Worship at Home for Advent 1 Sunday November 29 2020

Saint Peter’s United Church of Christ

 

112 West Peters Street Owensville, Missouri 65066

November 29, 2020 9am and Livestream

The First Sunday of Advent

 

Prelude and lighting of the candles

Greetings and announcements

Video Opening: 

“I Believe Even When…” Worship Design Studio  Song by Mark Miller, used with permission

Moment of Silence

Video from the United Church of Christ for Advent 1

*Opening Prayer for Advent Candle Lighting

One: Holy one, we thank you for the glimpse we catch of your gift of untiring hope. Even in the midst of fear, of challenge, of struggle- even when our view is obscured by clouds of doubt, ignite the flame of hope within us,

Many: that we might glow with its brilliance.

 

Lighting of the Candle of Hope

 

Hymn: “Come, O Long Expected Jesus” NCH 122

Come, O Long-Expected Jesus, born to set all people free;

from our fears and sins release us; grant us your true liberty.

Words: Charles Wesley Tune: Christian F. Witt, Stuttgart, Public Domain

 

Passing of the Peace (Smile and wave to those around you.)

 

Children’s Message The Potter’s Hand

Scripture Readings Isaiah 40;1-11

Mark 1:1-15

Advent Reflection by Letha Ellis, church member: I Believe in the Sun: Hope for Tomorrow

I love the sunshine. I adore bright, happy days, full of color and warmth. I enjoy getting up before sunrise, stepping outside and being a part of the sun’s awaking the new day.

A few years ago, I had a surgery that placed me in our downstairs for a period to recuperate. The basement is a nice place and I am thankful that I could be there, but I only had one window to look out. It was at the end of a very long hallway. Several times a day I would take the long, slow, walker shuffle down that hall, just to see outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. It made me so happy to be able to see the light and catch a glimpse of the world God created. I would stand at that little window for as long as I could, soaking in the glow. I realized during this time that I not only loved the sunshine, I needed it. I needed it to inspire me and give me hope for stronger days ahead.

Just like the sun in the sky, I not only love God’s son, I need him. Jesus is the sunshine for my heart. He gives warmth, happiness, brightness, and hope for tomorrow. He awakens me to expectations of a fresh start, and I am stirred to pass on his beams of brilliance to everyone I meet.

In closing, I am reminded of a Sunday school song from my younger days. The chorus states:

“A Sunbeam, A Sunbeam, Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam.

A Sunbeam, A Sunbeam, I’ll be a sunbeam for him.”

We all need the son and we all need to be his sunbeams to spread warmth, brightness, and hope for tomorrow.

Sermon: I Believe in the Sun

The passage from Isaiah begins with despair and punishment but ends in the joy and hope of God’s loving care. Things may seem bad right now, but the bad times are temporary. God’s word is true and eternal. God will comfort the people like a shepherd comforting the lost lamb which has been gathered into the shepherd’s arms. A vision which looks a lot like the image of Jesus carrying a lamb in the large stained-glass window in the sanctuary.

It is not possible to see the sun through this large, stained-glass window. On gloomy days one might think that there is no sun as you look at the window. Then at times in the afternoon the sun will shine so brightly through the stained glass that the image of Jesus and the sheep appears to be illuminated with a heavenly light. A reminder that God’s love is shining in comforting and beautiful ways.

The challenge for us is to see God’s love shining in comforting and beautiful ways in our daily lives. Maybe this shining of God’s light and love comes from prayer and listening to God. We need to take time to listen to one another in love. To truly listen to the pain and fears that each of has deep inside. Then we can work together to see the hope that shines even in the darkest times and places. To see that God’s angels never truly leave us alone.

Yes, I believe in Son and hope for tomorrow. Times maybe bad, but times have been bad before. Masks may be blocking out the smiles on the lower halves of our faces, but our eyes and voices can still convey the hope and love of God. Even if the sun is not shining today, the sun of God’s love will eventually and bathe us with beautiful heavenly light.

Prayer:
God, we lift up our hearts to you in prayers of hope and awe of all that you do and offer to us. Help us to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of the Christ Child. Calm our fears and give us courage. May the power of the Spirit shine in places of despair, May the Spirit be in the hospitals and places that have been overwhelmed by the pandemic and more. Comfort those who

are not able to gather in person with those they love this holiday season. Give everyone the strength to keep the flame of hope alive. Amen.

Take a moment to lift ourselves and others in prayer. Pray for those on our prayer list. Read through the names on our prayer list and imagine that God is surrounding them and us with healing love and strength.

Silent Prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer

Prayer list:

Simon, Howard, Julia, Ahna, Mike, Josh, Priscilla, Duane, Janet, Grandpa David, Dorothy, Jacob, Jenny, Ann, Dale, Gayle, Don, Cheryl, Dustin, Pat, Student with eating disorder, Tate, Patricia, Roland, Aryanna, Amanda, Virginia, Matthew, Tom, Naomi, Vic, Jennelle, Charlie, James, Rick, Christy, Reagan, Kim, Lee, Kevin, Gaylynn, Liz’s sister in law, Naomi, Nathan, Jason, Cheryl, Daniel, Betty, Dax, Carter, Jock, Nancy, Pat, Malachi and Karen, Carolyn, Ellen, Shirley, Mary, Karen, Paul, Hal, Richard, Crystal, Edie, Paula, Jim, Judy, Laura F, Shirley, Butch, Joyce., Macie, Michel, Dorothy L, Corey, Lauren, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Bernice, Mike, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Corey, Jeff, Nancy, Terry, Bev, Edgar, Angie, Mark, Mamie, Dave ,Anna, Ruth, Louise, Jim L., Peggy.

Special prayers:

Our Nation, the post-election process, the increase in Covid-19 cases and medical workers.

The family and friends of David Skornia who passed from this life on November 18.

Goodwill/Offering

  • Please consider giving to Operation Christmas. This Sunday is the Noisy Coin Offering.
  • Give thanks for all our blessings this Thanksgiving Season.
  • Share what you have whatever it is, it is enough.
  • Donate via PayPal on our website or write a check.
  • Prayer of Dedication See the bulletin

Sending Forth: The story behind the carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

Introduction to the Carol: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this poem at Harvard on Christmas Day in 1863 during the heart of the Civil War. His wife had died tragically in a fire and he had just found out that his son had been injured as a soldier for the Union. He heard the sound of bells and began to write, spurred on by his sorrow at the state of humankind:

 

“And in despair, I bowed my head:

‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said,

‘For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to [all].”

And yet hope wins out as he pens the fourth verse:
“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

"God is not dead, nor doth [not] sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to [all].”

CCLI License #319932 Performing and Streaming

*Portions of this worship service come from the Worship Design Studio and are used with permission.

 

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