November 29, 2020: “On the Road to Readiness”

Preparing for Worship

Today we enter the Advent season. Advent is the beginning of the church year, when we place ourselves in the story of those faithful Israelites who were waiting in hope for their Messiah and the coming of God’s reign on earth. We, too, are waiting. We’re waiting for liberation from a pandemic, waiting for peace in a violent world, waiting for many deliverances in our lives, both big and small. We are still waiting for God’s reign to come in its fullness.

In preparation for this service, you may wish to set out an Advent wreath with five candles, if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can create a set of Advent candles simply by placing four candles around a fifth candle in the centre. Leave them unlit to start the service. These candles symbolize our waiting for the Christ child, just as ancient Israel waited for their Messiah. Each week we will light another candle, culminating in the lighting of the central Christ candle on Christmas day.

Parents with young children, you’ll note that there is an Advent colouring page available for your child. Feel free to print it off for use during the service or later.

Pre-Service Carols

The tradition continues online! Over the past several years we have “cheated” during Advent by singing a couple of Christmas carols before each Advent service. Sing along to HWB 212 O Come, All Ye Faithful, accompanied by Dianne H. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him, born the King of angels.

O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

True God of true God, Light of light eternal,
our lowly nature he hath not abhorred;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above;
glory to God, all glory in the highest.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

Our second pre-service Christmas carol is HWB 199 The First Noel, accompanied by Dianne H. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

The first Noel, the angel did say,
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star
shining in the East, beyond them far,
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night.

And by the light of that same star
three wise men came from country far.
To seek for a king was their intent,
and to follow the star wherever it went.

This star drew nigh to the Northwest,
o’er Bethlehem it took its rest,
and there it did both stop and stay,
right over the place where Jesus lay.

Then entered in those wise men three,
full rev’rently upon the knee,
and offered there in his presence,
their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

Welcome & Call to Worship

Justin M. welcomes us and calls us to worship. Please follow along to the Call to Worship below.

Leader: O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence!

All: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Leader: We look around at our world, and we see how desperately we need you to act.

All: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Leader: Make us ready to receive your gifts of healing and love.

All: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Advent Candle Lighting

If you have an Advent wreath or a set of candles ready, you will want to light one of the outer candles as the first Advent candle is lit among us in the video below. The reading this Sunday is done by Daniel, Megan, Charlie, Olivia, and Aubrey K. Feel free to sing along to STS 15 Hope Is a Candle vv. 1,5, accompanied by Irene S. and Adalynne, Larissa, Matthew, and Michael P. You can use the song book or follow the lyrics below the video.

Hope is a candle, once lit by the prophets,
never consumed, though it burns through the years;
dim in the daylight of power and privilege –
when they are gone, hope will shine on.

Christ is the light that the prophets awaited,
Christ is the lion, the lamb, and the child.
Christ is the love and the myst’ry and laughter –
candles, make way! Christ is the day.

Songs of Hope

Our first Advent song of hope is HWB 172 O Come, O Come, Immanuel vv. 1,3,5,6, accompanied by Al & Loretta T. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here,
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Day-spring, 
come and cheer our spirits by thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and deaths’ dark shadow put to flight.

O come, thou Wisdom 
from on high, and order all things far and nigh.
To us the path of knowledge show,
and cause us in thy ways to go.

O come, Desire of nations,
bind all peoples in one heart and mind.
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease.
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.

Our second Advent song of hope is HWB 178 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, accompanied by Erin & Joel K. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus!
Born to set thy people free,
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art,
dear desire of ev’ry nation,
joy of ev’ry longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child, and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit,
rule in all our hearts alone.
By thine all-sufficient merit, 
raise us to thy glorious throne.


Thank you for your faithful giving even during a difficult year! Please continue this act of worship in support of the church’s ongoing ministries. You can send a cheque to the church office by mail, or you can give through an Access Credit Union branch or their online banking services (see the information here).

Community Life & Prayer

For announcements related to our church community, please see the eBulletin emailed to those on the weekly email list. You can also stay updated by checking the church Facebook page and this website.

This week in our prayers we especially remember:

  • All who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, directly and indirectly, locally and around the world. Following yesterday’s prayer vigil, we pray for a vaccine for COVID-19; a stop to the spread of this virus; wisdom for political and medical leaders; courage and protection for people in health care; protection for students and staff in all education centres; comfort and healing to the afflicted and the families of those who have died; and God’s peace that passes all understanding for all.
  • The HUB, Christmas Cheer, and similar organizations helping to meet the needs of our community during this difficult time, especially as we move into winter. May organizers have wisdom in making decisions about services, and may volunteers have energy and joy as they serve.
  • Those among us facing difficult challenges, and those among us celebrating good things. May each one know the presence and peace of Christ, and may we show the empathy and compassion of Christ as we “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).
  • Us as a church on this First Sunday of Advent: “May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13).

Justin M. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing STS 9 As the Pauper Waits for Plenty, accompanied by Loretta T. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

As the pauper waits for plenty,
as the weeping wait for mirth,
as a farmer waits for harvest
and a woman waits for birth,
so do I wait for you.

As the blossom longs for spring-time
and the seed, a fertile place,
as an orphan longs for fam’ly
and a child, his mother’s face,
so do I long for you.

As a songbird waits for morning
and an eaglet waits for flight,
as a flutist waits for music
and an artist waits for light,
so do I wait for you.

As the homeless long for shelter
and the weary, for a bed,
as the thirsty long for water
and the hungry long for bread,
so do I long for you.
So do you long for me.

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Justin M. reads Isaiah 64:1-4 and Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 for us today. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church.

Children’s Story

If you have children in your household, gather them around for this story, selected for us by Annelore W. You might also wish to print off this Advent colouring page for your child. If they would like to share their artwork with the church, we’d love to see it. Just take a picture and send it to Pastor Michael.


Michael P. shares a meditation for us based on our Scripture reading above.

Confession & Assurance

In response to hearing God’s word to us through Scripture and its interpretation, we turn to God in confession, awaiting God’s assurance. Justin M. leads us in this. Please follow along below.

Leader: Is there any hope for us? Can we be saved?

All: In you, O God, we put our hope.
You are our Creator; we are the work of your hands.

Leader: Look upon us with mercy, we pray.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

All: No ear has heard, no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for God.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far have you removed our transgressions from us.
Mold us and make us into vessels you can use.
Restore us, O God.
Make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. Amen.

Song of Response

Let’s respond to God’s word of hope to us by singing HWB 186 Fling Wide the Door, accompanied by Loretta T. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Fling wide the door, unbar the gate!
The King of glory comes in state;
the Lord of lords and King of kings, 
the Savior of the world who brings
his great salvation to the earth.
So raise a shout of holy mirth
and praise our God and Lord,
Creator, Spirit, Word!

He is the Rock of our belief,
the heart of mercy’s gentle self.
His kingly crown is holiness,
his scepter is his loveliness;
he brings our sorrows to an end.
Now gladly praise our King and friend,
and worship him with song
for saving us from wrong.

Oh, happy towns and blessed lands
that live by their true King’s commands,
and blessed be the hearts he rules,
the humble places where he dwells.
He is the rightful Son of bliss
who fills our lives and makes us his,
Creator of the world,
our only strength for good.

Come, Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ,
our hearts are open wide in trust.
O show us now your lovely grace,
upon our sorrows shine your face,
and let your Holy Spirit guide
our journey in your grace so wide.
We praise your holy name,
from age to age the same!


Justin M. offers this benediction for us as we leave this time of Advent worship together.

Sending Song

Let’s go from our worship together with this song on our lips and in our hearts: VT 849 We, Your People, Sing Your Praises, accompanied by Al & Loretta T. See the lyrics below.

We, your people, sing your praises as together we are sent
to reveal your new creation in the shadows of lament.
Give us courage for the journey, shepherd Jesus, be our guide;
help us lead with hope and passion till all things are reconciled.

In the Week Ahead

Check the church website and church Facebook page regularly for resources for staying connected and for spiritual growth during this time. Grace and peace to you this week!

Songs: O Come, All Ye Faithful (Text: John F. Wade, ca. 1743, Adeste fideles laeti triumphantes, Office de St. Omer (Sts. 1,3-4), 1822, Etienne J. F. Borderies (St. 2), 1822; tr. Frederick Oakeley and others (Sts. 1,3-4), 1841, alt., William Mercer (St.2), 1854. Music: attributed to John F. Wade, ca. 1743, Essay on the Church Plain Chant, 1782.); The First Noel (Text: English carol, Some Ancient Christmas Carols…, 2nd ed., 1823. Music: English carol, Christmas Carols, 1833; harmonized by John Stainer, 1871.); Hope Is a Candle (Richard Leach, 1994, © 1995 Selah Publishing Co., Inc.; Music: Scottish folk melody); O Come, O Come, Immanuel (Text: anonymous, ca. 6th-7th c., Veni, veni Emmanuel, 12th c.; tr. John M. Neale (Sts. 1-4), Medieval Hymns and Sequences, 1851, Henry Sloane Coffin (Sts. 5-6), Hymns of the Kingdom of God, 1916. Music: Trope melody, 15th c.); Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (Text: Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord, 1744. Music: Rowland H. Prichard, ca. 1830, Cyfaill y Cantorion, 1844; arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams, The English Hymnal, 1906, adapted 1951, BBC Hymn Book. Arrangement copyright © Oxford University Press, London.); As the Pauper Waits for Plenty (Text: Delores Dufner, OSB. Copyright © 1994, 2003 GIA Publications, Inc. Music: Peter Cutts, 1969. Copyright © 1969 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.); Fling Wide the Door (Text: based on Psalm 24, Georg Weissel, “Macht hoch die Tur,” Preussische Fest-Lieder, 1642; tr. Gracia Grindal, Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978. Translation copyright © 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship. Music: Neues Geistreighes Gesangbuch, 1704.); We, Your People, Sing Your Praises (Text: Rebecca Mosley and Josephine Manyeli, ©2013 Rebecca Mosley and Josephine Munyeli; Music: traditional East African melody and harmonization; arr. Mennonite Worship and Song Committee, 2019)
CCLI 491687 / One License A-71468
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