Though there is a quietness to Advent, a hushed waiting for something to be revealed, something to be born, it is also a time of deep joy. This is a Sunday to celebrate the joy of the season, the joy of waiting, and the joy of having already received the one for whom we wait. Set up the dance floor, blow up the balloons, serve refreshments in the narthex. Let’s make this day, at least—if not every time we gather for worship—a celebration of joy and hope.
This is not a denial of everything shared last week. This is not implying that there are no more tears in our waiting time. But it does mean that can learn to hope, even in difficult moments in our lives. We don’t proclaim sunshine and roses for everyone all the time, what some call the “happy-clappy” worship. There is depth here and honesty, even as we celebrate the goodness of God. Let us find our way to that joy, however loud or quiet it might be. But we trust that it is there.
Meditation for Gathering
A Singing God
A singing God! Isn’t that what we all hope for? In the midst of troubles, struggles, and a world gone wild, we hope not only that God delights in us individually, but also that God sings over the entire world a melody of renewal. Zephaniah declared God would quiet our hearts with love and rejoice, even as God mightily delivers us. In Advent, we hope in hope.
Valerie Bridgeman Davis, The Africana Worship Book for Year C (Discipleship Resources, 2008), 25.
Call to Worship
Pastor: A path to our God,
People: Winding through the ordinary,
Pastor: Weaving through the busyness,
People: Overcoming roadblocks and detours.
Pastor: A way to go home,
People: Leaving the past in the past,
Pastor: Moving from darkness and exile,
People: Coming into the light.
Pastor: Advent is a path to our God,
People: A way to come home,
Pastor: A discovery of God's voice:
People: Rejoice, rejoice. God is with us!
Dr. Derek C. Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, Discipleship Ministries of the UMC
(incorporating Zephaniah 3: 17-18, Jeremiah 33: 15, Baruch 5: 7, Malachi 5: 4-5)
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival. (Zephaniah 3:17-18)
Yet ours is an upside-down victory.
In those days and at that time
I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David;
and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 33:15)
Ours is a story of power in humility.
For God has ordered that every high mountain
and the everlasting hills be made low
and the valleys filled up, to make level ground,
so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. (Baruch 5:7)
Ours is a story of strength in vulnerability.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall live secure,
for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace. (Micah 5:4-5)
Ours is a story of a baby deemed king,
of a carpenter's son praying alone,
of a Roman execution.
The Lord, our God, is in our midst.
May we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Written by Katherine Hawker. Posted on Liturgies Outside, http://liturgyoutside.net. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2013/08/advent-litany-upside-down-victory.html.