Worship at home for Advent 3 Sunday December 13 2020

Saint Peter’s United Church of Christ


112 West Peters Street Owensville, Missouri 65066

December 13, 2020 9am and Livestream

The Third Sunday of Advent


Meditative Music and lighting of the candles

Ringing of the Church Bell

Greetings and announcements

Moment of Special Music
“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” Sung by Lori Angell

Moment of Silence

*Opening Prayer for Advent Candle Lighting

Holy One,

we thank you for the glimpses we catch

of your gift of the depths of joy.

Even in the midst of fear,

of challenge, of struggle–

even when we are not sure

of your presence,

ignite the flame of joy within us,

People: … that we might glow with its brilliance

from the inside out.


Lighting of the Candle

*Hymn: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” NCH 116

O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Child of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel!

Words: Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarun, 170, Tune: Veni Emmunule, French,
Public Domain


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


Children’s Message John 1: 1-18

Scripture Lesson: Luke 1:38-56 (CEB)

Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.”

Mary said,

“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!

In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.

He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.

Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored

because the mighty one has done great things for me.

Holy is his name.

He shows mercy to everyone,

from one generation to the next,

who honors him as God.

He has shown strength with his arm.

He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.

He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones

and lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things

and sent the rich away empty-handed.

He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,

remembering his mercy,

just as he promised to our ancestors,

to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned to her home.

Sermon: I Believe in God: Ode to Joy

How many times in our lives do we feel like breaking into song? I suppose it depends on how well we sing or if anyone is listening. There are songs of love, loss, lament, anger and fear. Songs can be hopeful or filled with despair. Singing can be silly like that baby shark song which is popular at camp and on YouTube. Singing can be a joyful expression of our love of God. “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” expresses a deep joy in all that God has done for us. The music is amazing when you consider that Beethoven was nearly deaf when he composed it. Singing allows us to express the deepest emotions of our hearts and souls.

This Advent we have listened to music by Mark Miller which put into song the words of someone who was in hiding during the holocaust. These words are “I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when He is silent.” These are words that express hope in times of utter horror. The hope that God is alive. That love is alive. Even when we cannot feel it.

Mary expresses the deep feelings of her heart in the scripture lesson for this Sunday. This song appears in Luke after she greets her cousin Elizabeth. Both women find themselves carrying children under unusual circumstance. Elizabeth had considered herself passed childbearing years. Mary is a young woman who finds herself carrying a child that was placed in her womb by the Holy Spirit. Both children are very special. Elizabeth’s son will grow up to be John the Baptist. Mary’s baby will be named Jesus and will save us all.

Mary puts her feelings into a song of joy. Her whole heart gives praise and glory to God. Her amazement at being chosen for such an important role springs forth in song. In her song Mary recognizes the importance of what God is doing through her. That she is the woman that generations of people will call blessed brings great hope and joy to her words.

Her words reflect the songs of many Hebrew women before her and speak of the power of God. God who reverses the understood order of the human world. The proud will be brought low, and the meek raised up to glory. The poor will be fed, and the rich will leave empty handed. This is God’s fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham and all who descend from the line of Abraham.

We too can sing with joy. Though Mary’s song fills me with some trepidation. Where do I fit in the scheme of this song? Are we the ones who will be brought low? Sometimes. Are we the ones who will be raised up? Sometimes. What about the rich being sent away empty handed? Is it because the rich will be giving their food to the poor? Maybe.

In a year such as we have had, keeping faith in God can move us to joy in the midst of trouble and pain. What has brought us joy this year? What has brought you joy? For me it has been a recognition that we can adapt our traditions, family and community to the changing circumstances.

I felt joy when I saw the banners of the Owensville High School graduates hanging on lamp posts all around town. I felt joy when we were still able to have our Turkey Supper in modified form. The Cookies Sale couldn’t be stopped. I feel joy when we continue to care and help one another in our community even when many are experiencing financial hardship and isolation due to the pandemic. I feel joy because it is Advent and our church looks beautiful. I feel joy because Christ is coming. I feel joy because I believe in God and I know that God is with us even when…

Prayer: God who gives us joy even in the scariest and loneliest of times, fill our hearts with joy this day. Send your Spirit among us and lift up our souls to sing songs of praise to You. May our mouths be filled with words of hope, love, joy and peace in anticipation of the coming of the Christ child.

Loving God be with those who need your comfort and joy at this time. Comfort those who mourn and grant strength to those who labor under the weight of this pandemic and trying times.

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, Angie, Mark, Mamie, Dave ,Anna, Ruth, Louise, Jim L., Peggy, Vickie’s sister’s family.

Special prayers:

Medical workers and more whose lives have been affected by the pandemic.


Please consider giving to the Christmas Fund this month.

Give thanks for the daring love of God.

Prayer of Dedication 

May the joy of God’s love reside in our hearts and be shown in the gifts which we dedicate to you this day. Amen.

Going Forth: 

“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You” New Century Hymnal  #4, verse 1

Joyful, joyful, we adore you, God of glory, God of love:

Hearts unfold like flowers before you, opening to the sun above.

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the storms of doubt away;

Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day.

Words: Henry van Dyke, 1907, Music: Ludwig van Beethovan, 1824, Public Domain

Some day events like this will be possible again:


And so, my friends, like bells ringing out the news

that God is ever-present with us,

fill the night left by sadness with messages of joy.

Go into your lives humming the tunes that keep that joy alive in you

and that spur you on in your work of justice and reconciliation.

Raise your voices and repeat after me…

“do not be afraid!”

do not be afraid!”


*Worship series design © Worship Design Studio by Marcia McFee. Used, adapted, and live streamed with permission. www.worshipdesignstudio.com.


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