When God comes barging in

The Celebration of the Gospel
December 3, 2017 —First Sunday of Advent

 Keep awake!
 —Mark 13.37

________ We Gather as the Body of Christ______


CENTERING MUSIC    Listen For His Coming     Tune: “PICARDY”, arr: Mark Hayes

CALL TO WORSHIP    [Isaiah 64.1, 5, 8; 1 Cor. 1.7-8; Ps. 80.3; Mk. 13.31,37]

Cantor:  O God, that you would tear open the heavens and come down!
You come to those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways.

We lack no spiritual gift as we wait for Christ,
Christ, who will strengthen us to the end.

Oh, come to us, Oh come, Emmanuel,
come and bring your light into our darkened world.

Shine your face on us, God, that we may be saved.
You are our maker; you are the potter and we are your clay.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but your words will not pass away
Help us follow your call to keep awake.

LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLE      1 Corinthians 1.7-9
[God gives us every spiritual gift we need as we await Christ’s coming, for which God strengthens us so we’ll be ready.]

Leader:   You are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the coming of our Sovereign Jesus Christ
All:  God, strengthen us to the end,
so that we may be blameless on the day of our Beloved Jesus Christ.

God is faithful; God has called you into the community of the Beloved, Jesus Christ.
Fill us with your light, O Christ.
Help us to keep awake, and prepare for your coming with open hearts.

* SONG    O Come, O Come, Emmanuel    Blue hymnal # 211, vv. 1, 2, 5


____________We Attend to the Word__________

(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG     Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus   Arr. Mark A. Miller

God of Eternity, God of this moment, we trust that you are coming.  Come to us in scripture and in silence.  Open our hearts to your grace, that we may prepare a room for the birth of Christ in us and among us. Awaken us, God, and keep us awake.  Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT      from Isaiah 64.1-9
[The prophet looks around at a troubled world and cries to God, “Oh, that you would tear open the heavens and come down!”  God has done marvelous things.  But because we could not see God directly, we became distrustful, and we are burdened by our sin. But God will reshape us, as a potter reworks the clay.]

Oh, that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for you.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.

Yet you have hidden your face from us
and we waste away because of our sins.
But God, O Holy One, you are our Father, our Mother.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, O God;
do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look tenderly upon us, we pray,
for we are all your people.

GOSPEL          Mark 13.24-37
[ Jesus imagines the coming of God’s “New Human” with “signs in the heavens,” awesome, world-changing power.  Like watching a tree that is about to bloom, or servants waiting for the homeowner to return late at night, we should be ready, for the moment is near.  Jesus coaches us: “Keep awake!”]

Jesus said: In those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see ‘the Promised One coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then the angels will be sent to gather the elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the Promised One is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only God. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like someone going on a journey, when they leave home and put their workers in charge, each with their work, and they command the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the owner of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn. Don’t let the owner come suddenly and find you asleep!  So what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”


SONG Child of Promise    Steve G-H

Child of promise, oh, child of hope, prophets spoke of you:
visions treasured but unfulfilled. Shall our dreams come true?
Help us wait for you.

Child of woman, oh, child of God, birthing us anew,
make a room, oh, make a womb, in our hearts for you.
Help us wait for you.

Child of patience, oh, child of pain, suffering ills we do,
heal, forgive and help us be gentle child, like you.
Help us wait for you.

Child of wonder, oh, child of joy, you make all things new.
Re-create us, come again like the morning dew.
Help us wait for you.


[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]

___________We Share at Christ’s Table_________

OFFERING OUR GIFTS   Advent Prayer    George Blake

* COMMUNION SONG    Tune: Infant Holy

God our Mother, Christ our Brother,
Spirit, in these gifts you vow:
by your giving, in our living,
we become your Body now.
Bread is broken, light revealing;
Word is spoken for our healing.
Make us all your Body now.
Make us all your Body now.

Pastor: Beloved, God is with you.
All: 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.

God of Light, we thank you,
for in the beginning you brought light out of darkness.
In Egypt you condemned the forces of oppression
and brought us out of slavery to freedom.
In the wilderness you fashioned your People,
and accompanied us to a new land, a new world, new living.
In the life and death and resurrection of Jesus
you shine light in our lives, light that renews the world.

Gentle God, you enter into our brokenness and chaos;
you transform the world, and you invite us to be transformed
and to be awake to your coming.
We rejoice in the promise of your coming,
and therefore with your people and with all Creation we sing your praise:

Holy, holy, Holy One, God of love and God of light,
all Creation shows your glory, shining with your presence bright.
Blessed is the one who comes near, in your mercy, in your love.
Hosanna in the highest. Sing hosanna above!

Blessed are all who come in your name, and blessed is Jesus, your Christ,
the flesh of your presence and the light of your coming,
Jesus loved the neglected and healed the broken,
gathered the outcast and gave hope to the despairing.

Jesus entered into the suffering of the world to redeem it,
and to redeem all who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

[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
Christ has died and Christ is risen. Christ will come again in love.

Awaken your Holy Spirit in these gifts of food,
that those who receive them may experience your grace.  …
Awaken your Holy Spirit in these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Awaken your Holy Spirit in us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
transformed by your grace and confident in your coming,
to your eternal glory and praise.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

SHARING THE HOLY MEAL          [Everyone is welcome at the table of Christ’s self-giving love.
The bread is wheat-, soy- and dairy free.  We dip the bread in the juice.

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You promise to enter into our suffering and the suffering of the world.  By this meal awaken us to your coming and come to new life in us, that we may live as signs of your coming, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the power of your Holy Spirit and the name of Christ, who is coming.  Amen.

______ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____


*  SONG    I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light   Blue hymnal #206

RESPONSE    Please stand and sing to your neighbors:
Go in peace, Beloved, waiting for the dawn.
May the grace of Jesus bless and bear you on.
Go and share God’s blessing. Trust that Christ is near.
Mercy will go with you, till the Day is here.

POSTLUDE     Wachet Auf    Johann Walther


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