Advent 1B – December 3
December 3, 2023
First Sunday of Advent (Hope)
“Quaking Mountains…Awesome Deeds” | Isaiah 64:1-6
CALL TO WORSHIP (Inspired by Isaiah 64)
Leader: Tear open the heavens and bring forth your presence.
We watch and we wait for the glory to come.
All: We gather with hope, remembering your mercy.
Lead us in love; shine from above.
Leader: Awaken the earth, enflame and enflesh
We watch and we wait for what’s birthing ahead.
All: We gather with hope, remembering your justice.
Revive us, restore us; shine from above.
Leader: Make us your love wave to broaden your reach
We watch and we wait for your deeds to appear.
All: We gather with hope, remembering your handiwork.
Make us, mold us; shine from above.
OPENING SONG SUGGESTIONS
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past The New Century Hymnal #25
You Are My Strength Hillsong *with alt verses: “you are my hope/peace”
LIGHTING OF THE HOPE CANDLE
*Celebrant invites member of the congregation to light the candle of hope
Celebrant: (Optional Intro) The word “Advent” comes from an ancient Latin phrase meaning “until the coming.” It is a period of spiritual preparation in which many Christians make themselves ready for the coming of the Christ-child.
In this time for reflection, we take each Sunday leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus to reflect on some themes that center us as we wait with eager expectation for the glory of God to be revealed. This Sunday, many across the globe center on “Hope.”
When the world is frightening
And we desire to escape from the ongoing suffering,
The Womb of Creation invites us to remember a hope within.
It is the hope within us that leads us to transform the conditions around us.
We cling to hope in a world full of despair.
We search for it;
We dare to discover hope in the small, yet magnificent moments of our days.
Let us light this candle of hope as we remember the God-with-us and the hope within us.
Let us pray:
El Shaddai – God of the mountains who quake at your presence,
You meet us in our memory of you.
We’d invite you to come down and dwell among us,
Yet we know that you are already and always with us—
Emmanuel, in our collective memory from ages past—
God beside us, God before us, God behind us, and God within us.
Let your face shine so that we might remember you more clearly.
Give us life and we will call on your name
As we worship you in spirit and in truth.
- Inspired by Isaiah 64, Psalm 80
MOMENT OF TESTIMONY
Leader invites congregation to answer the question: What is giving you hope?
Congregants are invited to speak aloud or meditate on their thought. The leader repeats and affirms what is heard.
Leader: We gather together in this season of Advent anticipating hope, praying for peace, attempting to cultivate joy and share love amidst commotion, grief, despair and uncertainty. What is giving you hope, today? It can be something we often take for granted, such as “the sun in the sky is giving me hope.” It can be something that surprises you. What is giving you hope?
PRAYER OF TRANSFORMATION (Inspired by Hope by Jason Robert Brown)
Let us pray:
We come singing songs of hope, this morning.
Though we may not be inspired much right now, we still sing.
Though it may take us time to sit with our hampered thoughts and sift through the growing pile of despair, we still sing.
In spite of everything ridiculous and sad—
Though we may be beyond belief, depressed, confused, and mad—
Some of us got dressed, and
Some of us made it out of bed or out the door
And we still sing of hope.
God, remind us that we have gotten through a lot of things we didn’t think we could—
that you have not left us nor forsaken us—
That our individual and collective ancestors still sang new songs in the valleys of death.
And so, we still sing, too.
Embolden us as we try to show the world the we can find hope
even when it seems impossible to bear.
Hope must be there.
Fear never wins.
The work begins in us.
INVITATION TO GENEROSITY
Leader: As recipients of the generous deeds of God, let us share our generosity with each other and the community.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
One: For the wondrous ways this offering with breath hope into community
One or All: We dedicate these gifts.
One: For the ways it’ll help us live out God’s mission
One or All: We dedicate these gifts.
One: Let these gifts strengthen our call to carry out God’s justice and mercy.
Go forth with the gift of hope
Remembering God’s deeds
Trusting God’s presence
And Becoming God’s handiwork.
May God’s face shine on us now and forever,
Let Us Hope When Hope Seems Hopeless The New Century Hymnal #461
Memory (I Have Hope) Advent Unwrapped 2023 Collaboration
Quakering Mountains…Awesome Deeds: Service Prayers for the First Sunday of Advent Year B was written by The Rev. Mia M. McClain, Senior Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Washington D.C. She is an ordained UCC minister.