OT 33 – PE+ 24

November 14, 2021

Lectionary Texts

As we move towardtheculmination of the church year on Christ the Sovereign Sunday, our scriptures begin to look toward the end of things as they are, and God’s new Creation.

In 1 Samuel 1. 4-20 Hannah is one of a man’s two wives. She has borne no children, and the other wife provokes her. At the temple she prays for a child. The priest belittles her, but she stands up for her prayer—which in due time is answered.

1 Samuel 2.1-10
Is Hannah’s prayer of thanks. God is great. The prayer celebrates God’s reversal of the fate of the lowly and the rich, which will be echoed in Mary’s Magnificat on the fourth Sunday of Advent. [Alternate: Psalm 113 gives thanks that God raises up the poor and gives barren women children.]

Hebrews 10.11-25
says that through Jesus’ sacrifice our sins have been removed once for all. Therefore rather than worry about our forgiveness, our faith can focus on bearing witness, doing good, and encouraging one another.

In Mark 13. 1-8 Jesus warns that the temple will be destroyed, frightening changes will occur and his followers will be persecuted. But he describes this not as the end of the world, but as “birthpangs.”


Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Eternal God, we praise you!
       All: Amidst all that changes, you are present.
You have been here forever, waiting for us.
       We are here, to be present for you.
Let all that is passing fall away.
        With open hands, we let go of all but you.
       
Alleluia! Spirit of Life, transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

2.
Leader: Eternal God, Creator of all that is and all that is to come, we praise you.
       All: Risen Christ, you who hold the door open for us into this world, and into the next,
       we greet you, and we listen for your voice.
Holy Spirit, you who transform all things, we open our hearts to your presence.
        Holy One, Breath of Life, Flesh of Love and Bone of Faithfulness, we thank you.
        You are the turning of the world; you are the Mysterious Unfolding within us.
We come to you to worship, to be blessed, to be changed.
        Alleluia! Come, Spirit of Grace, and transform us according to your will. Alleluia!


Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Eternal God, so much changes around us. So much is passing. So much is frightening. But you are present with us, steadfast and solid in your love. We open our hearts to your presence, to your Word, to your Spirit living in us. Help us to hear, to be healed, and to be made new. We pray in the spirit of Christ, who has died and is risen and is with us always. Amen.

2.
Holy God, you make this world, and remake it according to your grace. You move this world toward your will. Help us to move with you. Speak to us, and strengthen our hearts, so that we can be faithful to you always. Amen.


Prayer of Confession

The grace of God be with you.
        And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
        Gentle God, we confess that we have left your ways
        and followed the ways of the world
        ways that will fail and not endure.
        We have fit in with the culture
        rather than staying true to your Spirit in us.
        Forgive us; re-root us in your Spirit,
        and remake us in the image of Christ. Amen.
SILENT PRAYERTHE WORD OF GRACE


Response / Creed / Affirmation


        Holy God, we know you as the Creator of all that is and all that is to come, who makes and remakes the world in love and wisdom. You are moving this world toward perfect love, transforming all Creation by grace.
        We look to Jesus, your Christ, the embodiment of your presence among us. He taught and healed, proclaimed your Word, gathered a community, and announced the coming of your Realm of Grace. In his death and resurrection you have shown us the end of the world to which we cling and the coming of a new heaven and earth. He lives among us, accompanying us in faithful living and prophetic witness.
        We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, your transforming energy within and among us. As one church, the Body of Christ, we bear witness to your grace, practice your forgiveness, work for justice, rely on your promise of resurrection, and see all things in light of the eternity of all that is rooted in you. We devote ourselves to proclaiming your good news to all peoples, for the sake of the transformation of the world. Amen.

Reading

When the towers fell

         “Do you see these great buildings?
         Not one stone will be left here upon another.”
                   —Mark 13.2


When the towers fell
it seemed the center of the world had vanished,
but the center, it turns out, is elsewhere.
When the towers fell
it seemed the end of the world,
but wars and rumors
have come and gone, and here we are.
They said everything changed
but nothing changed.
Empires come, and pass. Stones fall.
Hate and anger are still unable to build, but only destroy.
Still some people harm; some bless.
We seek stones unfallen, but stones still fall.
Even stones are made of smoke.

Listen. Things happen, things pass;
but they don’t express God’s love for you.
That’s constant. And so is God’s invitation.

Now—before the tower of this moment falls—
is the time to decide whether to be kind and how,
whether to show mercy.
This is the moment—unchanging—
and always has been, the moment
to love.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view songs on the Music page.)


God of the Future
    [Tune: SLANE – Be Thou My Vision]
God of our dark night, and God of our day,
God of our journey, whose will is our way,
when our path dims and the future’s unknown,
still you walk with us; we’re never alone.

Though the familiar should fade and turn strange,
your steady love for us never will change.
So when we worry and can’t see the way
Love, still your grace is enough for today.

All that is taken and all that we lose,
all of the cost of the path that we choose
never compares with the grace you impart:
faithful and gracious, you give us your heart.

Bless all the journeys we still are to make.
May they shed mercy and light for your sake
Lead us with courage on journeys unknown,
walking in blessing, and never alone.

Be our companion, our courage, our nerve,
You, the heart in us, to love and to serve.
Blessings you promise, whatever befall.
Still you walk with us, O lover of all.

In All that Changes (Tune: Breathe on Me, Breath of God)

In all that changes, God, all that will fail or fall,
your loving presence still abides, and will not fade at all.

In all that changes, God, your love is strong and sure.
Therefore we give in thanks for grace, and trust it will endure.

Through raging storm and sea, you are the rock that stands.
Free from all else, we give ourselves into your loving hands.


Love Will Bear Us Over (Tune : Holy Manna)

When our world is changing ‘round us and we long for good old days,
what that lasts will bear us over to new earth, new heaven, new ways?
Love will lead us when the path is unfamiliar, come what may:
set our heart to love our neighbors and our feet will find the way.

Christ gives us a new commandment: “Share the love that you’ve been given.”
When we do we’re resurrected, entering new earth and heaven.
When we love our neighbor more than caring for what used to be,
then our love will bear us over, then our love will set us free.

Advent 2 – December 5, 2021

Lectionary Texts

Today we hear of a messenger who prepares us for God’s coming. In Malachi 3. 1-4 God sends a messenger to prepare us for God to come among us. But it will not all be easy. God is coming to purify us.

Luke 1. 68-79
is Zechariah’s song at the birth of John the Baptist, rejoicing that God has fulfilled the Covenant to save us from all that we fear and all that diminishes life, and establish a new realm of peace. The second part of the song is addressed to John—and us: “Prepare a way for God by showing people forgiveness. The dawn of God’s grace is coming, to save those who live in the shadow of death, and to guide us in the way of peace.”

In Philippians 1.3-11 Paul prays that God will continue a process that God has already begun in us: that our love will increasingly overflow so that we may be pure on the day of the Chosen One’s coming.

Luke 3.1-6 says John the Baptist is like Isaiah’s “voice crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of God!’” The message in Isaiah was a word of hope to people who were in exile: a broad, smooth road through the wilderness, on which God would come to bring them home!

Call to Worship / Lighting the Advent Candle

1. [from Malachi 3.1-4]
Reading: “See, I will send my messenger,
who will prepare the way before me.
Then suddenly the One you are seeking will come to the temple;
the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,”
says God Almighty.
But who can endure the day of that coming?
Who can stand when the Messenger appears?
For God’s chosen will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap,
and will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver;
and will purify the people and refine them like gold and silver.
RESPONSE
Leader: God of love, purify us in the refining fire of your Spirit.
       All: Set us free from all that does not help us serve you.
       Remove from us all that is not love.
       By your Spirit living in us, help us prepare a way for your coming.

       Alleluia! Come, O Jesus, come!

2. [Philippians 1.6, 9-11]
Reading: I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
+
CANDLE SONG The Promises of God (2 Peter 1.19)

RESPONSE
Leader: Holy One, light of our peace, this Advent candle shines to prepare your way.
       All: Prepare a way to come to us; redeem us in our darkness.
Prepare your way around us, that the crooked be made straight.
       Prepare your way within us, that our rough places be made smooth.
       God of grace and love, may all flesh see your salvation. Alleluia!


3.
READING: [Luke 1.78-79]
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
RESPONSE
Leader: God of mercy, your light dawns upon us.
       All: We open our hearts in joy.
Your grace gives light in our darkness.
       We rise from the shadow of death.
You lead us into a new day.
      Guide us into the way of peace.


4.
Leader: God of promise, God of Mystery,
you have sent a messenger to awaken us.
      All: May the promise of your dawn awaken our hearts and minds.
      May the light of your promise guide our steps and lead us toward you.
      May the joy of your coming sustain us and uplift us.
God of Love, God of Presence,
you have given us a message for the world.
      May the light of your coming shine within us.
      May your Spirit, alive in us, make us signs of your coming.
      O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and dawn within and among us now.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
As we prepare our homes for the holidays let us also prepare our hearts. Let every decoration, card and cookie be an act of readiness for your coming. God of love, help us prepare a room for Christ to be born in us this holy season. Speak the Word to us that will make room in our hearts for love. Amen.

2.
God of love, your prophet cries to prepare a way for you. In the wilderness of our hearts, in the rough places of our society, prepare your way with your life-changing Word. Speak to us, and make the crooked straight, for the sake of your mercy. Amen.

3.
God of life, the prophet cries that a way be made for the coming of the Holy One. Make a way into our hearts. Speak to us and re-create us. We throw open the windows of our souls, that we may hear you, that the light of your dawning may flood our hearts. O come, thou Dayspring, enlighten us, who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

4.
Holy One, you send your prophets among us to speak to us. You send messengers to awaken us, to alert us, to attract us to your light. In Scripture now you speak to us, and call us to new lives. Help us to listen and hear, to receive and be transformed. This is the news we have been waiting for. Speak to us; we want to hear. Amen.

5.
Stir up our hearts, O God, and prepare us for your coming. May the mountains and valleys of our hearts be leveled out, the rough places be made smooth by the healing power of your Word in us. Speak your Word, and we shall be healed. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

The grace of God be with you.
       And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
       Gracious God,
       we confess the darkness and cold in our lives.
       We have not lived at peace with you, with our neighbors,
       or even with our own souls.
       Forgive our sin, heal our hearts,
       and grant us your peace.
       Be born in us again,
       that by your grace we may live in your light.
       O come to us, Beloved, and save us! Amen.



Reading


CANTICLE (Luke 1. 68-79)

Sung Response: O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.

Blessed be God, the God of Israel,
who has visited us as God’s own people, and redeemed us.
        God has raised up a mighty savior fur us
        in the house of God’s servant David.
So God spoke through the holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of those who hate us.
       Thus God has shown the mercy
        that God promised to our ancestors.
God has remembered God’s holy Covenant,
the promise God made to Abraham:
        that being rescued from the powers that destroy us,
        we might serve God without fear,
        in holiness and righteousness,
        in God’s presence all our days.
              
Response

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the most high:
you will go before the Holy One to prepare God’s ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to God’s people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
        By the tender mercy of God,
        the dawn from on high will break upon us
        to give light to those who sit in darkness
        and in the shadow of death,
        to guide our feet into the way of peace.
              
Response

Listening Prayer

(Suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, confession, or invitation to prayer)

God, we are in exile
from peace, from justice,
from our hope, from our true selves.
Prepare a way for our return.
Bring to completion what you have begun in us.
Prepare your way into us;
enter our hearts, and refine them,
that our love may overflow.
Guide our feet into the way of peace.

Eucharistic Prayer

Note: Even though it’s Advent people are eager to jump ahead and sing Christmas Carols. I’ve addressed this with Advent songs to familiar carol tunes: Advent Table Songs (invitation to communion) four whole Eucharistic Prayers and 24 sets of Eucharistic Responses (Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Amen).

1.
Beloved, God is with you.
       And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
      We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Faithful One, our God.
      It is good to give God thanks and praise.

We thank you, God, for in the beginning in the darkness and void,
you brought forth light. You prepared Creation for us.
      With the light of love, in the image of love, you created us.
In the darkness and chaos of our brokenness you have sent us a savior
who has set us free from all that diminishes life.
      You judge the forces of oppression and set all your beloved free.
      You level the ridges and fill in the canyons,
      and make a way smooth for your people.
You prepare for us a way toward justice,
and walk with us on that path, and guide our feet in the way of peace.
      We long for such peace in our lives.
      So at your invitation we come to this table you have prepared for us
      to feast in celebration of our freedom, and to sing your praise:
                  [Sanctus]

Blessed is the one who comes in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ, who embodied your love.
      He made room for the poor and outcast,
      and held a sacred space for those who were broken.
He died and rose again,
and promised to prepare a place for us.       
      In his love he showed us how to live, and prepared a way for us to follow.               [The Blessing and Covenant…]

Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
      Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
      we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
      as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
      as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
               [Memorial Acclamation]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
      Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
      that we may be for the world the Body of Christ.
In this meal prepare in us a place for your love,
that we may go before you, proclaiming forgiveness,
and bearing your light to those who dwell in darkness
and in the shadow of death.      
       In this meal, may your mercy dawn upon us,
      and lead us in the way of peace.
                         [Amen]

                         _______________

2.
May God be with you.
      And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
      We lift them up to the Beloved.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One our God.
      It is good to give God thanks and praise.

We thank you, God, for you create us in the image of your love.
      You make Covenant with us to be our God,
      and to set us free from oppression.
You guide us in creating a new realm of justice and mercy.
      You give us Jesus: to proclaim our forgiveness,
      to change our hearts, to guide our feet in the way of peace,
      to give us your Spirit, to heal your world.
Therefore with all creation we sing your praise.            
                       [Sanctus]

We thank you for the gift of Jesus, your Christ, who came among us in your love.
      He loved and healed, he taught with prophetic power.
He was crucified, but you raised him from the dead.
      He lives among us, refining our hearts,
      that our love may overflow..

         […The Blessing and Covenant…]

With gratitude we remember your mighty acts in Jesus Christ.
      In praise and thanksgiving we offer ourselves
      as a living and holy sacrifice,
      in union with Christ’s gift for us.
We proclaim with joy the mystery at the heart of our faith.
                [Memorial Acclamation]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the Body and Blood of the Beloved, Jesus Christ.
      Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, that we may be the Body of Christ,
      refined by the fire of your grace, overflowing with your love,
      and joining you in smoothing out the rough places in this world.
      By your Spirit in us, prepare the way of justice and peace.
                            [Amen]
                         _______________
3.
Blessed be God, the God of Israel,
who has visited us and redeemed us.
       God spoke through the holy prophets from of old,
       that we would be saved from our enemies,
       and from the hand of those who hate us.
Thus God has shown the mercy
that God promised to our ancestors.
       God has remembered God’s holy Covenant,
       the promise God made to Abraham.
        Therefore with one voice we sing God’s praise.
                       [Sanctus]

Blessed are all who come in God’s name,
and blessed is Jesus, who enfleshed God’s Covenant with us.
        God has raised up a mighty savior fur us
        in the house of God’s servant David.

        that being rescued from the powers that destroy us,
        we might serve God without fear,
        in holiness and righteousness,
        in God’s presence all our days.


                     [The Blessing sand Covenant]

Remembering your mighty acts in Jesus,
we offer ourselves as we proclaim the mystery at the heart of our faith:
                     [Memorial Acclamation]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts,
that they may be for us the Body of Christ.
       Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
       that we may be the Body of Christ for the world.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the most high:
you will go before the Holy One to prepare God’s ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to God’s people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
        By the tender mercy of God,
        the dawn from on high will break upon us
        to give light to those who sit in darkness
        and in the shadow of death,
        to guide our feet into the way of peace.
              
[Amen]
              ————————————

* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer after Communion

1.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. You have visited and redeemed us, according to your promise in Christ. You have saved us from all that would diminish our lives, so that we may serve you without fear, in holiness, in your presence, all our days. Send us into the world now to go before you to prepare your ways. By your tender mercy, may your dawn break upon us and within us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Amen.

2.
Leader: We bless you, God, for you have visited and redeemed your people.
     You have raised up a savior for us,
     and saved us from all that diminishes life,
     so that we may serve you in holiness without fear.

And you, children, will be called the prophets of the Most High;
for you will go before our God
to prepare the ways of the Promised One,
to give knowledge of salvation to God’s people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
     By the tender mercy of our God,
     the dawn from on high will break upon us,
     to give light to those who sit in darkness
      and in the shadow of death,
      to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Suggested Songs

(Available on the Music page. Click titles to view songs)

All songs with “Advent” tag, especially:

Benedictus (Song of Zechariah)
          [Luke 1.68-79, to the tune of Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us]
Blessed Be Our God
[Luke 1.68-79, original song]
Prepare Your Way in Me [Luke 3.1-6]
The Promises of God
[1 Peter 1.19]

“Messiah?”

         He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”
         Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”
                   —Mark 8.29

Really? To Peter?
Wisdom Teacher maybe; friend, commander, co-conspirator,
confounder, eye-opener, spiritual director, divine prodder,
midwife of the New Life—but not a Christological assertion.

The Messiah was a mighty warrior who would liberate Israel
from Roman oppression. A kind of Superhero.
Jesus might have quoted Princess Bride:
“You keep saying that word, but I do not think it means
what you think it means.”

To Jesus being God’s anointed (“Messiah”)
meant giving oneself over to the power of God’s grace alone;
being vulnerable, even powerless.
Liberating us not from a political situation
but from sin, from death, fear, addiction and delusion—
freeing us from what traps us away from God.
It wasn’t about conquering but standing with the oppressed,
embodying the prophetic call for justice
by embodying the suffering of God in the poor.
It meant the cross. Triumph hidden in defeat.
Losing one’s life, trusting resurrection.

So Jesus tells the disciples to avoid that Messiah talk.
Can we do that? Set aside being on the winning side,
being “saved?” Can we stand instead with the oppressed,
let the blessing of the poor in spirit be our only blessing?
Let the grace of God be our only power?
“If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me….”

Jesus says “Get behind me.” And he starts walking.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

September 10, 2021

Advent 3 – December 12, 2021

Lectionary Texts

Zephaniah 3. 14-20 speaks joy to people who are in exile: God is among you, God delights in you, and God will free you from your oppressors and bring you home.

Isaiah 12.2-6 rejoices in God’s saving grace. We will draw from the wells of our salvation, and proclaim God’s goodness to the world.

In Philippians 4. 4-7 Paul encourages us to be joyful, gentle, thankful and prayerful, and rooted in the peace of God.

In Luke 3. 7-18 John the Baptist tells people to prepare for One Who Is Coming, and to repent: to put an end to injustice and exploitation, and to share with the poor.

Call to Worship / Lighting the Advent Candle

1. [Philippians 4.4-7]
READING: Rejoice in God always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Beloved is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    RESPONSE
Leader: Kindle your joy in us, O God.
       All: By the grace of your nearness, instill your gentleness in us.
Heal our worries, lift our hopes, and hear our prayers.
       Receive our thanksgiving, and our silent supplications.
Friends, in the light of the One who is coming,
may the peace that passes all understanding
guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

2.
Reader: Reads Philippians 4.4-7
Leader: We pray that this Advent candle may shine in our hearts with joy.
         All: Even in the darkness we shine with joy, for the Light is coming.
Even in the cold our hearts are warm with joy, for you are with us.
          Even amidst evil and cruelty we bear joy and not despair into the world.
         God, we open our hearts to your grace. Fill us with the light of your joy.


3. [Philippians 4.4-7]
Reader: Loving God, we light this candle as a prayer of hope in your coming.
         All: Kindle your spirit in us, that we may always be prayerful.
We light this candle as an invitation to the Prince of Peace.
         Kindle your grace in us, that we may always be gentle.
We light this candle in joy for your coming among us.
         Kindle your love in us, that we may always be joyful.
         Come, O Sovereign of Joy, and rejoice with us!


4.
READING [from Zephaniah 3.14-18]
Rejoice, O Israel! Do not fear,
God, the Holy One is in your midst.
God says, “I will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in my love;
I will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.”
    RESPONSE
Leader: We light a candle of joy in this wreath of life,
as a sign of God’s joy in us, and our hope in God.
      All: With joy and hope we await the coming of Christ.
The prophet calls us to repentance as we prepare.
      We gladly repent, that like this candle
      we may be baptized with the Holy Sprit, and with fire.


5.
READING [from Zephaniah 3.14-18]
Rejoice, O Israel! Do not fear,
God, the Holy One is in your midst.
God says, “I will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in my love;
I will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.”
    RESPONSE
Leader:, As you look upon us, God, kindle in us the light of your love.
      All: As we await the coming of Christ open our hearts to your joy.
Grant us a spirit of repentance, that we may prepare in faith and confidence.
      As we await the coming of the light,
      kindle in us the courage to be transformed by hope and joy
.
      We worship with gladness in the light of your coming.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of love and abundance, you come to us so that your joy may be in us, and our joy may be full. Fill us with your Spirit, that we may know your delight and rejoice in your presence and your grace. Speak your Word to us and bless us that we may always be joyful, gentle and prayerful, in the spirit of Christ. Amen.

2.
Gracious and ever-present God, we await the coming of your Anointed One, and we worship in the company of the One who is always with us. We await your Word, and yet your Word is within us. We long for your Realm of Grace, and yet even now it is hidden among us. Open our hearts to your Word, to your grace, to your Presence. Amen.

3.
Gracious God, John the Baptist calls us to repentance in preparation for the coming of your Messiah. As the people came to hear him, so we come now to hear your Word. Bless us with open hearts and minds, that as the scriptures are read and your good news proclaimed we may hear with joy what you are saying to us today. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

1.
The grace of God is with you.
      And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
      Gracious God,
      We confess the the dead and fruitless branches in our lives,
      shriveled by the wintery storms of our fears and desires.
      Prune the branches of our hearts,
      that we may bear fruit in your Spirit.
      Forgive our sin, heal our hearts,
      and be born in us again,
      that by your grace we may bear your light.
      O come to us, Beloved, and save us! Amen.
SILENT PRAYERTHE WORD OF GRACE

2.
[Pastor:]
Dearly Beloved, the ax lying at the root of the trees
is not for punishment, but pruning.
Therefore, trusting in God’s tender mercy, we examine ourselves,
that we may see ourselves clearly through the eyes of love.
Grateful for your goodness, we reflect on those parts of our lives
that bear good fruit, and we give thanks.
Silent reflection…
Trusting in your mercy, we reflect on the dead branches of our lives,
the barren or hurtful parts, the parts that do not bear good fruit,
and we seek your grace.
Silent reflection…
O God, prune the branches of our hearts according to your grace,
that we may flourish in doing your will.
Draw from the well of our salvation and water the trees of our souls,
that we may faithfully bear fruit,
and delight in your love, in the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Reading

[Isaiah 12. 2-6]
Leader: Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid.
      All: For God, the Holy One, is my strength and my might;
       God has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say in that day:
       Give thanks to the Holy One, call on God’s name
       make known God’s deeds among the nations;
       proclaim that God’s name is exalted.
Sing praises to God, for God has done gloriously;
let this be known in all the earth.
       Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion
       for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

Surely God is our salvation.
      We will trust and not be afraid.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
      With joy we come to the well.
      Thirsting for your grace, we lower our prayers
      into the deep, clear waters of your Word.

Sing for joy, for God is in your midst.
      We come with joy to the well.

Eucharistic Prayer

May God be with you.
      And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
      We lift them up to the Beloved.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One our God.
      It is good to give God thanks and praise.

Gracious God, we rejoice, for you are in our midst.
     You rejoice over us with gladness and renew us in your love.
By your Covenant you have taken us as your own.
     You set us free and ask us to put the axe to the roots
     of all oppression and injustice.

You have prepared the way for us in Jesus, your Christ.
     Therefore at his invitation we come to this feast
     to draw water from the well of our salvation,
     singing your praise with all Creation.

              [Sanctus]

Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ,
who loved and taught, who fed the hungry and healed the broken.
      His gentleness was known to everyone,
      and he granted to us a peace that surpasses understanding.

For his prophetic love he was crucified,
but you raised him from the dead,
and he comes among us and invites us to this feast of joy.
           [The Blessing and Covenant•]

As long was we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
      Remembering these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
      we offer ourselves in joy, in union with his offering for us,
proclaiming the mystery of our faith.

            [ Memorial Acclamation]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the Body and Blood of Christ.
      Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
      that we may be the Body of Christ for the world,
      fearless in repentance, and courageous in justice.
      Baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire,
      that we may bear fruit, the fruit of your love and joy in us,
      for the sake of the healing of the world.

             [Amen]
__________________

* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending or after Communion

1.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. You have filled us with the joy of your love, the taste of your delight in us. Send us into the world to share your joy, to serve you in love for one another, and to wait for your coming in gentleness, confidence, patience and joy, in the name and the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

2.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Even as we await your coming, you have fed us with your presence. Send us into the world, confident to live in your promised Realm until it is fulfilled, as signs of your coming, in the name and the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

3. (Benediction- Philippians 4.)
Beloved, rejoice in the Beloved always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Available in the Music Store. Click titles to view songs)

All songs with “Advent” Tag, especially
Drink from the Wells (Isaiah)
Prepare Your Way In Me (Luke)

Pentecost

Lectionary Texts

In Romans 8. 22-27 Paul says all of Creation groans in labor pains, waiting to be set free. Though we do not really know how to pray, God (Spirit) prays in us, in ways that are beyond words.

Psalm 104 celebrates God’s Creation. God breathes (respiration, inspiration, in-spiriting) living beings into life.

In John 15.26-27, 16.4-15 Jesus promises to send his Spirit (“The Advocate” or “Companion”). He says “It’s good that I’m going, so that the Spirit can come.”

Acts 2.1-21 tells of the coming of the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost, a Jewish holiday, the disciples experience the power of the Spirit, as if they are on fire. They go out and begin to tell people about Jesus in those other people’s languages, though they are foreign tongues to the disciples. (The fist instance of “speaking in tongues” was not ecstatic prayer but clear communication!) Peter explains the event in terms of Joel’s prophecy that God would pour out the Spirit on all people.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: In the beginning the earth was a formless void,
and the Spirit of God brooded over the waters.
All: Spirit of Creation, create us anew!
Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, came to Galilee, teaching and healing.
Spirit of Christ, move among us!
Jesus breathed on his followers and said,
“Receive the Holy Spirit. As God has sent me, so I send you.”
Spirit of love, move us to do your will. Alleluia!

2.

Leader: Holy Spirit, breath of Creation, wind of God, breathe in us.
All: We open our hearts to your light and your life.
Holy Spirit, love of Christ, energy of healing, burn in us.
We open our hearts to your grace and your power.
Holy Spirit, we are One in you, and we adore you.
We open our hearts to one another and to all Creation.
We worship in thanksgiving, in joy, in love. Alleluia!

3.
Leader: Holy Spirit, you who hovered over the waters at Creation—Praise!
All: Spirit of Love, by whom Christ was conceived—Thanks!
Spirit of Truth, you who fill us with your grace—Wonder!
Alleluia! Spirit of God, you who raise the dead, raise us to new life.
Spirit of Peace, in whom we are all one, lead us to love one another.
Spirit of Life, come, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!


Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of Love, Jesus promised to send the Spirit, who would guide us in the truth. Enliven your Spirit in us, that we may hear your voice, trust your grace and embody your love in the name of Christ. Amen.

2.
Eternal God, Spirit of Love, you create all things. You give life to all living beings, in all our diversity and wonder. You breathe in us and make us one in your love. Your presence calls out in each of us to one another, seeking to be one with each other. Speak to us in our worship. Sing your song to us in our hearts. Come to new life in us. We open our hearts to you. Spirit of love, arise! Amen.

3.

Spirit of God, it is you who have invited us here, moving in our hearts before we are aware. Move in us now again: move us closer to you in deep trust, closer to one another in prayer, closer to our neighbors in love. Spirit of God, speak to us; speak in us; speak through our love. Amen.

4.
Gracious God, on the day of Pentecost you filled the disciples with your Spirit, they embraced their mission in the world, and the church was born. Gather your church now in the wind of your grace, that we may be one in unity and peace. Fill our lungs with your breath, that we might sing your praise. Light our hearts on fire, that we might spread your love. We pray in the name of Jesus, who promised that he would send us his own Spirit, so that he would live in us. Amen.

Readings

1. Paraphrased from Psalm 104

Sung Response: Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Bless the Holy One, O my soul!
O Love, you are sovereign!
How amazing are your works.
In wisdom you have made all creatures.
They look to you, and you give them life moment by moment.
When you give, we gather. You open your hand, and we live.
When you hide from us we are dismayed.
When you take away your breath, we die and return to dust.
When you grant your breath again, we are created.
You renew the face of the earth.
I will sing to the Holy One as long as I live.
I will sing praise to Love with all of my being.
Praise to God!

[sung] Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

_____________

2. Paraphrased from Psalm 51.10-17

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
put a new and right spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation;
sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will show your ways to those who struggle,
and those who wonder will turn to you.
Reweave me into the Body, O God, O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
Love, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifices;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a spirit broken open;
an open and humble heart, O God, you will embrace.
_________

3.

In the beginning, God, your Spirit brooded over the waters, and you began creating.
You formed a human from the soil of the earth,
and breathed the breath of your life into us.
By your Spirit you sent prophets to speak your Truth to people,
and you promised to pour out your Spirit on all flesh.
Jesus was conceived by your Holy Spirit, and ministered by its power.
At Pentecost his followers received your Spirit,
and you gave birth to the Church.
Be the one Spirit we are baptized into the Church, the Body of Christ.
By your Spirit alone we live.
By your Spirit alone we are one.
By your Spirit alone we serve you with love. Alleluia!

Poetry

by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Spirit intercedes


Spirit helps us in our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but that very Spirit intercedes
with sighs too deep for words.

— Romans 8.26

Spirit, I do not know how to pray.
But you ask of me no skill.
You ask my presence—you, who are present.

I will be the seed, small and unassuming,
and you will be the flower in me,
spreading light, creating me.

I will be the spring tree, silent and unknowing.
And you will be the bird singing,
singing your joy in me.

I will be the woods
and you a thousand living things
growing in me unseen,

I the ocean and you the creatures,
I the word and you the meaning,
I the heart and you the rising joy.

I will be the chalice and you the wine.
I will be this moment and you the silence.
I will be myself and you will breathe in me.

___________________

Spirit



When you send forth your spirit, we are created
—Psalm 104.30

Holy One,
breath of the big bang,
idea of creation,
you who make spring come forth,
who make life out of nothing,
breathe yourself into me.
Create me.

you are the flame,
I am your light.
You are the nerve,
I am your muscle.
You are the Word,
I am the story.
You are the song,
I am the singing.

I am one with you
and one with all Creation.
One Spirit,
one flesh, many forms.
In your Spirit
I am we.

Holy One, live in me;
I am your body.
I remember,
and I live.



______________________

Response/ Affirmation

1.

We believe in you God, Spirit of Love, creator of all that is and that ever shall be.
We follow Jesus, the Christ, the embodiment of your love. He taught and healed and gathered a community of radical love and diversity, ruled not by laws or religions but by your Spirit. For his rebellion against the forces of oppression and injustice he was crucified; but you raised him from the dead. He came to us again and gave to us his Spirit, so that we are now the Body of Christ.
We live by your Spirit, your love alive and working in us leading us in lives of justice and compassion, one with each other and with all living beings. Breathe in us, O Spirit; lead us, sustain us and unite us in Christ, for the sake of the wholeness of all Creation. Amen.

2.
We believe in God, the Spirit of Love, who creates all things, embraces all things, and lives within all things.
We follow Jesus, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and in the power of the Spirit taught and healed. The Spirit was upon him to bring good news to the poor and set free the oppressed. Though he was crucified, by the power of the Spirit God raised him from death, and he comes to us still in the power of that Spirit.
The Holy Spirit lives in us, and makes us, the Church, one body, the Body of Christ. By the grace of the Spirit we love God and our neighbors; we trust in the power of forgiveness, the reality of resurrection, and the mystery of eternal life. In the one Spirit we are one with Christ, one with all people, and one with all Creation. By that Spirit we live in love, for the sake of the blessing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

3.
We believe in God, the One Spirit of the universe, who breathes all Creation into being, whose Spirit gives life to all living things.
We follow Jesus Christ, who wholly embodied God’s Spirit, who taught and healed and enacted love and justice; who opened the Realm of God to all. He was crucified, yet by the eternal Spirit living in him, he rose again and is present with us still in the power of that Spirit.
We ourselves live by the Holy Spirit. Because we share one Spirit, we are one body, the Body of Christ, aflame with God’s passion for the world, in mystery and in ministry. We trust the Spirit’s gifts of forgiveness and resurrection. And we devote ourselves to expressing the gifts of the Spirit in our lives, for the sake of the transformation of the world.

4. from St. Teresa of Avila, adapted
Christ has no body now on earth but ours,
no hands but ours, no feet but ours.
Ours are the eyes through which Christ will look out
with compassion to the world.
Ours are the feet with which Christ is to go about doing good.
Ours are the hands with which Christ will bless people now.

Listening prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

1.
Spirit of God, you breathe in us and we live.
You intercede for us with sighs too deep for words.
You pray in us; it is by your grace alone that we can worship.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

2.
Holy Spirit, we do not know how to listen as we ought. Intercede for us with openness too deep for words. Spirit of Life, stir in us. Breath of heaven, breathe in us; create us anew. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication

1.
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in our gifts. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Fill us with your Spirit. Guide us and sustain us by your Spirit. Send us in the power of your Spirit to do mercy and justice for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

2.
Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Send us in the power of your Spirit to give language to your love, to convey to all the world the good news of your grace, in the name of Christ. Amen.

3.
Graceful power, move in me.
May my living give language to your miraculous ways.
May my words express your goodness,
my actions reveal the abundance of your blessing.
Spirit, be the nerve that moves me as your body
to do your will, that all that I do
might clearly embody your grace
and be your living example.
May all whom I meet be given to understand
in the language of their hearts
your loving presence.
Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. In this meal you have created us anew, filled us with your Spirit, made us one, and strengthened us for love and justice. Send us into the world to embody the gifts of the Spirit in the name of Christ, for the sake of the healing of the world. Amen.

OT 11 – Pe +3

June 13, 2021 
3rd Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 11


1 Samuel 15.34 — 16.13  The prophet Samuel anoints David as king of Israel. Samuel passes over the brothers who are bigger and stronger in favor of the one God has chosen.

Psalm 20  is a prayer that God will help you, protect you and fulfill your desires.  Your well-being comes not from strength or power, but from God.

       -or-

Psalm 72  asks God’s blessing on the king:  that he defend the poor and weak, and work for justice, that he prevail among his rivals, and that his kingdom be blessed.

In 2 Corinthians 5. 16-17 Paul says if anyone lives in union with Christ, it changes the whole world: Creation starts all over again.

In Mark 4.26-34  Jesus tells two parables: the Realm of God is like seed growing without our knowing how; and it is like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a large blessing.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader:  Eternal Mystery, Sun of Life , you create all things.
 
All:    Your glory shines in every living being.
Living Christ, Divine Presence, you plant the seed of your love in us.
 Your beauty, your grace are hidden in our hearts.
Spirit of Love, you call forth our compassion.
 By your growth in us, we flower with the fruit of your grace.
 We thank you.  We worship you.  We give ourselves to you.  Alleluia!

2.

Leader:  Creator God, you scatter the seed of your grace in this world.
      All:    It produces blessing, though we know not how.
You scatter the seed of your love in us.
       It sprouts and grows, though we do not know how.
When the time is ripe you gather your harvest.
      We offer our love to you, for the harvest is yours.

3.
Leader: Creator God, Source of Life, we praise you!

     All:  You plant the seed of your grace in us,
     and Creation begins anew.

The mystery of your presence grows within us; we know not how.

     The tree of Christ flourishes among us, bearing fruit.

The vine of your Spirit connects us all, and we thank you.

      We are seeds of your promise, saplings of your Realm.

      Alleluia!   Spirit of Life, grow within us,

      and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of grace, you plant the mustard seed of your love in us.  May it flourish and grow by your grace. May the sun of your Word shine upon us; the water of your grace nourish us; the warm earth of Christ hold us and bless us to bring forth life in your name.  Amen.

2.
Gracious God, as plants in a garden root themselves in rich soil, and open themselves to the rain and sun, so we root ourselves in your Presence.  We open ourselves to your Word.  And we await the working of your Spirit within us, so that what you have planted in us may bear fruit.  We pray in the name of Christ.  Amen.

Readings

1.   from Psalm 20, a paraphrase

May the Holy One be with you in all your struggles.
        May God treasure your gifts with delight.
May God grant your deepest desires
       and bring to fruition the seeds of grace in you.
We rejoice at one another’s giftedness;
       we celebrate what God is doing in you.
God will always be present with God’s Beloved.
       God responds with love and blessing.
Some trust in power and accomplishments,
       but our trust is in God,
       in God’s amazing glory unfolding in each of us.

Help us to trust this vision, O God.
       Be our hope and our trust.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

Listening Prayer  (suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

God of life, our hearts are the soil into which you scatter the seed of your Word.  May it take root in us, grow mightily, and bear good fruit.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

Gracious God, we give you our gifts as symbols of our lives.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  May your grace grow and bear fruit in our lives by the power of your Spirit in us, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. As the seed sprouts and grows, we know not how, so in the mystery of this meal your grace grows in us without our understanding.  May it bear fruit in us, for the sake of the mending of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

Tree of LifeSee music store.

Advent 4 – December 19, 2021

Lectionary Texts

Micah 5.2-5 promises that after a time of suffering a ruler for Israel will come from Bethlehem and feed the people, and reign in peace.

Luke 1.46-55 is Mary’s song of praise, called the Magnificat (from the first word of the Latin version). She praises God for blessing her despite her low social position, and describes God’s justice and mercy: God overturns the social stratification of rich and poor, powerful and oppressed. Like Micah Mary anticipates that the poor will be fed and cared for.

Hebrews 10.5-10 quotes Psalm 40: God does not desire that we pay for our sins, but that we do God’s will. Psalm 40 reads, “you have prepared ears for me,” suggesting listening and obedience. But the author of Hebrews changes it to “you have prepared a body:” Christ embodies Gods love. As Mary prepares for the birth of Jesus, the Incarnation draws near.

In Luke 1.39-45 after Gabriel’s announcement to Mary she goes to see Elizabeth, who is six months pregnant. When Mary comes, the child in Elizabeth’s womb (who will become John the Baptist) leaps for joy. Elizabeth affirms Mary’s faith and her gifts.

Call to Worship / Lighting the Advent Candle

1.
READING (from Micah 5.2-5)
Now you, O Bethlehem, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. God’s chosen one shall stand and feed God’s flock in the strength of God, in the majesty of the name of the Holy One our God. And the people shall live secure, for their ruler shall be great to the ends of the earth, the one of peace.
RESPONSE
Leader: God of love, you promise our salvation, coming from among us.
      All: Grace stirs within us. Love lives among us.
Christ is near. We waken to the light of your presence.
      We rise in the dawning of the mystery of love made flesh.

2.
              READING [Luke 1.26-38 (The Annunciation)]
              RESPONSE
Leader: The Advent candle shines with light,
        All: the same light that shines in us, the light of your love.
On the darkest day of the year, the longest night, your light shines into the world.
        And it shines in our hearts. Bring to life your holy presence in us
        as we worship now and as we live each moment.
        Christ, be born in us, now and always. Amen.

3.
READING (John 1.1-5, 9)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through the Word, without whom not one thing came into being. What has come into being in the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light, which enlightens everyone, is coming into the world.
RESPONSE
Leader: These candles we light shine with the light that comes into the world.
       All: Your presence and your love shine upon us.
Like a child to be born, your light awaits, the light of life.
      Your presence and your love shine within us.
May we await your coming in hope and joy,
and prepare for your life among us in love.
      Your presence and your love shine out from us.
May your love grow in us, shine upon the world,
and bring life to all people.
      Come, O Christ, and shine in us with your grace!

4.
READING (Luke 1.26-38, the Annunciation)
Leader: God of grace, as we light these candles, we remember your promise.
      All: Your light shines within us.
You have chosen us to bear your love into the world.
      Your presence grows within us.
We await the coming of Christ.
      Your Spirit moves within us.
We prepare for your coming in joy and simplicity.
     Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

5.
Leader: Now you, O Bethlehem of Ephratha, who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth from me one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.
      All: You have promised a ruler, O God,
     to feed your flock and guide us to live in peace.
      May your peace come to all the earth.
O God, you have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
You have brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
You have filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty..
      As we light these Advent candles, O God,
      kindle in us your spirit of justice.
      As we prepare for your coming may your love grow in our hearts,
      that by our faithful living
      we may bring peace to all the world. Amen.


6.
We praise you, O God, for this victory wreath
that marks our days of preparation for Christ’s advent.
      As we light these candles on the wreath,
      awaken our hearts to your light growing about us
     and within us, as our Savior draws near.
Enlighten us with your grace,
and prepare our hearts to welcome you with joy.
      Kindle within us the gift of love through Christ the Beloved,
     whose coming is certain and whose day draws near. Amen
.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of love, you promise your presence, and you pledge to us your mercy and grace. Open our eyes to see the dawning of your light within us and among us. Open our hearts to your Word, that we might trust in what you have spoken to us. Speak to us again, that we may live in the light of your coming. Amen.

2.
God of love, your presence grows within us. Open our hearts to receive, to honor and to nourish the holy child, that Christ may be born in us by your grace. Amen.

3.
Holy One, Promise of Life, Mystery of light, your grace comes to us; your Word grows within us. In the stillness of the morning we open our hearts to you, to receive your Word, to embrace your love, that your grace may be conceived in us and among us. May it be for us according to your Word. Amen.

4.
God of love, as your Word came to Mary long ago, it comes to us nows. You are present for us, and we have only to listen with our hearts to know your desire for us. We want to be open to your Word. We want to hear your promises. May it be for us according to your Word. Amen.

5.
Gracious God, your angel spoke to Mary long ago, calling her your Beloved, and showing her your blessing that grew within her. Speak to us now; call us as your Beloved, and help us see the blessing that grows within us. Grant us open hearts and minds, that as the scriptures are read and your good news proclaimed we may hear with joy what you are saying to us today. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

1.
God, we confess our sin, and what diminishes life in us.
And we confess the life within us yet to be born,
the holy presence yet to be affirmed,
the divine presence in us that leaps with joy.
Forgive our sin, heal our fear,
and bring to life the light within.
Give us the courage of Mary and Elizabeth
to believe you will fulfill what you have spoken.
Amen.

2.
God of love, you who are born in us, we thank you.
And we confess the times
we leave no room in the inn of our hearts
for you to be born in us.
Forgive our being closed off to your gift of Life;
grant us open minds and spacious hearts,
that your love may find new life in our lives.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

God of life,
something in us leaps for joy
when we sense you near.
Blessed are we, and blessed is the fruit of our hearts
when we listen.
In the silence, and in the Word, speak to us.
Come to us.
Be born in us.

Eucharistic Prayer

Beloved, God is with you.
     And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
     We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Faithful One, our God.
     It is good to give God thanks and praise.
How blessed we are that our life-giver and savior has come to us!
      Our hearts within us leap for joy at the sound of your voice.
We praise you, God, for you birth us in love.
     You promise yourself to us, and you are faithfully present.
You defeat the forces of oppression, set us free,
and call us to join you in building a world of mercy and justice.      
      You leave the rich wanting and feed the hungry with good things.
      Therefore with all Creation we sing your praise.
            
                   [Sanctus]

Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ:i
      in him you were incarnate among us and live with us always.
He taught and healed, he embodied forgiveness and reconciliation;
      he recognized the divine in each of us and called it to life.
                  […The Blessing and Covenant…]

Whenever we break this bread and share this cup we remember his incarnation,
his death and resurrection, until he comes again.
       Remembering your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
       we offer ourselves, with praise and thanksgiving,
       as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
       as we proclaim the mystery at the heart of our faith.
                    [Memorial Acclamation]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts,
that they may be for us the Body and Blood of the Holy One Jesus Christ.
       Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
       that we may trust what you have spoken to us,
       and conceive in our souls
       and bring forth your love made flesh,
      that by the grace of your Spirit in us
      may we be for the world the Body of Christ.

                              [Amen]
_____________________

* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. In your Spirit you live within us; your presence accompanies us; your love flows from us. May Christ be born in us in this holy season and all the days of our lives, by your grace, to your eternal glory. Amen

Suggested Songs

(Available on the Music page. Click on titles to view songs)

All Songs with “Advent” tag, especially:
Blessed Child of Bethlehem
Magnificat


Trinity Sunday

Lectionary texts

In Isaiah 6.1-8 the prophet sees a vision of God in the Temple. He feels inadequate because of his sin—and his people’s sin—but an angel sears his lips with a burning coal: he has been purified. Then God asks “Whom shall I send?” and the prophet replies, “Send me.”

Psalm 29 honors God’s glory and strength. God’s mighty voice (God’s power) shakes all Creation

Romans 8. 12-17 says rather than living according to our self-limited desires (“the flesh’), we live by God’s spirit in us, since we are God’s children. In this Spirit we are radically free

In John 3. 1-17 Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born “from the top,” that is, both from God and also anew, over and over. We receive our life from God. John then goes on to say that Jesus was sent for our salvation. The Son of man will be “lifted up” (meaning both “crucified” and also “honored”) like the bronze serpent Moses lifted up to cure people in the desert.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Eternal God, Holy Mystery, Infinite Love, we are in awe.
All: Wow.
Loving Christ, Body of God, you heal us and accompany us and show us the way.
Thank you.
Holy Spirit, breath of God in us, re-create us, birth us anew and fill us with your love.
Please.

2.
Leader: I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of God’s robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above God; they called to another and said:
All: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of God’s glory!
God so loved the world as to give us Christ, that whoever trusts may have eternal life.
Praise be to Christ, who is our life!
The Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you.
May we live by the Spirit, as children of God.
O Holy Mystery, Holy Trinity, Mother, Son and Holy Spirit,
we worship you; we praise you; we give our lives to you. Alleluia!

3.
Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
People: Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
Alleluia! Eternal God, Holy Trinity, you are Mystery,
you are grace, you are the power of love within us.
In awe, and gratitude and in obedience we worship you. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Loving God, Mother of our Birth and Creator of all things, your Spirit blows where it will. You bear us in your arms through all our lives. We turn to you now to hear your voice, to nurse from your love, and to give ourselves wholly to you. Through the Spirit and the Word give us new birth. Amen.

2.
O Holy One, you who are beyond us, and beside us, and within us, you who are our Source, our Companion, and our Life: we open our hearts to you. We don’t need to see your infinite splendor; but let us behold your glory just enough to fall in love, and give ourselves entirely to you, in the name and the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

3.
Eternal God, you who are Mystery to us, yet who reveal yourself to us, we open our hearts to you. We do not ask that you enable us to understand or explain you, but only that you fill our hearts with your love, that we may receive your blessings and serve you in love, in the name of Christ, in whose name we pray, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

4.

Holy One, you so love the world that you give us your Beloved, your Only Begotten, that we may be made whole. By your Spirit in us, may we be born again and again from you grace; may we be readily blown where the wind of your Spirit blows us, in the name and the company of Jesus. Amen.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

Loving God, you make us your children and you call us to help you to love the world. Stir up your Spirit in us so that as we read your scriptures and proclaim your Word we might hear what you are saying to us, and be transformed and enabled to sing more freely and beautifully the song of your grace. Amen.

Reading

Romans 8.12-17, a paraphrase.

Dearly Beloved, siblings in Christ, we are not isolated bodies,
constrained by their needs and limitations.
When we live that way, as separate units, we die.
But when by the breath flowing from God
we leave behind mere survival, we live deeply.
All who are led by the Spirit are children of God.
The Spirit doesn’t leave you in slavery, leashed to fear:
the Spirit is your adoption as God’s own.
When we cry out to God it is God in us making it clear
that we are God’s children—who inherit from God what Christ does,
invited as Christ’s siblings to share in Christ’s sufferings,
and also in Christ’s glory.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

We believe in God, who is mostly mystery but all love, the Holy Trinity: the Lover, the Beloved and the Love that Flows Between.
We follow Jesus, whom God gave to us in love, not to condemn us but to save us from slavery to our self-centeredness. Though the world condemned him, he did not condemn, but loved. Though he was crucified, by the eternal Spirit that was complete in him, he rose from death and gave to us his spirit.
We live by that Spirit, by whom we are born again and again from God, with new life. By the grace of that Spirit we are not isolated individuals but one, the Body of Christ, infinite in life and love. On the wind of that Spirit we sail into this world as Love leads us, to do justice, to love kindness, to walk humbly with God. In love the Spirit breathes us into the world to be the good news of God’s grace. Alleluia.


Prayer of Dedication / Sending

(suitable for dedicating the offering of gifts or sending forth at the end of the service. You may substitute “our lives” for “these gifts.”)

1.
Gracious God, we give you our gifts as symbols of our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Holy God, Three In One, send us in the love of Christ and the power of your Spirit for the sake of the healing of the world. Amen.

2.
Gracious God, receive our lives nd all our gifts, which we give to you in thanks and joy. In giving this we honor you as our Creator, and we humble ourselves before you. We remember the gifts of your Son, Jesus, and offer thanks for his grace. And we open our hearts to your Spirit, that you may use us to show your love to all Creation, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. As you have fed us in this meal, give new birth to us in every breath: continually make us new in love for you, for each other, and for the world, in the name and Spirit of Christ. Amen.

OT 12 – Pe + 4

Worship resources for:
OT 12 – Pe +4 (June 20, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

1 Samuel 17. 1-49  tells the story of David and Goliath.  Little David defeats the giant warrior not by strength, but by relying on God.

Psalm 9. 11-20  praises God, who hears the poor and the afflicted.  The nations and those who abuse others are trapped by their own evil.   But God remembers the needy.

In 1 Corinthians 6. 1-13 Paul says God offers salvation today, not later.  So don’t sit and let it go by you!  Paul then describes the difficulties of his ministry and pleads that it not be in vain. “Open wide your hearts.” 

In Mark 4. 35-41 the disciples go through a storm at sea, while Jesus sleeps in the boat.  In their anxiety they rouse him and he calls for peace and calm.

Call to Worship

1.

Leader:  God of love, you hear the cry of those who suffer.

 All:  We cry out with all who are in anguish.

Gentle Christ, you walk with those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.

 We walk with you among those who suffer.

Holy Spirit, we often despair as we face the troubles of the world.

 We open ourselves to your presence, so we need not fear.

 Calm our hearts, and give us courage to serve with you.

2.

Leader:  God of Creation, we are in awe of your work.

 All:    Thanks, we cry, and adoration!

God of mystery, our fears swirl about us.

 Save us, we cry.  Have mercy!

God of grace, your healing sustains us.

 Bless you, we pray, and we worship you.

3.

Leader: Creator God, the sea is so wide and my boat is so small!

   All:  Be good to us.

Loving Christ, the storms are great and our hearts are weak.

   Be with us.

Holy Spirit, you are the wind and you are the waves.

  Give us courage.

God of life, bring us through the storm.

   Give us faith.

   Come, Spirit of Life, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.

God of love, the storms of life frighten us.  But you are in the boat of our lives with us. Speak to us and give us peace.  Call to us, and give us courage.  Awaken us with your Word, so we may serve you without fear. Amen.

2.

God of mercy, your Word alone has power to create, power to save, power to heal.  Amidst the howling storm of society’s anxieties and the cries of our inner fears your voice comes to us, soft and steady.  Help us to listen and be still, to trust with all our hearts.  Speak to us, God of life.  Amen.

3.

God of all Creation, sometimes the storms frighten us and we cry to you.  Sometimes our challenges are great and we tremble.  Sometimes the storms are around us, and sometimes they are within. Speak your word of peace to us, so that we may endure our storms and face our difficulties with peace and faith.  We open our hearts to your grace.  Amen.

Readings

(For two readers.)

Reader 1: Jesus says: Let us go over to the other side.

     Reader 2: The other side… of what?  The tracks?…   The argument?

  The unseen?  The shadow side of myself?  

[….silence…]

Follow me.

   The rowing is hard. I am tired.

Come, to me, you who are weary, and I will give you rest. [….silence…]

   The wind is against me, and I am afraid.

The wind blows where it will. So it is with those who are born of the Spirit.   [….silence…]

   The waves are high.  How can you be asleep?

Peace, be still.   [….silence…]

   Do you not care that we are perishing?

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain.

But if it dies it bears much fruit.

   We have gone down into the deep baptismal waters

   and now we are born again.

   Even the wind and the seas obey the Beloved.  We too shall follow.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.

   We trust in you, God of Mystery, Creator of all that is and all that is to come.

    We follow you, O Christ, voice of God, Word made flesh, love embodied.  Your love and healing cast out demons and called forth justice.   You died in and rose in the peace of God.  Your mercy calms the storms in our hearts and calls us into a new community of hope.

    We live by your grace, Holy Spirit, your life in us that is not afraid, but at peace with all that is. Trusting in the gift of forgiveness, the power of resurrection, the mystery of eternal life and the gift of our unity with all living beings as the Body of Christ, we live in peace and nonviolence; we work for justice; we fearlessly share your love with all.  In your Peace, Holy One, we live as disciples of Christ for the healing of the world.  Amen.

2.

      Creator God, you are the sea and the wind; you are our boat, you are the mysterious depths and the far shore. We give ourselves to you.

         Loving Christ, you are the peaceful presence, you are the calming voice, you are the One who is in the boat with us always.  We trust you, and we turn to you.

      Holy Spirit, you are the wind that carries us onward, even when we are afraid.  You are the power that raised Jesus from the grave, and that rouses us from death.  You make us one Body; you give us trust in your grace; you give us courage in all things.  Grant us the faith to continue in our journey with Christ, to love and serve the world, trusting in the power of forgiveness and resurrection and the present reality of eternal life. Amen.

3.

             We give our hearts to God, Creator of all, whose Spirit is in the wind and in the calm, in our little boats and in the seas about us.

     We follow Christ, who is with us in the storms of life; who holds the power of all Creation in his hands; and who gives us peace by his resurrected presence. He bids us to trust, to love and to wonder in his name.

     We live by the power of the Spirit, who gives us peace in all our difficulties and courage in all our endeavors.  Since even the wind and the seas obey, we too obey God, the Holy One. We devote ourselves to accept the grace of God, to minister with Christ, to live resurrection, and to serve in love, for the sake of the healing of all Creation, in the name of Christ.  Amen.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

God of Peace, your Word calms storms. 

You are at peace, even in chaotic times.

Though we are afraid, Jesus is at rest

in the little boat of our hearts.

Speak your Word now. We will be still.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

1.

Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  Trusting your saving presence and the peace of your grace, we go into the world to heal, to do justice and to proclaim your good news, for the sake of the wholeness of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

2.

Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace, and use them according to your will.  Send us into the world with trust in your presence and courage in our hearts and hands, to go where you lead us, to love as you enable us, to serve as you command us. In the name of Christ, our Safety and our Peace, bless us.  Amen.

3.

Eternal God we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives.  Take them and do your will with them.  Through our giving and our service, reach out to those who struggle through the storms of life and offer rest and safety to them.  Help us to be a source of peace, present to them so that they may know your love.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

In the Boatsee music store.

Blue Christmas

For some, Christmas is a mixed blessing, evoking grief over the death of loved ones, or other sorrows. A Blue Christmas service is a serve of hope and healing that is more quiet and reflective than exuberant. It may speak not only to those who bear personal sorrows but also those who lament injustice and broken relationships in their communities or the world. If you offer a Blue Christmas service it’s helpful to have present not only those who are “blue” themselves, but those who would support them. You may want to have people on hand who are trained in listening (like Stephen Ministers), or prepared for healing, praying or other ministries.


Some Suggested Scriptures

(Italicized scriptures are included in this year’s Advent lectionary.)
Isaiah 12.2-6 (Week 3: You will draw water from the wells of salvation)
Isaiah 40.1-11 (comfort my people; the people fade like grass but God’s Word is
                     forever; God will carry the sheep in loving arms)
Zephaniah 3.14-20 ( Week 3. God will rejoice over you)
Psalm 13 (A lament: I bear pain in my soul)
Psalm 126 (May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy)
Romans 5.1-5 (Suffering leads to hope… )
Philippians 4.4-7 (Week 3. Rejoice always; be gentle; peace will guard your hearts)
Revelation 21.1-4 (The new heaven and new earth)
Luke 1.39-45 ( Week 4. Mary visits Elizabeth)
Luke 1.47-55 (Week 4. The Magnificat. You have remembered me in my low estate)
Luke 1.68-79, especially 76-79 (Week 2. Part of Zechariah’s song:
                       light for those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.)

Opening Prayer

Gracious God, Creator of all, you who make the snow of winter and the darkness of night, the day is yours, and also the night; summer and winter are yours.
      The darkness is yours, and in it we seek your blessing.
Christ, Companion of all who sit in darkness, you came to us on that night long ago, and warmed our night with your presence.
      In the darkness of this night we wait for your coming again.
Holy Spirit, we open our hearts to your light, and our lives to your presence.
      O Come, O come! God, be with us, dwell in our hearts,
      and let your dawn break upon us, and on all who dwell in darkness. Amen.

Listening Prayer

1.
Gentle God, from the beginning you promised to be our God, and to be with us always. In Christ you come to share our darkness, to bless our days and our nights, our joy and our sorrow, our living and our dying. Come, O gentle Savior, be with us, show us the way, and embrace us with your Spirit. Amen.

2.
Creator God, from the beginning of time, when only chaos and darkness existed, you have been with us. In the fullness of time, you sent your light into the world as Christ, to bless our days and our nights, our joys and our sorrows, our living and our dying. Come now, enter into our hearts, anoint us with your Spirit, and comfort us with your healing love. Amen.

Bidding Prayer

Loving God, we thank you for the many blessings you have given us. We remember with grateful hearts our loved ones, and all who have blessed us through our years.
     God of grace, we give you thanks.
We hold in your light what is no longer ours: loves and dreams that have passed, friends and hopes that have died. We hold in your light our struggles, our darkness, our emptiness.
     God of grace, be with us in the night.
O come to us, God, and walk with us. Grant us your consolation, strength and renewal. Enter into the rough stable of our lives so that here, by your presence, there is healing, and hope, and joy.
    God of grace, grant us light.
Gentle God, for all who suffer we ask your blessing. For all who are lonely we ask your presence. For all who struggle we ask your Spirit. Come to us, receive our wounds, dwell with us, and strengthen us by your spirit.
     God of grace, grant us your peace.
God of mercy, we mourn the world’s injustice, and pray in hope. Bless those who suffer oppression. Bless those who work for justice. Bless us, that with hope and courage we may shine with your light even in the darkest night.
     God of grace, grant us your hope.
Spirit of healing, fill us with your grace that we may shine with your light in the darkness, that we may bear your healing to others, that we may be living signs of your coming.
    God of grace, grant us your peace. Amen.

A Litany of Remembrance

Leader: As we near the longest night of the year, we light this advent candle of hope. We pray for all those who suffer—mentally, physically, emotionally, and ask your blessing upon them. Open our eyes to those who are lonely, afraid, and forgotten, that we might be to them a comforting and hopeful presence.
All: As the candle shines through darkness,
may we be your light to those in need of hope.
       Response— O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, verse 1

As we light this advent candle of love, we remember with grateful hearts all those who have blessed our lives with love. We pray for our loved ones who are no longer here with us. We remember their names, their voices, their lives. God, may your eternal light surround them.
As the candle shines through darkness,
may we be your light to those in need of love.
       Response— O Come, Come, Emmanuel, verse 2

As we remember that dawn defeats darkness, God, we light this advent candle of joy. As we experience times of loss—the loss of our health, our jobs, our relationships, our hopes and dreams, God promises to be with us and to lead us into a deeper joy.
As the candle shines through darkness,
may we be your light to those in need of joy.
       Response— O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, verse 3

Though we live in times of conflict and division, we light this advent candle of peace. In a world of unspeakable violence, you came to us as a baby—vulnerable, precious, and pure, offering to us the gift of your love. May your peace, which surpasses all human understanding, fill our hearts, and heal our world.
As the candle shines through darkness,
may we be your light to a world in need of peace.
       Response— O Come, O Come, Emmanuel ,verse 4
Silence

Psalm Meditation

(Psalm 85, paraphrased)

Leader: God of life, the land has blossomed with your favor.
You have restored your people;
you have forgiven us,
all of our brokenness a thing of the past.
In our suffering there was your grace,
your fierce protection.
     All: We listen for your voice, O God,
     for your compassion draws near. …

Restore us again, O God of our salvation.
Heal our fear of you.
How long will we go on distrusting of you,
keeping our distance for generations?
Awaken us from our bad dreams
and renew our joy.
Show us your steadfast love,
and grant us whole and vibrant life.
     We listen for your voice, O God,
     for your compassion draws near. …

We listen for your voice,
for you speak peace.
We turn to you in our hearts.
Even in the darkness, unseen, you are near.
     We listen for your voice, O God,
     for your compassion draws near. …

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
justice and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up like green plants;
solidarity with one another
will spread over us like the sky.
God will give what is good,
and the earth bloom with joy.
Compassion will walk through the world
and make a way for God to enter.
     We listen for your voice, O God,
     for your compassion draws near. …

Suggested songs

(Available on the music page. Click on titles to view songs… or copy them here.)

Come Again, Poor Jesus
(Tune: In the Bleak Midwinter)

When our souls are wintry, when our hearts are cold,
come to us, dear Jesus, as you did of old.
When our hearts, unsheltered, feel the winds above,
come to us and warm us with your gentle love.

In the dark we wander, searching for our way,
waiting, lost, and longing for the light of day.
Dawn upon your children; fold us in your grace.
Child, be born among us. Show to us your face.

Shepherds on the hillside, poor, without a friend,
kept their watch in silence, vigil without end.
But then in the darkness, angels brought the word:
“God has not forgotten, and your prayers are heard.”

To the simple, poor ones, Jesus came that night.
Come again, poor Jesus. Bless us with your light.
Lamb of God, be with us in our joy and pain,
and companion us, Love, to new life again.


Come, Gentle Jesus
(Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus)

Come, gentle Jesus. Come, to be here with us.
Come, be the light in our darkest night.
Show where we’ve gone astray; come, be our blessed Day.
Come, change us with your healing light.

Come, mighty Jesus. Come, and work your will in us.
Bring forth our gold with refining fire.
Make our hearts pure and clear; come, set us free from fear,
to sing your praise with heaven’s choir.

Come, blessed Jesus. Come and live your life in us.
Let us be your manger here.
Come, be born in us, flowing with love through us.
Oh, savior of the world, draw near!


Drawn by your light

(Tune: Away in a Manger)

In darkness we gather, God, drawn by your light,
your glorious presence that blesses the night,
the light and the deep peace that Jesus imparts,
the Spirit’s bright radiance that burns in our hearts.

The light of Creation that made the first dawn,
the pillar of fire that led Israel on,
the star that led magi to where Jesus was
now draws us to worship with alleluias.

Your light shines so even the darkness is blessed
this night as we wait for the coming of Christ.
God, shine your light warmly in us by your grace,
that we may bear healing and justice and peace.

Savior, In this Holy Darkness
(Tune: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence)

Savior, in our longing darkness,
waiting in our deepest night,
come and grace our hunger and yearnings;
for we live by hope, not sight.
Christ, we long for you. Come bless us.
Help us all to walk in the light.

Savior, in our lonely darkness
come to us who inwardly mourn.
Raise the love that lies a captive;
mend the cloth that has been torn.
Come to us, O God, with holy love:
wake us with the light of morn.

Savior, in our wounded darkness,
shadowed by our evil ways,
fear and anger and injustice,
violence that shutters our praise,
come, O Christ, and heal our broken lives
with love’s gentle, dawning rays.

Savior, in this deepening darkness,
how we long to see your face!
Yet you move, unseen among us
with your mercy and your grace.
Give us eyes of faith to see you,
hidden in each time and place.

Savior, in this holy darkness,
no one sees the flight of the dove.
No one hears the song of the angels.
Yet there shines a lone star above.
Grant this joy, to know your presence here.
Come and fill our hearts with your love.
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