January 24, 2021: “Bringing Good News… to Whom?”

Preparing for Worship

In our weekly rhythm of taking a day to gather, we welcome you again to join us for a time of worship. We want to come into God’s presence, knowing that God is always with us, always there, anywhere. May we know and echo the words of David in Psalm 139, “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there? If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.” May we realize, not only that God is there, but that God welcomes us with open all-embracing arms; to come, to sing our praises, to speak our laments, to open our ears, our eyes, our arms to receive his word, his comfort, and also his sending word.  

The Peace of Christ be with you.

Welcome & Call to Worship

Dianne H. welcomes us and calls us to worship. Follow along with the Call to Worship below, taken from Psalm 62:5-8.

Leader: For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.

All: God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Leader: On God rests my deliverance and my honour;

All: my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Leader: Trust in God at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him;

All: God is a refuge for us.

Songs of Praise

Our first song of praise is HWB 36 God of Our Strength, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

God of our strength, enthroned above,
the source of life, the fount of love,
O let devotion’s sacred flame
our souls awake to praise thy name.

God of our strength,
we wait on thee,
our sure defense forever be.

To thee we lift our joyful eyes,
to thee on wings of faith we rise.
Come thou, and let thy courts on earth
ring out thy praise in days of mirth.

God of our strength, from day to day
direct our thoughts and guide our way.
Oh, may our hearts united be
in sweet communion, Lord, with thee.

God of our strength, on thee we call.
God of our hope, our light, our all,
thy name we praise, thy love adore,
our rock, our shield, forevermore.

Our second song of praise is HWB 343 My Hope is Built on Nothing Less, accompanied by Loretta T. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his loving face,
I rest upon unchanging grace.
In ev’ry rough and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the vale.

His oath, his covenant, and blood,
support me in the ‘whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.

Not earth, nor hell, my soul can move;
I rest upon unchanging love.
I trust his righteous character,
his counsel, promise, and his pow’r.

When he shall come with trumpet sound,
oh, may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne.

Offering

Thank you for your faithful giving! 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:

  • Those among us facing difficulties: loneliness due to the loss of a loved one or due to isolation during this Covid-19 shutdown. Those of us facing illness. May we all be encouraged to “. . . pour out [our] heart[s] before him; [for] God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)
  • All of us, that we may look for signs of hope and joy, whatever the circumstances we find ourselves in. May we seek to bring joy to others, with a phone call, or a note.
  • The staff at our Regional Church, Mennonite Church Manitoba: Michael Pahl—Executive Minister, Rick Neufeld—Director of Leadership Ministry, Dorothy Fontaine—Director of Missions, Kathy Giesbrecht—Assoc. Director of Leadership Ministries, Janet Peters—Assoc. Program Director—Camps with Meaning, Darryl Neustaedter Barg—Assoc. Director of Communications, Elizabeth Franz-Warkentin—Administrative Assistant—Camps with Meaning.
  • Our extended Anabaptist family. Today is Anabaptist Global Fellowship Sunday! Mennonite World Conference calls us to prayer on this day. Praise God that Anabaptists around the world are united in faith in God’s kingdom across language and cultural differences. Give thanks for the growing networks in the MWC family: mission, service, health, and peace.

Dianne H. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing HWB 349 Spirit of the Living God, accompanied by Linda P. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow along below.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Dianne H. reads Jonah 3:1-5, 10 and Mark 1:14-20 for us today. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church.

Children’s Feature

Kristy L. H. has chosen the following video, Jonah and the Fish, for the young (and young at heart). Enjoy!

Meditation

Ben P. shares a meditation for us, entitled “Bringing Good News… to Whom?”

Song of Response

Join in singing HWB 229 Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore, accompanied by Loretta T. You may use the song book or follow the lyrics below.

Lord, you have come to the lakeshore
looking neither for wealthy nor wise ones.
You only asked me to follow humbly.

O Lord, with your eyes you have searched me,
kindly smiling, have spoken my name.
Now my boat’s left on the shoreline behind me;
by your side I will seek other seas.

You know so well my possessions;
my boat carries no gold and no weapons;
but nets and fishes my daily labor.

You need my hands, full of caring,
through my labors to give others rest,
and constant love that keeps on loving.

You, who have fished other oceans
ever longed-for by souls who are waiting,
my loving friend, as thus you call me.

Benediction

Dianne H. offers this benediction for us as we leave this time of worship together.

Sending Song

Let’s go from our worship together with this song on our lips and in our hearts: STS 123 Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ, accompanied by Joel, Erin, Milo, and Jude K. You can use the song book or follow the lyrics below.

Let us talents and tongues employ,
reaching out with a shout of joy:
bread is broken, the wine is poured,
Christ is spoken and seen and heard.

Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
pass the word around: loaves abound!
Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
pass the word around: loaves abound!

Christ is able to make us one,
at his table he sets the tone,
teaching people to live to bless,
love in word and in deed express.

Jesus calls us in, sends us out
bearing fruit in a world of doubt,
gives us love to tell, bread to share:
God (Immanuel) ev’rywhere.

Special Thank you from Mennonite Central Committee…

Dear Morden Mennonite Church,

Thank you for your thoughtful and compassionate Christmas gift of relief kits as well as for your fall gift to our account with Canadian Foodgrains Bank! We are so grateful for your generosity during this critical time of global crisis and hunger.

Here are two short videos that speak to the ways your congregation is providing food relief and sustainability to families around the world:

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. The Peace of Christ be with you.

Songs: God of Our Strength (Text: Fanny J. Crosby, 1882, Baptist Hymnal, 1883; Music: William H. Doane, Baptist Hymnal, 1883; Public Domain); My Hope is Built on Nothing Less (Text: Edward Mote, ca. 1834, Spiritual Magazine, n.d., alt. Music: William B. Bradbury, 1863, Devotional Hymn and Tune Book, 1864); Spirit of the Living God (Text and Music: Daniel Iverson, 1926, Revival Songs, 1929; arranged by Herbert G. Tovey; © 1935, renewal 1963 Birdwing Music; All rights controlled by The Sparrow Corp.); Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore (Original title: Pescador de Hombres; Text: Cesareo Babarain, Dios con Nosotros, 1979; tr. Gertrude C. Suppe, George Lockwood, and Raquel Gutierrez-Achon, 1987; Translation copyright © 1989 The United Methodist Publishing House; Music: Cesareo Gabarain, Dios con Nosotros, 1979; Spanish Text and Music copyright © 1979 Cesareo Gabarain. Published by OCP Publications.); Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ (Text: Fred Kaan; Music: Jamaican folk tune; adapted by Doreen Potter. Text and Music copyright © 1975 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)
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January 17, 2021: “God Calls! And So…?”

Preparing for Worship

On this third Sunday of January we welcome you, as always, to join us for worship. Wherever you find yourself, we hope that you can be at peace, even with the concerns of life, as you/we together enter into the Presence of God.  Join us in listening to the voice and the words of God. Join us in singing the songs that lift us and challenge us. Let us pray together to express our gratitude, our questions, our concerns. May God bless us as we examine and hear the words of Jesus’ invitation “Come and see, follow me.”

Welcome & Call to Worship

Steve K. welcomes us and calls us to worship.

Songs of Praise

Our first song of praise is STJ 3 Jesus Calls Us Here to Meet Him, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

Jesus calls us here to meet him as,
through word and song and prayer,
we affirm God’s promised presence
where God’s people live and care.

Praise the God who keeps their promise;
praise the Son who calls us friends;

praise the Spirit who, among us,
to our hopes and fears attends.

Jesus calls us to confess him
Word of Life and Lord of all,

sharer of our flesh and frailness
saving all who fail or fall.

Tell his holy human story;
tell his tales that all may hear;

tell the world that Christ in glory
came to earth to meet us here.

Jesus calls us to each other:
vastly diff’rent though we are;

race and colour, class and gender
neither limit nor debar.

Join the hand of friend and stranger;
join the hands of age and youth;

join the faithful and the doubter
in their common search for truth.

Jesus calls us to his table
rooted firm in time and space,

where the church in earth and heaven
finds a common meeting place.

Share the bread and wine, his body;
share the love of which we sing;

share the feast for saints and sinners
hosted by our Lord and King.

Offering

Thank you for your faithful giving! 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:

  • The continuing Covid-19 crisis around the world: Pray for wisdom for political and health leaders as they make difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions to try to minimize the spread of Covid. Pray for strength for healthcare workers as they care for the large number of sick people. Pray for a sense of God’s presence for those who are sick, or those who have lost loved ones to Covid. Thank God for a vaccine. May leaders have wisdom to know how best to distribute it.
  • Those among us facing difficult challenges: Pray for Otto and Susan H. and the extended family, as Otto is hospitalized. Pray for Irene and Randy S., as well as Mary D., in the passing of Irene’s brother and Mary’s son-in-law, David H.  
  • That we have good things to celebrate as well: Even in the midst of darkness, may we look for and spread flickers of light.
  • That we may, with Samuel, be ready to listen for and respond positively to God’s call.

Steve K. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing HWB 523 Dear Lord, Thou Life of Humankind, accompanied by Loretta T. You can use the hymn book or follow along below.

“Dear Lord, thou life of humankind,
forgive our foolish ways.
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper rev’rence praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love;

drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm.
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire,
speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still small voice of calm!

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Steve K. reads 1 Samuel 3:1-10 and John 1:43-51 for us today. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church.

Children’s Feature

Kristy L. H. has chosen the following video for the young (and young at heart). Enjoy!

Meditation

Sing along with Ben to the song God’s Love is For Everybody. It’s a new song. The chorus is centered to distinguish it from the verses.

God’s Love is For Everybody – Brian Moyer Suderman 

God’s love is for everybody, everyone around the world, 
You and me and all God’s children from across the street to around the world,
Across the street to around the world. 

Abe and Sarah listened closely, this is what God said, 
“Go where I send you, keep walking straight ahead, 
I am going to bless you beyond your wildest dreams 
And I’ll make of you a blessing for all earth’s families,” . . . ’cause . . . 

Jesus went to Nazareth and from the scroll he read, 
“The Spirit is upon me to bring good news,” he said, 
Freedom to the captives, to help the blind to see, 
And I think I’ll call disciples to share this job with me,” . . . ’cause . . .

Paul the apostle wrote some letters to his friends.
He said, “Do not be frightened, be faithful to the end.
You are God’s own temple and God’s Spirit lives in you 
Oh—and Aquilla and Priscilla said to say “Hello” to you!” Yes … 

Lydia, my neighbour, lives just down the street from me, 
Seatla in Botswana lives across the great big sea, 
Santi in Colombia, Keisuke in Japan. 
We are partners all together in God’s great big wonderful plan; for … 

Ben P. shares a meditation for us entitled “God Calls! And So… ?”

Join along with Ben as he closes his sermon with STS 60 Come to Me, Come to Us.

Come to me, come to us, you who are burdened.
Come to the word, and come to the meal.
Come without question or pressure or price:
Come, be embraced by the body of Christ.

Come to me, come to us, pilgrim or stranger,
looking for change, or challenge, or light.
We are the people whose calling is care,
bearers of mercy, nourished in prayer.

Come to me, come to us, broken or building,
come with your children, your choices, your chains.
All are invited to friendship or rest,
to share in our struggle, our call and our quest.

Song of Response

Join in singing HWB 395 Here I Am, Lord, accompanied by Loretta T. You may use the song book or follow the lyrics below.

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin
my hand will save.
I who made the stars of night;
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them.
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of wind and flame, 
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide,
till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?

Benediction

Steve K. offers this benediction for us as we leave this time of worship together.

Sending Song

Let’s go from our worship together with this song on our lips and in our hearts: STS 40 Som’landela (We Will Follow), accompanied by Joel, Erin, Milo, and Jude K.  You can use the song book or follow the lyrics below.

We will follow, we will follow Jesus.
We will follow, ev’rywhere he goes.
We will follow, we will follow Jesus.
Ev’rywhere he goes—we will follow.

Som’landela, som’landel’ uJesu.
Som’landela yonke indawo.
Som’landela, som’landel’ uJesu.
Lapho Eyakhona som’landela.

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: Jesus Calls Us Here to Meet Him (Text: John L. Bell and Graham Maule; Music: Lewis folk melody; arranged by John L. Bell. Text and Music copyright © WGRG The Iona Community, Scotland. Used by permission of GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive agent.); Dear Lord, Thou Life of Humankind/Dear Lord and Father of Mankind (Text: John Greenleaf Whittier, The Atlantic Monthly, 1872. Music: Frederick C. Maker, Congregational Churhc Hymnal, 1887.); Here I Am, Lord (Text: based on Isaiah 6, Daniel Schutte, 1980, Lord of Light, 1981. Music: Daniel Schutte; arranged by Michael Pope, SJ, and John Weissrock. Text and Music copyright © 1981 Daniel L. Schutte and New Dawn Music.); Som’landela (We Will Follow) (Text & Music: Zimbabwean traditional); God’s Love is For Everybody by Brian Moyer Suderman; Come to Me, Come to Us (Text: Rory Cooney. Music: Rory Cooney. Text and music copyright © 1986 North American Liturgy Resources. Published by OCP.
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January 10, 2021: “A Word is Spoken, a Voice is Heard”

Preparing for Worship

We welcome you to our time of worship in a time of change and transition. 
We have begun a new year, and trust that God will guide us as individuals as well as his people, that God will enlighten our path together, will take our hand and walk with us.

As we look at today’s theme, as we read the Scripture passages, sing the songs, may we find a window to get a glimpse, hear a voice that connects us with the Divine. God has spoken many times and continues to speak. May we not only hear God’s voice, but listen carefully for his directives, his encouragement, and always the assurance of his love. May the Light of Christ be with us. 

Welcome & Call to Worship

Elsie W. welcomes us and calls us to worship.

Songs of Praise

Our first song of praise is HWB 53 God of the Earth, the Sea, the Sky, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

God of the earth, the sky, the sea!
Maker of all above, below!
Creation lives and moves in thee,
thy present life through all doth flow.

We give thee thanks, thy name we sing!
Almighty God, our praise we bring.

Thy love is in the sunshine’s glow,
Thy life is in the quick’ning air.
When lightnings flash and stormwinds blow,
There is thy pow’r; thy law is there.

We feel thy calm at evening’s hour,
thy grandeur in the march of night,
and when thy morning breaks in pow’r,
we hear thy word, “Let there be light.”

But higher far, and far more clear,
thee in our spirit we behold;
thine image and thyself are there,
th’indwelling God, proclaimed of old.

Our second song of praise is HWB 220 Worship the Lord in the Beauty, accompanied by Loretta T. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
bow down before him, his glory proclaim.
Gold of obedience and incense of lowliness
bring and adore him; the Lord is his name!

Low at his feet lay your burden of carefulness,
high on his heart he will bear it for you,
comfort your sorrows, and answer your prayerfulness,
guiding your steps in a way that is true.

Fear not to enter his courts in the slenderness
of the poor wealth you would count as your own.
Truth in its beauty, and love in its tenderness—
these are the off’rings to bring to his throne;

these, though we bring them in trembling and fearfulness,
he will accept for the name that is dear,
mornings of joy give for evenings of tearfulness,
trust for our trembling, and hope for our fear.

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
bow down before him, his glory proclaim.
Gold of obedience and incense of lowliness
bring and adore him; the Lord is his name!

Offering

Thank you for your faithful giving! 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:

  • Those among us facing difficult challenges, including those who have spent their first Christmas without a loved one. Let’s also remember Walt and Elsie W., as they mourn the passing last week of Walt’s brother Menno.
  • Those among us celebrating good things, for, indeed, “. . .  the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Ps. 100: 5)
  • Ben P. as he begins his interim ministry among us. Pray for joy for him as he gets acquainted/reacquainted with us at Morden Mennonite. That we—even in this service, might be prepared to hear the “word that is spoken.”
  • Beyond our church, we lament, with our siblings in Mennonite Church USA, the escalation of violence that led to Wednesday’s events on Capitol Hill. May we remember that Christ is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and may we, pray with our MC USA siblings the following prayer that our MC Canada leaders have crafted:

Dear God, grant us your peace this day.
Help us to be effective instruments of your peace as we live out our call.
Help us to love our neighbour and trust in your transforming power.
Grant us wisdom in conversations. Let us appreciate each and every one of your creations.
Watch over us and protect us in this time of uncertainty.
In Jesus name, Amen.

Elsie W. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing HWB 303 Come, Gracious Spirit, accompanied by Loretta T. You can use the hymn book or follow along below.

Come, gracious Spirit, heav’nly Dove,
with light and comfort from above.
Come, be our guardian and our guide;
o’er ev’ry thought and step preside,
o’er ev’ry thought and step preside.

The light of truth to us display
and make us know and choose your way.
Plant holy fear in ev’ry heart,
that we from God may ne’er depart,
that we from God may ne’er depart
.

Lead us to Christ, the living Way,
nor let us from his pastures stray.
Lead us to holiness, the road
that we must take to dwell with God,
that we must take to dwell with God.

Lead us to heav’n, that we may share
fullness of joy forever there.
Lead us to our eternal rest,
to be with God forever bless’d,
to be with God forever bless’d.

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Elsie W. reads Genesis 1:1-5, and Mark 1:1-11 for us today. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church.

Children’s Feature

Kristy L. H. has chosen the following video for the young (and young at heart). Enjoy!

Meditation

Ben P. shares a meditation for us entitled “A Word is Spoken, a Voice is Heard.”

Song of Response

Join in singing STS 39 Will You Come and Follow Me, accompanied by Dianne H. and Michael P. You may use the song book or follow the lyrics below.

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

Benediction

Elsie W. offers this benediction for us as we leave this time of worship together.

Sending Song

Let’s go from our worship together with this song on our lips and in our hearts: HWB 499 Lord, Speak to Me, accompanied by Loretta T.  You can use the song book or follow the lyrics below.

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
in living echoes of thy tone.
As thou hast sought, so let me seek
thine erring children lost and lone.

O lead me, Lord, that I may lead
the wand’ring and the wav’ring feet.
O feed me, Lord, that I may feed
thy hung’ring ones with manna sweet.

O strengthen me, that while I stand
firm on the Rock, and strong in thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
to wrestlers with the troubled sea.

O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
the precious things thou dost impart,
and wing my words, that they may reach
the hidden depths of many a heart.

O fill me with thy fullness, Lord,
until my very heart o’erflow
in kindling thought and glowing word,
thy love to tell, thy praise to show.

O use me, Lord, use even me,
just as thou wilt, and when and where,
until thy blessed face I see,
thy rest, thy joy, thy glory share.

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: God of the Earth, the Sky, the Sea (Text: Samuel Longfellow, Hymns of the Spirit, 1864, alt.; Music: Henri F. Hemy, Crown of Jesus Music, 1864; adapted by James G. Walton, Plainsong Music for the Holy Communion Office, 1874); Worship the Lord in the Beauty (Text: John S. B. Monsell, Hymns of Love and Praise, 1863, alt. Music: Manuscript Chorale Book, 1754); Come, Gracious Spirit (Text: Simon Browne and others, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1720, alt. Music: William B. Bradbury, The Jubilee, 1858); Will You Come and Follow Me (Text and Music: John L. Bell and Graham Maule; Scottish traditional; arranged by John L. Bell; copyright ©1987, arrangement copyright ©1995 WGRG The Iona Community, Scotland). Used by permission of GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive agent); Lord, Speak to Me (Text: Frances R. Havergal, 1872, Under the Surface, 1874; Music: adapted from Robert Schumann, Hymnal with Tunes, Old and New, 1872)
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January 3, 2021: “Journey to Radiance”

Preparing for Worship

We gather around our computers or CD players on this, the first Sunday of the new year, known on the church calendar as Epiphany Sunday. Our theme for our services since the first Sunday of Advent has been “On the Road . . . “ We’ve considered, first, the Road to Readiness, and then to Repentance, Restoration, Revelation, and Rejoicing. This theme of “On the Road” has conveyed a sense of movement . . . And, just as we are in the season that moves toward more hours of sunlight, may we find ourselves moving closer to the “true light that gives light to everyone” as we, today, consider the “Road to Radiance.”

Welcome & Call to Worship

Peter H. welcomes us and calls us to worship.

Welcome
Call to Worship

Leader: Lift up your eyes and look around:

People: God delivers the needy when they call.

Leader: Let your hearts thrill and rejoice:

People: God will deliver the poor and those who have no helper.

Leader: The nations will bring gold and frankincense before the Lord.

People: We shall see and be radiant,

All: and we will proclaim the praise of the Lord!

Songs of Praise

Our first song of praise 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.

Our second song of praise is STS 32 Oh, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, accompanied by Loretta T. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Oh, beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shining afar thro’ shadows dim,
giving a light for those who long have gone,
(have gone,) and guiding the wise men

on their way unto the place where Jesus lay,
beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shine on. (shine on.)

Oh, beautiful star—
of Bethlehem,—
shine upon us until the glory dawn;—
oh, give us thy light to light the way
into the land of perfect day;
beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shine on. (shine on.)

Oh, beautiful star, the hope of light,
guiding the pilgrim thro’ the night,
over the mountain till the
break of dawn; (the dawn;)
and into the light of perfect day
it will give out a lovely ray;
beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shine on. (shine on.)

Oh, beautiful star, the hope of rest,
for the redeemed, the good and blest,
yonder in glory when the crown
is won; (is won,)
for Jesus is now that Star divine;
brighter and brighter he will shine;

beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shine on. (shine on.)

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

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 affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, both directly and indirectly, both locally and around the world. May God bring protection, provision, and healing to those most in need. May we continue to have patience and grace toward one another during this time of increased restrictions.
  • Ben P. as he begins his interim ministry as Lead Pastor among us. May he know the wisdom, strength, and peace of Christ as he provides spiritual leadership for us during this in-between time. May we support and encourage him in this role.
  • 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 Epiphany Sunday. May the light of Christ guide our steps as we walk in his ways. “For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).

Peter H. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing HWB 352 Gentle Shepherd, Come and Lead Us, accompanied by Loretta T. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow along below.

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us
For we need you to help us find our way
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us
For we need your strength from day to day

There’s no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us
For we need you to help us find our way

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Cherie F. reads Isaiah 60:1–6 and Matthew 2:1–12 for us today. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church.

Isaiah 60:1-6
Matthew 2:1-12

Children’s Feature

Kristy L. H. has chosen the following video for the young (and young at heart). Enjoy!

Meditation

Lawrence S. shares a meditation for us entitled “Journey to Radiance.”

Song of Response

Let’s respond to God’s word to us by singing HWB 218 As with Gladness Men of Old, accompanied by Linda P. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

As with gladness men of old
did the guiding star behold,
as with joy they hailed its light,
leading onward, beaming bright;
so, most gracious Lord, may we
evermore be led to thee.

As with joyful steps they sped,
Savior, to thy lowly bed,
there to bend the knee before
thee whom heav’n and earth adore;
so may we with willing feet
ever seek thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
at thy cradle rude and bare,
so may we with holy joy,
pure and free from sin’s alloy,
all our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee, our heav’nly King.

Holy Jesus, ev’ry day
keep us in the narrow way,
and, when earthly things are past,
bring our ransomed souls at last
where they need no star to guide,
where no clouds thy glory hide.

In the heav’nly country bright
need they no created light;
thou its light, its joy, its crown,
thou its sun which goes not down.
There forever may we sing
alleluias to our King.

Ben Pauls’ Welcome and Installation

Installation Litany

Lisa: Ben, on behalf of the congregation of Morden Mennonite Church, we as the Church Council have called you to serve as our Interim Lead Pastor. We see your positive response to our call is an answer to our prayers, and we are grateful to God and to you.

Ben: Having prayerfully considered your call to serve as your Interim Lead Pastor, I accept it as a call from God, and I want to faithfully serve and care for this congregation as the body of Christ.

Kristy: We want to affirm you as a leader of this congregation.

Lawrence: We offer ourselves as partners in ministry with you.

Lisa: Ben, we welcome you among us, and pledge our support to you as you exercise the leadership among us that we have called you to.

Prayer (please pray along with Lisa): O God, you call your people to service through the church. We thank you that Ben has agreed to serve among us. Be a source of strength to him, and endow him with the gifts of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. May we all be faithful to support him in prayer and with our encouragement, and may all of us together work to help our congregation be a source of strength and witness. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Benediction

Peter 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: STJ 78 Sizohamba Naye (We Will Walk With God), accompanied by Jude, Milo, Erin, and Joel K.  You can use the song book or follow the lyrics below.

We will walk with God, my brothers,
we will walk with God.
We will walk with God, my sisters,
we will walk with God.
We will go rejoicing till the kingdom has come.
We will go rejoicing till the kingdom has come.

Sizohamba naye, wo wo wo, sizohamba naye.
Sizohamba naye, wo wo wo, sizohamba naye.
Ngomhla wenja bula sizohamba naye.
Ngomhla wenja bula sizohamba naye.

You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

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: The First Noel (Text: English carol, Some Ancient Christmas Carols…, 2nd ed., 1823; Music: English carol, Christmas Carols, 1833; harmonized by John Stainer, 1871.); Oh, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (Text: Adger M. Pace, 1940; Music: R. Fisher Boyce, 1940; harmonized by Adger M. Pace); Gentle Shepherd, Come and Lead Us (Gloria Gaither, William J. Gaither; ©1974 William J. Gaither); As with Gladness Men of Old (Text: William C. Dix, ca. 1858, Hymns of Love and Joy, ca. 1860; Music: Conrad Kocher, Stimmen aus dem Reiche Gottes, 1838; adapted by Wiliam H. Monk, Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861); Sizohamba Naye (We Will Walk With God) (Swaziland traditional transcribed by John L. Bell; ©2002 WGRG The Iona Community/GIA Publications, Inc.)
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December 27, 2020: “On the Road to Rejoicing”

Preparing for Worship

We gather today in the warm glow of Christmas. Jesus has been born among us, our Immanuel, God with us! We also pause on this last Sunday of the calendar year to look back at the year behind us and look ahead to the new year to come. 2020 will be a year to remember! What memories, whether good or bad, will you carry forward with you? What hopes and dreams do you hold for 2021?

Because we are in the Christmas season (the “Twelve Days of Christmas”) you may wish to light up your Advent wreath again, lighting all five candles to start the service. If you don’t have a wreath you can create one simply by placing four candles around a central Christ candle.

Welcome & Call to Worship

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

Leader: Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens;

All: praise the Lord in the heights!

Leader: Praise the Lord, all God’s angels; praise the Lord, all God’s host!

All: Praise the Lord, sun and moon; praise the Lord, all you shining stars!

Leader: Praise the Lord, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

All: Praise the name of the Lord; God’s glory is above earth and heaven.
Praise the Lord!

Songs of Praise

Our first song of praise is HWB 201 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies,
with th’angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come, offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the God-head see, hail th’Incarnate Deity;
pleased with us in flesh to dwell; Jesus, our Immanuel!
“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of peace! Hail, the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.
“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Our second song of praise is HWB 209 O du fröhliche (Oh, How Joyfully), accompanied by Joel K. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

O du fröhliche, O du selige,
gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Welt ging verloren; Christ ist geboren:
Freue, freue dich, O Christenheit!

O du fröhliche, O du selige,
gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Christ ist erschienen, uns zu versühnen,
Freue, freue dich, O Christenheit!

O du fröhliche, O du selige,
gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Himmlische Heere jauchzen dir Ehre.
Freue, freue dich, O Christenheit!

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

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:

  • For the year past, that we would remember God’s love and faithfulness to us in 2020, evident in both big and small ways, even through difficult times. God is faithful, and God is love; thanks be to God!
  • For the coming year, that 2021 would be a year of greater peace in the world, filled with ever-increasing hope and joy among us, marked by an ever-expanding love for one another in acts of compassion, mercy, and justice in the way of Jesus.
  • 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 Christmas Sunday. May we “rejoice in hope” for a new year as we walk with Christ, our Immanuel, God with us; may we “be patient in suffering” come what may, and may we “persevere in prayer” through all things and for all people. (Rom 12:12).

Margie H. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing STS 65 Open My Eyes, accompanied by Linda P. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Open my eyes, Lord.
Help me to see your face.
Open my eyes, Lord.

Help me to see.

Open my ears, Lord.
Help me to hear your voice.
Open my ears, Lord.

Help me to hear.

Open my heart, Lord.
Help me to love like you.
Open my heart, Lord.

Help me to love.

And the first shall be last,
and our eyes are opened
and we’ll hear like never before.

And we’ll speak in new ways,
and we’ll see God’s face

in places we’ve never known.

Open my eyes, Lord.
Help me to see your face.
Open my eyes, Lord.

Help me to see.

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Margie H. reads Isaiah 43:14-19 and John 20:11-18 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 or even teens in your household, gather them around for this lesson on “Coping with Change.” (Adults: this is good for you, too!)

Meditation

Justin M. shares a meditation for us entitled “Good Old Days.”

Song of Response

Let’s respond to God’s word to us by singing HWB 545 Be Thou My Vision, accompanied by Irene S. and Michel P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word;
I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father, thy child may I be,
thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee.

Be thou my buckler, my sword for the fight.
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tower.
Raise thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise;
thou mine inheritance, now and always.
Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
high King of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, when vict’ry is won
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Benediction

Margie 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 318 Joy to the World, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ
while fields and floods,
rocks, hills, and plains,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.

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: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Text: Charley Wesley and others, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, alt.; Music: Felix Mendelssohn, 1840; adapted by William H. Cummings, 1855, Congregational Hymn and Tune Book, 1857); O du fröhliche (Oh, How Joyfully) (Text: Johannes D. Falk (St. 1), Auserlesene Werke, 1819, Heinrich Holzschuher (Sts. 2-3); tr. Harris J. Loewen, re-envisioned by Brian Wren, 1990. Copyright © 1990 Hope Publishing Co. Music: The European Magazine and London Review, 1792; arranged by Robert Shaw and Alice Parker, 1953. Arrangement copyright © 1953, renewed G. Schirmer, Inc.); Open My Eyes (Text: Jesse Manibusan, based on Mark 8:22-25 and Psalm 51:12-14. Copyright © 1988, 1998, 2001 Jesse Manibusan and Rufino Zaragoza, OFM. Published by OCP. All rights reserved. Music: Jesse Manibusan. Copyright © 1988, 1998, 1999 Jesse Manibusan. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.); Be Thou My Vision (Ancient Irish, Translated by Mary E. Byrne, Eleanor Hull, Martin Shaw; © Oxford University Press); Joy to the World (Text: based on Psalm 98, Isaac Watts, Psalms of David…, 1719, alt. Music: Lowell Mason, Occasional Psalm and Hymn Tunes, 1836).
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December 25, 2020: “God in the Flesh”

Preparing for Worship

Today we conclude our Advent journey. Today we celebrate the coming of the Messiah, the Christ child, Jesus. Today we celebrate the revelation of God in Jesus, the Son of God born of the virgin Mary, the eternal God made flesh in human weakness and frailty and potential and promise. Today we celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

We are following a traditional Advent or Christmas service format called “Lessons and Carols.” In this service there are seven Scripture texts that tell the story of Jesus’ birth from prophecy to fulfillment (the “Lessons”), and seven accompanying songs for these readings (the “Carols”).

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 all four 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. Now we are ready to light the central Christ candle.

Christmas Candle Lighting

Light the centre candle as the Christ candle is lit among us in the video below. The reading today is done by Jason, Kristy, Cooper, and Theo L. H. Feel free to sing along to STS 15 Hope Is a Candle vv. 1,2,4,3,5, 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.

Love is a candle whose light makes a circle,
where ev’ry face is the face of a friend.
Widen the circle by sharing and giving –
God’s holy dare: love everywhere.

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.

First Lesson

Michael P. reads our first Scripture text from Isaiah 9:2-7.

First Carol

Join in singing HWB 178 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, accompanied by Michael, Larissa, Amelia, Michael, Matthew, and Adalynne P. Note that this arrangement includes a third verse not found in our blue hymnals, but included in our new Voices Together hymnal as VT 218. You can use the but hymnbook for the harmonies, but you’ll want to 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.

Come, thou universal Saviour;
come, redeem the human race.
Life and joy spring from thy favour;
cheer each soul in need of grace.
Still we wait for thine appearing –
make our senseless struggles cease.
Guide us from our wear wand’ring
into paths of perfect peace.

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.

Second Lesson

Kristy L. H. reads our second Scripture text from Isaiah 11:1-9.

Second Carol

Join in singing HWB 211 Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, accompanied by Michael, Larissa, Amelia, Michael, Matthew, and Adalynne P. The lyrics below are those found in the new Voices Together hymnal, as VT 216. You can use the blue hymn book for the harmonies, but you will want to follow the lyrics below.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem has sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming as saints of old have sung.
It came, a flow’ret bright, amid the cold of winter,
when half-spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind.
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a Saviour, 
when half-spent was the night.

Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
dispel in glorious splendor gloom and grief ev’rywhere.
True man, yet very God, from sin and death he saves us,
and lightens ev’ry load.

Third Lesson

Lawrence S. reads our third Scripture text from Isaiah 40:1-11.

Third Carol

Join in singing HWB 176 Comfort, Comfort, O My People, accompanied by Michael, Larissa, Amelia, Michael, Matthew, and Adalynne P. The lyrics below are those found in the new Voices Together hymnal as VT 212. You can use the blue hymnbook for the harmonies, but you will want to follow the lyrics below.

Comfort, comfort, O my people, speak of peace, now says our God.
Comfort those who sit in shadows, mourning ‘neath their sorrows’ load.
Speak unto Jerusalem of the peace that waits for them.
Tell of all the sins I cover, and that warfare now is over.

Hark, the voice of one who’s crying in the desert far and near,
bidding all to full repentance since the kingdom now is here.
Oh, that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way!
Valleys, rise in exaltation; hills, bow down in adoration.

O make straight what long was crooked, make the rougher places plain.
Let your hearts be true and humble, as befits a holy reign.
For the glory of our God now o’er earth is shed abroad.
And all flesh shall see the token that God’s word is never broken.

Fourth Lesson

Michael P. reads our fourth Scripture text from Luke 1:26-38.

Fourth Carol

Join in singing In the Bleak Midwinter, accompanied by Michael, Larissa, Amelia, Michael, Matthew, and Adalynne P. You can follow the lyrics below.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow.
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heav’n cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
Heav’n and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed,
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels, may have gathered there;
Cherubim and seraphim, thronged the air.
But his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the Beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what can I give him? Give my heart.

Fifth Lesson

Kristy L. H. reads our fifth Scripture text from Luke 2:1-20.

Fifth Carol

Join in singing HWB 197 Angels We Have Heard on High, accompanied by Michael, Larissa, Amelia, Michael, Matthew, and Adalynne P. You can use the hymnbook or follow the lyrics below.

Angels we have heard on high,
singing sweetly through the night,
and the mountains in reply echoing their brave delight.

Glo-ria in excelsis Deo,
glo-ria in excelsis Deo.

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why these songs of happy cheer?
What great brightness did you see?

What glad tidings did you hear?

Come to Bethlehem and see
him whose birth the angels sing.
Come, adore on bended knee

Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.

See him in a manger laid
whom the angels praise above.
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,

while we raise our hearts in love.

Sixth Lesson

Lawrence S. reads our sixth Scripture text from Matthew 2:1-12.

Sixth Carol

Join in singing HWB 212 O Come, All Ye Faithful, accompanied by Michael, Larissa, Amelia, Michael, Matthew, and Adalynne P. The words below are from the new Voices Together hymnal, as VT 241. You can use the blue hymnbook for the harmonies but you will want to 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;
born of a woman, here in flesh appearing.

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, begotten, not created.

Seventh Lesson

Michael P. reads our seventh Scripture text from John 1:1-14.

Meditation

Michael P. offers this Christmas meditation for us today: “God in the Flesh.”

Here is the portrait of God Michael references in his meditation, from Michelangelo’s fresco “Creation of Adam” in the Sistine Chapel.

Seventh Carol

Join in singing HWB 318 Joy to the World, accompanied by Michael, Larissa, Amelia, Michael, Matthew, and Adalynne P. You can use the hymnbook or follow the lyrics below.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive its king;
let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Saviour reigns!
Let all their songs employ
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness,
and wonders of his love, and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.

Benediction

May you know the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christ
throughout this Christmas season and into the New Year!

In the Coming Days

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: 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); Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (Text: Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord, 1744; stanza 2 adapted from “Light of Those Whose Dreary Dwelling” in the same collection. 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.); Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming (Text: anonymous, Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Sts. 1-2), Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengeseng, 1599, Friedrich Layritz (st. 3), Liederschatz, 1832; tr. Theodore Baker (Sts. 1-2), 1894, Harriet K. Spaeth (St. 3), 1875, The Hymnal 1940, alt. Music: Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengeseng, 1599; harmonized by Michael Praetorius, Musae Sionae, VI, 1609); Comfort, Comfort, O My People (Text: based on Isaiah 40, Johannes Olearius, “Trostet, trostet, meine Lieben,” Geistliche Singe-kinst, 1671; tr. Catherine Winkworth, Chorale Book for England, 1863, alt. Music: Louis Bourgeois, Genevan Psalter, 1551; harmonization adapted from Claude Goudimel, Les Pseaumes…, 1565); In the Bleak Midwinter (Text: Christina Rossetti, public domain; Music: Gustav Holst, public domain); Angels We Have Heard on High (Text: Nouveau Recueil de Cantiques, 1855; tr. Anonymous, altered by Earl Marlatt, New Church Hymnal, 1937. Music: traditional French carol, Nouveau Recueil de Cantiques, 1855); 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.); Joy to the World (Text: based on Psalm 98; Isaac Watts (England), The Psalms of David […], 1719, alt. Music: Lowell Mason (USA), Occasional Psalm and Hymn Tunes, 1836).
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December 20, 2020: “On the Road to Revelation”

Preparing for Worship

Today we continue the Advent journey, nearing its end. 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 three 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 195 It Came Upon a Midnight Clear vv. 1,3,4,5, accompanied by Dianne H. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to all from heaven’s gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife, the world has suffered long;
beneath the heav’nly hymn have rolled two thousand years of wrong,
and warring humankind hears not the tidings which they bring.
O hush the noise and ease your strife and hear the angels sing.

And you, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow:
“Look now!” for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing.

For lo, the days are hast’ning on, by prophet bards foretold,
when with the ever-circling years comes ’round the age of gold,
when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling,
and the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.

Our second pre-service Christmas carol is HWB 197 Angels We Have Heard on High, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Angels we have heard on high,
singing sweetly through the night,
and the mountains in reply echoing their brave delight.

Glo-ria in excelsis Deo,
glo-ria in excelsis Deo.

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why these songs of happy cheer?
What great brightness did you see?

What glad tidings did you hear?

Come to Bethlehem and see
him whose birth the angels sing.
Come, adore on bended knee

Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.

See him in a manger laid
whom the angels praise above.
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,

while we raise our hearts in love.

Welcome & Call to Worship

Al T. welcomes us, and then Al & Loretta T. call us to worship. Please follow along to the Call to Worship below.

Leader: We will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;

All: we will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.

Leader: We declare that your steadfast love is established forever;

All: your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
You are our God, and the Rock of our salvation!

Advent Candle Lighting

If you have an Advent wreath or a set of candles ready, you will want to light the final outer candle as the fourth Advent candle is lit among us in the video below. The reading this Sunday is done by Justin, Ladonna, Martin, and Britton M. Feel free to sing along to STS 15 Hope Is a Candle vv. 1,2,4,3,5, 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.

Love is a candle whose light makes a circle,
where ev’ry face is the face of a friend.
Widen the circle by sharing and giving –
God’s holy dare: love everywhere.

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 Love

Our first Advent song of love 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 death’s 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 love is HWB 178 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, accompanied by Joel & Erin 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.

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

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:

  • As we head into an unusual Christmas week, may we know the hope, peace, joy, and love of God in Christ. We pray this especially for those who are feeling lonely, those who are anxious or afraid, and those who are sad or even experiencing depression. May we find ways to share this hope, peace, joy, and love with others, even within the restrictions for gathering we are under.
  • Pastor Michael as he concludes his ministry among us this week. May he experience the strength and wisdom of Christ as he transitions to his new role with Mennonite Church Manitoba.
  • 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 Fourth Sunday of Advent: We “give thanks to God, for God is good, and God’s steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 136:1). This Christmas, may we “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19).

Al T. leads us in a congregational prayer. With each invocation of “O Lord, Most High,” please respond with, “fill us with Mary’s wonder, hope, and trust.”

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer as we sing STJ 54 Longing for Light, accompanied by Linda P. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has pow’r to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.

Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Al T. reads Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 and Luke 1:26-38 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 Advent 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.

Confession

In response to hearing God’s word to us through Scripture and its interpretation, we turn to God in humble confession. Al & Loretta T. lead us in this. Please follow along below.

Leader: God, you come to us with the words “Do not be afraid.”

All: Yet we cower and live in anxiety and fear.

Leader: We lack faith and trust in your ways.

All: We want to respond like Mary, “I am your servant.”
Give us humble, willing hearts to follow your call.

Song of Response

Let’s respond to God’s word of love by singing STS 65 Open My Eyes, accompanied by Linda P. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

Open my eyes, Lord.
Help me to see your face.
Open my eyes, Lord.

Help me to see.

Open my ears, Lord.
Help me to hear your voice.
Open my ears, Lord.

Help me to hear.

Open my heart, Lord.
Help me to love like you.
Open my heart, Lord.

Help me to love.

And the first shall be last,
and our eyes are opened
and we’ll hear like never before.

And we’ll speak in new ways,
and we’ll see God’s face

in places we’ve never known.

Open my eyes, Lord.
Help me to see your face.
Open my eyes, Lord.

Help me to see.

Blessing & Release for Michael

This is Michael’s last Sunday with us before he steps into his new role as Executive Minister for Mennonite Church Manitoba. We are saddened that we cannot gather together with Michael in person today. Nevertheless, we join together in Spirit to release Michael from his role as Lead Pastor among us, and to bless him as he steps into his new role in the new year. Please follow along below as Lisa B. and members of Church Council lead us in this.

Leader: We have laughed together, cried together,
worshiped together, prayed together.
We have hoped together, dreamed together,
worked together, and eaten lots of potlucks together.

All: Now it is time to say goodbye.

Leader: Parting is bittersweet.
Memories flood our minds and hearts.

All: We say goodbye with gratitude and sadness
mixed together in all sorts of strange ways.

Leader: In saying goodbye to Michael, we release him from his responsibilities as a pastor at Morden Mennonite Church. Will you join me in this release?

All: With God’s help, we release Michael from his responsibilities as our pastor.

Leader: As we release Michael from his ministry at Morden Mennonite Church,
we also want to ask God’s blessing on his future ministry.

All: We offer our support and encouragement to you, Michael,
as your ministry unfolds in new settings.
We pray God’s blessings on you and on us
as we begin in a new relationship with each other,
in which you are no longer our pastor.

Leader: Now I ask you Michael, do you release this congregation from its loyalty to you as a pastor? Do you release its members from turning to you and depending on you to provide the pastoral ministries they seek?

Michael: I do, with the help of God. I pray God’s blessing on each person here in their spiritual journey, and I pray God’s blessing on Morden Mennonite Church in its continued ministry. I pray God’s blessing on you and your future colleagues in ministry as they lead this congregation.

Leader: Let us join in prayer.

All: Eternal God, you have been our refuge and strength
through the years of our life together.
Give to us a strong sense of your presence
as we now go our separate ways.
Enlarge our faith, that we may see your purpose
unfolding in the happenings of this time.
Be our guide through all that is dark and doubtful.
Grant us peace in doing your will.
Bless and help us as we move into your future.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Adapted from Litany of Release by St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, found on http://www.commonword.ca. Permission to reproduce and distribute is granted.

Michael shares this farewell message with us.

Benediction

Al T. offers this benediction for us as we leave this time of worship together.

Sending Song

Let’s go from our worship together toward Christmas with this song on our lips and in our hearts: 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.

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: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Text: Edmund H. Sears, Christian Register, 1849, alt. Music: Richard S. Willis, Church Chorals and Choir Studies, 1850); Angels We Have Heard on High (Text: Nouveau Recueil de Cantiques, 1855; tr. Anonymous, altered by Earl Marlatt, New Church Hymnal, 1937. Music: traditional French carol, Nouveau Recueil de Cantiques, 1855); 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); 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.); Open My Eyes (Text: Jesse Manibusan, based on Mark 8:22-25 and Psalm 51:12-14. Copyright © 1988, 1998, 2001 Jesse Manibusan and Rufino Zaragoza, OFM. Published by OCP. All rights reserved. Music: Jesse Manibusan. Copyright © 1988, 1998, 1999 Jesse Manibusan. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.); Longing for Light (Text: Bernadette Farrell; Music: Bernadette Farrell ©1993 Bernadette Farrell, OCP Publications); 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.)
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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.)
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An MMC Christmas Playlist

A 2020 Christmas gift, brought to you by some of our Morden Mennonite Church musicians! Sing along, or just sit back and listen.

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December 6, 2020: “On the Road to Repentance”

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 one 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 215 What Child Is This, combined with STS 26 Helpless and Hungry, accompanied by Dianne H. and Michael P. Since the lyrics alternate between the two songs, you’ll find it best to follow the lyrics below.

What Child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping,
whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.
Haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe, the son of Mary!

Helpless and hungry, lowly, afraid, wrapped in the chill of midwinter;
comes now among us, born into poverty’s embrace, new life for the world.
Who is this who lives with the lowly, sharing their sorrows, knowing their hunger?
This is Christ, revealed to the world in the eyes of a child, a child of the poor.

Why lies he in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear, for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word-made-flesh, the babe, the son of Mary!

Who is the stranger here in our midst, looking for shelter among us?
Who is the outcast? Who do we see amid the poor, the children of God?
Who is this who lives with the lowly, sharing their sorrows, knowing their hunger?
This is Christ, revealed to the world in the eyes of a child, a child of the poor.

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh, come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings, let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high; the virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born, the babe, the son of Mary!

Our second pre-service Christmas carol is HWB 201 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies,
with th’angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come, offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the God-head see, hail th’Incarnate Deity;
pleased with us in flesh to dwell; Jesus, our Immanuel!
“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of peace! Hail, the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.
“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Welcome & Call to Worship

Lawrence and Carrie S. welcome us and call us to worship. Please follow along to the Call to Worship below.

Leader: Listen! A voice cries out in the wilderness:

All: Prepare the way of the Lord!

Leader: Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low.

All: Prepare the way of the Lord!

Leader: Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together.

All: Prepare the way of the Lord!

Advent Candle Lighting

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

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 Peace

Our first Advent song of peace is HWB 176 Comfort, Comfort, O My People, accompanied by Erin and Joel K. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Comfort, comfort, O my people, speak of peace, now says our God.
Comfort those who sit in darkness, mourning ‘neath their sorrows’ load.
Speak unto Jerusalem of the peace that waits for them.
Tell of all the sins I cover, and that warfare now is over.

Hark, the voice of one who’s crying in the desert far and near,
bidding all to full repentance since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way.
Let the valleys rise to meet him and the hills bow down to greet him.

O make straight what long was crooked, make the rougher places plain.
Let your hearts be true and humble, as befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord now o’er earth is shed abroad.
And all flesh shall see the token that his word is never broken.

Our second Advent song of peace is HWB 211 Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming, accompanied by Erin and Joel K. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem has sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming as saints of old have sung.
It came, a flow’ret bright, amid the cold of winter,
when half-spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind.
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
w
hen half-spent was the night.

Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
dispel in glorious splendor the darkness ev’rywhere.
True man, yet very God, from sin and death he saves us,
and lightens ev’ry load.

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

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:

  • We give thanks for novel coronavirus vaccines that are being developed, and that plans are being made to begin distributing one of these early in the new year. While this will still take many months, we give thanks to God for this important step, for the expertise of medical researchers and the commitment of leaders to get to this step.
  • Ben P., who has agreed to serve as our Interim Lead Pastor beginning in January. Thanks to Church Council for their leadership in this process. Pray for Ben as he prepares to step into this role, and pray for Michael as he prepares things for Ben’s arrival and transitions into his new role with Mennonite Church Manitoba.
  • 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 Second Sunday of Advent: “May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus… The God of peace will be with us” (Phil 4:7, 9).

Lawrence S. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing STJ 59 Come and Fill Our Hearts, accompanied by Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Come and fill our hearts with your peace.
You alone, O Lord, are holy.
Come and fill our hearts with your peace,
alleluia.

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Lawrence S. reads Isaiah 40:1-11 and Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 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 by our friend Douglas, selected for us by Kristy L. H. 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.

In Michael’s sermon he mentions Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg’s steps of repentance. They are adapted as: 1) “the accounting of the soul”; 2) confession (before God and, if necessary, others); 3) beginning the work of change; 4) making amends; 5) apologizing; and 6) making different choices going forward.

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. Lawrence and Carrie S. lead us in this. Please follow along below.

Leader: We hear John the Baptist’s cry in the desert and are called to repentance.

All: We will hear what God the Lord will say:

Leader: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, but is patient, not wanting any one to perish.

All: Revive us again, that we may rejoice in you. Show us your unfailing love, and grant us your salvation.

Leader: Salvation is near to those who fear God.

All: We receive this gift. Help us to walk in your way.

Song of Response

Let’s respond to God’s word of peace to us by singing STJ 56 Make Me A Channel of Your Peace, accompanied by Loretta T. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord;
and where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, only light,
and where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Oh, Master, grant that I may never seek
so much to be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love, with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
in giving of ourselves that we receive,
and in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

Benediction

Lawrence S. 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 841 As You Go Out from Here, accompanied by Joel, Erin, Milo, and Jude K.  You can follow the lyrics below. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

As you go out from here, may the Lord go with you
The face of God shine on you ev’ry day.
We are sent by God wherever we are living,
salt and light as people of the Way.

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: What Child Is This (Text: William C. Dix, The Manger Throne, ca. 1865; Music: traditional English melody); Helpless and Hungry (Text and music: Scott Soper;© 1994 Scott Soper); Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Text: Charley Wesley and others, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, alt.; Music: Felix Mendelssohn, 1840; adapted by William H. Cummings, 1855, Congregational Hymn and Tune Book, 1857); Hope Is a Candle (Richard Leach, 1994, © 1995 Selah Publishing Co., Inc.; Music: Scottish folk melody); Comfort, Comfort, O My People (Text: based on Isaiah 40, Johannes Olearius, “Trostet, trostet, meine Lieben,” Geistliche Singe-kinst, 1671; tr. Catherine Winkworth, Chorale Book for England, 1863, alt. Music: Louis Bourgeois, Genevan Psalter, 1551; harmonization adapted from Claude Goudimel, Les Pseaumes…, 1565); Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming (Text: anonymous, Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Sts. 1-2), Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengeseng, 1599, Friedrich Layritz (st. 3), Liederschatz, 1832; tr. Theodore Baker (Sts. 1-2), 1894, Harriet K. Spaeth (St. 3), 1875, The Hymnal 1940, alt. Music: Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengeseng, 1599; harmonized by Michael Praetorius, Musae Sionae, VI, 1609); Come and Fill Our Hearts (Text & Music: Jacques Berthier; copyright © 1978, 1980, 1981 GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive agent. Make Me A Channel of Your Peace (Text: Prayer of St. Francis; adapted by Sebastian Temple. Music: Sebastian Temple; arranged by Felipe Blycker J. Text and Music copyright © 1976, 1975, 1980 OCP Publications, 5536 NE Hassalo, Portland, OR 97213. Arrangement copyright © 1968 OCP Publications. All rights reserved. Used with permission. As You Go Out from Here (Music & Text: Bryan Moyer Suderman; Public: https://www.smalltallministries.com/music/songbooks-sheet-music/)
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