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“Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect”

(In Stereo)


November 28, 2021 ~ 10:30 am
Hanging of the Greens' 'A Celtic Caim'
First Sunday of Advent


ORDAINED MINISTER:   Rev. Dexter van Dyke

MUSIC MINISTRY:   Ilene Wettergreen

Special Music:  Lisa Hornung and John Chipak

SCRIPTURES READERS:  Ken Holliday

ACKNOWLEDGING THE TERRITORY
As we gather in this sacred place, we honour the Metis and First Nations People of Treaty 6, on whose land this nation was forged. It isn't our land alone, we live in God's world where God has created and is creating still. Thanks be to God

A Celtic Caim:
Keep shadows without and light within let the light shine that we may be renewed.
Keep fear without and justice within; comfort, comfort all people.
Keep chaos without and life within; may those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
Keep despair without and hope within; may we turn and having turned rejoice.
Come, O Advent God, and reveal your promise in us now.
     (Seasons of the Spirit , Advent - Christmas- Epiphany 2008 - 2009 page 29 modified )

An Invitation to the hanging of the Greens:
In the days to come the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hill; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that God may teach us God's ways and that we may walk in God's paths.” - Isaiah 2: 2 - 3 alt.
With what shall we come to God's house?
Bring branches of cedar and holly, bring evergreens and a pine tree, hang wreaths and garlands. Make the church fragrant with the smell of living things and our holy play. In acts of hanging greens and listening to the words of prophets and seers let us make our hearts and this space a place of inward and outward preparation for the One who comes to give us second birth.

Advent Candle Lighting:
Our Advent journey begins. We prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. We come to be embraced by and to embrace the “Good News” of the Light of the World.
It is within the hidden mysteries of life we discover vulnerability. Within the dancing shadows cast by a flickering candle flame we discover the promise of hope and of new possibilities. We come to be transformed despite and because of our weakness.
We light a candle that it may remind us of the way of hope.
(The first Advent candle is lit.)

Let us join in prayer:
We come to worship looking upon the flickering light of this candle. It dances as your Spirit dances within our hearts, playful, cheerful God, drumming the rhythm of hope that enlivens us all. As you bless us with the Way of Jesus, may we invite others to Christ's dance of transformation. Amen.
     (written by Gord Dunbar Gathering Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2020, page 71 Used with permission adapted)

Opening Prayer and the Lord's Prayer: # 921 VU
Holy Presence, source of hope, in our busy and thing filled world, may we hear the invitation to be patient, the invitation to not place our trust in the things of this world but in you, the God who is love eternal. May we know and be guided by Love's presence in our Advent preparations and journey. As we begin this year's Advent journey may we find cause for hope in our world and in our lives, as we remember the hopes and dreams of those who have traveled this road before us. May this Advent and Christmas season be a source of renewed hope for us and for others. And now we join to pray as Jesus taught his disciples to pray saying, or softly singing “Our Father, . . . .”   Amen.

People of God, consider the doors of the sanctuary and contemplate the doorway to the Christian year on this first Sunday of Advent. Let us mark the entrance to the church building and our hearts and minds as portals for Christ to enter.
All: Come, Lord Jesus! Come, Lord Jesus!

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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 trespass 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 and ever.

Amen.


Responsory:
Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the Ruler of glory may come in.
Who is the Ruler of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors! That the Ruler of glory may come in.
Who is this Ruler of glory?
The Lord of hosts, the Lord is the Ruler of glory!
- Psalm 24:7-10

Prayer of Transformation:
God who is love, God of wonder and surprise, there are times when we can get so caught up in the preparations for Christmas that we lose sight of the story of the birth of Jesus and what it seeks to tell us. We become so stressed by needing to be prepared that we stop preparing ourselves to receive Jesus anew. Sometimes we can become so overwhelmed by the things we think we have to do that we want it all to be over and done, behind us before it has happened. We want to carry on with what we think of as normal, ordinary life. We want life to carry on as before as though nothing has changed. As we have need, may we be open to hearing the essential messages of Christmas, as if we were hearing them for the first time; may we turn from the things that distract us and turn toward You, our loving God. May this Advent time of waiting and turning, open our hearts, open our minds and open our souls to the love that would transform us and through us transform the world, to bring the kingdom, the kin-dom, that Jesus imagined and proclaimed. Amen.

Words of Assurance:
Advent is a time for reflection, for repentance, for transformation; God hears, God knows, and through loving-kindness, by grace forgives. We are a forgiven people! Thanks be to God!
     (written by George Allan Gathering Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2020, page 32 Used with permission adapted)

Prayer
We are getting ready, We are preparing to celebrate your coming to the world, Christ's birth by trying to live our love. Would you bless our gifts, please? We want them to make a difference in this community and in the world. Amen.
     (written by Gord Dunbar Gathering Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2017-2018 page 30. Adapted. Used with permission)

Prayers of the People: (# 400 VU Lord Listen to Your Children Praying)
Lord, listen to your children praying,
Lord, send your Spirit in this place;
Lord, listen to your children praying,
send us love, send us power, send us grace!


God who is love, Holy Mystery, source of our lives, source of our hope, we come to you in prayer on this first Sunday of Advent. In the midst of this continuing Covid pandemic with our news filled daily with reports of atmospheric rivers, of heavy rains, of mudslides, of road washouts and of flooding, in various parts of our country and in other parts of the world we have gathered to worship and to pray. On this first Sunday of Advent, we gathered to celebrate and contemplate the place of hope in our lives and in our living, as followers of Christ. We hang the greens on this first Sunday of a new liturgical year and consider the invitation Jesus offers asking us to be a hope filled people. We recall what we know or think we know of the times and circumstances in which Jesus was born. What we know seems to suggest his times were not easy, in many ways, even more challenging that our own. Roman rule and occupation created many hardships. As the story is told his birth and his life brought hope to people then and has been brining hope to his followers ever since. As we in this Advent time prepare to celebrate his birth may we be open to hope, to the hope his teachings and example might bring to our world and to our lives. Hope that is realistic and honest about the ways things are but also considers what might be, how things might change for the better, and how we might be part of that change. May we think about how love and compassion might increase; how hatred and anger might decrease, how compassion and sharing might displace indifference, selfish and greed. Hear us O God as we pray for those who are ill, for those who and lonely, for those who are hungry and thirsty, for those without adequate shelter and clothing. We give thanks that covid vaccines have become available for another age group of our children and we think of the many places in our world where covid vaccines are not yet available leaving people vulnerable, unprotected and at risk. May the hearts of all humans become compassionate and loving, making space and place for everyone. We ask these and all the silent unspoken prayers of our hearts and minds in Jesus' name. Amen.

Scripture Readings, Reflection and Prayer

  • A Reading from Hosea: 14: 4, 8 - 9

  • A Reading from the prophet Isaiah: 41: 17 - 20

  • A Reading from the book of Revelation: 22: 12 - 14, 17

Lectionary for Next Sunday - Second Sunday of Advent:
        December 5, 2021:
         Baruch 5:1-9 or Malachi 3:1-4;  Philippians 1:3-11;
         Luke 3:1-6;  Canticle 4 or 16.




“Open to the Wisdom of Christ”
Last Sunday after Pentecost, November 21, 2021



“Blessed Are the Children”
Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, November 14, 2021



“Re-Member-Ing”
Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, November 7, 2021



“How Then Do We Love?”
Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost, October 31, 2021



“More than the Absence of Conflict”
Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost, October 24, 2021

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Note: Don't have a Bible? By Clicking on the button below, you can open a new window in an Online Bible. By entering the BOOK and CHAPTER, you will be able to look up the references in the sermon. Copy and paste will work as long as there is no other words between the book name and chapter number. Try it and Enjoy!