When Yes Is Yes
Here are worship materials for the 4th Sunday of Advent.
Call to Worship James 5:7-11 Adapted
One: As scripture encourages, let us be patient until the coming of the Lord.
All: The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth,
being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.
One: So we also must be patient.
All: May our hearts be strong, for the coming of the Lord is near.
One: May we not grumble against one another, that we may not be judged.
All: May we be an example of faithfulness and patience.
One: May we listen to the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord,
and live by the promises of God.
All: We call blessed those who showed endurance; may we be so blessed.
One: We have seen the purpose of the Lord—compassionate and merciful;
may we continue to keep watch.
All: And while we wait, may our ‘Yes’ be yes, and our ‘No’ be no,
that we might live in the light of the Lord.
One: In this way it will be as we now proclaim, “The peace of God be with you.”
All: And also with you.
Prayer of Invocation (in unison)
Incarnate God, our time of waiting draws short and fulfillment is nigh—the fulfillment of your promise to abide with us, sustain our living, redeem our wanton wastefulness, and teach us how to walk in your way of peace and compassion.
As the season of Advent draws to a close and Christmas dawns, grant us a sense of wonder and mystery, and disrupt our sureness with a new hearing. Help us never to be too comfortable with the fact of your having taken human form; help us never to think we know exactly what this means. Help us instead to approach your story in the faith that by it you approach us—to love us, to invite us to love you, and to bring us together in the beloved community you call to serve as your gracious body in a hurting world.
May we also to look to Mary, this young girl whose boldness you regarded with favor. We rejoice that she came before us, not only because she was the mother of Christ, but also because she was as we are and so reveals to us what we might be—unflappable in faith, courageous in hope that heeds no social barriers, unfaltering in following the path you lay before us, and full of wonder at receiving your great gift to the world, Jesus Christ. Grant that we follow in her footsteps, by the power of your grace, birthing Christ in our lives. Amen.
Lighting of the Advent Candles
One: Our Advent journey is almost complete, and the Christ child will soon be here.
All: As we light the fourth candle, our anticipation is kindled ever stronger.
One: The one whom we await brings down the unjust systems of this world,
and by this disrupts as a way of blessing.
All: The one whom we await, in embracing the way of self-emptying,
self-giving, and sacrificial love, also brings peace as nothing else can.
One: Thus, it is true, as Micah promised: The one to come shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.
All: Thus, it is also true, as Mary confessed: He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.
O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high, and cheer us by Thy drawing nigh; Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
All: God our Savior, Prince of Peace whose reign is justice and love, as we seek to be bearers of your peace in the world, may these four candles be an ever-brightening stand in the darkness that encourages our own. Amen.