WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING

December 6, 2020

weekly liturgy

First, a word on fancy words. In worship we have this phrase we use called liturgy that feels like a formal way of having a worship leader saying stuffy things about God. The word means, “the work of the people” and liturgy is meant to be held, and owned by the worshippers, i.e. you. This service is planned to give you a path, a guide to pray, interact with scripture, wrestle with it – wrestle with God – and in so doing, have a moment of coming face to face with the divine right here, right now.

So, come and lay all the worries of the day aside. Take a deep breath, and we will start with a prayer.

PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP

PEACE

“Peace has come to mean the time when there aren’t any wars or even when there aren’t any major wars. Beggars can’t be choosers; we’d most of us settle for that. But in Hebrew peace, shalom, means fullness, means having everything you need to be wholly and happily yourself.”

- Frederick Buechner, excerpt from Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

CALL TO WORSHIP

For those with Advent Wreaths, please take the moment to light your candles when directed in the words below

The Advent wreath is a circle with no beginning and no end, a sign that in Christ – our Alpha and Omega – we find our place in the eternal love of God. This wreath and the candles in it, is a symbol of God’s faithfulness, and the dawning realization we have of God’s nature that comes to life in Jesus, the one for whom we wait.

Today we light the candle of peace. We are surrounded by a world in which there is very little peace to be found at times.  Wars, injustice and tragedy are all too common. However, because of our relationship with Jesus, we are promised a peace that passes understanding. Christ brought peace when He first came to us, and He will bring everlasting peace when He comes again.

The prophet Isaiah called Christ “the Prince of Peace”. When Jesus came, he taught people the importance of being peace makers.  He said that those who make peace shall be called the children of God.  We light the candle of peace today to remind us of Jesus.  He is the Prince of Peace, and only through Him can real peace be found.

The candles may be lit here.

Prayer: Thank you God for the peace you give us through Jesus. We ask that as we wait for all your promises to come true, that you fill our hearts with your peace that passes understanding, even when the world around us doesn’t feel very peaceful.  Help us today and every day to worship you, to hear your word, and to do your will by sharing your peace with one other.  We pray in the name of the Prince of Peace who was born in Bethlehem.  Amen.

CALL TO CONFESSION

Surely, God is our salvation. Have faith, and do not be afraid.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Lord, we have not kept watch for you. We have occupied ourselves with our concerns. We have not waited to find your will for us. We have not noticed the needs of the people around us. We have not acknowledged the love that has been shown to us. 

Forgive us for our lack of watchfulness. Help us to wait to know your will. Help us to look for the needs of others. Help us to work and watch for your coming. Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

The wilderness will rejoice; the dry land will blossom. The people of God will return with joy and singing. In the name of Jesus Christ, the very one for whom we wait, we are forgiven. Amen.

PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Let these words of holy writ, Father, prepare the way for us, and make our hearts ready for your Peace. In the name of the one for whom we wait, Amen.

GOSPEL READING

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
   who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
   “Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight” ’,
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ 

SERMON

Peace Like a River-wading Crazy Person Calling Me to Repent

Rev. Jeremy Jinkins

HYMN

Ever Valley

Performed by Donald Boos and Paul Sanner
Every valley
Every valley shall be exalted
Shall be exalted
Shall be exalted
Shall be exalted
And ev'ry moutain and hill made low
The crooked straight
And the rough places plain
The crooked straight
The crooked straight
And the rough places plain
And the rough places plain
Every valley
Every valley shall be exalted
Every valley
Every valley
Shall be exalted
And ev'ry moutain and hill made low
The crooked straight
The crooked straight
The crooked straight
And the rough places plain
And the rough places plain
And the rough places plain
The crooked straight
And the rough places plain

SUNDAY SCHOOL AT HOME

Although we can’t be in the same proximity physically, we can be together in spirit.  We are happy to be able to provide to you age appropriate Sunday school lessons each week for you to do with your children.  Click the Sunday School button to be directed to our weekly lessons.

STAYING CONNECTED FOR ADULTS

Faith Formation is pleased to announce the following adult learning opportunities that are meeting “virtually” while we “shelter in place”.  Anyone is welcome to participate. Contact information and more details can be found by clicking the Adult Opportunities button.

RESPONDING TO THE WORD

Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer

Eternal God in whom we move and have our being, the very one for whom all people search even when they do not realize it, we wait in this advent season for your promised kingdom. We pray that this advent is the ‘winter of our discontent’ and that Christmas morning will usher in the new life promised in the life, death, and resurrection of your Son. Speak to us between the lines of our prayers, that our spirits may mingle with yours.

Open our eyes to see how our moods, our fears, our anxieties blind us to your presence. When we are feeling overwhelmed, or so lonely we could cry, come and let us draw your Spirit in with our breathing. Be with us in ways that seem to good to be true.

Help us to see that even in the schedules and clamor of everyday life – especially in the holidays – that you have become incarnate; remind us that this means you are in it with us, you have become a part of what we face so that we will never face this life alone. We are never without hope; peace is always at hand; joy is always resting within us; and love is ever present. Make even the smallest moments sacred by your touch. So that little things in life, phone calls and cards, may be so filled with love and generosity that they become holy gifts.

We think of others and for the many who suffer these days through the health, economic, and socio-political crises. The pain in this world is everywhere and it frankly feels too much. Our work seems to be a drop in the bucket. Remind us that every kindness, every unseen and unwitnessed act of good brings your peace into the world. Remind us that every help we offer another holds the power of your redeeming love. Remind us that it is not we who make the world a better place, but rather that we are participating in something far larger than ourselves.

We wait for Christ’s arrival – both birth and return – in this season of waiting, knowing that the Peace for which we ache and yearn may soon be revealed to us and to this troubled world. Come to us and hear our prayers lifted for those we know and love in our own personal lives:

You are invited to silently lift the names of particular people or situations that weigh heavily on your soul at this time. 

We seal these prayers with the one he taught us, saying together:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and power and the glory, Amen.

How can we pray for you?

Click the button to send us your prayer concerns and joys and stay connected.

OFFERING OUR GIFTS

During Advent we turn so much focus on our “waiting” for Jesus’ that we sometimes miss how our daily life is part of the waiting. Right here, right now there are ways to live with hope and expectation for what God is doing in the world. 

We can join in this work by volunteering to help our neighbors, by joining with our ministries to continue making an impact in the lives of our fellow church members – like helping to teach our children. We can also help by pledging to support this church community financially as we make a bigger and bigger impact in our local, regional, and even international communities.

If you have struggled finding a way to help support the work PCW does in our local and broader community in these days of worshipping remotely, remember, you can send checks to 140 Mountain Avenue, Westfield, NJ 07090, or email Tina Barulli at tbarulli@westfieldpc.org if you have that ability.

 

THE SENDING

CHARGE

Experiencing peace is very different than living with peace. We experience peace in fleeting moments, but living with peace is to point one’s life in a certain direction, to live in a way that turns back to the source of peace over and over again, trusting that source of all good.

BENEDICTION

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one for whom we wait; the love of the Father, who calls us back to abundant life; and the communion of the Holy Spirit, who sustains us still with every breath we take, be with you now and always. Amen.

PASSING THE PEACE

Peace be with you

Please pass the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to your neighbors.

Assorted prayers for this week have been taken and/or adapted from The Worship Sourcebook

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

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