Let us be as open vessels that God’s spirit may enter.
The Community Gathers: We are a people waiting with expectant hearts and eager minds…ready to be whole again, to embrace the sacred gifts that await us…. ready to be productive and at peace. This Christmas, our angels wear masks, our churches are nearly empty, some families are apart…and yet the Spirit sings within us, we reach out in love to those in need, our candles of Joy burn brightly.
The Prince of Peace will be born in us again. Glory to God in the highest!
You are welcome here…come and worship!
Focus: Joy has a way of working its way from the inside out. When our lives are filled with joy, the symptoms are unmistakable. A twinkle in the eye. A ready smile. A skip in the step. A song in the heart. Joy lends a glow to the face and a lilt to the voice. Joy is contagious. It is also the birthright of every believer, but rainy days have a way of distracting us from that fact. (From Experiencing Contagious Joy by Christa Kinde) – Caryn Firebaugh
Lighting of the Advent Candle of Joy
As we prepare to celebrate Immanuel – God-with-us, God, who loved us first, may the kindling of this flame rekindle in us the inner light of Joy. – Caryn Firebaugh
Gathering Music: Oh For Joy (by Folk Hymnal) -Michelle Currie
Responsive Call to Worship:
L .Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice!
P: Our joy is in the Lord who blesses us.
L: Shout for joy, for the Lord is near!
P: Our praises ascend to God for the mighty things God has done.
L: Let your praise dance and swirl in tribute to God!
P: Surely God blesses and saves us. Hallelujah! Praise be to God.
Opening Hymn: Joyful, Joyful We Adore We Adore Thee #611
Invocation: ( from U U resources) In the midst of cold days and long nights, God offers joy.
As we miss holiday traditions that are not possible this year,
God still offers joy.
Though we wonder what the future holds and how long this pandemic will last, God continues to offer joy.
Even as we face illness and grief, God’s joy abides.
Holy God of Joy,
Amidst the relentless cheer of this season—the trees and the twinkles and the music and the gifts—we open ourselves to receive your joy. Thank you for each smile, each laugh, each moment of warmth, each flicker of light. Amen.
Awakening: Joy Has Dawned (by Kristyn & Keith Getty) -Michelle Currie
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 12:2-6, Luke 3:7-18 – Caryn Firebaugh
- After the reading, you may respond, “Thanks be to God.”
Sermon : Dare to Rejoice in the Lord – Rev. Dr. Nancy Parent Bancroft
Meditation Music : Meditative Instr. ~ Some Day at Christmas (by Ronald N. Miller/Bryan Wells) -Michelle Currie
Musical call to Prayer: (two times) Hush now in quiet peace, be still your mind at ease. The Spirit brings release, so wait upon the Lord.
Prayers of the People:
Silent Prayers Pastoral Prayer
Closing Hymn: Joy to the World #134 vs. 1,2 & 5
Postlude ~ We Need A Silent Night in Here
Benediction: For Equilibrium, a Blessing:
Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.
As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.
Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.
As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.
As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.
May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”
― John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
Recessional: Go in Peace
Go in peace and the peace of God be with you this day.
Go in peace and the peace of God be with you always.
celebrate and share the joy. Celebrate new life.
Go in peace and the peace of God be with you always
Thank you to Music Director Michelle Currie
Thanks to our reader, Caryn Firebaugh and Zoom Hosts, Patricia Mulholland and Stephen Fox.
Rev. Paula Norbert (207) 205-4951 or (firstname.lastname@example.org)