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 4 – December 4, 2016
Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10
Sermon: Promises – The Promised Leading
The prophet Isaiah names a future leader who will rise from what is perceived to be a dead nation. In the underground roots of a conquered people, God’s subterranean activity on behalf of equity, righteousness, and faithfulness continues despite appearances to the contrary.
God’s promises surprise us in this way. What we had thought no longer useful, what we had believed to be irrelevant, houses new possibility and nurtures emerging strength.
People: “A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots” (Isaiah 11:1).
Leader: As people of God’s promise, we cast our lot with those who will not be deceived by appearances, who will not follow hearsay. We believe in God’s hidden movement in the midst of our world, even if we are not able to understand God’s ways just yet.
People: “My plans aren’t your plans, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my plans than your plans” (Isaiah 55:8)
Leader: We light this candle on the fourth Sunday of Advent counting on the promises of God that challenge our assumptions and exist beyond our perceptions.
People: The promises of God shall be fulfilled. On that day, Christ will come again; and there will be no more night. All things shall be revealed.
All: Come, Lord Jesus. Come.
Rev. Amy Persons Parkes © 2016