content prepared by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber
This service is one of a series designed to align us with the Living God during these pandemic-impacted times as social justice reforms arise.
- Read through this service beforehand to assemble items needed.
- During Advent only Advent Candles are lit, not the Christ Candle.
- An Advent Wreath can be any configuration of four candles with an additional Christ Candle that will remain unlit until Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. Or, a single candle can be lit each week of Advent. (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvelGQTEt6M)
- A “Christ Candle” can be any candle or object which represents Christ’s presence.
- Choose songs (our suggestions or your favorites). Assemble what you’ll need to sing.
- Ensure an uninterrupted place to worship.
- Decorate your space to welcome God’s presence. Purple is the traditional color of the season of Advent.
Time for Children of All Ages
Out of the Bag: “Help us be Good”
2nd Sunday of Advent: Repairing what’s been broken
Please adapt to make this worship service your own. Your intention is what is important.
Advent Candle Reading/Call to Worship
On this Second Sunday of Advent the God of Liberation assures us the intangible will become real taking on flesh and blood, dwelling among us.
God says, “Look for love and fidelity embracing; witness peace and justice sharing a tender kiss. What is truly good will sprout up from the earth and lean down from heaven to restore humanity.”
May we pivot our hearts toward God’s peace expecting divine glory to spread across the land where uncivil wars now divide us.
As we light the Second Candle of Advent, we join those who went before, saying: “The Lord pours out riches, our land springs to life. Justice clears God’s path, justice points the way.” Amen.
Light the Second Candle of Advent
(Note: If you’re using four Advent Candles, please relight the one you lit last week plus a second one this week. If you’re only using one candle, this week the candle is the “Second Candle” of Advent. Remember, during the four Sundays of Advent we do not light a Christ Candle – we are waiting for the rebirth of the Eternal Christ. We’ll light a new Christ Candle on Christmas Eve/Day – whenever your household celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ.)
Candle Lighting Song
“Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” https://youtu.be/vRAFQCOkjgE
Lyrics: C Wesley; Music: RH Prichard HYFRYDOL (Chalice #125); Performed by Red Mountain Music
We Unburden and Gather Hope
Naming Our Reality
This is your time to check in with God. Speak as candidly as you can. Tell God about your week. Share the easy moments, the times of challenge, and the situations that confound. If words don’t flow, speak to God with a smile or tear, heartache or swelling of gratitude. God is with you however you are.
Acts of Unburdening and Affirming
It can be helpful to physically acknowledge the burdens and weights we carry. Place small items around the Advent Wreath to symbolize your prayers or write them on pieces of paper and leave them in a “prayer bowl.” Don’t worry how you release your concerns to God. If you do not have words, do not be concerned. The soul knows what to give to God and God knows what to receive. Whatever you give, however you give it, Christ will receive your prayerful offerings.
We shift from speaking to God to sitting with God silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:
Be still and know that I am God. (pause)
Be still and know that I am. (pause)
Be still and know. (pause)
Be still. (pause)
Try to sit quietly in a state of calm devotion. Thoughts and feelings will occur; this is natural. Return focus by chanting a name for God or Christ – such as “Friend, Friend, Friend Jesus” or paying attention to your breath. Rest in the ultimate reality of God’s lovingkindness. When you’re ready to release this practice, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”
God is still speaking, still calling humanity to salvation as a species. God wants all of us to survive and thrive. This second week of Advent may we hear God’s liberating voice speak louder than any messages that diminish our dignity or cause us to disregard others. God is still speaking Big Love and Big Peace to all of us. What a grace!
Scripture Reading: Psalm 85: 9-14 (LTP)
I listen to God speaking: “I, the Lord, speak peace, peace to My faithful people who turn their hearts to Me.”
Salvation is coming near, glory is filling our land. Love and fidelity embrace, peace and justice kiss. Fidelity sprouts from the earth, justice leans down from heaven.
The Lord pours out riches, Our land springs to life. Justice clears God’s path, Justice points the way.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
See this week’s “Out of the Bag” recording at the beginning of this document.
Please select a Christmas song with a message of hope for the uplift of all humanity, such as “Grown Up Christmas List” lyrics: L Thompson-Jenner, music: David Foster.
Prayers of Petition
Though distant, whenever we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, we are connected one to another in the Holy Spirit. We never pray alone. Lift up your prayers with words, sounds, movement, tears, or silence. God is listening.
The Lord’s Prayer
Imagine a place where you feel close to God, maybe a sanctuary where you’ve worshipped. Welcome the memory of your Beloved Community filling your soul with companionship as we pray together the prayer Jesus taught us to pray:
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 debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
We Give Thanks
Take a moment to pause and honor an example of the best of humanity rising up in a challenging situation. Where is God’s Big Love performing acts of healing and restoration? When has God brought unexpected repair among your household? With genuine thanksgiving, offer praise to God. (also see donation footnote)
We Continue in Hope
Song of Hope
Please select a favorite Christmas carol to sing hopefully.
May we hear God speak peace. May we believe in the good things coming. May we witness integrity rising up from earth and leaning down from heaven. May we travel the path of justice. Amen.
(the service is concluded)
Online Chalice Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/CH1995
Online New Century Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/NCH1995
HOL: Hymns of Life, bilingual hymnal. ©1986, China Alliance Press.
YouTube Music Videos: search by title AND one of the authors for best results
Worship Resources: All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber unless attributed to another source.
(LTP) The Psalter: A faithful and inclusive rendering from the Hebrew into contemporary English poetry, intended primarily for communal song and recitation. Liturgical Training Press ©1994
(Chalice) The Chalice Hymnal and (New Century) The New Century Hymnal, among other worship publications, have suspended copyright restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Online Publishing Date: November 30, 2020.
Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author.
Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. However, you may express your gratitude financially by supporting a local foodbank at this time of extreme need. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!
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