Worship Service for December 4, 2022

December 4, 2022 – Second Sunday of Advent – Peace

A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, December 4, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EST on Sunday, December 4.

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The Bells of Guildwood present the Prelude

“Mary did you know.” Music (1991) by American minister and songwriter Mark Lowry (1958–) and American singer / songwriter Buddy Greene (1953–). Arranged by American musical educator and handbell music editor Anna Laura Page (1943–). Music copyright © 1996 Word Music, Inc, part of the Lorenz Corporation, and Rufus Music, admin. by Gaither Copyright Management, Inc, part of Capitol CMG Publishing; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.


Call to Worship

Reader 1: We are people of peace.
Reader 2: God seeks justice and compassion. God listens to the cries of the vulnerable and longs for wars to cease.
People: We pray God’s peace is at work in our hearts, our homes, our neighbourhoods and the world.

Reader 1: The second candle of Advent reminds us that we are called to live as people of peace.
Reader 2: We light this candle as an invitation to work for justice and peace.

(Light the candle of peace)

Reader 1: Let us pray:
People: Holy One, help us to fan the flame of peace. May our lives reflect the warmth and wonder of this candle. Make your church a place of peace and sanctuary in our community. Amen.

Opening Hymn

“All earth is waiting” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 109). Music and original Spanish words (1972; tune: “Taulé”) by Spanish priest and musician Alberto Taulé (1932–2007); English translation (1989) by Gertrude C. Suppe (1911–2007); harmony (1988) by Mexican-American organist and composer Skinner Chávez-Melo (1944–1992). English translation copyright © 1989 United Methodist Publishing House; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music copyright © 1993 Centro de Pastoral Litúrgica, administered by OCP; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Harmony copyright © 1988 Skinner Chávez-Melo.

Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)

God of wisdom and understanding, of peace and promise, you are the giver of life and you live in us. You have welcomed us as your children, and called us to live out your image with hospitality toward each other. In Jesus Christ, you offer us living water to wash away our sin and sorrow, and call us back to paths of justice and righteousness. With the Holy Spirit, you baptize us for service and life in community, refreshing us each day with your presence and purpose. Glory and honour and praise be yours, Creator, Christ and Spirit, this day and every day, now and evermore.

God of peace and promise, we confess that we have taken your commitment to us for granted. We assume what we do is acceptable to you, yet we judge others more harshly. We have been slow to welcome others, especially if their cultures or convictions differ from ours. You call us to repentance, but we resist seeing anything needing change in our hearts or our habits. Forgive our self-satisfied attitudes, and challenge us with your vision of a peaceable kingdom where all can be made new.

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 the Good News in peace. With great mercy, God forgives what we have confessed and offers us new life in Christ. Receive the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another.

Thanks be to God.

The Peace

The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Senior Choir and the Bells of Guildwood present

“Breath of Heaven.” Words and music (1992) by British singer-songwriter Chris Eaton (1958–) and American singer-songwriter Amy Grant (1960–). Arrangement (2006) by American musician Lloyd Larson (1954–). Bell arrangement by former Bells of Guildwood director Matthew Szeto. Music and words copyright © 1992, arrangement copyright © 2006 Age to Age Music, Inc./Riverstone Music/ASCAP, administered by The Loving Company/BUG Music, Inc. (BMI) o/b/o SGO Music Publishing Ltd (PRS). Bell arrangement copyright © Matthew Szeto; used by permission.

Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)

(Practicing faith)

A Welcome Moment

The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)

Scripture Readings

Matthew 3: 1–12 <– these link to on-line texts of the NRSV bible
Isaiah 11: 1–10

Click here for additional scripture readings from today’s lectionary. Links courtesy of the Revised Common Lectionary, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.


For Christians, Christmas is much more than a holiday or a holiday season. It is a spiritual season to deepen our faith in Christ. It is a spiritual season to acknowledge celebrate the gifts of God; (the gift of hope, peace, joy and love) we have received through Jesus Christ.

Today we pay attention to the gift of peace from Christ Jesus.

According to Joan Chittister, there are two different kinds of peace. One kind of peace is a state of life that is free from chaos and turbulence, from violence and troubles. But unfortunately, that kind of peace is too often achieved by force by silencing those who disagree. But there is another kind of peace. This kind of peace does not come either from the denial of evil or the acceptance of oppression. This kind comes from the center of us and flows through us. This kind of peace is the peace of those who know truth and proclaim it, who recognize oppression and refuse to accept it, who understand God’s will for the world and pursue it. According to Joan Chittister, that is the kind of Christmas peace we must seek to be.

Our question becomes, “Where do we start? How do we discover and experience this inner peace of Christ Jesus? Because we need such peace, I can use it in my life today. Our life offers us more than enough problems and challenges.

Today we listen to two prophets; John the Baptist from the gospel of Matthew; The prophet Isaiah from the book of Isaiah. According to John the Baptist, we begin to discover the gift of God, this gift of inner peace through repentance.

I am going to read the gospel of Matthew 3: 2–3,

2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’ ”

Let us be very clear that to repent is not to punish ourselves endlessly with our regrets and disappointments. But to repent is to pray to God. To place ourselves, all of ourselves, success and failure, excitement, and disappointment, humbly in the hands of God. To repent is not to make the people of God guilty for not coming to church more often… But to repent is to remember God is with us always.

John the Baptist did not ask only Pharisees or Sadducees who used their political power protecting their self-interests to repent (although I want to be clear that he was very hard on them.), but he invited everyone to repent; Pharisees, Sadducees, soldiers, tax collectors, farmers, fishermen, owners, workers, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands and wives, partners, all of us. John the Baptist invites all of us to repent. Once again, we are not asked to blame ourselves nor to destroy ourselves with endless regrets, but we are asked to look deeper and listen more to discover the presence of Christ in our life.

I believe we can do so, not by being hard on ourselves, but by talking to God… I believe to repent is to talk to God and to ask God, “God, what do you think? What do you see from my painting? What do you hear from my heart? What do you think I can do in this situation?”

To repent is not to ask ourselves again and again, “What have I done?” But to ask, “God, What do you see, and what can we do together?”

The book of Isaiah spends its entire book on what it means to repent according to God. I think it is more clear in the book of Isaiah. I am going to highlight Isaiah 11: 6–9:

6 The wolf shall live with the lamb; the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the lion will feed together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together;  and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

We try to create peace by separating the wolf from the lamb or by destroying the wolf, but the prophet Isaiah reminds us peace is created when we try to live together, allowing the wolf to live with the lamb….  We celebrate the gift of peace of Christ when we are willing to work together despite all our differences. How do we do that? Where do we start? We know how difficult it is to have the wolf and the lamb together, w know how difficult it is to put the calf and the lion together… Well, we believe we can start by listening and we can start by welcoming.

People’s differences help us to grow and deepen our being, yet we are so quick to draw a line by saying, “You are not one of us.”  I am fully aware how difficult this is. I am not sharing this as someone who struggles with accepting, listening and welcoming those who think differently. Yet, I believe that is what Jesus tried to show us on the cross. That is how we allow peace to grow in our hearts… By listening to one another, by trying to accept those who are not like us, by trying to welcome those we are afraid of… perhaps that is when we experience Jesus in our struggles.

Musical Reflection

Let There be Peace on Earth” (1955), words and music by Americans Jill Jackson-Miller (1913–1995) and Sy Miller (1908–1971). Arrangement (2022) by Rachelle Risling. Words and music copyright © 1955, 1983 by Jan-Lee Music, ASCAP. International copyright secured. All rights reserved; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Arrangement copyright © 2022 Rachelle Risling; used by permission.


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.

Dedication of our Gifts


“Praise God from whom all blessings flow”(Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 830) Based on the tune “Old 100th” with words by English bishop and hymnwriter Thomas Ken (1637–1711).

Prayer of dedication

God, our Peace and our Promise, receive our gifts as seeds of gratitude for your gift to us in Christ Jesus. Bless these seeds with growth so that peace will take root in people who face conflict and danger, and places seeking to establish peace in the face of violence. Be their peace and their promise, through Christ our Lord.

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope

God of the peaceable kingdom Isaiah envisioned, where predator and prey are reconciled, and children play in safety, we give you thanks for every step taken towards reconciliation among rivals. and every program provided to give children a reliable future. Thank you for policies implemented on behalf of the climate and every vulnerable creature, to give us all hope for an enduring future in the world you love, for peace will not come if the earth keeps tilting out of balance.

God of peace with justice, make us better stewards of the gifts you give us.

God of John the Baptist’s rallying cry, You raised up John in the wilderness as a voice calling us to conversion. We thank you for signs of renewal and change in the church, and in communities grappling with historic injustice and current outcry. Guide advocates who work for change with both courage and compassion. As we await the coming of Christ, awaken the church to new ways to undertake ministry and mission, and give us the energy and resources to reach out in ways we have yet to imagine.

God of peace with justice, make us better stewards of the gifts you give us.

God of steadfast encouragement, St Paul called the followers of Christ to live in harmony, and welcome those perceived as strangers to you and to them. Thank you for welcoming us when we were strangers to a new community, a new church or a life changed by unexpected circumstance. We pray for people who dread this Christmas season because life has changed for them, or circumstances leave them feeling lonely and discouraged. Draw close to those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, and guide us to reach out to someone who needs comfort or encouragement.

God of peace with justice, make us better stewards of the gifts you give us.

God of justice and equity, The psalms, the prophets and the gospels proclaim your care for the poor, and your expectation that your people will look to the needs of the vulnerable. We thank you that Canada has resources to share, and pray that our leaders will attend to longstanding injustice and urgent need without excuse or delay. We pray for places torn apart by war, and for communities devastated by storm, flood, fire or drought. Challenge any who would hoard scarce resources or profit from the needs of others. Open our hearts to share what we can, even in these difficult times.

God of peace with justice, make us better stewards of the gifts you give us.

Hear our prayers, O God, and strengthen us to serve you in faith and obedience. Amen.

Closing Hymn

Still, still, still” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 152). Modern German words attributed to German musical educator Georg Götsch (1895–1956). English words translated by American organist and music director George K. Evans (1917–2003). Music is an Austrian folk melody (tune: “Still, Still, Still”) first published in 1865; arrangement by American educator and conductor Walter Ehret (1918–2009). Music public domain. English translation copyright © 1963, 1980 George K. Evans, arrangement copyright © 1963, 1980 Walter Ehret, administered by Walton Music; both used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.

Changing the Light

Now, it is time to change the light. The light that was in one place can now be in every place and every time going with you wherever you go.


May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always. AMEN.

Choral Amen

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Click to listen to the Choral Amen at YouTube.
  • 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.


Copyright © 2022 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church

Last updated 2022-12-09 22:50 – Added Musical meditation details.