1st Sunday of Advent. “Holy Wonder: Hopeful Vulnerability” * Mark 13:33-37

Image & Original written content: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“I’m very concerned that our society is much more interested in information than wonder, in noise rather than silence.” Rev. Fred Rogers, aka “Mister Rogers”

Prelude (musician)

Pastor’s Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor) Welcome! Welcome to worship this 1st Sunday of Advent. Our Advent-Christmas theme this year is “Holy Wonder.”

No matter who you are… No matter where you are on life’s journey… You are welcome here! Welcome guests.

Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. We are blessed by this sacred worship space located on unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people. We honor the past and face the future in peace with hope.

Liturgist’s Welcome and Acknowledgements (liturgist)

As Pastor Kathryn lights the Altar Votives, let us remember those who are not physically present, but with us in spirit or thought. (pastor lights votives while musician plays.)

(Liturgist, after candles are lit and music concluded, please continue)

Today’s…

  • Flowers: Jane Mah & Norman Chong in honor of their daughter Jullian.
  • Worship Team: Musician Ian Pong, Liturgist Darlene Hamady, Advent Wreath Cedric & Carlton Young, and Pastor Rev. Kathryn Schreiber.

(Advent Wreath lighters/readers come up; liturgist sits down)

Advent Wreath Reading and Candles (Advent Wreath reader/s)

On this First Sunday of Advent, may we open to Holy Wonder listening to this prayer by Rev. Ted Loder:

“Let Wonder Have Its Way with Me”

O God, Your gracious Spirit

moves over the mysteries of living and dying

and is strangely present to me

   in the falling leaves,

      the call of the wild geese,

         a child’s birth,

            the light in a friend’s eyes,

               the sudden lifting of the heart,

                  and the deep longing which brings me to You now.

Make me aware of Your presence

that wonder may have its way with me,

   my passion be released,

      my confidence renewed in the depths of Your holiness

until, for a moment,

my longing for You be fulfilled

and I know I am really free

   to share bread and intimacy,

      to laugh and exchange mercy,

         to be at ease in my struggles,

            bold in my loving,

               brave in facing down my terror,

                  hopeful in the rising music of Your kingdom,

                     joyful in my living,

                       and graceful in my life becoming

                          a song of praise ever sung to You. Amen. (tl)

We light the First Candle of Advent – expectant and eager to encounter Holy Wonder.

(Light ONE Advent Candle)

Opening Hymn: “Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates” Chalice #129, all verses (musician; pastor)

Passing the Peace (all share gestures and words of peace; pastor)

Time for Children “Welcoming Wonder” Seeing the holidays through a child’s eye. (pastor)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Prayer and Silence (pastor) Let us shift into silence in God’s presence with this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10.

Be still and know that I am God. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know that I am. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know. (Breathe slowly)

Be still. (Breathe slowly)

Be. (Breathe slowly)

(Breathe in silence) Amen.

Assurance of Grace (pastor) Beloved “Mister Rogers” – Rev. Fred Rogers – an ordained Presbyterian minister commented: “I’m very concerned that our society is much more interested in information than wonder, in noise rather than silence.” This Advent, with God’s help, we will attempt to shift from information to being open to Holy Wonder.

When we are awake and hopeful we are more likely to perceive God’s transforming presence. Jesus told his disciples to expect the unexpected – for God’s timeline and God’s plans will not be revealed to us in advance.

May God grant us the grace to trust the unknown, leaning into the goodness of God and the wideness of Holy Compassion. Amen. (kms)

Special Music (musician)

We Listen

Scripture: Mark 13:33-37 (version: CEB) Jesus is speaking to his disciples:

“Watch out! Stay alert! You don’t know when the time is coming. It is as if someone took a trip, left the household behind, and put the servants in charge, giving each one a job to do, and told the doorkeeper to stay alert. Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know when the head of the household will come, whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the early morning or at daybreak. Don’t let him show up when you weren’t expecting and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert!” (ceb)

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Reflection: “Holy Wonder: Hopeful Vulnerability” (pastor) We always celebrate Christmas on December 25th, but no created being on earth or in heaven knows when The Living Christ will arrive. Being open to Holy Wonder is expecting to be surprised.

Reflection Hymn: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” Chalice #119, all verses (musician, pastor)

We Pray

Prayer Requests (pastor; all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor) Wondrous God, sometimes we are weary. Sometimes our faith wears thin and we nod in our steadfast commitment to You. On this first Sunday of Advent, may we hear the resounding voice of Christ telling us to “Wake Up!” “Stay Alert!” We really do want to believe You are about to do something amazing. Ever Good God, light a fire of hope in us when the night is long and the sky is dark. Call us toward You into Holy Wonder that we might be ready when You are. Amen. (kms)

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer (pastor)

Offering Our Praise “Doxology” (musician; all)

We Transition

Announcements (pastor)

  • This Saturday: Church Retreat
  • Next Sunday: “Holy Wonder” Advent continues!
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services this year

Sung Blessing: “Go in Peace” Chalice #445 (sing 2x’s) (musician)

Benediction (pastor) Remember the enchanting magic of the holiday season when wonder came easily? May God bless all of us with a second innocence that allows us to believe in Jesus Christ’s rebirth among us in ways and means and at times and places we cannot even imagine! Dear Ones, let us go forth with hope and curiosity – open to Holy Wonder. Peace be with you! Amen.

Postlude (musician)

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

(tl) Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace © 1984, LuraMedia. Dear Rev Loder entered Heaven in 2021. His books remain a beautiful collection of dynamic, honest Christian faith. Peace be upon him and all who carry him in their hearts.

(CEB) Common English Bible. Copyright © 2011, Common English Bible.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceded territory of the Lisjan- Ohlone people, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!

Copyright Note: Copyright laws changed in December 2020 when Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act). Please check with your legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content online. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Protect the rights of content creators. Thank you!

Online Publishing Date: November 22, 2022.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please attribute source and observe ethical use of all resources. Follow your platforms’ publishing requirements for all created content especially if publishing online or broadcasting. Thank you!

Donation: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is free. 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!

For Online Content: Please see Facebook pages: “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” and “Living Liturgies”; as well as my website: www.inthebiglove.com and YouTube channel: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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