Call to Worhsip
One: Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.
Many: For God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven.
One: Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look towards the east, and see your children gathered from west and east
Many: at the word of the Holy One, we rejoice that God has remembered us.
“People Look East”
Malachi 3:1-2 (NRSV)
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap
“Give Me a Clean Heart”
Philippians 1:3-7 (NRSV)
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel.
“A Good Work”
May the one who began a good work 3x
Be faithful to complete it in you.
I thank god every time I remember you. 3x
Constantly praying, constantly praying constantly praying for you
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
“Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord”
Dean Tanya Linn Bennett
While we wait, we are fed. The Holy Child invites us to this table, every one.
While we wait, we are emptied of all that fills us with falseness and fear.
And we confess together….
Holy One who makes us whole, we are impatient and demanding; we want to know what to expect. We worry and we hide; we are not sure what you will see when the Great Star shines down on us. Gracious One, free us from this trap. Keep us alert. Make us ready for your Great Good News to arrive again.
Passing of the Peace
L: God is with us.
P: We open our hearts
L: God enters in
P: And we are made well.
In this season of waiting, we are thankful, God, that you are here. You created everything we know. You set light in the skies, and put living things on the earth. You shaped us with holy hands, and breathed your Spirit into us. We turned away from you, but you never left us alone. When we forgot to love you, you always loved us. You got tired of waiting for us to remember you, so you sent Angels to tell us that your Love and Peace and Joy would come to earth, reminding us who and whose we are.
We didn’t recognize the One you sent. We didn’t know he was Emmanuel, You with Us. Jesus came to eat with the ones we left outside, to heal the ones we feared, to love the ones we rejected, to tear down the walls that kept us apart. God with Us. Guiding us with gentle hands or hard words, Jesus tried to show us how we could all be free in your great Love.
Even when we abandoned him, Emmanuel would not leave us. Before he was taken away, with a love too gentle to judge and too strong to surrender, Jesus gathered us one last time around a table. He took bread and blessed it and gave it to us and said, “Eat. This is my self given for you. Whenever you do this, remember me.” When we had eaten, Jesus took the cup, thanked You, and said, “This is the cup of grace and forgiveness, new promise for new life. When you drink this, remember me.”
With wonder and awe at Your amazing work through Jesus Christ, we give ourselves back to You, returning with praise and thanks that You are still here waiting. We sing out with joy the mystery that is our faith in you and your faith in us.
Shine your Holy Spirit into all of us here, and on this simple food that becomes a holy feast by your grace and mercy. May it give us courage to be Emmanuel for this time and place. Make us one in Jesus Christ, and one in ministry for the whole world, while we wait for Jesus to come again and eat with us at the table of paradise.
This year, when the star rises in the night sky, may we rise to stand with the wise people at the side of the One you send. Expecting something we could never imagine, and rejoicing that we will be set free once more. All honor and glory is yours, Almighty God, now and forever. Amen.
“The Lord’s Prayer”
Consecration and Serving of the Elements
Closing Choral Response
“And the Glory of the Lord”
Dean Tanya Linn Bennett