a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Christmas Eve wreath lighting

Lighting the Four Candles

(the sung response between each candle is optional. For the Christ Candle liturgy, scroll to the bottom)    

Together, we light this candle of hope
to represent the longing that resides in our hearts:
for a safer world,
for a world rid of warfare and oppression,
fear and hatred.
Only light will drive out the darkness.
    This hope is found in the God who has come to save us.

Light One Candle For Messiah–Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 1)

Together, we light this candle of peace
to represent the unity we have amongst each other:
as human beings,
as beloved children of God,
as disciples called to live in harmony with one another.
Only as partners in peace can we stand against violence.
This peace is found in a newborn child, cradled in his mother’s arms.

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 2)

Together, we light this candle of joy
to represent the delight that is found in the coming of our savior:
in the birth of hope,
in the fruition of faithfulness,
in the warmth of God’s love for a broken world.
Only joy can give us strength to continue our work.
    This joy is found in a God who finds joy in us!

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 3)

    Together, we light this candle of love
to represent the home we have in God’s steadfast shalom:
a home built with peace and kindness,
righteousness and justice,
where all are invited to the Table to partake in the feast.
Only love can bring us together.  Only love can save our souls.
    This love is found tonight in a manger, in Mary’s arm and in our own.

Hymn No. 85 in Glory to God (verse 4)

~~~~~~~
Christ Candle
    Our wait is over, the Christ-child is here!
    Long we have waited, long we have watched for his coming.
God is not satisfied to remain apart from us, God must be one among us.
    We are God’s people, shepherd of God’s flock,
children of God’s redeeming.
We light this candle to represent Christ’s presence, his everlasting reign.
    We give thanks to God for the fulfillment of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

Prayers of the People: Advent 1

God of our beginning and our end,
we confess to you that we live in a world that needs your mercy now more than ever.
As we celebrate joyfully in anticipation of your coming son,
we recognize that joy does not come as easily to everyone’s lips.
So many people are using their lips to cry out for healing in a broken world.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray this day especially for children in places of violence,
who struggle to find happiness and fulfillment,
who hunger for love and compassion.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for women and men who are the victims of domestic violence,
who endure pain and physical abuse,
who long for peace and healing.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for people who suffer from alcoholism and substance abuse,
who seek an escape from that which they cannot solve by themselves,
who despair at seeing no way out.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for worshiping communities of all faiths that seek to heal the world,
who preach love in the face of hate and welcome the stranger as a friend,
who work to better themselves and share their blessings with others.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for those dear to us who struggle with cancer and other illnesses,
who desire comfort in the face of constant pain,
who wait for healing and peace.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for those who will call Maureen’s Haven their home this winter,
who shiver in the cold and fear the unknown,
who search for people to acknowledge them as human.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for those who have lost loved ones recently,
who grieve the loss of children and parents and other family and friends,
who find the holidays a difficult time where joy is hard to find.
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We pray for those who we lift up to you in silence or out loud…
(personal petitions may be made here)
Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

We trust that you are a God of righteousness, mercy, and steadfast love.
We hope for the day when you will wipe away every tear
and death and pain will be no more.
Until that day comes, be mindful of your mercy and forget not your children.
This we pray in you holy and merciful name. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

dedication: usher in your kingdom

We thank you, Gracious God, for the gifts you have given us.
We return money to you that we might do the work of your Son,
and usher in your kingdom here and now
as we wait and hope for the coming of our salvation in flesh. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

confession: prepared

call to confession
We are called to lift up our souls to God.
Often, we would prefer only to lift up the parts of our soul that we are proud of.
But it is equally important that we lift up to God our sins as well.
Let us do so together with honesty and courage.
Prayer of Confession
We are told to be on guard, to be prepared for your coming.

We confess, merciful God, that too often we are lazy
and do not trouble ourselves with the prayerful sabbath
that is required on this Advent road.
Help us to be alert at all times,
to be aware of your presence in our lives.
Make us to know your ways, O Lord;
teach us your paths and lead us in your truth.
This pray in your holy and merciful name. Amen.

 

Assurance of Pardon
The prophet Jeremiah reminds us
that the days are surely coming
when God will fulfill the promise God made to us.
A righteous branch is springing up!
God shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
The Lord is our righteousness!
Friends, I proclaim to you that our sins are forgiven!
Alleluia! Amen!

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

Prayer: hopeful travels

Gracious God,
without the hope we have in you
we would be pitied above all.
With hearts open and thankful,
we come before your presence to wait, watch, and wonder.
We ask that you would come to us as we are
but not leave us as we were.
May we emerge from these travels
having found your newborn son
and having found our true selves along the way.
This we pray in the name of our coming Savior. Amen.

 

Submitted by Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

benedictions for Advent

A Hopeful Benediction
Be people of hope.
Let hope live in your heart and share the hope of Christ with all you meet.
Share hope by noticing someone else’s humanity.
Share hope by listening to someone’s story.
Share hope by praying for our world.
In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share hope.
As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share hope with those you meet. Amen.

 

A Peaceful Benediction
Be people of peace.
Let peace live in your heart and share the peace of Christ with all you meet.
Share peace by acting out of compassion and not fear.
Share peace by listening to all sides of the story.
Share peace by praying for our world.
In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share peace.
As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share peace and hope with those you meet. Amen.

 

A Joyful Benediction
Be people of joy.
Let joy live in your heart and share the joy of Christ with all you meet.
Share joy by seeing the good in each other.
Share joy by remembering good times and hoping for good times to come.
Share joy by praying for our world.
In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share joy.
As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share joy, peace, and hope with those you meet. Amen.

 

A Loving Benediction
Be people of love.
Let love live in your heart and share the love of Christ with all you meet.
Share love by loving those you see regularly. Start by loving your community.
Share love by loving those you do not know. How do your actions affect the rest of God’s creation?
Share love by praying for our world.
In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share love.
As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share love, joy, peace, and hope with those you meet. Amen.

 

Christmas Eve Benediction
Tonight, as we celebrate God is with us in the birth of Jesus, let us continue to live lives of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Share God’s love with the shepherds you meet on the hillside.
Let the communion of the Holy Spirit fill your heart with glad tidings like the angels.
And the Prince of Peace born again tonight, may He live in your heart to comfort and challenge you as you seek to live as one of his disciples. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Susannah DeBenedetto, Christ Congregational Church & Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, Takoma Park MD

CTW: Advent has come

Advent has come and along with it another journey in need of beginning.
We gather in hopeful anticipation of our Savior’s birth.
This journey of waiting will have moments of sabbath and service.
We take a break from our busy lives to ponder and wonder.
As we seek the newborn king, worship is that which directs our search.
We seek that which has saved and will save us forevermore.
Come, let us worship and seek our savior with hope and thanksgiving!

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

hymn: Advent Kyrie

Each verse could be used independently (one per week) during the confession sequence.

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Submitted by Rev. Stephen Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY. Permission is given for use in worship–please do not remove copyright information.

hymn: Hope Has Found Us

Would make a great response to the Advent Candle Lighting (one verse per week).

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Submitted by Rev. Stephen Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY. Permission is given for use in worship. Please do not remove copyright information.

Advent Candles: hopeful anticipation

Week 1: Hope

Without hope, we have no direction, no purpose.
As we begin the season of Advent,
we wait in hopeful anticipation
of the newness God has brought and is bringing to this world.
We seek to live as a people of hope,
with our hearts set on our the life to come,
and our eyes set on the work we’re called to do in the meantime.
We light this candle to symbolize our hope in Jesus’ birth.
We gather to share this hope with one another.

 

Week 2: Peace

Without peace, we have no solace, no fulfillment.
As we continue the season of Advent,
we wait in hopeful anticipation
of the peace the Christ-child will bring to a weary world.
We seek to live as a people of peace,
working toward a world free of violence and vengeance,
where all can live free of abuse and fear.
We light this candle to symbolize the peace of Christ’s presence.
We gather to share this peace with one another.

 

Week 3: Joy

Without joy, we have no fulfillment to our lives.
As we continue the season of Advent,
we wait in joyful anticipation
of the happiness the Christ-child will bring to a world that needs it so desperately.
We seek to live as a people of joy
that share it with everyone we encounter,
to bless others with the happiness we have in Jesus Christ.
We light this candle to symbolize the joy we have in Christ’s presence.
We gather to share this joy with one another.

 

Week 4: Love

Without love, we have nothing,
wandering aimlessly in a world without hope.
As the season of Advent comes to a close,
we wait for love by practicing it,
by embodying the truth we trust in God-with-us.
We seek to live as people of love,
reciprocating that which has first been shown to us.
We light this candle to symbolize the love we have in Christ’s presence.
We gather to share this love with one another.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, IL.