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 2 – November 20, 2016
Scripture: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Sermon: Promises – The Promised Gathering
Advent Wreath Lighting Liturgy
Not all who have been called prophets agreed with one another. One prophet encourages, “Nothing bad will happen to you” (Jeremiah 23:17); and another prophet warns, “Your own weapons will be turned against you” (Jeremiah 21:4). And, both claim to be speaking for God. So, the faithful are aware that the true prophetic voice will only be recognized as such, with the passage of time.
Jeremiah was a prophet whose message of accountability and judgement no one wanted to hear, but time told the truth. In this season of Advent, we affirm with the prophet Jeremiah that God has looked upon creation and all contained within it and that God as the Good Shepherd denounces the actions of all who have misled and scattered the Good Shepherd’s sheep. In this season of Advent, we join Jeremiah’s prophetic voice to proclaim God’s promise to gather in the sheep of God’s fold and to keep them from harm.
People: “The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing” (Psalm 23).
Leader: Trusting in the promise of God spoken through Jeremiah, we look toward a coming day when the sheep of God’s pasture will listen to the voice of the True Shepherd and follow his voice.
People: “They won’t follow a stranger but will run away because they don’t know the stranger’s voice” (John 10:5).
Leader: We light this candle on the second Sunday of Advent believing in the promises of God, which will stand the test of time.
People: The promises of God shall be fulfilled. The night may be long; but the sun will rise.
All: Come, Lord Jesus. Come.
Rev. Amy Persons Parkes © 2016