December 19, 2021 – Fourth Sunday in Advent
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Call to worship and Advent Candle lightning
One: God who spoke to Mary and Elizabeth,
All: speak your Word to us now.
One: God who blessed them with new life,
All: bless us with great expectation.
One: God who gave them songs of praise to sing,
All: receive our joyful praise.
One: God who loves beyond all measure,
All: we are here to worship you with hearts full of love.
One: The candle we light today is the candle of love. It is hard for us to imagine that God loves us no matter what. It is even harder to imagine that God is love.
(The Candle has been lit)
All: Jesus, help your light to shine in us as love.
Hymn (Book of Praise) 148 – “It came upon the midnight clear”
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of Life and Love, the stories of Advent remind us that you are a God of surprises. You surprised Elizabeth with news she would bear a child late in life. You surprised Mary with news she would bear our Saviour. Your surprises overturned their lives Enter our waiting, Holy Spirit. Stretch its boundaries wider than we have known, that we may encounter you in unexpected places and people and within our hidden longings.
O God, in our waiting, there may be reservations that we have not understood. Forgive us if we have placed limits on what we will receive from you, help us to be more aware. Forgive us When we define your coming in our own terms, deciding, before we meet you, what you will be like and who you will be in our lives, remind us, O God: Forgive us if we ever think that we know you more than others, closing off our lives to possibilities in friends and strangers, call to us again, O God:
Be gentle with us, Loving Jesus, and invite us to draw closer to your life. Hear our prayers, O God.
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
If there is one aspect of the life of God that we can never encompass, it is the measure of God’s grace. This will always be beyond our knowledge and more than we can ever imagine. We are forgiven!
Thanks be to God.
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
A Christmas Story with Chimes, Singers and Rhymes
Message from Rev. Moon
There is no sermon this week, so we offer you Chuck’s weekly Tidbits message instead.
“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness’. So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”2nd Corinthians 12 : 9–10
During the last two weeks, our congregation promoted human rights through the annual Amnesty International Write For Rights Campaign. Bonnie Horton kindly prepared the packages for each congregant to take home, read, and sign. I took four packages home, one for each member of my family. Except, when I went home, there were only three. I spent hours finding the missing package but to no avail. I looked at every little pocket in every bag I own. Oh, it bothered me. However, I ended up finding a Thank-You card which I thought I had lost from one of the pockets. There was even a small gift in it. I connected with the person who gave me the card and said, “I want to thank you for the thank you card and the gift you gave me a year ago. It took only 12 months to find it.” He was quick to offer his forgiveness, and we ended up having a good laugh that day.
What did I learn from this particular human experience?
First, how do we find something we lost? We have to lose something else, then try to find something else. It will eventually lead us to where we had lost something in the first place.
Second, we make mistakes and tend to make the same mistakes again. Yes, our errors can make us frustrated. But, our mistakes can also deepen joy, happiness, and even relationships with others.
Third, people tend to forgive mistakes others make better than their own mistakes.
During this week, I thought about the ways God has blessed me through my mistakes, imperfections, and struggles. I believe it is a good reminder for all of us that God works mysteriously through our human weaknesses, mistakes, flaws, and failures, not just through our strengths. Whatever challenges we face today, may we remain hopeful and encouraged. We never know how God will use our human challenges and flaws to reveal God’s grace to our human life.
* Our prayers are with Harry McMillan’s family.
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
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
In hope and faith, we bring our gifts to you, O God. Join them with your kindness to us all as we approach the celebration of Christ’s birth. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of all ages, we give you thanks for this time of watching, waiting, anticipating, and preparing for the coming of your son. On this final Sunday of Advent, we remember your love and give you thanks for the many places we find it in the world: with our brothers and sisters in Christ…with our families and loved ones…with our neighbours and friends …
In your son, Jesus Christ…
Help us to always recognize your love and to share it with others. Today we pray for: those who do not feel loved or lovable; those who are sick in spirit, mind, or body; those who are worried about loved ones; those who are lonely.
We pray for love in homes where there is bitterness, anger or despair. We pray for places around the world where there is hatred and violence. We pray for communities that face unrest and discord. Remind us that you loved the world — and us — so much that you gave your only son. Through him, we are empowered to accomplish all of what you ask us to do.
We pray all this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is our love, our hope, our peace, and our joy. Amen.
Hymn (Book of Praise) 154 – “Silent Night”
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 2021-12-18 14:50 – First version