6 December 2022 – Advent Lessons & Carols

Prelude

“Of the Love of God Begotten”

Seminary Choir

Reading

“The Longest Night (for the Earth)”

Dr. Gladson Jathanna

On this night,
listen to the wailing of the wild.
Hold vigil with the grief of the earth …

How weary, the land.
The night only fades into more night.
The sun can’t get out of bed.

Keep silent all spiritual platitudes.
For too long, there has been no earth in your heavens.
What good is disembodied Love
to the lakes, to the squirrels, to the plants
that feed and nourish you?

No, just come and sit.
And hear the body of God
weeping.

(adapted from enfleshed)

Song

“O Come O Come Emmanuel”

Lighting the Advent Candles

Dean Aponte & Kenia Vanessa Rodriguez

Dean Aponte: As we begin our Advent pilgrimage, we are filled with longing. How long, God, must we wait?
We light a candle for hope. We long to be a hope-filled people.
All: We hope for your presence, we hope for your peace, we hope for your promise.
Kenia Vanessa: How long, God, must we wait?
We light a candle for peace. We long to be a peace-filled people.
All: We long for peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, peace in our communities.
Dean Aponte: How long, God, must we wait?
We light a candle for joy. In this season, we long to experience joy – deep joy, lasting joy.
All: We long to find joy in the face of apathy, joy in the face of sorrow, joy in the face of uncertainty.
Kenia Vanessa: How long, God, must we wait?
We light a candle for love. We are longing for love: your love for us, and our love for ourselves.
All: We seek love that challenges us. We seek love that makes us vulnerable. We seek love that heals.
Dean Aponte: How long, God, must we wait?
Kenia Vanessa: We wait in hope. We long for peace. We search for joy. We seek your love.
All: Amen.

Reading

“Harlem”

Alexis Carter Thomas

What happens to a dream deferred?

  Does it dry up
  like a raisin in the sun?
  Or fester like a sore—
  And then run?
  Does it stink like rotten meat?
  Or crust and sugar over—
  like a syrupy sweet?

  Maybe it just sags
  like a heavy load.

  Or does it explode?

– Langston Hughes

Song

“How Long” – Mark Miller

We wait for your coming
We wait for new life
We wait in our despairing
We wait through the strife

But how long, how long
How much longer must we wait?
But how long, how long
How much longer must we wait?

Lord, we are forsaken
We yearn to be free
Sam, he said “a change is gonna come”
But right now, we can’t breathe

how long, how long
How much longer must we wait?
But how long, how long
How much longer must we wait?

Scripture Readings

Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller

Habakkuk 1:2-4

2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’
and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4 So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

Psalm 13:1-3
To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death.

Song

“How Long” – Porter’s Gate

How long, will you turn your face away?
How long, do you hear us when we pray?
On and on, still we walk this pilgrim way
How long?

How long, till your children find the rest?
How long, till you draw them to your breast?
We go on, holding to your promises
How long?

Till you wipe away the tears from every eye
Till we see our home descending from the sky
Do we wait in vain?
Jesus, give us hope again

How long, till your word will still the storm?
How long, till you bare your mighty arm?
How we grow, till you snatch us from the thorns
How long?

Till you wipe away the tears from every eye
Till we see our home descending from the sky
Do we wait in vain?
Jesus, give us hope again

Amen, Jesus, Come
Amen, Jesus, Come
Amen, Jesus, Come
Amen, Jesus, Come
Amen, Jesus, Come.

Prayer

JunGyu Park

Leader: In our secret yearnings
we wait for your coming,
and in our grinding despair
we doubt that you will.
And in this privileged place
we are surrounded by witnesses who yearn more than do we
and by those who despair more deeply than do we.
Look upon [us] in this season of hope
which runs so quickly to fatigue
and this season of yearning
which becomes so easily quarrelsome.
Give us the grace and the impatience
to wait for your coming to the bottom of our toes,
to the edge of our finger tips.
We do not want our several worlds to end.
Come in your power
and come in your weakness
in any case and make all things new.
All: Amen.

(Adapted from Walter Brueggemann, Awed to Heaven, Rooted to Earth)

Song

“Awake and Awake and Greet the New Morn”

Scripture Readings

Dr. Francisco Pelaez-Diaz

Luke 21:28
28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’

Isaiah 40:9
9 Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
‘Here is your God!’

Psalm 126:5-6
5 May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

Meditation

“People Look East” – Words: Eleanor Farjeon, Music: Mark Miller

Annie Salorio, soloist


Holy Communion

Dr. Traci West

Leader: In the holy name of ‘I am what I am’
In the strong name of Jesus
In the mysterious name of the Spirit
All: We wait.
Leader: We are still.
All: We wait.
Leader: We wait for the sounds of mystery,
All: And the sounds of celebration.
Leader: The breaking of bread,
All: And the pouring of wine.
Leader: The pain of sorrow,
All: And the pulse of hope.
Leader: The echo of our name,
All: And the bread in our teeth.
Leader: A cup on our lips,
All: And breathing at our side.
Leader: A voice in our face,
All: “The Bread of Life.”
Leader: A power in our ear,
All: “The Cup of Salvation.”
Leader: As we wait for the sounds of mystery,
All: The sounds of celebration,
Leader: The breaking of bread,
All: And the pouring of the wine.

Leader: We hear the sounds in the distance,
All: The vibration of human lives
Leader: The crackle of fear
All: And the murmur of distrust
Leader: The scramble for rice
All: And the tearing of garbage
Leader: The whisper of desolation
All: And the silence of an open field
Leader: The breaking of bread
All: And the pouring of wine.

Leader: The beginning of an end,
All: And the word that has healing.
Leader: The taste of a mystery,
All: And a God who is feeling
Leader: In the breaking of bread
All: And the pouring of wine.

Leader: And we listen for the joy
All: An the bubble children’s faces.
Leader: The dancing of willows,
All: And the surprise of open lives
Leader: The leap of our Spirit
All: And the swirl of celebration.
Leader: We will listen to God.
All: And the celebration of God.
Leader: In the breaking of bread.
All: And the pouring of wine.

Leader: Emmanuel, God with us,
May this bread and cup be your Holy Life.
All: Amen.

Blessing

Hayoung Kang

We’re asking today, “How long will it take?”
We’re asking, “How long will prejudice obscure understanding?”
We’re asking, “When will wounded justice be lifted from the dust of shame?”
We’re asking, “When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, and truth bear it?’

It will not be long, because truth crushed to earth will rise again.
How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever.
How long? Not long, because you still reap what you sow.
How long? Not long, because the arm of the moral universe is long,
but it bends toward justice.
How long? Not long, because our eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

Come, Jesus, come. Amen.

Sending Forth Song

“Canticle of the Turning”


Worship Notes:
Blessing adapted from “Our God is Marching On!” (speech delivered at the Alabama State House by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, March 25, 1965).
Communion Liturgy adapted from Gwen Green, Community Worship, and Maren, Gifts in Open Hands

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s