ORDER OF WORSHIP
Third Sunday in Advent
During the four weeks of Advent we will be lighting a candle on the Advent Wreath. The four themes are HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE.
For Your Meditation
“We can help create happiness, but we are seized by joy. We are pleased by happiness, but we are transformed by joy.” David Brooks The Sacred Mountain
We Gather As Church
Of the Father’s Love Begotten Arr. Wilbur Held (1914-2015)
Welcome and Announcements
Passing of the Christ’s Peace
One: “The Peace of Christ be with you.
Two: And also with you.”
Hymn of Gathering
“Good Christian Friends, Rejoice”, No. 132
Call to Worship Lighting the Advent Wreath: Joy
Leader: “Joy to the World” Isaac Watts wrote in 1719. This is what we celebrate even in this craziest of years. “Repeat the Sounding joy” Jesus Our Yes to affirming life is good!
People: Loving God, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, fill our hearts not only with hope and peace, which we so desperately need, but also with joy. May our worship this day be a joyous celebration of your promise to journey with us in our lives.
God of hope and peace and joy, we confess at times we find it difficult to be joyous when there is so much disease, misunderstanding, division and anger. We need to remember, with gratitude, all that you have done for us. May all the decorations and celebrations of this Holy Season point us in the direction of joy that transforms our lives and allows us to rejoice even when life seems difficult. Amen
Glory to the Creator, the Christ, the Holy Spirit Three in One; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world with-out end. Amen. Amen.
WE LISTEN FOR GOD’S WORD
Prayer of Illumination
Gracious God, as we listen to your Word, help us to be steadfast in our hearing, in our speaking, and in our living. Amen.
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
I Thessalonians 5:16-24
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”, No. 611
Homily The Rev. Art Yost
WE RESPOND TO GOD’S WORD
Pastoral Prayer and Prayers of the People and The Lord’s Prayer (“debts”)
Merciful and loving God, we know that you call us to be joyful, but for many of us this holiday season is a struggle. There are those who have experienced significant losses this year- a loved one, their health, their livelihood-changing their understanding and expectations for Christmas. Wrap them in your warm embrace and comfort them in their grief. There are those for whom the Advent season is not a time of joyful anticipation, but a season of dread. Help them to let go of past hurts, disappointments and unrealistic expectations. May their hope be turned to you and your promises. You assured us, through your prophet Isaiah, that One is coming who will bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, release prisoners from darkness, comfort those who mourn, bring gladness instead of mourning, clothe us in praise instead of despair. May we continue to carry out your good will here at North Church, as we bless children and families through the gifts we have been able to provide to our social worker at Covenant to Care. Keep us in touch with those unable to attend our physical attendance at church during this pandemic. Remind us again, as we continue our memorial of flags for the almost 300,000 lost lives of the great loss of life. We give thanks for all those risking illness and death caring for their patients in hospitals and homes. We pray these and all concerns and joys of our hearts, in the name of Jesus Christ, the One who was, is and will come again.
We pray as Jesus taught us, Our Father…………….
we are sent forth
Hymn of Journeying
“Joy to the World” No. 134
Our Common Commission
As we go forth, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…and the God of peace will be with you.” Amen (Philippians 4:8-9)
Lord dismiss us with thy blessing; fill our hearts with joy and peace; let us each thy love possessing, triumph in redeeming grace. O refresh us, as we depart from this time of worship to enter into service in your name. Amen.
“Rejoice and Be Merry”, Trad. Carol arr. Todd Kendall