At last, we arrive at the story we’ve been wanting to hear and to tell all along. At last, the promises resolve into presence, promised and then realized presence as we celebrate that gift. Part of what we embrace today is Mary’s yes, and Elizabeth’s yes as well. When we invite the Spirit to work in us and through us, we begin to know and experience and then become a blessing.
So, our questions for this week are, “How are we going to help the Spirit bless our people as they worship? And how are we going to challenge them to be a blessing to others around them?” Where are we with touch in our worship post-pandemic? Can we lay hands on our people, or do we stand before them and pronounce a blessing? When we pass the peace, as routine as that might seem to many, it is actually a way of sharing in the blessing. What can we do this week to “enSpirit” the passing of the peace? How do we find our way to blessing?
Call to Worship
Pastor: Come, joy, lighten our spirits.
People: Come, hope, lift us from despair.
Pastor: Come, peace, ease our frantic worry.
People: Come, love, shine in all we do.
Pastor: Come, Jesus, be born in us.
People: Come, Lord, set us free.
Pastor: Come, God,
People: Rule in our hearts and teach us to sing with joy!
Dr. Derek C. Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, Discipleship Ministries of the UMC
(inspired by Luke 1:39-45, Amos 5:24, Isaiah 57:7)
Lord our God,
you have revealed yourself as One
who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people;
In a world that looks away from injustice,
You cast your eyes on the destitute, the poor, and the wronged;
You have called us to follow you,
to preach good news to the poor,
to proclaim release for the captives
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed
and to proclaim the time of your blessing.
Be present with your church, Lord,
as we respond to your call.
Open our eyes to the downtrodden.
Fill us with compassion for the plight of the alien,
the refugee, and the immigrant.
Lead us into ministries that help orphans and widows.
Give us courage to block the paths of the ungodly
who exploit the poor.
Set us free from pious exercises
that prevent us from the true worship you choose:
Sharing bread with the hungry,
Sharing homes with the homeless,
Sharing clothes with the naked,
Sharing hearts with our own kin.
So may your justice roll down like waters,
your righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Lead our footsteps to stand with the poor,
that we might stand with you.
Have mercy, O God:
Scatter the proud,
Put down the mighty,
Lift up the lowly,
Fill up the hungry,
And send the rich away empty-handed.
Our Father, etc. . . .
Paul G. Janssen, and printed in Prayerful Preparation: Living God, Renew Us. Published by the World Communion of Reformed Churches and posted at http://wcrc.ch/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/GC2017-PrayerfulPreparation-English.pdf. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2017/12/advent-prayer-for-justice.html.