Third Sunday of Advent
Worship Led by the Rev. Michael Lyle
For Meditation and Reflection:
He comes this year into a world of suffering, disillusionment, polarization and broken hearts, a world much in darkness.
It is the world of the Bethlehem cave two thousand years ago, the world as humankind has always known it.
I recently visited that cave, a shrine now, and saw in the eyes of the Palestinian people (in whose territory it sits), the ageless human story of struggle and pain. And I, along with my fellow pilgrims, could have confessed my own brokenness and longing.
We anticipate his coming this Advent in solidarity with all people of every place and time. We need him desperately.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Enter our weary hearts and make of them what you will. Make us into temples of your merciful love.
Welcome and Announcements
Opening Prayer (Ruth Duck, U.S.A., 20th cent.) (Pastor):
In the Advent seasons, when the past has fled, unasked, away
and there is nothing left to do but wait,
God, shelter us.
Be our surrounding darkness;
be the fertile soil out of which hope springs in due time.
In the uncertain times, help us to greet the dawn and labor on, love on,
in faith awaiting your purpose hid in you
waiting to be born in due time. Amen.
Opening Hymn: Little Bethlehem of Judah – 113
Responsive Call to Worship (Traditional Monastic Liturgy)
Pastor: We wait for the word of the Lord as we wait for the rains.
People: and our God shall come down upon us like gentle dew.
Pastor: The hills and the mountains will be singing praise to God.
People: Every tree in the forest will be clapping its hands.
The Lord will come and rule for ever. Alleluia.
Hymn of Praise: We Hail You God’s Anointed – 104
Today’s Scripture Reading Luke 1:67-79
Sermon by The Rev. Michael Lyle – “Tender Dawn”
Responsive Hymn: Now Bless the God of Israel – 110
Offerings and Offertory Music
A Litany of Thanksgiving
Pastor: All things come from you, O God, and with gratitude we return to you what is yours. All that we are, and all that we have, is your gift to us.
People: And so, in gratitude for all your gifts, we offer ourselves, and all that we have. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world.
All: Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Joys and Concerns
Prayers of the Pastor and the People
The Lord’s Prayer (Traditional, with “debts”)
Closing Hymn: Joy to the World – 132
Prayer of Benediction: (Pastor)
Go forward in the comfort and strength of God’s blessing. Remember that you are loved, that God is ever near, and that divine mercy is your way in the world. Amen.
Sharing the Peace as we go…….And we hope you can join us for post-worship coffee and conversation in Fellowship Hall.
Rev. Lyle is happy to stay following the service to talk about questions, concerns or thoughts you may have about today’s worship.
Thoughts for the Day/Week:
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor, suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group, who will not give up….” -Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Join us this Sunday, December 17th for Sunday school, which will be held before worship at 10:00 a.m. The children (ages 4 – 12) will be meeting in Fellowship Hall with Robin Scott, and adults will meet in the sanctuary to begin a series on the Wisdom tradition. Worship will follow at 11:00, a.m., led by Rev. Michael Lyle.
Our Christmas Giving Tree is seeing quite a lot of activity, and we need to replenish the gifts. If you have a little extra time after worship, we need to clear wrap those toys that are too big for bags, and put them under the tree, along with the remainder of the gifts in bags that can be put on the tree.
Jammin’ at James will not have its usual evening session this month.
Sunday, December 24th – Worship will not be held at 11:00 a.m. Instead of our 11:00 a.m. morning worship, we will have our traditional Christmas Eve candlelight service at 5:00 p.m., which will be led by the Rev. Michael Lyle. We are trying the earlier time for the convenience of Rev. Lyle and the other families with children who have joined us recently. We hope you can worship with us at this service.
On Friday night, December 29, at 7:00 p.m., St. James will be hosting a special guitar and recorder concert by Mike O’Brien and his daughter, Emily, entitled ‘SONGS FROM HOME’. Both Mike and his daughter are classically trained musicians, and Emily has just made her first solo album , “Fantasies for a Modern Recorder”. Mike plays numerous instruments, and often joins Max Honn at our monthly Jammin’ at James sessions. Please come and share this evening of fine music.
Sunday, December 31st -The Worship Committee (Lauranne, David, Tena, Alice and Janell) is still soliciting input about this service. We are leaning toward having an informal, lay-led worship in the sanctuary, with participation by the congregation welcome. We would then convene in Fellowship Hall to share food and ideas about programs and activities you would like to see at St James in the coming year. We seem to generate more energy and creativity by having these discussions as a group, so this might be a good way to wrap up the year. Your comments and ideas are welcome.