Read-along Service for Sunday, November 27, 2022 – 1st of Advent/Communion

Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church
Order of Worship
Sunday, November 27, 2022   First Sunday of Advent

Prelude
Words of welcome, announcements
Lighting the Christ Candle 

Choral Introit                 Wait for the Lord                     VU 22

Wait for the Lord, God’s day is near.
Wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart!

Call To worship
Come in, come in, all you who have faith, and all who have none. Come in, all who are cheerful, and all who are despairing. This is a welcome place for those who have hope and all who are hope-less. What ultimately matters to God is that you are here.
We are entering the time of Advent. This is when we do the work of preparing for Christmas. For if God is to be born again in the most ordinary parts of our world and our lives then we need to prepare for it.
We need to make space in our lives where hope might be born. Where peace might grow, where joy might blossom and love might shine for all to see.
We live in a world that often feels harsh and dark. This is a place where we shine a light together. Come, gather around the light of God’s presence. So we can all learn how to shine.

Hymn                  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel                           VU 1

  1. O come, O come, Emmanuel,
    and ransom captive Israel
    that mourns in lowly exile here
    until the Son of God appear.
              Refrain:     Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
                                         shall come to thee, of Israel.
  1. O come, O Wisdom from on high,
    who orders all things mightily;
    to use the path of knowledge show,
    and teach us in her ways to go.               Refrain
  1. O come, O come, great God of might,
    who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
    in ancient times once gave the law
    in cloud, and majesty, and awe.               Refrain
  1. O come, O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
    from every foe deliver them
    that trust your mighty power to save,
    and give them victory o’er the grave.       Refrain
  1. O come, O Key of David, come,
    and open wide our heavenly home;
    make safe the way that leads on high,
    and close the path to misery.                   Refrain
  1. O Come, O Dayspring, from on high,
    and cheer us by your drawing night;
    disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
    and death’s dark shadows put to flight.   Refrain
  2. O come, Desire of nations, bind
    all peoples in one heart and mind;
    O bid our sad divisions cease,
    and be for us the Prince of Peace.          Refrain

Lighting the Advent Candle
Candle Lighting Song:        Kindle a Flame to Lighten the Dark      VU 19

Kindle a flame
to lighten the dark
and take all fear away.

Prayer of Approach
When, O God, will the day of peace come? When will the nations stream to your holy mountain and beat their swords into plowshares? When will the long night of war and hatred, give way to the dawn of love, righteousness, and joy? We are ready for the dawn, O God. Shine your light into our world, mighty One of peace. Illuminate the path, and give us the wisdom and courage to follow your light. We pray in the name of the Prince of Peace. Amen. 

Hymn                  All Earth Is Waiting                                             VU 5

  1. All earth is waiting to see the Promised One,
    and open furrows await the seed of God.
    All the world, bound and struggling, seeks true liberty;
    it cries out for justice and searches the truth.
  1. Thus says the prophet to those of Israel,
    “A virgin mother will bear Emmanuel.”
    One whose name is “God with us”, our Saviour shall be,
    Through whom hope will blossom once more within our hearts.
  1. Mountains and valleys will have to be made plain,
    open new highways, new highways for our God,
    who is now coming closer, so come all and see,
    and open the doorways as wide as wide can be.
  1. In lowly stable the Promised One appeared.
    Yet, feel that presence throughout the earth today,
    For Christ lives in all Christians and is with us now;
    Again, on arriving, Christ brings us liberty.

Scripture Reader: Barbara Moogk
Isaiah 2:1-5                Matthew 24:36-44

Special Music

Homily “God’s Time”

Musical Response  

The offering
We give thanks for everyone who continues to support TSA. Your gifts of support and encouragement mean a lot to us.  You can get more information about making a donation by contacting the church office or by visiting our website. For all the gifts you share, for all the people you bless by your serving and giving as a disciple of Jesus, we give thanks.

Offering Song             For the Gift of Creation                    VU 538

For the gift of creation, the gift of your love,
and the gift of the Spirit by which we live,
we thank you and give you the fruit of our hands.
May your grace be proclaimed by the gifts that we give.

Offering Prayer
Thank you, God. Thank you for the wake-up call, reminding us to be ready. Thank you for not giving up on your vision of peace. Thank you for the opportunity to gather each week in your house, that we might encourage one another to stay on your path. And thank you for the opportunity to give these gifts for your ministry, that together we might help the world be ready to receive the Prince of Peace, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Hymn                  Hark the Glad Sound                                         VU 29

  1. Hark, the glad sound! The Saviour comes,
    the Saviour promised long:
    let every heart prepare a throne,
    and every voice a song.
  1. He comes, the prisoners to release
    in Satan’s bondage held;
    the gates of brass before him burst,
    the iron fetters yield.
  1. He comes, the broken heart to bind,
    the bleeding soul to cure,
    and with the treasures of his grace
    to bless the humble poor.
  1. Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,
    your welcome shall proclaim;
    and heaven’s eternal arches ring
    with your beloved name.

Service of Holy Communion

Invitation to the table

Christmas is a time of singing, of favourite stories and giving. This morning we share the gift of God’s grace, which is open to all who gather in this place. All who seek the love of God which is real are welcome to join in this song. You are invited to share in this festive meal, For at this table we all belong. 

The Call To Give Thanks   (Tune: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”)
L: May God be with you one and all,
P: And also with your spirit.
L: Lift up your hearts now to our God.
P: We lift our hearts to our gracious God!
L: Let us thank God, Let us thank God
P: It is right to give our thanks and praise to God!

We give you thanks, God of peace and promise. Through the words of your prophets and the faith of your followers you prepare the way of our redemption and bring hope to birth. And though we often grow weary of waiting, your signs call us to keep watch for that day when all things shall be made new. In assurance of this hope, we join with all the company of heaven and earth to give you praise: 

The Great Thanksgiving Prayer Tune: “Good King Wenceslas”
Blessing, honour, glory, power unto God Almighty!
Praise to You, eternal Lord, Father of all mercy.
Long ago You made us Lord, made us in Your image,
But through sin we broke the form, of our Lord within us.

Still Your love came shining through, from heav’n You did send us.
Christ to take on human flesh, here to live among us.
He did suffer for our sin, died a death most cruel.
Now He lives and reigns in heaven, as it brightest jewel.

We the church on earth do sing with the hosts of heaven:
Glory to the One who died, for He has arisen.
The baby born at Bethlehem is the King of heaven.
And we praise Your blessed name with the song unending.

The Song of Praise (Tune: “Angels We Have Heard on High”)
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of hosts, all praise be given!
All Your glory fills the earth; all Your power fills the heavens!
Glo-ria in excelsis Deo!
Glo-ria in excelsis Deo!
Blessed is the King who came, bringing love and light divine.
Blessed is the King who comes, in the Bread and in the Wine.
Glo-ria in excelsis Deo!
Glo-ria in excelsis Deo!

Creator of light, Giver of all life, Source of love. Your song of wisdom rang out before the world began; your ancient love still touches us and stirs within us. Even when we turn away from you, you keep faith with us. You send your messengers to prepare the way in the wilderness of our lives, guide us in the path of wholeness, call us to repent. In Mary, woman of your promise, you showed us courage and faith; in the fullness of time, you sent us your greatest gift, Jesus, the Christ, our prince of peace and herald of hope. Fill us with your Spirit, make us one in Christ, and one in love for you and for all people— as in word and deed, we seek your reign of peace and justice on earth.

Words of Institution             (Tune: “Good Christian Friends Rejoice”)

Good Christian friends rejoice with heart and soul and voice.
On the night He was betrayed, Jesus to the Father prayed:
“Bless this bread we are to eat, let it bring forgiveness sweet.
My body dwells there in; my body dwells there in.”

Good Christian friends rejoice with heart & soul & voice.
Next He took the blessed cup, praying as He raised it up;
“In the wine forever more is the way to Heavens door.
My blood poured out for you; my blood poured out for you.”

Good Christian friends rejoice with heart & soul & voice.
Eat His body and drink His blood, share the peace that’s from above.
Angels sing of heaven’s bliss, as we share this Eucharist.
Christ was born for this; Christ was born for this.

Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. In Christ, God breaks down the walls that make us strangers to ourselves, and divide us from one another. We are the body of Christ. At this table we bear witness to our faith. At this table, God brings wholeness out of brokenness, and healing to our world. Let us break bread together.

Lamb of God                        (Tune: “O Little Town of Bethlehem”)
O Lamb of God from Bethlehem, where Mary gave You birth,
Grant us Your grace and mercy, Redeemer of the earth.
O Lamb of God forgive us, for we still live in sin.
Enter our hearts and guide our lives, give us Your peace within.

The Lord’s Prayer                (Tune: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”)
God our Father, God of fame, hallowed be Your saving name;
Everywhere Your kingdom come, far away from here at home;
May we to Your will comply as the angels do on high;
Grant that we, our sin’s forgiv’n follow in the way of heav’n.
Grant that we, our sin’s forgiv’n follow in the way of heav’n.
May we, even at our worst, show forgiveness shown us first.
Guard us from the tempting devil, and deliver us from evil.
Yours the kingdom so sing we, pow’r and glory ever be.
Unto You while ages run. Yea AMEN! So be it done!
Unto You while ages run. Yea, AMEN! So be it done!

Distribution of the Communion

Prayer After Communion    (Tune: “Away in a Manger”)
Lord, now in Your mercy Your servants release,
As Your Word has promised, Oh, Grant us Your peace.
Our eyes, Your salvation and mercy behold,
Prepared for the nations as prophets foretold.
A light to the Gentiles, by whom they now see
The glory of Isr’el the Promised One be.
Who lives now and ever, the heaven’s bright Son,
With Father, and Spirit, eternally One.

Hymn                  Angels, from the Realms of Glory                     VU 36

  1. Angels, from the realms of glory,
    wing your flight o’er all the earth;
    ye who sang creation’s story,
    now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
    come and worship, come and worship,
                      worship Christ, the newborn King.
  1. Shepherds in the field abiding,
    watching o’er your flocks by night,
    God with us is now residing,
    yonder shines the infant Light:                 Refrain
  1. Sages, leave your contemplations;
    brighter visions beam afar;
    seek the great desire of nations;
    ye have seen his natal star:                      Refrain
  1. Saints before the altar bending,
    watching long in hope and fear,
    suddenly the Lord, descending,
    in his temple shall appear:                       Refrain

Benediction
The darkness is still growing, but the light is starting to glow. Bread has been broken, but justice is slipping through the cracks. The blood of the innocent has been spilled, but the mood is shifting. The journey ahead is lonely, but the angels are stirring. The handmaid labours, but the child waits. We go into these troubling days full of new expectations for the world is turning. The headlines are being rewritten for hope is still our companion. May the light of hope guide your steps. Go now in peace. Amen.

Choral Amen               Go Now in Peace                                      VU 964

Go now in peace, go now in peace.
May the love of God surround you everywhere,
everywhere you may go.

Postlude

“Living in God’s time”             First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2022.
Texts: Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44
By Rev. James Murray at Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church.

I’d like to begin by thanking the choir for their gift of music. Week after week they offer us inspiration with their beautiful melodies. It’s been special for me to be part of the choir. In my last two churches I wasn’t considered good enough to be allowed to sing with them. So to be included means a lot to me.

It’s been said that we are what we praise, so their offering of praise inspires us to appreciate the harmony in our world. Vocal music has an amazing ability to bring us together.  All our different voices blend together to create something truly beautiful that is much more than the sum of its parts. When we sing together, our goal is not perfection. This is why imperfect voices like yours and mine are to be welcomed in, because every voice matters.

As part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, we have been singing God’s praises together for over three thousand years. Even with all this high tech world has to offer us, there is nothing that comes close to the transcendent experience of sharing in song together. We are a singing faith, because our goal is communion. The goal of the religious quest is a communal union with God. Communion is to become one with God.  The communion service with the bread and wine that we will share in a few minutes is a ritual which helps us to experience this transcendent unity. The communion liturgy deliberately combines the story of salvation with special music and the tasting of God’s goodness in order to give us a multi-sensory experience of the divine connection.

To come together in a communal union with the divine lifts us up out of our ordinary existence. It opens us up to experience this world from God’s perspective. To share in communion is to experience beauty and harmony in a very tangible way. It is a physical expression of God’s providence of all that is needed for us to live. For this life itself is a gift that has been freely shared with us in a spirit of love.

When we experience communion with God, even our sense of time is changed. Or at least it is supposed to change our sense of time. A few years ago I went to a special worship service where a friend of mine was being installed as the new minister at a church in Ottawa. As part of the service, the congregation reminded the minister of the qualities they were looking for in their leader. One of the most important qualities was the ability to make sure the Sunday worship service did not go over an hour in length. I laughed at first, and then I felt quite sad. For they would only give God less than sixty minutes of their time. They were not willing to enter into God’s time.

We are a people shaped by our understanding of time. We are used to measuring our day by the hours, just as the ancient Egyptians did when they first divided the day into 24 hours. We are used to measuring the months using the calendar created by Julius Caesar in Rome. God’s sense of time is much bigger than that. The moon’s 28 day cycle affects all the tides of the oceans. But we rarely even mention what phase the moon is in any more. In the same way we rarely pay attention to the cycle of the sun. In just a few weeks is the winter solstice. The 21st of December is the longest night of the year here in the northern hemisphere as the sun is at its lowest point in the sky. In many societies that is day of great social importance. Even the date of Easter is determined by the timing of a full moon. Our society seems obsessed with resisting such times of darkness instead of tapping into its psychic power.

God’s time is expressed through these deep cycles of growth and decline. Of light and dark. God’s sense of time connects our bodies with the larger world we live in. For thousands of years many people have marvelled at the way a woman’s menstrual cycle shares the 28 day pattern that a lunar month does. That synchronicity is believed by many cultures to be a deeper spiritual connection to the cycles of rebirth that are part of life itself. Today our modern society does its best to keep that whole part of life out of sight. We are all the poorer for these lost connections to something that is much bigger than us.

God’s time invites us to look beyond ourselves to see something that is much grander than ourselves. We live in a world where empires rise and fall. Where there are wars and natural disasters which disrupt our lives. We cannot control all these forces which constantly change the world around us.

For our world is constantly evolving into something new. The old is always perishing and fading away. Something new is always seeking to be born. We continually evolve as individuals as we learn new things. We also evolve as a community when we respond to each other’s needs. We evolve as nations as we recognize the diverse gifts that we share. If we try to stop the clock and keep things the same, we deny those new possibilities their chance to be born.

About 70 years ago the French theologian and scientist Teilhard de Chardin noted that there are many forces which resist such hopeful changes. Teilhard noted back in the 1950’s that there are more people living on the planet than ever before. Teilhard said we are living in such close proximity to our neighbours that we are having trouble finding enough space to breathe. We are challenged when we find ourselves living next to other people and countries who are different from us. He says this lack of breathing space explains the violent methods employed by nations and individuals to preserve their power. He noted how countries and people will to try to isolate themselves in order to preserve their customs, their language and their traditional identity. The other alternative he said is to evolve, as humans have always done over the millions of years of our development.  Humanity did not get this far by staying the same. Our greatest strength is our willingness to adapt to our changing circumstances. Change is an integral part of life, just as the moon waxes and wanes.  Life is not static or fixed. We are always moving forward towards the future. We are forever becoming something that is not yet known. So despite all our differences, the one thing we all do hold in common together is the future. We have the hope that God is working for good in all things. We have the hope that God will provide for our needs in the billions of years that lie ahead. We believe our God is one that works through change to provide for our well being.

To live in hope is to have an openness to the gift of the future. For God is part of what the future will be. Hope gives us the courage to share our gifts with others for the creative transformation of the whole world. To have hope is to take risks. It is to get involved. It is to come together in a communal union as one. To have hope is to seek communion. Communion with God and communion with the whole world. So come, let us sing together and share in this feast which celebrates all the good gifts that God has given us.

 

Source: Ilia Delio “What would Teilhard say? Evolve or be annihilated.”

https://www.globalsistersreport.org/column/spirituality/what-would-teilhard-say-evolve-or-be-annihilated-47626

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