December 13, 2020: “On the Road to Restoration”

Preparing for Worship

Today we continue our Advent journey. 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. You can light two of the outside candles before beginning 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 191 O Little Town of Bethlehem, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to all the earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of the heav’ns.
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him still the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today!
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell.
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!

Our second pre-service Christmas carol is HWB 210 Good Christian Friends, Rejoice, accompanied by Loretta T. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Good Christian friends, rejoice,
with heart and soul and voice.
Give ye heed to what we say:

Jesus Christ is born today!
Ox and ass before him bow,

and he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!

Christ is born today!

Good Christian friends, rejoice,
with heart and soul and voice.
Now ye hear of endless bliss;

Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven’s door,

and we are bless’d forevermore.
Christ was born for this!

Christ was born for this!

Good Christian friends, rejoice,
with heart and soul and voice.
Now ye need not fear the grave;

Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all,

to gain his everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save!

Christ was born to save!

Welcome & Call to Worship

Dianne H. welcomes us and calls us to worship. Please follow along to the Call to Worship below.

Leader: The Lord has done great things for us, and so we rejoice!

All: Our mouths are filled with laughter, and our tongues with shouts of joy.

Leader: Those who sow in tears will reap shouts of joy.

All: Those who go out weeping will come home with shouts of joy.
The Lord has done great things for us—we rejoice!

Advent Candle Lighting

If you have an Advent wreath or a set of candles ready, you will want to light a third outer candle as the third Advent candle is lit among us in the video below. The reading this Sunday is done by Cara, Curtis, and Bryce W. Feel free to sing along to STS 15 Hope Is a Candle vv. 1,2,4,5, 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.

Peace is a candle to show us a pathway,
threatened by gusts from our rage and our greed.
Friend, feel no envy for those in the shadows –
violence and force their dead-end course.

Joy is a candle of myst’ry and laughter,
Myst’ry of light that is born in the dark;
laughter at hearing the voice of an angel,
ever so near, casting out fear.

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 Joy

Our first Advent song of joy is STS 11 No Wind at the Window, accompanied by Al & Loretta T. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

No wind at the window, no knock on the door;
no light from the lampstand, no foot on the floor;
no dream born of tiredness, no ghost raised by fear:
just an angel and a woman and a voice in her ear.

“O Mary, O Mary, don’t hide from my face.
Be glad that you’re favored and filled with God’s grace.
The time for redeeming the world has begun;
and you are requested to mother God’s Son.”

“This child must be born that the kingdom might come:
salvation for many, destruction for some;
both end and beginning, both message and sign;
both victor and victim, both yours and divine.”

No payment was promised, no promises made;
no wedding was dated, no blueprint displayed.
Yet Mary, consenting to what none could guess,
replied with conviction, “Tell God I say, ‘Yes.'”

Our second Advent song of joy is 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!

Offering

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

Our partners in International Witness in South Korea, Bock Ki Kim & Sook Kyoung Park, share this personal greeting and “video Christmas card” with us.

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:

  • Those among us and in our community who provide moments of joy in these difficult days. We are grateful for those who send cards of encouragement, who light candles in windows in support of front-line health care workers, who light up their houses with Christmas lights, who drive around town broadcasting Christmas music from their pickup trucks. May we find these moments of joy for ourselves, and create moments of joy for others.
  • Those among us and in our community struggling with the pandemic restrictions we are under, especially those who live alone, those in personal care homes, and those who already have mental health challenges. May each one be strengthened in perseverance for each day, and may we find ways to reach out to these who especially need a personal connection during these days.
  • 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 and weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).
  • Us as a church on this Third Sunday of Advent: “Even though we do not see Jesus now, let us believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for we are receiving the outcome of our faith, the restoration of our souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Dianne H. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing HWB 353 Lord, Listen to Your Children, accompanied by Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Lord, listen to your children praying,
Lord, send your Spirit in this place.
Lord, listen to your children praying,
send us love, send us pow’r, send us grace!

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Dianne H. reads Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 and Luke 1:46-55 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 young children in your household, gather them around for this lesson with our friend Douglas. 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.

Meditation

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

Do you see Jesus in this grilled cheese sandwich? If so, that’s an example of pareidolia, and it’s not the kind of “seeing Jesus” Michael is talking about! (Image from Glee, “Grilled Cheesus,” S.2 E.3, Fox)

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. Dianne H. leads us in this. Please follow along below.

Leader: God, we confess we do not always recognize you.

All: We confess that when we do, we do not always receive you.

Leader: Open our eyes to see you and our hearts to receive you.

All: Open our lives to your work of restoration, O God!

Song of Response

Let’s respond to God’s word of joy to us by singing STS 124 My Soul Cries Out, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great,
and my spirit sings of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight, and my weakness you did not spurn,
so from east to west shall my name be blest. Could the world be about to turn?

Refrain:
My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
and the world is about to turn!

Though I am small, my God, my all, you work great things in me,
and your mercy will last from the depths of the past to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame, and to those who would for you yearn,
you will show your might, put the strong to flight, for the world is about to turn.

From the halls of power to the fortress tower, not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears ev’ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn;
there are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed, for the world is about to turn.

Though the nations rage from age to age, we remember who holds us fast:
God’s mercy must deliver us from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard is the promise which holds us bound,
’til the spear and rod can be crushed by God, who is turning the world around.

Benediction

Dianne H. 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: HWB 427 You Shall Go Out with Joy, accompanied by Joel, Erin, Milo, and Jude K. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace.
The mountains and the hills will break forth before you.
There’ll be shouts of joy and all the trees of the field
will clap, will clap their hands.

And all the trees of the field will clap their hands,
the trees of the field will clap their hands.
The trees of the field will clap their hands,
while you go out with joy.

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 Little Town of Bethlehem (Text: Phillips Brooks, 1868, The Church Porch…, 1874; Music: Lewis H. Redner, 1868, The Church Porch…, 1874); Good Christian Friends, Rejoice (Text: In dulci jubilo, 14th c.; tr. John M. Neale, Carols for Christmastide, 1853, alt. Music: Geistliche Lieder, 1535; harmonized by Robert L. Pearsall); Hope Is a Candle (Text: Richard Leach, 1994; copyright © 1995 Selah Publishing Co., Inc. http://www.selahpub.com. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Music: Scottish folk melody); No Wind at the Window (Text: John L. Bell. Copyright © 1992 WGRG The Iona Community (Scotland). Used by permission of GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive agent. Music: Irish traditional; arranged by Marty Haugen. Arrangement copyright © 1995 GIA Publications, Inc.); 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 Geistreiches Gesangbuch, 1704); Lord, Listen to Your Children (Text: Ken Medema, 1970. Music: Ken Medema, 1970. Text and music copyright © 1973 Hope Publishing Co.); My Soul Cries Out (Text: Rory Cooney, based on Luke 1:46-58; Music: Irish traditional; arranged by Rory Cooney. Text and Music copyright © 1990 GIA Publications, Inc.); You Shall Go Out with Joy (Text: based on Isaiah 55:12; adapted by Steffi Geiser Rubin. Music: Stuart Dauermann, 1975. Text and music copyright © 1975 Lillenas Publishing Co.)
CCLI 491687 / One License A-714686
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