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Advent Wreath Prayers (Any Year)

 

Week 1: Hope Candle

Reader: The first candle on the Advent wreath reminds us to think of hope. We hope for many things. We hope to finish what we start. We hope that the sermon is short. We hope for long lives for people we love. We hope that God will save us from hard times and painful lessons. Hope is the shape of our work and our words, while we wait for a future that only God knows.

Light the candle

All: Holy and gracious God, your mercy and constancy are the headwaters of our hope. Our desires for Your promised future flow out of Your past and present faithfulness. We thank you, O God. Our hope is in you. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Week 2: Peace Candle

Reader: The first candle on the Advent wreath was the candle for hope. The second candle reminds us to pray and work for peace. We are also called, through the Holy Spirit, to look for the signs of God’s peace in the world. Peace is not merely the absence of fighting or war. Peace is the restoration of relationships within creation and between peoples and nations to their true order, which bring glory to their Creator.

Light the candle

All: Holy and life-giving God, your Son, our Savior, carries the title “Prince of Peace”. You have called us to imitate Him in thought, word, and deed. Let us seek to be peacemakers in our homes, in the community, and in the world. We thank you, God, for Your peace, which passes all understanding. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Week 3: Joy Candle

Reader: The first candle on the Advent wreath is for hope and the second is for peace. The third candle we light is for joy. Advent is a season of waiting. Even as we wait for the fulfillment of all God’s good plans, we find joy in the work of God all around us. The Spirit calls us to joy in our vocations- paid and unpaid work, relationships, and service. We find joy in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. We cherish the joy of Mary and Joseph, of Elizabeth and Zechariah, of the shepherds and the angels, and of the whole creation.

Light the candle

All: Holy and compassionate God, your faithfulness in all things produces the harvest of our joy. We rejoice in You, always. Even in our seasons of doubt and darkness, we can find joy in the presence of Christ in our neighbors and the witness of the Holy Spirit in creation. Stir up our holy joy, that we may share it with all whom we encounter for the sake of Your gospel. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Week 4: Love Candle

Reader: We have lit candles for hope, peace, and joy. The fourth candle on the Advent wreath is for love. In this season of waiting, we are called to remember that God has always so loved the world. When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, it was not a new development. Jesus’ birth was in keeping with the Divine self-revelation that has existed since the before the beginning of time. God’s love is for all people, in all places, in all times. God’s love does not end and there is nothing, human or spiritual, that can separate us from that love, poured out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Light the candle.

All: Holy and loving God, Your love is the greatest gift of our lives. It brings us into this world and it meets us in the life of the world to come. May Your love so shape our lives that our daily actions reveal Your light to the world. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Christmas Eve: Christ Candle

Reader: The Advent candles burned brightly, drawing our hearts and minds to hope, peace, joy, and love. Now, at last, on Christmas Eve, we light our Christ Candle. This candle is the center of our celebration, just as Christ has a place at the very center of our lives. Jesus Christ is the anchor of our hope, the bringer of true peace, the source of all joy, and the witness of love between family members, neighbors, friends, and those who were formerly enemies. On this day, and all days, we celebrate the gift of God coming into the world, as one of us, to learn and grow and suffer as one of us. In the same way, even as he lived as a full human being, Jesus was the Christ, God’s anointed, who had the fullness of God within himself- the power to bring life out of death. We celebrate Christ’s birth. We give thanks for Christ’s life and resurrection. We rejoice in Christ’s presence in the world today. We anticipate the promise of Christ’s future, when all will be made new.

Light the Candle

All: God of all glory, this day and all days belong to you. You alone are worthy of our full praise, devotion, and thanksgiving. We, who have so much, dare to ask for one more thing. We humbly ask that you fill our hearts with Christmas grace- the power to restore, to welcome, to celebrate, and to see Christ’s power brought forth in this world. Pour this Christmas grace into our heart and give it substance in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds. In Christ’s own name, we pray. Amen. 

Submitted by Rev Julia Seymour, Big Timber Lutheran Church, MT

Closing Liturgy for Evening Prayer

Based on Luke 2:29-32, The Benedictus

 

Source of all rest and peace, dismiss now into my evening’s quiet,

You have promised no less and so much more.

We are witnesses to your salvation,

Which You did for all people and continue to make inviting and effective.

The Living Word is open for all to perceive and trust,

It is the source of our faith and hope.

Those who trust in God’s revelation find an anchor for their souls.

Source of all rest and peace, dismiss us now into our evening’s harbor-

Adrift no more,

At home in You.

 

submitted by Pastor Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage, Alaska.

Transfiguration Affirmation

Our hope is God, our holy Parent,
who makes all things and from whom all blessings flow.
God’s faithfulness is the anchor of our hope.

Our trust is in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
More than a teacher,
His life, death, and resurrection giving meaning to our existence.
Christ’s faithfulness tethers us to holy mystery.

Our trust is in the Holy Spirit.
Blowing over and through creation, unexpected and untamed,
The Spirit stirs forgiveness, fruitfulness, and creates families.
The Spirit’s faithfulness ties together past, present, and future.

Holy Trinity, One God, we believe you transfigure our faith. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage, AK

Confession: sin is a hard word

Lord, sin is a hard word. I try so hard.
I do not do the good I want to do.

Is sin unavoidable, so that the world can see your grace?
I do not do the good I mean to do.

The broken frustrations of the world surround me and are within me.
I seek your will, forgetting that it has found me.

I long to feel a flood of forgiveness, to be transfigured, to be different- somehow, someway.
But you made me, you know me, you love me.

Forgive my sins- what I do, what I avoid.
Forgive my sins- what I say that should go unsaid, what I hold back that should be shouted.

Forgive my sins- the successes I credit to myself, forgetting your Spirit.
Forgive my sins- the shortcomings I see in others, forgetting my own.

Forgive us. Renew us. Transfigure us.

Silence for reflection

The God of creation does not begin work only to abandon it. The good thing that God has begun in you will continue until the day of Christ’s return and, then, eternally. Hear and receive in your hearts and minds to forgiveness of all your sins, consolation for all your griefs, affirmation of your gifts, and hope for your tomorrows. All of this is true and possible, through Jesus Christ- our Savior and Lord!
AMEN.

 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage AK

litany of affirmation: we have an Advocate

We are not alone, sliding through a mystery with no guidance.
We have an Advocate who guides us with power and truth.

We do not pray alone, worried about “getting it right” or being heard.
We have an Advocate who prays with us, in deep, wordless sighs.

We do not work alone for the healing of the world.
We have an Advocate who directs our paths and reveals Christ to us.

We are born of water and fire, adopted into the family of God.
We have an Advocate who strengthens our relationship with the Holy.

We are a people of bountiful gifts and many connections.
We have an Advocate who blesses and encourages us.

We are yet coming to know more fully the height and depth and breadth of the love of God.
We have an Advocate who does not rest in revealing that truth to all creation.

 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage AK

Litany for Trinity Sunday

One: O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

All: Majestic, magnificent, marvelous, mysterious is our God.

One: The angels sing of your glory.

All: Children recognize your power.

One: Your enemies do not prevail. The fortress of your love lasts forever.

All: Majestic, magnificent, marvelous, mysterious is our God.

One: When I think of all creation- space, animals, plants,

All: People, music, fish, mountains, oceans, and deserts.

One: It is more than I can comprehend- that I am born out of the same mind as whales and galaxies.

All: Who are we, that you have thought of us, made us, loved us, saved us?

One: Majestic, magnificent, marvelous, mysterious is our God.

All: You made people- all people, all kinds of people

One: You gave people, us, the work of caring for, of stewardship over

All: Flocks and herds, fields and forests, lakes and rivers, the wild and the tamed

One: O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

All: Majestic, magnificent, marvelous, mysterious is our God. 

 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage Alaska

litany: come, Holy Spirit

The Spirit that rushes in like a violent wind
is also the Spirit of gentleness.

The Spirit that tears down walls between people
is also the Spirit that opens hearts and minds.

The Spirit that burnishes with fire
is also the Spirit that renews and creates.

The Spirit that brings us to our knees in fear of the Lord
is also the Spirit that lifts us up in the light of Christ.

The Spirit that brings a language of its own to our lips
is also the Spirit that carries the prayers of all to God.

We say “Come, Holy Spirit,” but we are afraid.
We are afraid, but we say, “Come, Holy Spirit.”

Include us in God’s work.
Come, Holy Spirit.

Increase our understanding.
Come, Holy Spirit.

Spur us into faithful action.
Come, Holy Spirit.

Burn away all that is dead within us.
Come, Holy Spirit.

Strengthen us to stand with our neighbors, to fight against oppression, to stand for peace, to trust in God’s faithfulness, and to live and die in Christ for the sake of the world.
Come, Holy Spirit! Amen.

The litany may be preceded by a reading of Acts 2:1-4.

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage AK.

Palm Sunday Affirmation

We believe in the God who is the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud.
We trust in our Holy Parent who judges and shows mercy.
We hope in our Creator who is faithful to all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in the Jesus who rode in triumph into Jerusalem.
We trust in the Messiah who was crucified, died, and was buried.
We hope in the living Christ who walked out of the tomb.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, giver of faith and formation.
We trust in the Breath of Life who stirs, sustains, and sanctifies.
We hope in our Advocate who brings to us, and through, us the gift of God’s peace.

 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage AK.

thanksgiving for baptism

Water, water everywhere, even some to drink.
Water, water everywhere, in every tub and sink.

Water for all life on earth,
Water as witness to every new birth.

Water, longed for in deserts so bare.
Water, a gift so precious to share.

Water in bottles, in cups, in glasses,
Water washes our hands and our lashes.

Water carries God’s promise forever,
That nothing can us, from God’s love, sever.

Water, in baptism, carries the hope.
Water, in baptism, gets us cleaner than soap.

Water- tears, rain, ocean, river, or puddle,
Water makes us a family with whom no one can muddle.

Water, for this gift, O God, we have much gratitude.
Water, wash us again, bring us into right attitude. 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage, AK.

CTW: All Are Welcome

The God of creation is the God of all things.
All are equal in God’s eyes.
A fathering God made the trees that shelter the birds.
A mothering God created yielding soil for burrowing creatures.
God knows the longing of a heart for a home.
God provides a home for our hearts.
God’s presence meets us in doors and hallways.
God’s Spirit lingers in kitchens and living rooms.
God commands that we who have been welcomed must in turn be welcoming.
God walks with those who are turned away from welcome.
May the God of shelter inspire our worship.
May the God of homecoming inspire our welcome.
All are welcome where God is,
There is nowhere we can go that God is not.
All are welcome.
All are welcome. 

 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage, AK.