Worship Words- Advent Candle Lighting Week 4-Love

In this final week of Advent, our attention is on love. The following Scripture verses may be very familiar to you, so I’m asking you to read it twice. The first time is in the New Revised Standard Version (you may hear similar words at church). The second time you’ll be reading from the Message (a modern interpretation). Listen for the call to love in these words.

Matthew 22:36-40 says, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

”Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

 

Light three purple candles and one pink candle.

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God, we have learned to love from being loved by you. And so today, let us enact that love. Let us live that love. We know that what the world needs now is more love. We need to remember how much you love each one of us and we must share that love with others. Amen.

 

Also published on liturgy link on November 11, 2014.

Worship Words- Advent Candle Lighting Week 3-Joy

During the third week in Advent, we spend time thinking about joy.

From Psalm 5:11, we hear these words,

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;

let them ever sing for joy.

Spread your protection over them,

so that those who love your name may exult in you.”

 

Light two purple candles and one pink candle.

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Too often, we think joy is something big, O God. A brass band or a parade can certainly bring us joy. Just as easily and far more often, we can feel joy in a hug or the squeeze of hand, we can see joy in a smile or hear it in laughter. Help us to not overlook the simple joys that peak into our lives daily. This week in our Advent journey, open our eyes to the joy that surrounds us. Amen.

 

Also published on liturgy link on November 11, 2014.

Worship Words- Advent Candle Lighting Week 2-Peace

For the second week in Advent, we focus on peace.

In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

 

Light two purple candles.

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Prince of Peace, reveal yourself to us today. We need peace in our lives, our homes, our families, our church, and our whole world. Help us to slow down and seek out the peace you provide, so we may become peacemakers for ourselves and others. In your name, Prince of Peace, we pray. Amen.

 

Also published by liturgy link on November 11, 2014.

Worship Words-Advent Candle Lighting Week 1-Hope

Advent is the season of the church year that prepares us for Christmas. Advent is four weeks leading up to Christmas. One way that Advent is celebrated is through candle lighting. To participate in this candle lighting ritual, you’ll need three purple candles, one pink candle, and one white candle. You could make a fancy Advent wreath (see pintrest for many ideas) or you can purchase 5 votive candles and light them. Any way that you decide to do this is fine. I just hope you’ll participate in the season of Advent as we prepare ourselves to welcome Jesus on Christmas.

The first week of Advent is all about hope.

Think about hope as you read Lamentations 3: 21-24,

“But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,

God’s mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in the Lord.”

 

Light one purple candle

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Gracious God, As the Advent season begins, we cry out to you. We come to you looking for hope. When everything else we rely on fails us, our only hope is in you. When we do not understand what has happened, we hope in you. We can hope for better days because we trust you. We know you and we know you are here with us no matter what we are facing. Some of us see only darkness this time of year. Some of us find life overwhelming. Some of us are filled with Advent joy. Wherever we find ourselves today, Loving God, remind us that our hope is in you. Be with us on this journey. Amen.

Also published in liturgy link on November 11, 2014.

Worship Words-A Prayer of Thanksgiving

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I hope you’ll spend the day with people you love doing something you enjoy. I’m sharing this prayer a day early in the hopes you might disconnect from electronics for a little bit tomorrow. Also, I hope you find time tomorrow to say a prayer of thanksgiving for all that God has done for us. You are welcome to use this prayer if you are not yet comfortable praying in your own words. Happy Thanksgiving!

On this Thanksgiving Day, let us not forget to start by saying thank you to the Creator and Source of all for which we have to be thankful. Loving God, we thank you for those with whom we spend this day. Thank you for family, friends, and strangers. We thank you for the food we share and remember those who do not have enough to eat. May today’s feast inspire us to share what you have given us with others. As we enjoy a day of relaxation and rest, we ask your blessing on those working today–the people working to keep us safe and healthy, the people working so others can eat, and the people working because they desperately need the money. We pray for families and friend who wish they could be together today. We pray for people who struggle to feel thankful this day. God, we ask that you give us thankful hearts, not just today when it is easy to be thankful, but everyday. Amen.

This prayer was published by liturgy link on November 19, 2014.

Worship Words-Charge and Benediction

Each week as worship ends, a blessing is offered for the congregation. We need reminders of God’s love and blessings everyday. I hope these words will bring you courage and comfort today.

Charge and Benediction

Jesus has told us who needs us to care. As you go out into God’s world, keep your eyes open for those who are hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, or imprisoned. See Christ in them and help them.

And remember you are God’s beloved. The Holy Spirit lives in you. Christ’s compassion shines forth in what you do. Live as those who know and have experienced God’s goodness. Go now in peace.

 

This was published by liturgy link on November 19, 2014.

Worship Words-Prayer before Reading Scripture

In our busy world, we jump from one thing to the next. We are always hurrying to check things off our to do list. Before reading Scripture, I hope you take a few moments to breathe. Allow yourself to feel calmed and surrounded by God’s presence. Use this prayer to prepare you to hear God’s Word.


Surprise us, God, as we read your word.

Surprise us by opening our eyes to the words written on the page.

Slow us down so we read or hear what is truly there and not just what we want to hear.

We, your servants, are ready to listen. Amen.

Prayer of Confession and Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

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Gracious God,

Too often we say we choose you and yet we do not live in your light. Forgive us for the many times when our heart, our words, and our actions don’t show we have chosen to follow you. Hear the honest pleas of our hearts for forgiveness as we ask for another chance to love you with all we are and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Christ, in your mercy hear our prayers. Amen.

 

Words from Lamentations 3: 21-23 remind us of God’s steadfast love,

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,

God’s mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 

This prayer of confession  was published in liturgy link on November 3, 2014.