dissonance and brokenness of the world, from the socio-political sphere to the cellular level.

Mystery: We sang this song to lean into the present day vantage point of Advent, looking at the way the coming of Jesus intersects with our current way of engaging the world in peace and sanity.

Joy (Brightest): This song contemplates the fact that the Joy that accompanies the inbreaking of the Kingdom is a force that lays waste to systems from which we might benefit.

Rise Up: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs.  This is what we said about Rise Up then: This song proclaim's God's immanent concern in the plight of the oppressed and marginalized.

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.

-JM

Liturgy 12-10-2017

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, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to learn to wait
for a Light in the darkness

to grasp for the Peace of God
in the midst of uncertainty and so much noise

to step into God’s story

and to be transformed by it

into people who live stories
of wonder, hope, and peace,

and who join with God
in the work of re-Creation in the world

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

Peace Candle Liturgy

In our waiting for the Light to come into our darkness, we 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. 

Scripture

Joshua 2

Then Joshua son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and spent the night there. The king of Jericho was told, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to search out the land.” 

Then the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come only to search out the whole land.” But the woman took the two men and hid them.

Then she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. And when it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out. Where the men went I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you can overtake them.” 

She had, however, brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax that she had laid out on the roof. So the men pursued them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. As soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

Before they went to sleep, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. 

For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. As soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no courage left in any of us because of you.

The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 

The men said to her, “Our life for yours! If you do not tell this business of ours, then we will deal kindly and faithfully with you when the Lord gives us the land.”

Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the outer side of the city wall and she resided within the wall itself. She said to them, “Go toward the hill country, so that the pursuers may not come upon you. Hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned; then afterward you may go your way.” 

The men said to her, “We will be released from this oath that you have made us swear to you if we invade the land and you do not tie this crimson cord in the window through which you let us down, and you do not gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your family. 

If any of you go out of the doors of your house into the street, they shall be responsible for their own death, and we shall be innocent; but if a hand is laid upon any who are with you in the house, we shall bear the responsibility for their death. 

But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be released from this oath that you made us swear to you.” She said, “According to your words, so be it.” She sent them away and they departed. Then she tied the crimson cord in the window.

They departed and went into the hill country and stayed there three days, until the pursuers returned. The pursuers had searched all along the way and found nothing. Then the two men came down again from the hill country.

They crossed over, came to Joshua son of Nun, and told him all that had happened to them. They said to Joshua, “Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands; moreover all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before us.”

Setlist 12-10-2017

Yesterday was the second week of Advent, and the songs were selected with that in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

Hope (There Will Come A Light) by ubcmusic

There by Jameson McGregor

Rise Up by BiFrost Arts

Peace (Change Everything) by ubcmusic

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Doxology

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

Hope (There Will Come A Light): This song clings to the hope that God's inbreaking Kingdom will enter the darkness of our world of broken systems, bringing justice to the oppressed.

There: This song proclaim's God's transcendence over and above every source of anxiety in the world, and clings to God as an anchor in the midst of the uncertainty and noise of life.

Rise Up: This song proclaim's God's immanent concern in the plight of the oppressed and marginalized.

Peace (Change Everything): This song pleads for God to bring peace into the dissonance and brokenness of the world, from the socio-political sphere to the cellular level.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs: We sang this song to enter into the part of our Story where the people of God were waiting on the Light to enter the darkness.

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.

-JM

Liturgy 12-3-2017

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, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to learn to wait
for a Light in the darkness

to cling to the hope that the Living God
has not abandoned God’s creatures

to step into God’s story

and to be transformed by it

into people who carry the wonder
and love of God in our own stories

joining with God’s work
of re-Creation in the world

Amen

Advent Introduction

Today, we find ourselves in the first week of Advent.  If that’s a new term for you, Advent is the first season of the church calendar—the beginning of the story we live in—and like the other seasons of the church calendar, it calls us to enter into a drama of sorts.

We unstick ourselves in time, stepping back a couple thousand years, in order to allow ourselves to receive the Gift that God is bringing on Christmas, as though we don’t already know exactly what we are celebrating at the end of December.  It is a season of waiting on God, of looking back on the way that God has been faithful to God’s people and trusting that God will continue to be faithful to us. 

Now, we also stand as particular people in a particular time and place, who can look back a couple of thousand years and know exactly what we are celebrating at the end of December—people who stand in the midst of a story where we have seen just how far God is willing to go to set things right—yet who also know that things are still very broken.  As these people in this present brokenness, we too look forward, trusting that God will continue to be faithful to us, and that the Kingdom of God we sometimes glimpse among us is on its way in fullness.

So, holding both of these identities, the ancient and the future, we are learning and relearning to wait for God to show up.

Of the Advent and Christmas season, N.T. Wright says:

“For many, Christianity is just a beautiful dream.  It’s a world in which everyday reality goes a bit blurred.  It’s nostalgic, cozy, and comforting.  But real Christianity isn’t like that at all.  Take Christmas, for instance: a season of nostalgia, of carols and candles and firelight and happy children.  But that misses the point completely.  Christmas is not a reminder that the world is really quite a nice old place.  It reminds us that the world is a shockingly bad old place, where wickedness flourishes unchecked, where children are murdered, where civilized countries make a lot of money by selling weapons to uncivilized ones so they can blow each other apart.  Christmas is God lighting a candle; and you don’t light a candle in a room that’s already full of sunlight.  You light a candle in a room that’s so murky that the candle, when lit, reveals just how bad things really are.  The light shines in the darkness, says St John, and the darkness has not overcome it. Christmas, then, is not a dream, a moment of escapism.  Christmas is the reality, which shows up the rest of ‘reality.’” 

So, ubc, as we occupy the space of Advent, take time to look around to see how dark the world is, that we might learn to wait for a light in this darkness.

Hope Candle Liturgy

On this first Sunday of Advent, we are reminded that we live by Hope.  Hope in the coming of the Messiah, that God will bring Light into our present darkness.  Hope that those pinned in by anxiety will find rest.  Hope that those who feel worthless will find their true Value.  Hope that the poor, the homeless, the refugee, and all those trampled by systems of power will be given the mercy and justice of God.  And hope that Love will cast out every fear.

For now, we wait, trusting that God is faithful and at work redeeming all things.  We declare these things in lighting the Hope candle.

[Light the Hope candle]

Hear God’s promise of hope from Isaiah 2:2-4:

In days to come
   the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
   and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
   Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
   to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
   and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
   and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
   and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
   and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
   neither shall they learn war any more.

Scripture