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  • Rev. Daniel Benson

Advent Two: Peace is a Ribbon

Updated: Dec 5, 2020


Sunday, December 6th, 2020






Welcome to Advent - the weeks leading to Christmas. It's a time of preparation, waiting, and praying. Possibly, Advent is the perfect remedy for these challenging times when our anxiety is high, our morale is low, and the pressure of Christmas expectations in the midst of uncertainty is incalculable.


In the midst of all this as we wait for the Birth of the Holy Child, we can pause:


"Be Still. Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46.


The weeks of Advent are named for gifts God blesses us with: hope, peace, joy, and love; gifts that God dreams we can embrace through a deep encounter with Emmanuel, God with Us. This second week is named for Peace, a ribbon that circles the earth. This beautiful rendition of the second verse of 'Hope is a Star' is sung by Elise, Liane, and Alexandra Catibog.






Remember always, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor masks nor viruses, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.


(with apologies to Paul and the Romans for this paraphrase).


Rev. Dan.



In preparation for the following service, you may wish to have your Advent Wreath and Candles ready. Always practice safe candle-burning! We always light candles in church because they remind us of the presence and beauty of God, and during Advent, we light candles to mark the path of anticipation and preparation leading to Christmas.



Music for centering:




Prayer


We want to be ready for the coming of Jesus;

be with us, Loving God.

We want to be ready for the coming of Jesus;

remind us to look out for the needs of family, friends, and strangers.

We want to be ready for the coming of Jesus;

show us what we can give to the life of this community.

We want to be ready for the coming of Jesus;

alert us to the crying needs of the world that pleads for our support.


Guide us in nourishing our spirits with calm and quiet waiting.


Make us act with compassion for ourselves, the broken, the downtrodden and downhearted.


Help us express our eagerness to be your hands and feet in the world, for you have no body but ours to do your work.


We want to be ready for the coming of Jesus.

We are ready.

O come, o come, Emmanuel, Lord Jesus, God with us. Come.

We are, indeed, ready.

Amen.


God be with you!


Lighting of the Advent candle.





Ian reads from the Prophet Isaiah.



A little musical interlude between readings...



And, Ian now reads from the Gospel of Mark.



Rev. Dan reflects on the intersection of life, faith, and Scripture in the sermon: "Voices in the Wilderness."





Music.

While Handel's "Messiah" is so connected in our minds with Christmas, it's worth noting that it tells the full story of Christ, including Isaiah's prophecy as Ian earlier read for us.





Offering

We put our peace in these gifts, gracefully given, Loving God; and, you put your peace in us as the gifts are used.

Our peace for skills and talents well used.

Our peace for loneliness, compassionately overcome.

Our peace for worship, faithfully offered.

Our peace for neighbourhood needs, joyfully met.

Our peace for justice, built brick by brick.

With these gifts come our commitment to follow and serve the Way of Jesus, and so we ask God's blessing on these gifts, on us, and on the witness we offer in God's name.

Our offering is both a practical and symbolic act of our commitment to serve Christ and build His church. Although we can’t actually ‘pass the plate’ online, you are encouraged to continue your gift to the church, as the work of the St Paul’s and the staff continues:


  • Drop your envelope (cheque or cash) at the church;

  • Mail your cheque to the church;

  • Go on PAR (call the church for details);

  • Use the Donate button at the top of the page (it will take you to SPUC’s Canada Helps page where you can donate online and get an instant tax receipt).


May my gifts of time, talent, and treasure generously and lovingly offered, be instruments of change and instrumental in God's mission in the world!


Amen.



Prayer. You're invited to listen to the Advent Prayer on the video below, after which, you can recite aloud or in your heart the Lord's Prayer.





And, of all the prayers silent and spoken, we pray the one prayer that unites us in your presence:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.


Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.


And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.


Music: As this Advent Sunday is named for Peace, we can sing and pray for peace: Let There be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me."



Benediction.

Live peacefully as you leave this time of Advent worship, for we believe that the Good News of Jesus' imminent arrival will find, within us, peace beyond imagining.


We will meet one another with peace and compassion.

We will trust with peace and faithfulness.

We will give with peace and generosity.

We will proclaim the God's grace with peace and confidence.


We will be an Advent people: waiting, watching, and preparing with peace.


Amen



One Last Thought. No one sang "White Christmas" like Bing. With a bit of technical wizardry, we have a duet with him and one of today's big crooners, Canadian Michael Bublé.




Closing notes:

  • Don’t forget to extinguish your candle(s)

  • Note that portions of this service are drawn and adapted from 'Gathering,' a worship resource published by The United Church of Canada.

  • Thanks to our contributors this week: Ian Sortwell, and the Catibog Trio.

  • Join friends for coffee after church!

Topic: Sunday Coffee

Time: December 6th, 2020 11:30 AM America/Toronto


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