Saturday, December 21, 2013

Icebound Worship

Once again it looks as though inclement weather may prevent many people from attending church tomorrow. If the ice keeps you home, here is a worship service that you can use for your Sunday morning devotion. If you're with others, you can alternate the "One" and "All" parts. 

Preparation: If you don't have an Advent wreath, gather 4 candles to light.

Centering:  "Love Came Down:  (click here)

Call to Worship: (based on 1 Corinthians 13)
One: If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
All: If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing.
One: If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.
All: Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
One: Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
All: Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love.

Opening Song: "When Love Was Born"  (click here)

Lighting the Advent Candle of Love: Adapted from Martha Spong
One: The poet, George Herbert, wrote: “Love bade me welcome, but my soul drew back.” It’s hard for us to take in the enormity of God’s love made flesh in Jesus Christ. Yet we know by heart the words of John the Evangelist: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” God gave us the gift of Jesus out of love for all of us, then and now and forever.
All: As we light the candle of Love, we stop in awe of God’s unending love. Whatever we face in life, God’s steadfast love surrounds us.

Scripture Reading: Romans 1:1-7 (click here to read)

Message: "Love...Gotta Have It" (click here)

Response Song: "Love Came Down at Christmas" (click here)

Think of a time when you experienced undeserved love.  
How has God's love been made known in your life?
What is one tangible way that you will share love this week?

Praying Together:
Receive God’s gift of time to be in prayer, offering God any burdens or joys that you are aware of for yourself, others, the world. Don’t rush. Receive silence as well as words. God has all the time in the world for you! Then join in the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples:
Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespasses against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Sharing Gifts and Self:  
If you are worshiping with others, name at least one way that you have received love from each of them. Make sure that each person has a turn to do the same, if they wish. If you are worshiping by yourself, take a few minutes to identify how at least 3 people have shown you love and give thanks to God for them.

Closing Prayer  by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Holy One,
prepare your way in me.
Give me faith, like the stable,
to know your presence within me.
Give me courage, like Mary,
to let your life overwhelm mine.
Give me strength, like Joseph,
to protect what is holy, tender and growing.
Give me patience, like the shepherds,
to be still and listen.
Give me humility, like the magi,
to kneel before your presence.
Give me trust, like the child,
to let myself be borne into a new world.
Give me joy, like the angels,
to bring good news to the poor.
Give me love, like the manger
to hold Christ within.
Holy One,
prepare your way in me.

Closing song: "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"  (click here)

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