Advent Liturgy 2015

 

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

 

Welcome & Introductions

 

Oh Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you

As the day rises to meet the sun.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

 

Come, let us sing to the Lord: let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

 

You'll Come

O, Holy Night

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

 

O Lord, listen to the song: of your saints who cry, “How Long?”

 

A note on Advent

Taken from the book of Common Prayer and a piece written by Christina Cleveland:

Advent, meaning “the coming,” is a time when we wait expectantly. Christians began to celebrate it as a season during the fourth and fifth centuries. Like Mary, we celebrate the coming of the Christ child, what Gad has already done. And we wait in expectation of the full coming of God’s reign on earth and for the return of Christ, what God will yet do. But this waiting is not a passive waiting. It is an active waiting. As any expectant mother knows, this waiting also involves preparation, exercise, nutrition, care, prayer, work; and birth involves pain, blood, tears, joy, release, community. It is called labor for a reason. Likewise, we are in a world pregnant with hope, and we live in the expectation of the coming of God’s kingdom on earth. As we wait, we also work, cry, pray, ache; we are the midwives of another world…

Advent isn’t a holiday party. It doesn’t pressure us to conjure up a hopeful face, ring bells, and dismiss the foulest realities we face. Advent isn’t about our best world, it’s about our worst world.

…We do the Light a disservice when we underestimate the darkness. Jesus entered a world plagued not only by the darkness of individual pain and sin, but also by the darkness of systemic oppression. Jesus’ people, the Hebrews, were a subjugated people living as exiles in their own land; among other things, they were silenced, (targets of brutality by the empire), and exploitatively taxed. They were a people so beaten down by society that only a remnant – most notably Anna and Simeon  – continued to believe that the Messianic prophecies would one day come to pass. For many, the darkness of long-standing oppression had extinguished any hope for liberation.

It was into this “worst world” that the Light-in-which-We-See-Light was born, liberating the people from the terror of darkness. So it is in the midst of our worst world that we, too, can most clearly see the Light, for light shines more brightly against a backdrop of true darkness.

Advent is an invitation to plunge into the deep, dark waters of our worst world, knowing that when we re-surface for air we will encounter the hopeful, hovering Spirit of God. For when we dive into the depths of our worst world, we reach a critical point at which our (holiday glitter and glam) no longer satiate our longing for hope – and we are liberated by this realization. Indeed, the light of true hope is found in the midst of darkness.

 

O Lord, listen to the song: of your saints who cry, “How Long?”

 

LAMENT

We lament for a world that is not yet made right,

We lament all the darkness as we wait for the light.

Today we grieve hate, hunger, and apathy. We grieve racism, fatherlessness, and the oppression of indigenous peoples. 

Today we grieve ISIS, political polarization, and human trafficking. We grieve mental illness stigma, immigration injustice, and violence. 

Today we grieve the school-to-prison pipelines, Spiritual abuse, and economic inequality. We grieve segregated churches, poverty, and police brutality. 

Today we grieve global oppression of women, marginalization, and darkness. We grieve loneliness, the loss caused by cancer, and the lies told by depression. 

Today we grieve the victims of hate and fear and greed. We grieve the hurtful systems that go unquestioned and those who follow blindly. 

Today we grieve the evil and ignorance in our own hearts. We grieve the ways we have wounded ourselves, the earth, and the people around us. 

We lament for a world that is not yet made right. 
We lament all the darkness as we wait for the light. 

 

Petition

Now come, Lord Jesus, come. 

Bring hope, bring healing. 

Bring unity, bring peace.

Bring life, bring mercy.

Bring understanding, bring relief.

Bring reconciliation, bring empowerment.

Bring sustainability, bring help.

Bring movement, bring new life.

Bring spirit, bring truth.

Bring redemption, bring laughter.

Bring what we’ve been waiting for, bring light. 

Come as you have. Come again. 

 

Scripture Reading 

Taken from Mark 13

“But 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 Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come…in evening, or at midnight, or at dawn. Keep awake…

Taken from Luke 1

After the angel came to Mary and told her that she would conceive the child in her womb and would call him Jesus, Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word…(And Mary sings her song of praise) ‘My soul magnifies the Lord…he has scattered the proud, He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, He has lifted up the lowly, He has filled the hungry, He has provided for the poor.”

Taken from Luke 2

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,  Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

 

Oh Lord, listen to the song: of your saints who cry, “How long?”

 

Message (+candle lighting)

 

We Will Feast

 

Gratitudes, Prayer Requests, Needs Box

 

Conclusion & Prayer 

 

Lunch Together


Advent Resources

Here are some things that folks are making/doing as they open themselves to the discipline of observing the Advent season:

The Advent Wreath

advent wreath.jpeg

One of the beautiful symbols of the season, layered with meaning. In the shape of a circle to symbolize the eternal nature of God, in Whom there is no beginning nor end. Green to symbolize everlasting life and the exhaustless mercy of God. 3 purple candles that mark the weeks of fasting, mourning, waiting, longing. The 1 pink candle that marks our shift to rejoicing and celebrating the birth of the incarnate God. And finally, the 1 white candle in the center, the Christ candle, symbolizing the perfection and completion that is embodied in Jesus.

Books, Blogs, Songs, Etc.