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 blog post Three Ways to Celebrate Advent and Christmas Season Fully in 2015/16 , my congregation will begin to observe Advent Sunday, November 15. The “new” fourth Sunday of Advent will be December 6. We are following the lectionary for these Sundays, as they already exist. Using the Gospel Lessons, Gayle (the Chairperson of our Worship Committee) selected key phrases from different translations of the Bible and paired the phrases with two words that will be used for silent meditation at the beginning of worship. Using these phrases and two-word meditations as inspiration, 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 Gayle Youmans and Amy Persons Parkes as the authors of the material.
November 29, 2015 (Advent 3)
Luke 21:25-35, key verse 25 (KJV): “and there shall be signs…”
Two-word meditation: Allow Discomfort
Leader: The reflexive grin appearing on his lips each time she walked into the room was a sign of the proposal to come. The heavy sigh with each morning walk through the doors at work was a sign of the depression settling down. The intensity of her questions was a sign of a student gratifyingly engaged in her subject. The anvil shaped cloud was a sign of the rain and wind and thunder moving east.
The sign of childbirth is pain. The sign of attraction is an aching longing. A sign of peace at last may be death.
On this third Sunday in Advent, we light the candles of the wreath acknowledging the signs of God’s continual work in the world. We light the candles as a symbol of our desire to watch and wait for the salvation of God. Though the signs of this salvation may cause fear in the hearts of many, we will stand up and raise our heads as Christ draws near.
Leader: Though others may tremble and fear, we will in trust in God’s goodness.
People: Though signs of distress and anxiety abound, we will allow the discomfort to reveal the birth of a new creation that will never pass away.