Call to Worship
Hark, the glad sound! the Savior comes, / The Savior promised long;
Let every heart prepare a room, / And every voice a song.
Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.
Opening Psalm (Psalm 146)
Praise God! Praise God, O my soul!
I will praise the Holy One as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in rulers, in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in Yahweh their God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.
God sets the prisoners free and opens the eyes of the blind.
God lifts up those who are bowed down and loves the righteous.
God watches over the strangers and upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked God brings to ruin.
Our God will reign forever, for all generations. Praise God!
Holy One on whom we wait and who is already with us,
Let us know contentment in this season of anticipation,
Be our still center in the midst of our busyness,
Give us grace to hear your voice even as we know you hear our prayers this morning.
Scripture: Isaiah 7:10-16
Again God spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put God to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore God will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.
Silent and/or Spoken Reflections
Advent isn’t an escape. It’s an encounter with the time that’s deeper than our time, a time we call eternal life. It’s a discovery of a longing that’s deeper than our longing, the longing we call God’s waiting for us. It’s an experience deep down and through the bottom of our experience, a place where grief is no longer isolating but companionable, where alienating hurt becomes tender wisdom, where unfulfilled longing becomes the sculpting of a greater hole for grace.
Offering Our Prayers (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)
Canticle: Magnificat (Luke 1: 46-55)
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for you have looked with favor on the lowliness of your servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for you, O Mighty One, have done great things for me,
and holy is your name.
Your mercy is for those who fear you
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm;
you have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
You have brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
you have filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
You have helped your servant Israel,
in remembrance of your mercy,
according to the promise you made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and Hagar and Sarah and to their descendants forever.
In this new day, may we breathe the Holy breath deeply and live Christ’s justice boldly.
In the long night to come, may we rest in God’s peace and protection.