Good News for the poor

The Celebration of the Gospel
December 17, 2017 —Third Sunday of Advent

 The Spirit of God is upon me to bring good news to the oppressed
 —Isaiah 61.1

________We Gather as the Body of Christ______


PRELUDE  8:15: O Come, O Come Emmanuel—   arr. Matthew Prim (Ringtones)
10:30: I Wonder As I Wander— arr. Peggy Betcher (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

CALL TO WORSHIP        [Isaiah 61.1-4;  John 1.9, 18; 1 Thessalonians. 5.23]
The Spirit of God is upon me,
for God has anointed me.

God has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
and to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,
to declare the time of God’s favor, and comfort those who mourn.

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

The true light that enlightens everyone is coming into the world.
The Only Begotten, who is close to God’s heart, has made God known.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all things.
The peace of God will sanctify you
and keep you until the coming of the Beloved, Jesus Christ.

LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLE                John 1. 1-5, 9
[The author speaks of life-giving light coming into the world from God.]

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was in God’s presence, and the Word was God.
The Word was present to God from the beginning.
Through the Word all things came into being;
and nothing that has come into being came into being apart from the Word.
What has come into being in the Living Word is life,
and the life is the light of all people.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, is coming into the world.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

* SONG    Hail to the Lord’s Anointed   Blue hymnal # 203, v. 1-2


____________ We Attend to the Word__________

(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG         Thou Shalt Know Him When He Comes — Mark Siret

Loving God, you who are coming, you who are here: we await the coming of Christ, the ruler of the world and of our hearts.  Prepare a way: give us courage to be a voice in the wilderness crying out for your desire. Lead us in the ways of justice. Open our hearts to the coming of Christ and his Reign of mercy and justice.  Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT    Isaiah 61.1-2, 8-11
[God’s spirit anoints us to do God’s justice: to care for the poor and powerless and set people free.]

The spirit of God is upon me,
because God has anointed me;
God has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of God’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
and to comfort all who mourn.

God says, I love justice,
I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

So I will greatly rejoice in the Holy One,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for God has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
God has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.

GOSPEL     John 1.6-9, 19-23
[John the Baptizer bears witness to God’s life-giving light, to “one who is coming.” He says he is, in the words of Isaiah, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord!’”]

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

This is the testimony given by John when the leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said.


SONG      It Came Upon the Midnight Clear     Blue hymnal # 218

[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
RESPONSE: This is my prayer.  All: This is our prayer.


___________We Share at Christ’s Table _________

OFFERING OUR GIFTS   Advent Meditation  Anthony Giacomo

* COMMUNION SONG    [Tune: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus]

Come and set a feast of justice, food of grace you give to all.
You have healed us, called and blessed us; bring us to your welcome hall.
Come and make us sisters, brothers; break the chains of greed and fear;
fill us with your love for others; in this meal your Realm appear! 

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.

God, you create us as images of your love;
you judge the forces of oppression, and set us free;
and you accompany us into new life.
In the name of your Empire of Grace
Christ comes to establish your reign of justice among us,
embodied in this meal, to which you invite us with the poor and dispossessed.
Therefore as one with the oppressed, and with all creation, we sing your praise.

    [sung]        Tune: O Come, All Ye Faithful

Beloved, we thank you for your many blessings, and
so we bring our gifts in thanks and praise.
Holy One, God of love and mercy,
Bring now your realm of justice!
Hosanna in the highest and peace on earth.

Blessed is Jesus, love made flesh among us, your
joy and delight in us, the Bread of Life.
Christ has died. Christ is risen.
And Christ will come again soon, yes, Christ will come again.
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

The Blessing and Covenant…
Pour out your Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.

Pour out your Spirit on your waiting people, and
make us the Body of your Risen Christ.
Glory and honor be to you forever.
Amen.  Alleluia!  Amen.  Alleluia!
Amen.  Alleluia forevermore.

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.  Christ has prepared a way for you, in this meal and in this community. Changed by this grace, may we go out and do the work of justice, to prepare the way for your Empire of Love, in the name and spirit of Christ. Amen.

______ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____


*  SONG           People, Look East Blue hymnal #202

*  THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH      1 Thessalonians 5.16-24
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

RESPONSE    Please stand and sing to your neighbors:       (Tune: O Little Town of Bethlehem)
Now go in peace, my dearest friends, as God prepares the way.
God will embrace our lives with grace and bring a brand new day:
a day of love and justice, and in our darkness, light.
With grace divine you are a sign, a candle in the night.

POSTLUDE                                               8:15: “People, Look East“, arr. Jason Krug (Ringtones)
10:30: Wexford Carol”, arr. Jason Krug (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.
Following worship please join us for fellowship and refreshments.]



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