December 5, 2021 – Second Sunday in Advent
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Call to worship and Advent Candle lightning
One: A voice in the wilderness cries out:
Many: Prepare the way of the Lord!
One: Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill be made low.
Many: The crooked shall be made straight, and rough places, smooth.
One: A voice in the wilderness cries out:
Many: All people shall see the salvation of God!
One: Lift up your hearts in expectation!
Many: We will lift up our praise to the One who is coming into the world once more.
One: Today we are lighting the candle of peace.
(the candle has been lit)
All: We remember that Jesus brings the promise of peace: peace in our hearts, peace between family and friends, peace between nations, peace between human beings and all of creation.
Hymn (Book of Praise) 109 – “All earth is waiting”
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of peace and promise, you are the giver of life, living in us through the power of your Holy Spirit. You are the voice that calls us from our wandering, setting us on a new path. Refresh us in this time of worship, and reignite our desire to serve you each and every day.
Merciful God, Forgive when we sin against you and one another, in what we do and in what we fail to do. Forgive us when we excuse ourselves, and take comfort in familiar habits and traditions. Forgive us when we mistake such comfort for the peace you offer us in Christ Jesus. Prepare our hearts to embrace new ways of following him.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.
Declaration of Pardon
Receive God’s tender mercy today. Trust that God’s peace will prevail for all those who seek forgiveness in Jesus’ name.
Thanks be to God.
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
Amnesty International “Write for Rights” Campaign 2021 by Bonnie Horton
A few weeks ago, CBC radio program Q (hosted by Tom Power) had an interview with a famous pop singer-songwriter, Ed Sheeran. I happened to listen to the interview where he shared his life, and how he writes a song. Then he shared the feelings of emptiness and struggles he experienced behind all his fame and success, and what helped him to come out of his darkness. He talked about a song he wrote about his daughter— the kind of love, peace, and quietness that she brought into his chaotic life. “I’ve had the most insane week, had to be here and there…but when I am with my daughter, nothing else matters… No one can reach me.”
I think that is what the gospel of Luke 1: 68–79 is trying to express, the moment that everything else stops and nothing else matters. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his 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.”
What we read today is a song of thanksgiving that Zechariah, an old priest, and his wife Elizabeth sang from their heart as they were expecting their own child after years of waiting. In this song or prophecy, Zechariah highlights and proclaims God’s faithfulness, God’s salvation, and God’s peace the people of Israel will experience through his child, John the Baptist, and the Christ who is coming after him… I do not think this particular text is meant to be analyzed but to be sung and to be listened to as a song. What we are invited to hear is not just its lyric and melody, but the joy, peace, and love of God in our human hearts.
This particular song is not trying to explain God’s love for us but is inviting us to experience God in our human hearts. We cannot celebrate God’s love just by analyzing the scripture but by listening to God in our human life.
On Wednesday, November 3rd, this year, I happened to be at the church when the children’s choir met for the first time since the pandemic. There were two parents and three children. They were singing songs, and near the end of their practice, they sang, “Jesus loves me this I know….” It was the very first practice: children were not particularly singing in a perfect harmony, yet I have to say it was one of the most beautiful songs that spoke to my hearts. There were this pure joy, energy, and desire to learn… as well as the desire of two teachers or parents to teach children music and their gentle love for them. I could hear their pure joy, I could feel their warmth and love, I could sense the presence of the risen Christ.
In fact, every Sunday, that is what music does for me. Sometimes I am so busy with what I need to say and do. I get carried with my responsibilities. My mind goes everywhere. Sometimes it is when Rachelle is playing or when members of the choir are singing, I can take a step back and experience the peace of Christ.
Dear friends, if we look around and if we look at our own hearts, we will find God is singing a song to remind us that we are loved, we are blessed, we are accepted and we are forgiveness. Christ is inviting us to join in his singing….
We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of being present at Sunday worship, you may sign up for pre-authorized remittance (PAR), donate online, or drop off your offering envelope in the mailbox at the church. Do not leave a cash donation unattended in the mailbox; instead, please call the office (416.261.4037) to ensure someone will be there to receive it. The building will be checked daily for mail and phone messages. If you are not comfortable leaving an envelope, you are welcome to contact the office (once again, 416.261.4037) and someone will pick up your offering.
Prayer of dedication
First the stillness. Create the stillness in our heart. Then the words. Let them be your words. Now the song. Inspire our song. All we give, the best of ourselves, comes from you and lives in us. Our offerings are your offerings. Our lives are your lives. May we continue to bless each other through this time of giving, so that your name will be proclaimed everywhere. Magnify our offerings according to the spirit in which we give. These things we pray because you have shown us mercy and grace.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
Come, Christ Jesus, be our guest. Enter our lives today with your blessing. Draw near to us in friendship and faithfulness, so that in this season of celebration, we may know you are near, and be filled with gratitude, even in the face of challenge and uncertainty.
We thank you for the kindness we know in friends and good neighbours, in warm houses and warm smiles. We pray for those who have lost their way in life and feel like there is no place to turn. Equip us to reach out to those who need your embrace and ours.
Touch us with your healing and grace in every way we need these gifts. We remember before you those we know and those known to you alone who are living with loss or illness this season, those who face depression or discouragement, all who are worried about the impact of the pandemic, and any who will find it hard to be merry this year.
Come, Christ Jesus, and rule in our lives. Claim your rightful place in our hearts. This world is struggling for the justice and mercy you bring. We remember before you places marked by violence and upheaval, and the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.
Draw near to all leaders and citizens working for peace and justice. Encourage honourable action and co-operation in confronting global challenges and local needs.
Give hope to people under oppression and those who live with fear or hunger day by day. Christ Jesus, coming among us, Shine the light of your comfort into their lives and ours. Bring us peace.
Receive our prayers, spoken and unspoken.
Hymn (Book of Praise) 152 – “Still, still, still”
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always. AMEN.
- “Go Now in Peace”. Words by American educator, lyricist and composer Don Besig (1936–) and American lyricist Nancy Price (1958–). Music by Don Besig. Words and music copyright © 1988 Harold Flammer Music, a division of Shawnee Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
- Performed by Rachelle Risling (keyboard) and the GCPC Senior Choir. Audio and video production by Rachelle Risling.
- Audio and video recording copyright © 2021 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church.
Copyright © 2021 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated on 2021-12-10 20:10 – Update with link to recording of live stream of service.