Worship Order for
You are the One who makes ready to road, Lord, even before the
thought of traveling it enters our minds. You are the One who begins
the journey, coming to us long before we start packing. As we
prepare, help us to both lighten our load and take on what we truly
need, to pare back and be properly equipped. We’re tempted to take
everything and nothing, to stuff our life bags with what’s
ultimately unimportant and leave out the essentials. We need the
prophet’s cry to turn us in your direction and to prepare us to
travel light. That requires of us a listening ear. Okay, Lord, you
have our attention. Blow your Spirit through this gathering this
morning, and in so doing make this work of your people into
heartfelt, real worship. With Jesus leading the way, we pray. Amen.
Lighting the Second Advent Candle
(Isaiah 40:3,6a, 9)
candlelighter comes forward during the first hymn and stands to
the side of the worship center. On the way, she picks up the
microphone from the stand up front and brings it forward. After
the Opening Prayer, the candle lighter is voice 2 below. The
worship leader is voice 1. Wait to being until the congregation
1 - Watch
Estén siempre vigilante
(The candle lighter
lights the first candle, the one in front that was lit last
week. Only when she is done, continue.)
1 - A voice cries out:
2 - “Preparen en el desierto un camino para el
Señor; enderecen en la estepa un sendero para nuestro Dios.”
1 - “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight
in the wilderness a highway for our God.”
2 - Una voz dice: “Proclama.”
1 - A voice says “cry out!”
2 - “¿Y qué voy a proclamar?”, respondo yo.
1 - And I said, “What shall I cry?”
2 - Sión, portadora de buenas noticias, ¡súbete
a una alta montaña! Jerusalén, portadora de buenas noticias,
¡alza con fuerza tu voz!
1 - Zion, bearer of good news, climb up a high mountain!
Jerusalem, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice with
2 - Álzala, no temas; di a las ciudades de Judá:
“¡Aquí está su Dios!”
1 - Lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here
is your God!”
2 - “Preparen un camino para el Señor.”
1 - “Prepare the way for the LORD.”
2 - Preparen.
1 - Prepare.
(The second Advent
candle is lit as the word “Preparen” is spoken two times above.
The candle lighter quietly returns to her seat as we sing the
next song. Along the way, return the microphone to the stand.)
(Spanish is from the Nueva
listen to an mp3 file of the above
Preface to Scripture reading
On our Advent
journey this day, we turn from the Hebrew prophets, Malachi and
Isaiah, to the prophet of the new age. From the banks of the
Jordan river, John the Baptist called God’s people to turn and
step into the stream of the Lord’s redeeming work, to be
immersed in the healing water as preparation for the coming of
the Messiah. Listen to how gospel storyteller Luke describes it.
for a journey"
Again this Sunday,
I’d like to meet with our children … but not up front. How about
over to the side toward the back? Would all our little ones join
Now, some of you
were not here last week when we met in the back, and while there
we looked all over the sanctuary to notice things we hadn’t seen
before. Do any of you see anything different? Yes, there is the
advent wreath up front, and the greens and candles in the
windows. More decorations will be added as Christmas gets
Do you notice
anything else? Yes, there is a light shining way up in the
ceiling of the sanctuary. It was there last week, and we talked
about how the wise men looked and saw a star in the night sky
that they’d never seen before, and they followed it to
Bethlehem. The advent word for last week was “Watch.” That’s
what the wise men did first. They “watched.”
The advent word for this week
is “Prepare.” Now, once the wise men saw that star, before they
went to follow it, they needed to get ready. What do you suppose
they had to do to get ready to leave on their trip? When you go
somewhere, like to visit family who lives far away, or to go on
vacation, what do you do to get ready? (get all sorts of
answers from them) Do you think those are some of the things
the wise men had to do? Of course, they didn’t have cars to
travel in. Think about how it might have been different for them
(get their answers, which may involve camels and such – like
food for a long journey, but also maps and charts and writings).
The Bible says
they brought something else. Three things are mentioned, anyone
know what they were. That’s right: gold, frankincense, and myhhr.
One of the ways they got ready was to decide what gift they were
going to bring. Are you going to give a present to anyone for
Christmas this year? I know, when we think about Christmas, we
imagine all the things we want to get as gifts. Maybe we get in
line and sit on Santa’s lap and ask him for something, or send
him a letter. It’s fun to imagine, isn’t it?
something else. If you could give a gift to someone else, what
would it be? Like your mom or dad, what would you like to give
them for Christmas? I think that it’s fun to think about giving,
just like it’s fun to think about receiving. That’s one way we
prepare for Christmas – by thinking about giving. That’s what
the wise me did. Before they ever left on their journey, they
each decided what gift they were going to bring. And they packed
it away for the trip.
Next week, we may
meet somewhere else in the sanctuary. Would that be okay? We’ll
talk about the wise men some more. Thank you for sharing with
me. Please return to your seat.
our Tithes and Offerings
Pray with me:
Giving God, we once again prepare for the birth of your chosen
Son. Through the voices of prophets and preachers, you have been
heard in the driest deserts and the steepest valleys. Unfurl our
hearts and open our minds so that we may hear your salvation
story anew. Giving this money is a worshipful gesture of our
unending alleluias to you. We dedicate this offering to your
Kingdom work. Amen.
Center for Stewardship, UMC
written by David S. Bell, currently Vice-President of Stewardship
with the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan.
Copyright 2009 David S. Bell.
Preface to Scripture reading
Every good story has a
beginning. During Advent we’re preparing to hear the beginning
of the Jesus story, to listen once more to something many of us
have heard many times before. We’re also preparing for the
beginning of another story about the second Advent and God’s new
heaven and new earth breaking loose and becoming reality.
Everyone has a beginning. Even
those wise men who visited Bethlehem long ago were babies at one
time. Parents dreamed of them. Mothers nursed them. John the
Baptist is no different. We remember him as a fire-breathing
rabble-rouser who preached repentance. But he, too, was once the
infant son of Elizabeth and Zechariah. On the eighth day after
his birth, his father finally opened his mouth and spoke (which
is a whole other story) the following words of blessing and
written closer to the time (if not at the
Go now and prepare the way for the Lord.
Share in the gospel of God’s grace;
Proclaim salvation and the forgiveness of sins;
Make straight paths for justice and mercy.
And may God complete the good work begun in
May Christ Jesus rejoice in your faith and compassion;
and may the Holy Spirit fill your love with wisdom,
and produce in you a harvest of righteousness.
(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)