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A Spark of…. Advent Candle Liturgies (year B)

Week 1 (Hope) Candle (Isaiah 64, Mark 13)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is over-full of things that do not satisfy.
We watch and prepare, for divine presence to shake our complacency.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of hope lights the way—
Clearing our vision and renewing our minds
To recognize God’s glory in our midst.

 

Week 2 (Peace) Candle (Isaiah 40, Mark 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is not ready, the field is still uneven,
Yet we watch and prepare to see God’s glory revealed, together.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of peace lights the way—
Despite our fast-fading courage,
We w
ill follow the voice calling us in the wilderness toward Shalom.

 

Week 3 (Joy) Candle (Isaiah 61, John 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
Days grow short and to-do lists lengthen.
We watch and prepare, for the Word is coming, full of grace and truth.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of joy lights the way—
Though the flame flickers against the shadows,
We will rejoice in God’s covenant of everlasting love.

 

Week 4 (Love) Candle (Luke 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The time draws near, each moment magnified
As we watch and prepare, for God is doing great things!
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of love lights the way—
Turning the world around to match the promise:
That we love because God first loved us.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

Benediction for Advent, Narrative Lectionary year 4 and John 1

Rejoice! The Word takes on flesh
this season and wherever we live by the Spirit.
Go forth to share the good news of Christ’s coming
this day and forever,
in the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

Advent Candles: Light of the World

Light of the World: Hope from Romans 8:19-25

We gather this morning as the children of God.

In hope that all creation will be set free from bondage and decay.

We offer ourselves as the first fruits of this redemption.

For in hope, we were saved.

We light this candle in the hope that saved us and the hope of what we do not yet see.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Peace from Isaiah 9:2, 6; John 14:27

We gather as people who walked in darkness but have seen a great light.

Once we lived in a land of deep darkness—on us, the light of peace has shined.

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.

He is the Prince of Peace.

We light this candle in the peace of Christ and for the peace the world has yet to know.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Joy from John 15:11, 16:20-22

We gather as people of hope and peace.

May our joy be complete.

Though the broken world may bring us to lament and repentance, our sorrow will turn to joy.

No one can take away the joy Christ completes in us.

We light this candle with the joy of those who have heard and experienced the Word made flesh even as we wait for Christ to come again.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 12

We gather in the love of Christ: a love that is patient and kind; love that is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude.

In love, we rejoice in the truth.

Through the love of Christ, we find we can bear all things, believe all things, endure all things.

In love, we hope in all things.

We light this candle to declare a love that never ends and for the day when it is fully known in the world.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Submitted by Michelle Henrichs

Opening to the Light–Advent Candle Liturgies

2016 Advent/Christmas Theme: Opening To The Light
Narrative Lectionary Year 3: Daniel 6, Joel 2, Isaiah 61, Luke 1

Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings (tune: Picardy, except last two lines):

As we light the Advent candle
with the light of hope burning bright,
faithfully we wait for his coming;
faithfully it shines through the night.
In our humble hearts a fire burns as well;
hear the prayer these flames would tell.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel.

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

week 1 (Daniel 6.6-27):
Liturgist: One candle shines as shadows lengthen and chaos roars—
the dawn of God’s kingdom in our midst.
All: Courage awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.

week 2 (Joel 2.12-13, 28-29):
Liturgist: Two candles shine as light peeks through the cracks
and God’s dream overflows.
All: Vision awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.

week 3 (Isaiah 61.1-11):
Liturgist: Three candles shine as God’s promise draws near,
beckoning us to be good news in body and spirit.
All: Justice awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.

week 4 (Luke 1.26-55):
Liturgist: Four candles shine as God’s purpose is revealed
in word and flesh.
All: Possibility awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.

Liturgist: Radiant flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.

 

Here is a bulletin-ready version:

week 1:

Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings
As we light the Advent candle
with the light of hope burning bright,
faithfully we wait for his coming;
faithfully it shines through the night.
In our humble hearts a fire burns as well;
hear the prayer these flames would tell.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel.

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Liturgist: One candle shines as shadows lengthen and chaos roars—
the dawn of God’s kingdom in our midst.
All: Courage awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.
Liturgist: Bright flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.

 

week 2

(Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings)

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Liturgist: Two candles shine as light peeks through the cracks
and God’s dream overflows.
All: Vision awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.
Liturgist: Bright flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.
week 3:

(Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings)

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Liturgist: Three candles shine as God’s promise draws near,
beckoning us to be good news in body and spirit.
All: Justice awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.
Liturgist: Bright flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.

 

week 4:

(Lit candle is carried in as congregation sings)

Candle-bearer: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Liturgist: Four candles shine as God’s purpose is revealed
in word and flesh.
All: Possibility awakens in us, a spark to brighten the way.
Liturgist: Radiant flash and feeble flame break through;
a long time coming, yet unexpected.
Watching and waiting, we prepare him room.
All: Christ is coming to make all things new,
and we are opening to the Light.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

***song is an excerpt from “Light the Advent Candle” by Ruth Elaine Schram

giving voice to God’s promise–Advent Candle liturgies

Each week begins with a bit of the psalm for the day. This should be read by someone other than the person leading the “one” part of the candle liturgy. It is also perfectly okay to leave the psalm out if necessary or desired.

 

November 29 (Advent 1—2 Kings 22.1-10, 23.1-3: Listen // hope) Psalm 25.4-5

 

Reader: Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Listen and hear—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Listen!
Hear the covenant anew, giving voice to a future with hope.

~candle is lit~

 

December 6 (Advent 2—Isaiah 40.21-11: Speak // peace) Psalm 126.2

 

Reader: Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Speak it loud and clear—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Do not hold back!
Speak out, giving voice to God’s peace that passes all understanding.

~candle is lit~

 

December 13 (Advent 3—Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4, 10-13: Persevere // joy) Isaiah 12.5-6

 

Reader: Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Persevere in hope, keep the faith—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Keep going!
Persevere in joy, giving voice to God’s presence yet again.

~candle is lit~

 

 

December 20 (Advent 4—Luke 1.5-24a, 57-80: Trust // love) Luke 1.44-45

 

Reader: “As soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Trust the good news—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Trust in God!
Wait with faith, giving voice to Christ’s love for all.

~candle is lit~

 

December 24 (Christmas Eve—Glorify) Psalm 96

 

Reader: O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Glorify the Lord with me—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Glory to God in the highest!
The Word is made flesh, giving voice to God’s promise yet again.

~candle is lit~

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, The Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

CTW: hope, peace, joy, love

One:  God calls us to lives of hope,
All:  looking forward yet living now, working for God’s kingdom to come.
One:  God calls us to lives of peace,
All:  acting on God’s word in every moment, defying the world’s tendency to violence.
One:  God calls us to lives of joy,
All:  founded in God’s relationship with us, not in happiness or cheer.
One:  God calls us to lives of love,
All:  because God first loved us, and continues to love us, and so we love others.
One:  God calls us to worship,
All:  with hearts, hands, voices, and lives.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

Advent Statement of Faith

We are an Advent people,
a people of hope.

For us, Advent is a time of waiting,
and so we wait.
We wait for the coming of the One
who is the fulfillment of God’s promise,
the fulfillment of hope,
the declaration that we have been redeemed.

Even so, we are not a naïve people.
We know that the world in which we live
will continue to be filled with pain and sorrow.
We know that hatred and violence will continue to exist.
We know that death and separation will continue to be a part of our lives.

But because we are an Advent people,
we know that none of these things will win in the end.

The Holy One is coming,
to make holy once again
all that was, is, and ever will be.

And in our waiting and our hoping,
we work and worship,
pray and play,
in all things hoping that peace, love and joy will reign
in our lives and in our world,
now and forever.

Submitted by Rev. Rebecca F. Harrison, Transitional Pastor, Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church, Sparks, NV

The rest of the service

It’s Thursday. Which means for me (@revlkb), the copier will be working away, and the bulletins will be folded and placed in the narthex with care. Inserts will be safely tucked inside, with visions of the Magnificat dancing in their heads.

But there is still much to do for Sunday’s service. There are prayers to write. There are children’s sermons to plan. There are more services next week too!

So, what are you working on today? Do you have prayers to share? How are you talking about Mary’s beautiful song with the children? Or are you going in a different direction on this fourth Sunday of Advent?

Prayers for each of you as you approach the home stretch of this busy and sacred time!

In the Now: Blue Christmas/Longest Night

Some of us had Blue Christmas services this past week. Others of us still have that coming up. Some of us have Longest Night services. Whatever we call it, this service is often the balm to a hurting soul–offering space in the midst of a cheery and hustle-and-bustle season to acknowledge grief, pain, or other un-holiday-ish feelings.

What do you do in this kind of service? What format do you use? What liturgy? Do you have favorite resources? Did you write anything new this year? Do you want to write something–perhaps a litany or a prayer acknowledging the difficulty of the season, or a call to worship that leaves room for both celebration and sadness, or a dedication of our memories instead of a dedication of an offering?

To get us started, we have a new hymn written by Carlos Wilton, pastor at Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church in Point Pleasant Beach NJ.

Comfort Your People, Lord
A Hymn for Blue Christmas Services
(Tune: “The Coventry Carol”)
text by Carlos Wilton

O Lord, we bring to you, this day,
Hearts that are raw with pain:
For sorrow has companioned us,
And in our lives does reign.
You promise to make all things new:
Comfort your people, Lord.

Would that we could turn back the clock
And for one precious hour
Reach out, clasp hands, and touch again
Love’s fragile, with’ring flower!
You cherish all times in your hands:
Comfort your people, Lord.

All through our lives we’ve trusted you
To be most fair and kind:
Though, in the dark night of the soul,
Anger enthralls our minds.
For freedom you have set us free:
Comfort your people, Lord.

We have not always trusted that
Fairness has been your way.
Too soon it’s seemed to watch our dreams
Float up and fly away.
For good, all things together work:
Comfort your people, Lord.

My soul, why are you so downcast:
Caught up in grief’s malaise?
We trust the day will soon arrive
When we will sing God’s praise!
Not Yuletide mirth, but Easter joy:
We ask this gift, O Lord.

Copyright © 2011, by Carlos E. Wilton. All rights reserved. Permission is given for congregations to reproduce the text of this hymn in worship bulletins, as long as the copyright information is included.

Call to worship, confession, & assurance for Advent 4

From Rev. Jenny McDevitt, Bayside Presbyterian Church, Virginia Beach, VA

Call to Worship
One: We are waiting on you, God. We are still waiting.
All: The darkness is deeper, but look! The star is beginning to shine.
The everlasting light is creeping closer.
Hope is in the air. Peace is promised. Joy is on the tips of our tongues.
One: Love is coming. Love divine, all loves excelling.
All: We are waiting on love. And Love is waiting on us.

Prayer of Confession
Living God, Love Incarnate, we confess that we are not perfect.
You who are everything, we acknowledge that we are lacking.
Child of the manger, we admit that we prefer to be sentimental rather than sacrificial.
Hear us now as we confess our faults and admit our frailties.

Silent confession

One (sung): O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.
All (sung): O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.

Assurance of Forgiveness
All: The truth of Advent is this: God is coming to us! We are not alone.
In Christ, we are accepted. We are set free of the past. We are given to the future.
One: Hear the water splashing: this is what forgiveness sounds like.
Look at the light shining: this is what hope looks like.
Take one another’s hand: this is what incarnation feels like.
Share a sign of peace: this is what the world is waiting for.