"Thoughts from a Waiting Room"
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BULLETIN FOR SERVICE:
PRAYER FOR PEACE
Bless the hands that bring wholeness to lives blighted by sickness.
Bless the saints who in sad and desperate places bring a sense of hopefulness.
Bless the Christians facing daily opposition showing a faithful witness.
Bless the generosity of the rich and powerful for the gift of thoughtfulness.
Bless the peacemakers working in conditions that are often hazardous.
Bless the politicians whether good or bad for decisions affecting all of us.
Bless our words and actions as we carry your light into places shrouded in darkness.
Bless your children whoever they might be with the warmth of your love and grace.
PRELUDE ||| Seasonal Favorites Various Composers
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES
We light these candles as a sign of the coming light of Christ. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice! The Lord is near. (Philippians 4)
Thanks be to God for this good news of great joy! (1 Thess. 3, Luke 2)
*CALL TO CONTINUING WORSHIP ||| based on Psalm 147
One: Praise the Lord!
Left: Because it is good to sing praise to our God!
Right: Because it is a pleasure to make beautiful praise!
One: The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem, gathering up Israel’s exiles.
Left: God heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
Right: God counts the stars by number, giving each one a name.
One: Our Lord is great and so strong!
Many: God’s knowledge can’t be grasped!
*HYMN 87 ||| Comfort, Comfort Now My People ||| Genevan
*PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Loving God, we welcome your embrace to comfort us. We cherish times we feel as if we were conversing with you. We avoid wrestling with you. Life has struggles enough without adding yet another. Forgive our fatigue, lethargy, and fear. Fill us again with your grace and power so we may meet you with all our heart, mind, body and energy.
*DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS
We rely on the ancient promise made through the words of Jeremiah, thus “declares the Lord; for I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sins.” I declare that God says the same to us.
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Thanks be to God!
MOMENT WITH OUR CHILDREN ||| Rev. Dudley J. Elvery
WELCOME AND CHURCH COMMUNICATIONS
WE HEAR GOD’S WORD
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING ||| Zephaniah 3:14-20 ||| CEB
14 Rejoice, Daughter Zion! Shout, Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem. 15 The Lord has removed your judgment; he has turned away your enemy. The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you will no longer fear evil. 16 On that day, it will be said to Jerusalem: Don’t fear, Zion. Don’t let your hands fall. 17 The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing. 18 I will remove from you those worried about the appointed feasts. They have been a
burden for her, a reproach. 19 Watch what I am about to do to all your oppressors at that time. I will deliver the lame; I will gather the outcast. I will change their shame into praise and fame throughout the earth. 20 At that time, I will bring all of you back, at the time when I gather you. I will give you fame and praise among all the neighboring peoples when I restore your possessions and you can see them—says the Lord.
SPECIAL MUSIC ||| “What Child Is This” with “Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring” ||| Mary McDonald
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING ||| Luke 3:7-18 ||| CEB
7 Then John said to the crowds who came to be baptized by him, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire.” 10 The crowds asked him, “What then should we
do?” 11 He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. They said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He replied, “Collect no more than you are authorized to collect.” 14 Soldiers asked, “What about us? What should we do?” He answered, “Don’t cheat or harass anyone, and be satisfied with your pay.” Responses to John: 15 The people were filled with expectation, and everyone wondered whether John might be the Christ. 16 John replied to them all, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than me is coming. I’m not worthy to loosen the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.” 18 With many other words John appealed to them, proclaiming good news to the people.
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God!
SERMON ||| "Thoughts from a Waiting Room" ||| Rev. Dudley J. Elvery
WE RESPOND TO GOD’S WORD
*HYMN 96 ||| On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry ||| Winchester New
*AFFIRMATION OF FAITH ||| Confession of 1967 9.32
The life, death, resurrection, and promised coming of Jesus Christ has set the pattern for the church’s mission. His life as man involves the church in the common life of men. His service to men commits the church to work for every form of human well-being. His suffering makes the church sensitive to all the sufferings of mankind so that it sees the face of Christ in the faces of men in every kind of need. His crucifixion discloses to the church God’s judgment on man’s inhumanity to man and the awful consequences of its own complicity in injustice. In the power of the risen Christ and the hope of his coming, the church sees the promise of God’s renewal of man’s life in society and of God’s victory over all wrong.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND THE LORD’S PRAYER
…Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
OFFERING OF OUR GIFTS
OFFERTORY ||| The Wexford Carol ||| Mark Hayes
*DOXOLOGY ||| 606 Old Hundredth
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Loving God, see in our offerings that we bring Sunday after Sunday, our patient waiting as your kingdom unfolds. See also our commitment to watching so it doesn’t slip by us. Amen.
WE GO IN GOD’S NAME
*HYMN 88 ||| O Come, O Come, Emmanuel ||| Veni Emmanuel
(verses 1, 2, 6 and 7 only)
*PRAYER OF BLESSING from St. Patrick
We arise today through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun, Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning, Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
We arise today through God's strength to pilot us;
God's might to uphold us, God's wisdom to guide us,
God's eye to look before us, God's ear to hear us,
God's word to speak for us, God's hand to guard us,
God's way to lie before us, God's shield to protect us,
God's hosts to save us afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
Christ shield me today against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.
We arise today
Through the mighty strength of the Lord of creation. Amen.
POSTLUDE ||| Ding Dong Merrily On High ||| Douglas E. Wagner
Session has called a Special Congregational Meeting for the election of Church Officers
today at 12:00 noon. Ruling Elders and Trustees will be nominated in a report from the 2021 Nominating Committee. Members may participate and vote in the Special Congregational Meeting using Zoom. The sign-in link will be sent to all on the email chain. The linkwill be posted on the website as well. You MUST sign in no later than 12 noon. The meeting will be short, and if you sign in late the meeting may be over and you will have missed it.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God!
Rev. Dudley J. Elvery II, Interim Pastor
Mrs. Mary Ann Wenzelman, Interim Organist/Pianist
Worship Liturgist: Jay Ruklic
Ushers: Earl Anker, Laura Dillman, Ray Nielsen, Wanda Nielsen