United Church of Christ

Advent 3—December 15

The One Who is to Come
Service Prayers for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
December 15, 2019

Call to Worship after Isaiah 35: 1-10

Leave your exile behind; God is calling us home.
We'll follow the Way through the desert.
Enter the desert without fear; God's water will quench our thirst.
We'll walk the Highway of God's people.
Travel the Highway with joy; God is leading to life in abundance.
We'll strengthen weak hands, and support feeble knees;
We'll encourage the fearful and calm the anxious:
Rejoice! Be strong! God is with us!
Come, let us worship!

Invocation after Matthew 11: 3-5

O God, we come today echoing John the Baptist's question
to your Beloved Child:
"Are you the one who is to come?"
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the answer for ourselves:

In the work of justice: Christ!
In the practice of mercy: Christ!
In good news for the poor: Christ!
In the vision of peace: Christ!

Make us ready, with open hearts and joyful spirits,
to follow in Christ's Way. Amen.

Call to Confession

Advent calls us to “wake up!” and rejoice in the hope that is ours.
Day is coming, and with it the promise of new hope in Christ.,
but we must commit to living in the light.
And so we pray:

When the heaviness of clinging to
“stuff” we no longer need, and
bad habits too comfortable to shed,
keeps us half asleep and unable to wake up and follow Jesus,
Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.

When the bitterness of hanging on to
unhealthy relationships, or
jealousies and quarrels, or
hurts unforgiven
keeps our community weary
and unable to recognize the “new thing” God is doing in our midst,
Christ have mercy; Christ have mercy.

When a history of injustice and violence unaddressed in community:
lead to societal structures that hinder fullness of life for all,
when realities of Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Xenophobia
are given form and substance among us,

Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.

Silence

Assurance of Pardon

The night is far gone, day is on the horizon.
In Christ we are forgiven and given strength to face a new day, rejoicing,
and to participate, fully awake, in working for the Kin-dom of God.
Let us celebrate this great joy by passing the peace in community.

Passing the Peace

Call to Offering

The day of rejoicing is coming, the prophet Isaiah says, and we await it together;
our gifts today in this season of waiting and hope
help us to strengthen one another and to offer hope to the world
as we look forward to that great day of everlasting joy.

Let us gather our gifts together and present them as an offering to God.

Prayer of Dedication

With these gifts, dear God, accept the praise and thanksgiving of our hearts,
which rejoice in your goodness and love.
Let these gifts point to your presence in the world, and further your hope for the
world through Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Amen.

Benediction

Let us go forth with eyes to see and ears to hear and voices to proclaim:

In the work of justice: Christ!
In the practice of mercy: Christ!
In good news for the poor: Christ!
In the vision of peace: Christ!
Amen! Thanks be to God!

Service Prayers for the Third Sunday of Advent were written by the Rev. Susan A. Blain, Minister for Worship and Gospel Arts, Justice and Local Church Ministries.

Copyright 2019 Justice Local Church Ministries,  Faith INFO Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.

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