“… Well Then, Who Are You…”
by Pastor Matt Jackson
So enjoyed the service this morning – messages of Faith, Peace and Love – a reminder of what is important during these days when we feel so disconnected from what we know and believe in – Thanks Pastor Matt for this message-Judy Graham
FIRST CHURCH in PEMBROKE
Sunday, December 13, 2020
ORDER OF WORSHIP – 3rd Sunday in Advent
Prelude Emmanuel Comes (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel)
Welcome & Lighting of Advent Wreath
We are continuing in the season of Advent, and this is the 3rd week of the traditional journey from Thanksgiving through the celebration of the birth of the Christ child, better known as Christmas. According to one commentary, in 1839 a Lutheran minister working at a children’s mission in Germany created a wreath out of the wheel of a cart. The minister placed 20 small red candles around the outer ring of the wheel and four larger white candles inside the ring. He lit the red candles on weekdays, and the four white candles on Sundays, as a way for the children to countdown the days until Christmas. The tradition continues, as most Christian churches use merely the four candle (purple), with the white candle in the center to be lit on Christmas Eve/Christmas day to celebrate the Christ child’s birth.
We started with the 1st Sunday’s candle of Hope… We then moved to the 2nd Sunday’s candle of Peace… And for today, the 3rd Sunday in Advent, we mark the day by the lighting of the candle of Love.
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, and 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.
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.
And today we light the candle of Love – again to proclaim this coming of the light of God into the world. With the coming of this light there is love… a love of God, and one another, that is limitless and infinite, as we will soon celebrate the birth of Jesus.
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 today’s candle of Love blend together that of our hope and Your Peace, resulting in a deeper love for You and others. Indeed, may we come to settle in the gifts of wisdom and faith, and foster the Peace of Christ, now and forevermore. Amen and Amen.
Call to Contemplation Toda la Tierra (All Earth is Waiting)
Call to Worship (abbreviated from Lavon Baylor’s “Led by Love”)
P: God is in our midst, do not fear. God renews us, each and every day, in steadfast love.
C: The Spirit of the Sovereign God calls us to share the Good News with all people!
P: We are to trust in God, Who is our strength and life. Let us give thanks for the gift of salvation.
C: He calls us to comfort the brokenhearted, and console those who mourn, and those who are sad.
P: Rejoice always and pray without ceasing. God is faithful, just, and merciful.
C: God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and steadfast in love! Thanks be to God.
Hymn Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates
Scripture Reading: Luke 1: 46-55 Reader: Nancy Jackson
Musical Meditation Mary, Did You Know?
The Holy Gospel John 1: 6-8, 19-28 Reader:: Ernie Evans
The Message “… Well Then, Who Are You…” Pastor: Matt Jackson
Hymn On Jordan’s Banks
Prayers of the People
This is the time when we put aside all the raucous that seems to dominate in our lives. It is a time when we pause and just settle into a quiet moment to chat with our God. It is when we reach out and address those parts of our lives that are beyond us, in our best of efforts, and ask God to hear our prayers for those we love (like family and friends and colleagues, etc.) and for those we have only heard about…. But all for whom matter to us, and once we have name them, we find solace and peace assured that God will bless us all.
Please join me now in a time of prayer (Music: Surely the Presence)
O Gracious God, once again we come asking for Your Touch upon those we name in the silence of these moments. Thank You for Your patience, as sometimes we say the same names, and offer the same requests, over and over and over again… not because we don’t believe or don’t have faith, but because the needs are so far beyond us and our abilities. So in this moment, we ask that You grant those we will name… the rest; the strength; the time; the safe places; and the caregivers… whatever is needed to meet their needs. In this moment of silence, hear our prayers, O God….
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. Thank You for loving us that much! 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.
Closing Hymn It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Benediction (from 1 Thess 5: 16-24)
Another hour has come and gone! Hear these words, abbreviated, from the book of 1st Thessalonians…
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful… 19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but… Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil. 23 Now may the God of Peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
And as always, we all go in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Have a good week and we’ll hope to see you back here next time! God bless…
Postlude Fum, Fum, Fum and We Have Heard the Joyful Sound