“…Make Every Effort To Live Peaceful Lives…”
by Pastor Matt Jackson
FIRST CHURCH in PEMBROKE
Sunday, December 6, 2020
ORDER OF WORSHIP – 2nd Sunday in Advent
Prelude While By My Sheep
Welcome & Lighting of Advent Wreath
An advent wreath with Advent candles is a tradition that helps Christians focus attention on the anticipated coming of the Christ-child at Bethlehem. Purple is the traditional color of Advent. The wreath has four purple candles, surrounding a larger white Christ candle in the middle. Each Sunday, at the beginning of worship, a candle is lit, progressing in numbers each week and highlighting the themes of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. Today we will light two candles – the first candle is for the theme of Hope, and the 2nd candle, for today’s theme of Peace.
Hear these words of Scripture: “A Voice cries: In the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God… In accordance with God’s promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth where righteousness is at home… The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.”
We will now light the candle of Hope – which proclaims the coming of the Light of God into the world. Because of Christ, we not only have hope, but we believe that good is stronger than evil. God wants us to work for good in this world.
And we light the second candle – the candle of Peace – to proclaim even more so, the coming of the God’s Light into the world. With the coming of this Light, there is peace, for Christ is called the “Prince of Peace.” Christ’s name is also Emmanuel, “God with us.” The presence of Christ, with us, give us peace day by day.
Let us pray…
As we have lit the candle of Hope, grant us Your blessing of wisdom, gained by hearing, studying, and following Your Holy Words revealed in the Scriptures. And as the light of the candle of Peace shines ever so brightly, may we, as people of faith in You, the Triune God, grow even stronger in our understanding of Who You Are and what we believe. May we settle in that very wisdom and faith, and nurture the Peace of Christ – within us individually and collectively, with our every breath and heartbeat. Amen and Amen.
Call to Contemplation Breathe on Me Breath of God
Call to Worship (abbreviated from Lavon Baylor’s “Led by Love”)
P: The day of God is coming; let us lift up our voices as a signal of our faith
C: We anticipate God’s coming, the result of our faith in the Hope and Peace of Christ.
P: We are charged to comfort God’s people, speaking tenderly and with compassion.
C: We are God’s people and look forward to the stirring of His Holy Spirit among us.
P: The Lord is our Shepherd; He embraces and protects us, w/every breath and heartbeat.
C: Grass withers and flowers fade; but the Word of our God stands forever.
Hymn Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
Scripture Reading 2 Peter 3: 8-15 Ernie Evans
A Musical Moment for Meditation Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah
The Holy Gospel Mark 1: 1-8
The Message “…make every effort to live peaceful lives…” Pastor Matt
Hymn Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Prayers of the People Healer of Our Every Ill
This is a time in which we, as a church and congregation of faithful people, pause and ask for God to touch our loved ones, our colleagues and friends, and those with whom we may only have heard about. It is a time when we are truly people of a humbled hope – a hope that God will move in our lives, and the lives of those we name. It is a sacred and holy moment of silence, when God gives us undivided attention, we anticipate miracles, and settle in His Peace.
Please join me now in a time of prayer…
O Gracious God, we come each week asking for Your Touch upon those we name in the silence of these moments. And while we pray continuously for some, others are new to our list and requests, but all are precious to us. And while some needs are simple, others are very complicated. We have done our very best, but their needs are beyond our human capabilities…. We need Your Incredible gift of Grace and Mercy. We come, asking for miracles, O God. Indeed, in this moment of silence, hear us as we hold before You the names of our loved ones, our family, our neighbors and friends, our colleagues, our country and our broader world….
Thank You for the gift of You. Know we are so very grateful for a faith that calms us, grants us hope in our despair, and comforts in our fears and sadness. And now hear us as we pray Your 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 sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen.
One of the most challenging aspects of ministry is to ask for the support of the people – through their sharing of their time and talents, but particularly one’s finances. It is also a fact that people will support institutions and organizations which make a real difference in people’s lives. We pause in this moment to ask for your support. We thank you for your generosity and the trust that our church is making real differences in people’s lives, and we will be prudent stewards with your contributions. May God bless all who give and those who will be beneficiaries of such generosity.
Offertory Let All Mortal Flesh Be Silent
Closing Hymn Prepare the Way, O Zion
Another hour together has come and gone. May God bless us and keep us ever safe. May God bring us together again this same time next week. And as always, we pray this in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Postlude Carols of Christmas (Medley)