Worship Order for
As surely as joy resides within the word
so you reside within your people, O
You come, not as a presence we can use to bless our
but as an inner strength and hope
that challenges the way
we’ve always done things,
encourages us to step
out by faith
in directions we
had not previously seen,
and provides for our needs
along the way.
Thank you, Immanuel, for being with us,
even when we do not perceive your presence.
This we pray in the name of the One
who is your “joy to the
Please be seated.
Lighting the First Advent Candle
(The two advent candlelighters
come forward during the first hymn and stand, one on either side
of the worship center. One should have the cordless mic from the
back. On the way, the other picks up the mic from the stand up
front and brings it forward. After the Opening Prayer, these
candle lighters are voices 1 & 2 below. The worship leader is
voice 3. Wait to being until the congregation is seated.)
1 - Sunrise comes later each day, making it harder to get out of
2 - Fall is leading to winter, and we begin adding layers for
3 - The list of things to do is growing, and we seem to have
less energy “to do.”
1 - Lethargy is seeping in.
2 - Sleep calls out to us, physically and spiritually.
3 - But another voice is speaking.
1 - “Awake, arise, and open your eyes.”
2 - That is the message of this first Sunday of Advent.
3 - Even before we exchange the 2009 calendar for 2010, we begin
1 - A light is shining, however dim. Can you see it?
2 - Coals are being stoked within. Do you sense it?
3 - Power, even amid weakness, is at the door. Do you feel it?
1 - “Awake,
2 - arise,
3 - and open your eyes.”
1 - Watch.
2 - Watch.
3 - Watch.
(The first Advent candle is lit
as the word “Watch” is spoken three times above. The two candle
lighters quietly return to their seats as we sing the next song.
Along the way, return one mic to the stand and the other to the
ushers in the back.)
listen to mp3
The Message, but inserting the word “Watch” in the last
verse, as below)
25-26"It will seem like all hell has broken
loose—sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar and everyone
all over the world in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by
the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking.
27-28"And then—then!—they'll see the Son of Man
welcomed in grand style—a glorious welcome! When all this starts
to happen, up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high.
Help is on the way!"
29-33He told them a story. "Look at a fig tree. Any
tree for that matter. When the leaves begin to show, one look
tells you that summer is right around the corner. The same
here—when you see these things happen, you know God's kingdom is
about here. Don't brush this off: I'm not just saying this for
some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will
happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won't wear out.
34-36"But be on your guard. Don't let the sharp edge
of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and
shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete
surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it's going to
come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do,
don't go to sleep at the switch. Watch. Pray constantly that you
will have the strength and wits to make it through everything
that's coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man."
"With eyes open
spotlight in the balcony to shine, in as narrow a beam as
a spot at the top of the middle arch over the sanctuary)
Excuse me, folks, but I need to
having a meeting with our children in the back of the sanctuary.
All you little ones, would you please follow me?
This is different, isn’t it? We
usually meet up front, don’t we? I wanted to meet with you back
here because I want us to look at things a little bit
differently. In fact, what I want us to see can’t be seen from
up front. Can you figure out what I’m thinking of? Look around.
Do you see anything different? (they may note some of the
changes in the sanctuary as decorations are gradually put up,
week by week, for Christmas – like the advent wreath. To each
suggestion, affirm their watchfulness, but say, “No, that’s not
what I’m thinking of,” sort of like the game, “I spy.” When
someone finally sees the little light at the top of the middle
arch, go on. Be prepared if a child notices it first thing.)
That’s right! I noticed that,
too! It’s just a little light way up in the air. But it’s there.
I wonder how many people here saw it. You have to be observant,
don’t you? You need to watch carefully. Just like those wise men
long ago. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, you and I are
going to be thinking about the wise men who visited the baby
Jesus after he was born. They came to him with gifts of what?
That’s right, “gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
The Bible says they were “from
the east.” Believe it or not, we are on the east side of the
sanctuary. That way is east. I will be coming from the east when
I go back up front. The Bible says that they “observed” a star
are were following it. They were watching the night sky, and saw
something that others didn’t see. Just like you saw something
that you didn’t see before, way up there. Those wise men had to
look carefully, eyes open wide. Just like you did. They had to
“watch.” That’s the word for today – “watch.” It’s important for
disciples of Jesus to watch, to look, to keep their eyes open.
Before we go, let me just
notice one more thing. The Bible says that the wise men followed
the star to the baby Jesus. It was shining over Bethlehem. Under
the light of that star God was doing something wonderful,
something brand new, something awesome. God was at work under
that star. That’s why the wise men were following it. Now, tell
me, what’s under this star, the light that is shining way up
there? That’s right. The people are. When you return to your
seat, you will be under that star. Hmmm, I wonder. Is God doing
something wonderful, something brand new, something awesome … in
Well, next week we’ll continue our journey with the
wise men. Who knows, we may meet somewhere else in the
sanctuary. Be prepared, okay? Until then, remember to watch.
our Tithes and Offerings
with your heads high,” Jesus said. “But be on your guard.
Don't let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by
parties and drinking and shopping.” Those are appropriate
words for a time of year in which we often self-medicate with
frenetic activities, lots of food, something to “take the edge
off,” and retail therapy. How might we approach this season,
this new year in a different way? As you return your tithes and
offerings just now, I invite you to pay attention to the real
itches that need scratching in your life, expectations that
can’t be met by anything other than … well … other than God.
What would happen if all heaven broke loose this year?
Ushers, would you stand tall and serve by receiving our
Lord, help us to watch and wait, to pay attention to what’s most
important. Help us to stand tall with our heads held high, not
looking down of anybody, but looking up to the light that still
shines, even when we are too dull to see it. Thank you for taking
care of us, and making it possible for us to be part of your coming
kingdom – the real party. Amen.
written closer to the time (if not at the
Go now and let the Lord steer you in the
way of truth.
Be on your guard so that you will not be caught up
in the trivialities and anxieties of the world.
Be alert at all times and pray for strength
to escape the traps that would keep you from God.
And may God make you increase in love for
May Christ Jesus teach you how to live in God’s ways;
and may the Holy Spirit strengthen your hearts in holiness,
as you ready yourselves for the coming of the Lord.
©2000 Nathan Nettleton
(para traducir a espańol, presione la bandera de Espańa)