A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE

CONGREGATIONAL WELCOME

 

Gathering Song             “Fling Wide the Door”         red book # 259

Advent Candle LIGHTING  –  HOPE

Candle Lighting Song    “Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah”  red book # 240, vrs 1

GREETING

Canticle of PRAISE                                   red book page 149 (set 4)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

ISAIAH 64:1-9

PSALM 80:1-7, 17-19

1 CORINTHIANS 1:3-9

MARK 13:24-37

SERMON                                      Pastor Chris Halverson

Where do you find hope?

 

Here we are in Advent—the season of emergence, arrival, revelation.

A time like a tender leafy shoot emerging from a dormant branch.

A time like the shout of a messenger arriving at an execution at the last moment carrying papers signed by a judge and shouting “innocent, innocent!”

A time like waiting for a letter, the contents of which will reveal everything—making everything plane.

 

But this season is also like driving your car to a new place for the first time.

The drive back always feels quicker—because you are no longer looking so carefully, you don’t pay as close attention.

In fact, by the 100th drive there, it feels like the car drives itself.

So too Advent—we’ve driven this road a long time—Christians have observed and practiced Advent in some form for at least 1,650 years–and by now we often see our destination as Christmas so we don’t notice the budding blessing of Advent

–We don’t lean into the bracing and crisp wind of Hope,

–we don’t rest in the strengthening power of Peace,

–we aren’t buoyed up by the enduring buoyancy of Joy,

–we don’t revel in the moving and empowering radiance of Love

We skip over the precious gifts of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.

We don’t let Advent interrogate our lives to help us find its treasures.

But this morning at least, let’s ask, “Where can you find hope?”

Prayer

 

Where can you find hope?

The Cosmos itself is falling apart.

Sun refusing to shine

Moon muted

Stars, falling.

 

Where can you find hope?

He is near, friends.

In a world where the powers are crumbling,

Where heaven, earth, and all things feel so unstable,

…Are so unstable.

The earliest followers of Jesus were caught up in the Jewish Revolt against Rome

And they saw slaughter, sieges, and the destruction of Jerusalem.

We too see slaughter across the globe,

See the mighty falling and the needs of the poor ignored.

He is near in all these things.

Christ closer than light to flame or heat to fire.

God comes to dwell among us

The one who is promised by God is near at hand.

 

Where can you find hope?

It is beyond our control.

Beyond the control of Angels and even the Son.

He is near…

The one for whom we hope

Will he come at evening?

The midnight hour?

Dusk or dawn?

…Waiting and waiting and waiting.

It will not bring him.

But he is near!

He is near, our beloved, so keep awake.

 

Where can you find hope?

Maybe just look a little lower!

Look to the earth and her foliage

Look to the fig tree

Look at its reaching out.

Look at it!

                Take the time to look!

They’re like the finger nails of a baby—those first bits of green

Timidly, tentatively, tenderly

Sprouting out into the world.

Cold bare air touching it for the first time.

Leaves tender as human flesh.

Tentative as a mortal body

Fragile, emerging under death’s reign

Emerging into a harsh world.

Emerging to know that Summer is near.

He is near!

He is at our very gates!

 

Where can you find hope?

This week, look for those emerging leaves of summer.

Notice what keeps you awake—open to God’s revelation.

And notice too, those bad things you experience that chase you to Christ.

Be aware when something causes you to lean forward, excited about the future.

Amen.

HYMN of the DAY           “My Lord, What a Morning”          red book # 438

APOSTLES CREED

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

GREAT THANKSGIVING

A MOMENT OF THANKFUL REFLECTION

 

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS          “Lamb of God”

Also, red book # 252, red book # 260

 Sending

BLESSING

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG              “Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding!”          red book # 246

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

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