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: Matthew 11:2-11
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” 4Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
7As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Silent and/or Spoken Reflections
Meditation: “The Healing Quilt” by E. Ethelbert Miller
He lifts the old unconscious woman from the floor and
places her back on her bed. He reaches
for her quilt and covers her body. He watches
the colors change in the cloth. They glow like early
sunrise or late moonlight. Soon the woman begins to
stir as if she is stirring something in her kitchen. Heat
slowly returning to her limbs. He places his hand on the
woman’s forehead. Smiling he looks down at her gray hair
and remembers how as a child he loved hiding in it. It was
more fun than hiding in the woods that surrounded the cabin
and woodshed. When the old woman combed her hair it
gave off sparks. Tales talk about how a slave grabbed
one, one night, and went running off into the dark
trying to set the world on fire.
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.