December 20, 2020 Worship
Fourth Sunday of Advent
O my soul, magnify the Lord. God is worthy to be praised.
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT WREATH
We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ, who is called the Son of the Most High,
and of whose kingdom there will be no end.
About the hour of Christ’s coming no one knows; therefore keep awake, for you do not know when the time will come. Hear the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. With John the Baptist we testify to Christ the light, so that all might believe through him.
[the fourth candle is lit]
With Mary, we pray: Let it be with us according to your word. For nothing will be impossible with God.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word of God endures forever.
ADVENT HYMN No. 99
My Soul Gives Glory to My God
(Because the singing of hymns is discouraged during this period of pandemic, you are invited to meditate on verses 1, 3 & 5 below.)
My soul gives glory to my God;
my heart pours out its praise.
God lifted up my lowliness
in many marvelous ways.
From age to age to all who fear,
such mercy love imparts,
dispensing justice far and near,
dismissing selfish hearts.
Praise God, whose loving covenant
supports those in distress,
remembering past promises
with present faithfulness.
CALL TO PRAYERS
The Holy Spirit has come upon us. The Word of God is sent among us. The mystery of God is revealed within us. Let us listen, for God is speaking now.
PRAYERS OF APPROACH AND CONFESSION
Mighty God, pour out your Holy Spirit on all of us gathered here.
As we follow in Mary’s footsteps, open our hearts, that we might be filled with your goodness and your love.
Live in us, that we might bear the Christ light for all to see.
Overshadow us with your presence, that we might truly be blessed and offer your blessing of love to the world.
Savior God, shine upon us with your grace.
Guide us to walk with those who are poor and weak.
When we yearn for riches and glory,
guide our hearts back to your thirst for justice and righteousness. Remember us with mercy.
We desire to live as the household of faith you would have us be.
Help us to live according to your gospel and trust that all things are possible in your love. In Christ’s saving grace, we pray. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF GOD WITH US
Rejoice! God has looked with favor upon the powerless and the lowly. Christ has come to redeem us from our sin. The Spirit has strengthened us with the power of grace and love. In the mercy of the triune God, we are forgiven.
SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
As forgiven people made whole in Christ, let us receive one another with signs of peace and love. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
And also with you.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Faithful God, you chose Mary, full of grace, to be the mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Now fill us with your grace, that with her, we may understand your ways, rejoice in your salvation, and embrace your will; through Christ we pray. Amen.
2 Samuel 7:1-11
SERMON Signs and Wonder
Rev. Kathryn R. Mustaro
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Lord in your mercy/in thanksgiving,
Hear our prayer.
OUR GIFTS OF SACRIFICE and THANKSGIVING
Remembering the great things God has done for us, we are invited to return these signs of our gratitude to God. Even when we offer small things, when they are given with the love of Christ in our hearts, God can transform our gifts into mighty miracles. Let us fill the hungry with our gifts. Let us lift up the lowly with our compassion. Let us remember a world in need. With mercy and love, let us offer ourselves and our gifts.
Thank you for sending your offerings.They make a great difference to our church’s work in the world. Today, we also collect the Christmas Joy Offering, which provides assistance to current and retired church workers in their time of need, and to the development of future leaders at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color.
Prayer of Dedication
Just as our souls magnify the Lord, may our offerings glorify God. Surely we are blessed. We rejoice in the mercy that you have shown us from generation to generation. We remember the powerful promise you bring: hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak. With joy, we pray in gratitude and praise. Amen.
We Are Sent
ADVENT HYMN No. 102
Savior of the Nations, Come
(Because the singing of hymns is discouraged during this period of pandemic, you are invited to meditate on verses 1 & 3 below.)
Savior of the nations, come;
virgin’s son, make here your home.
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.
Now your manger, shining bright,
hallows night with newborn light.
Night cannot this light subdue;
let our faith shine ever new.
All songs not in the public domain are used by permission of CCLI #1124594.