3rd Sunday of Advent. “Holy Wonder: Communal Hope” * Luke 1:50-55

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

We Gather

“Every human act, every Christian act, is an act of hope. But that means you must be men and women of the present, you must live this moment – really live it, not just endure it – because this very moment, for all its imperfection and frustration, because of its imperfection and frustration, is pregnant with the future, is pregnant with love, is pregnant with Christ.” – Walter J. Burghardt, 20th-century American theologian and preacher

Prelude (musician)

Pastor’s Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor) Welcome! Welcome to worship this 3rd 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 votive candles are lit and music concluded, please continue)

Today’s…

  • Flowers: available for dedication 
  • Worship Team: Musician Vicky Jennings;Liturgist Darlene Hamady; Advent Wreath Sienna Huie, Leilee MacArthur and Brandon Huie; Pastor Rev. Kathryn Schreiber.

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

Advent Wreath Reading and Candles (Advent Wreath reader/s) On this Third Sunday of Advent, may we open to Holy Wonder hearing from Christian theologian Karl Rahner. Rahner, speaking to his own heart, affirms God’s abundant goodness, not unlike Jesus’s mother, Mary.

“Ask not, doubt not. You have, my heart, already chosen the joy of Advent. As a force against your own uncertainty, bravely tell yourself: It is the Advent of the great God.

Say this with faith and love, and then both the past of your life, which has become holy, and your life’s eternal, boundless future, will draw together in the now of this world.

For then into the heart comes to the one who is Advent, the boundless future, who is already in the process of coming, the Lord, who has already come into the time of flesh to redeem it.” (kr)

We light the First, Second, and Third Candles of Advent – expectant and eager to encounter Holy Wonder. (Light THREE Advent Candles)

Opening Hymn: “Awake, Awake! And Greet the New Morn!” #138, all 3 verses (musician)

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

Time for Children “God-Given Hope” God puts hope in our hearts. (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) Dear Ones, just as Isaiah spoke of blooming deserts outrageously coming to life, this Advent week Jesus’s mother proclaims an extravagant faith in God’s commitment to the well-being of all humanity, trusting that what is coming has, on some level, already arrived.

Holy Wonder is a state of grace where the soul perceives God’s eternal coming to us long before we witness it. This Advent, as we await the re-birth of Christ, let us do so asking God to grant us the grace of Holy Wonder – in the way of Prophet Isaiah, in the way of Jesus’ mother Mary – faith that what is coming has already been given. Amen. (kms)

Special Music (musician)

We Listen

Scripture: Luke 1:50-55 (version: CEB; liturgist) Young Mary, speaking to her Auntie Elizabeth about the Good Things God is doing:

God shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors God. God has shown strength with God’s arm. God has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. God has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed. God has come to the aid of servant Israel, remembering divine mercy, just as God promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and Sarah, and to their descendants forever.”

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

Reflection: “God’s Goodness and Our Hope” (pastor) God’s dream for a just human community is foundational. Being open to Holy Wonder opens us to hope and faith in divine justice and communal healing before it occurs.

Reflection Hymn: “Come, O Long-expected Jesus” #125, both verses (musician)

We Pray

Prayer Requests (pastor; all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor) Beloved Source of All Life, Light, and Love, we easily bring our concerns to You asking You to act. Today, we ask not for YOUR attention, but for our own. May we witness glimpses, physically and mystically, of what You are already doing. May new sparks of hope and faith flare up inviting us to join in Your good works for the well-being of life on earth, blessed by the dreams of heaven. Amen. (kms)

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

Offering Our Praise “Doxology” (musician; all)

We Transition

Announcements (pastor)

  • Next Sunday: “Holy Wonder” Advent continues – with Joseph!
  • Senior Center Tues December 20th
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services this year

Closing Hymn: “What Child Is This” #162, all 3 verses (musician)

Benediction (pastor) Beloved Siblings, as Advent unfolds may our souls experience Holy Wonder. May we understand, seeing with the clear vision of the Holy Spirit, that God is always up to good. Christ is on the way again! May God bless us with Holy Wonder! May we go forth in peace with hope. 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.

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

(kr) Karl Rahner

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: December 6, 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 S

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