In an effort to be intentional about celebrating Advent and Christmas more fully, as outlined by Taylor Burton-Edwards, Director of Worship Resources, Discipleship Ministries (United Methodist Church), in the United Methodist Worship post Three Ways to Celebrate Advent and Christmas Season Fully updated for 2016-2017 , my congregation will begin to observe Advent Sunday, November 13, 2016. The “new” fourth Sunday of Advent will be December 4, 2016. We are following the lectionary for these Sundays, as they already exist. Using the Old Testament lessons, I am writing Advent Wreath Lighting Liturgies for our Advent observance. If you would like to use them in worship, please feel free; however, I do ask that you acknowledge me as the author of the material.
I have centered worship around the prophetic promises about what God will do. Each week, the sermon is focused on a promised action from God.
Advent 1 – November 13, 2016
Scripture: Isaiah 65:17-25
Sermon: Promises – The Promised Creating
Advent Wreath Lighting Liturgy
The call of the prophets of old was to relentlessly proclaim the promises of God for all the people. The prophet was not a seer nor a fortuneteller, rather a voice used by God to call a stuck, imprisoned, misguided people toward the plans God had for them.
As the church, we have received God’s salvation in Jesus Christ, who has died and rose again for our sakes; but we are also prophets of a new day when Christ will come again. The season of Advent, that we observe in the four weeks preceding our Christmas celebration, is an opportunity to recognize the chasm existing between our world as it is and the new creation that God will bring about in Christ’s coming again.
So, on this first Sunday of our Advent observance, we hear the prophet Isaiah proclaim the promise of God’s creating.
People: Create in us clean hearts, O God, and renew within us right spirits (Psalm 51).
Leader: We join our voices with that of Isaiah to speak hope to hurting world, to proclaim a day that is coming when weeping and death will be no more.
People: On God’s holy mountain, no one will hurt or destroy (Isaiah 65).
Leader: We light this candle on the first Sunday of Advent placing our trust in the promises of God, which no force of darkness can thwart.
People: The promises of God shall be fulfilled. That new day will dawn.
All: Come, Lord Jesus. Come.
Rev. Amy Persons Parkes © 2016