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

Preparing for Worship

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

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

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

Pre-Service Carols

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome & Call to Worship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advent Candle Lighting

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

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

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

Songs of Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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

Justin M. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture Reading

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

Children’s Story

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

Meditation

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

Confession & Assurance

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

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

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

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

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

Song of Response

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

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

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

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

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

Benediction

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

Sending Song

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

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

In the Week Ahead

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

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

Our friends in the local Anglican Diocese have issued a call to prayer for this Saturday, November 28, on the eve of the Advent season. This is a call to prayer related to the pandemic that we are currently facing as a community, as a society, and globally. All MMCers are encouraged to join in this prayer vigil on Saturday.

Below is a modified excerpt from the note provided by the Anglican Diocese that you can use to help shape your own prayer vigil. Attached are some further resources.

In this prayer vigil we are praying for:

  • a vaccine for COVID-19;
  • a stop to the spread of this virus;
  • wisdom for political and medical leaders;
  • courage and protection for people in health care;
  • protection for students and staff in all education centres;
  • comfort and healing to the afflicted and the families of those who have died;
  • and God’s peace that passes all understanding for all.

Determine a time period on Saturday that works for you. This could be regular times throughout the day (e.g. a short prayer every hour), or a set period of time (e.g. an hour) during the day. You may also choose a time during the night hours, any time up to dawn on Sunday.

Let’s join together in prayer in the Spirit during this pandemic which affects us all.

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November 22, 2020: Eternity Sunday Communion Service

Welcome to our communion service on this Eternity Sunday evening. To share in communion you will want to have some bread or crackers to share together with those in your household, along with some wine or juice or other drink. You may also want to have some candles available to light for the service.

Let’s gather together around the Lord’s table in the Spirit of Christ.

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November 22, 2020: “Come Into God’s Presence with Singing”

Preparing for Worship

Sketch by Margie H.

Today we conclude our worship series looking at the ancient prayer book of God’s people, the Psalms. Today is also Eternity Sunday, when we set aside time to remember those among us who have died during the past year. We are also introducing our new hymnal, Voices Together, which has been published and is on its way to us. Today we “sing a new song” in the spirit of the Psalms as we remember our loved ones now among the great cloud of witnesses.

In preparation for worship you may wish to light a candle, representing the presence of Christ with you and among us. You may also wish to have other unlit candles available for the memorial. Because most of our songs today are new, and all of them are videos, we have prepared a song sheet for you with the words. You can download that here.

Call to Worship

Larissa P. welcomes us and calls us to worship.

Songs of Praise

Our first song of praise is a new version of an old song. It is in our old hymnal as This Is Our Father’s World, but it appears in our new hymnal as VT 180 This Is God’s Wondrous World. This title and the revised lyrics have appeared in other hymnals since about 25 years ago. Michael P. leads us in singing this. Note that the musical style is Michael’s own, not written into the new hymnal! See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Our second song of praise is a new one to us, appearing in our new hymnal as VT 42 Could It Be That God Is Singing. Erin & Joel K. lead us in singing this. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Offering

Thank you for your faithful giving over the past months! Please continue this act of worship in support of the church’s ongoing ministries. For online giving, please see the information here.

Congregational Prayer

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

This week in our prayers we especially remember:

  • Our International Witness partners in South Korea, Bock Ki Kim & Sook Kyoung Park. They have experienced some easing of restrictions as COVID cases have declined, which means they have been able to return to some of their ministries with children and churches. We give thanks to God for their important work!
  • The D. family whom we have supported in our newcomer sponsorship. The application for permanent residence for their second son, the only child still not with them, has been delayed again. Pray for obstacles to be dealt with swiftly and for his application to be approved.
  • Those among us facing difficult challenges. We think especially of those who are recovering at home from COVID, and of Arnie & Carol F. and all their family as they mourn Art’s passing this past week. May each one know God’s presence and peace bringing healing and strength.
  • Us as a church on this Eternity Sunday: May we be “convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).

Larissa P. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Special Music

On this Eternity Sunday with the Psalms theme of “Come into God’s presence with singing,” we recognize those who have passed away in the past year who played a special role among us in musical leadership. In this partial recording from Thanksgiving 2018, Ruth D. accompanies the MMC Strings+ in playing Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. This song appears in our new hymnal as VT 103 Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.

Memorial

We pause to remember now those among us who have died in the past year. We speak their names, we recall their faces, we tell their stories. We grieve their absence from our lives, even as we believe with hope that they are present with God, fully alive to God, and that we will see them again one day.

There is time in this memorial for you to light a candle of remembrance yourself for a loved one who has passed away, whether in the past year or previously. The song accompanying the video is VT 319 Stay with Me, the Night Has Come, sung and played by Michael P. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Let’s remember together.

Prayer Song

As we continue in the spirit of prayer and remembrance, listen to this song by Al & Loretta T, called Tree of Life. This song was originally considered for the new Voices Together hymnal, but it does not appear in final version. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Song of Hope

As we move toward the conclusion of our service, we sing a song of hope. On this Eternity Sunday this song is especially relevant. This is Lora B. singing her song which appears in the new hymnal as VT 828 There’s A Wild Hope on the Wind. It was recorded at our Advent Dessert Night in 2018. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Song of Blessing

Erin & Joel K. lead us in this new song of blessing, VT 145 Touch the Earth Lightly. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Benediction

Larissa P. offers this benediction for us as we live this time of worship together.

Sending Song

We go from our worship together with a new song on our lips. Join Al & Loretta T. as they lead us in VT 849 We, Your People, Sing Your Praises. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Don’t forget to join us this evening at 7:00 for our Eternity Sunday communion service, available on this website just a few minutes before that time.

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: This Is God’s Wondrous World (Original title, “This Is My Father’s World”; Text: Maltbie D. Babcock, Thoughts for Every-Day Living, 1901; Music: Franklin Sheppard, Alleluia, 1915); Could It Be that God Is Singing? (Text: Becca J. R. Lachman; ©2004 Becca J. R. Lachman, rev. 2018; Music: Southern Harmony, 1854; arr. Alice Parker ©2008); Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (Music: adapted from Ludwig van Beethoven, 1823; based on adaptation by Edward Hodges, Trinity Collection of Church Music, 1864; arr. Michael Pahl); Stay with Me, the Night Has Come (Text: David Bjorlin ©2016 GIA Publications, Inc.; Music: Welsh traditional); Tree of Life (Text and music: Marty Haugen; ©1984 GIA Publications, Inc.); There’s A Wild Hope on the Wind (Text and music: Lora Braun); Touch the Earth Lightly (Text: Shirley Erena Murray ©1992 Hope Publishing Co.; Music: Swee Hong Lim; arr. Tamryn Parker-Carver, ©2005 Hope Publishing Co.); We, Your People, Sing Your Praises (Text: Rebecca Mosley and Josephine Manyeli, ©2013 Rebecca Mosley and Josephine Munyeli; Music: traditional East African melody and harmonization; arr. Mennonite Worship and Song Committee, 2019)
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