Order of Worship
Second Sunday of Advent/Sacrament of Holy Communion/Peace
December 6, 2020
Organ Prelude
Call to worship 
One:    Praise God from the tops of the highest mountains!
All:       Grant us peace, Almighty God!
One:    Praise God from the bottoms of the deepest valleys!
All:       Grant us peace, Merciful God!
One:    Praise God from the bumps in the road!
All:       Grant us peace, Gracious God!
One:    Praise God from the still waters!
All:       Grant us peace, Compassionate God!
One:    Praise the God of highs and lows, rough places and smooth.
All:       We come to praise the God who brings peace to us all,

Opening prayer
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
(unknown)
Reflect silently on this quote for a moment. Does this feel like a word of comfort? What does it reveal, or reinforce, about your understanding of God’s movement in this world?
God of all, grant us peace.
When obstacles stand in our path, may we not despair.
When we feel like we’re in free-fall, may we trust.
When life feels chaotic, may we remember to breathe.
When everything is going well, may we pause to savor.
God of all, we pray: grant us peace. Amen.

Advent Candle and Time of Reflection  -lighting the second Advent candle – Peace – followed by Brian’s Advent Meditation on “Lo Ere A Rose Is Blooming”
Prayer of Confession
Holy God,
too often we descend into the deep valleys of this life and find ourselves stuck in their shadows.
The hills and mountains around us seem to hem us in as     walls in a prison.
In our anxiety, it is easy to convince ourselves that there is no way out, no way forward.
Forgive us when our fears tell us to hunker down and turn inwards.
Remind us that from the depths, you will lift us.
Merciful God,
too often we find ourselves balancing in the heights, feeling as though there are no ropes or nets to catch us. The perspective seems solitary, and we feel trapped, afraid of falling. In our anxiety, it is easy to convince ourselves that there is no way down, no way forward.
Forgive us when our fears tell us that any move we make will be disastrous.
Remind us that you will not let us fall but will bring us to humility and safety.
Gracious God,
from all of the places of fear in our lives, speak comfort to us, call us to prepare our way back to you.
Remind us that even in the wilderness moments of our lives, we will find the way back to you.
Forgive us when we act out of anxiety, rather than faith.
Forgive us when our human reactions of fear, anger, and vengeance close us off from the ways of peace that you desire for us.
Open our eyes and open our hearts that the path to you might be revealed before us,
guiding us in compassion and mercy to your holy and everlasting peace. Amen.

Words of Affirmation
The words and deeds of humans are just for a season, only a part of this great Creation.
But the grace of God endures forever, filling all that has been, all that is, and all that is to come. In all our seasons, we are called to prepare for our God, who forgives all our sins.
Thanks be to God! Amen!
Sharing of Scripture                          Isaiah 40:1–11
Message in Music
Storytelling – shared stories of memorable Christmases
Message                      Remind, Reveal, Reinforce                 Rev. Laura McLeod
Sacrament of Holy Communion
Prayer of Dedication
Prepare the way!        We offer our gifts, both tangible and spiritual including our good deeds this week, to level the ground and make smooth the way ahead. We prepare, not just for our individual relationships with God, but for the wider community to find comfort and nurture.
Prepare the way! We offer ourselves, our minds, and our hearts to reveal the presence of God in our midst.
Prepare the way! May the glory of God be revealed to us and in us. Amen.

A Time of Prayer
Preparation for Prayer
Silent Prayer
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
Merciful God,
speak comfort to us.
We are waiting…
For situations to change.
For diagnoses.
For treatments to work.
For the start of a new life.
For the end of suffering.
For peace to come into this world.
We are waiting for the one who cries in the wilderness.
We are waiting for the Messiah – for God-with-us to enter this world.
Sometimes it seems the waiting will never end.
Sometimes it seems that we are stuck in this season of our lives:
that the mountains are too high,
the valleys too low,
the road too rough and winding.
We fear that we cannot move forward.

Merciful God,
speak comfort to us.
Not in the red and green and of shop windows and clichéd Christmas clothing,
but in the blues and purples of Advent waiting.
In the colours that shift the nighttime of our souls to reveal a brilliant dawn.
Speak tenderly to us,
in our fear and our pain,
remind us that you stay with us no matter how much we    might turn away.
Call us not merely to wait,
but to prepare for the ways that you will enter anew into    our lives.
Help us to redefine our situations;
to see the smooth, level path into your presence,
rather than the peaks and valleys of our human lives.

Merciful God,
speak comfort to us.
For you are here: Our God, our shepherd.
You are here, holding righteousness and peace,
steadfast love and faithfulness.
You are here,
and from this time of waiting and preparation,
your glory shall be revealed, even to mere mortals.

You are here, and even we shall know peace, through your nurture and care.

Merciful God,
speak comfort to us.
We are waiting and preparing for you even as we pray as Jesus taught us saying, Our Father…
Amen.

Bless
Peace be with you.
Righteousness be in you.
Comfort be among you.
Faithfulness be around you.
Go out into the world
Reminded of God’s steadfastness
Revealing God’s glory
Redefining this season of waiting into preparation for the dawn of God’s holy light.

Organ Postlude

Sharing of Scripture                           Isaiah 40:1–11
Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.

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