In week two, we are beginning to get on board. In fact, that is the theme of this service, making the choice to be Advent people, or joining the clean-up crew. Our emphasis, then, needs to be on what we can do to make ready for the company that is coming. What can we do to invite and make space for the wider community to join us this season? If not for worship, then what other point of contact might be made? Yes, we might still be concerned about over exposure, about physical distancing, but still we can be hospitable; we can be invitational. Remember, as we invite the community, we are inviting and making ready for the Christ who comes.
Call to Worship
(based on Isaiah 40: 1-11)
One: Listen! The voice of God calls out across the ages.
Men: We hear and respond. We rise up to worship God from the valleys, the mountains, and the plains.
One: Like a shepherd God leads us and tenderly gathers us together.
Women: Comfort, comfort O my people says our God of love.
All: The grass withers and the flower fades; But the word of our God will stand forever!
Prayer of Invocation
You call to us from the wild places,
You call to us from the inner chambers of our hearts.
We come in answer to your call.
We come to pray, to praise,
To learn of your love for all creation.
Reveal your glory that we may see it together -
Inform and inspire us to seek your kingdom on earth in our time. Amen.
— From Valleys to Mountains, Service Prayers for the Second Sunday of Advent, was written by the Rev. Penny L. Lowes, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a free-lance writer. Posted on the Worship Ways website of the United Church of Christ.
Preparing the Way
Where there seems to be no way
to end the conflict and violence in our time,
we pray that you would teach us, O Christ,
to prepare the way;
Where we can see no way
to provide for the needs of all people,
we pray that you would show us, O Christ,
how to prepare the way;
Where can find no way
to work together for justice,
we pray that you would change us, O Christ,
until we prepare the way;
Where we are unable to believe in a way
to live simply, responsibly and mindfully,
we pray that you would inspire us, O Christ,
to faith that prepares the way;
In a world where we are tempted
to see so many of our challenges as dead-ends,
we pray for a new vision, a new heart and a new commitment
to prepare the way for your reign,
your grace, your shalom
and for the liberation, justice and peace that you bring.
God of hope,
you raised up John the baptizer
as a herald who calls us to conversion.
As we joyfully await the glorious coming of Christ,
we pray to you for the needs of the church and the world.
Prayers of the People, concluding with:
Hear our humble prayer
that we may serve you in holiness and faith
and give voice to your presence among us
until the day of the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
Leader: Go forth from this place an awakened people, aware of the world’s darkness, yet reaching for the light.
People: We see God at work in our world, and that makes all the difference.
Leader: Go forth from this place an expectant people, conscious of judgment in our midst, yet welcoming God’s new order and justice.
People: We welcome God’s new day, believing that Christ will set us free.
Leader: Go forth from this place a serving people, sensing anew the pain so many bear, yet confident God will bring healing, even through you.
People: We open ourselves as channels of God’s grace, for we have heard good news and we have been empowered to share it.
(Lavon Baylor in Ruth Duck, Flames of the Spirit, Pilgrim Press, 1985, p. 17.)