First Sunday of Advent A, November 27, 2016

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122:1-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24: 36-44

CALL TO WORSHIP [ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTING – HOPE]
One: Prepare the way for the Christ child.  God is about to be born among us.
All: We humbly wait for the light of the world to descend into our midst.
One: Our swords shall be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.
All: We shall not learn war or hatred or division or cruelty any more.
[One: Instead we light this candle of hope – hope for the joyous love of the Divine descending.
All: Into this time of darkness, we call upon the Lord to bring us out of the night.]
One: We must keep awake and be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
All: With quiet expectation, we come to worship the God who is, was, and is soon to come again.

OPENING PRAYER
Holy God, we are drowsy.  We are so sleepy and can only concentrate on our own comfort.  But you shine the light before our eyes.  We can just see the light peeking out of the darkness and are beginning to be filled with hope.  We gather today to wake up and ready ourselves for your son among us and whatever you are creating new inside of us.  We come almost ready and waiting.  We are here, curious.  Amen.

CALL TO CONFESSION
Now is the moment for you to wake from sleep.  The night is far gone; the day is near.  Let us come forth waking up to the world around us and ourselves.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Gracious God, we have not been loving towards you or your creation.  We have lived in darkness, furthering despair and fear and division.  We want you to tell us “Peace be within you,” yet we do nothing to bring that peace to fruition.  We do not seek your good or the good of strangers or even our neighbors.  We have fallen into a deep sleep and do not know how to exit the night. Forgive us, please.  Wake us up. Help us heal our own divisions and let loose love to ready the way for your Son.  Help us live into the hope of tomorrow for us and all of your creation.  Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Dear ones, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!  Hear the good news: even before you can finish asking, I can declare to you that in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven.  Now go live in the hope, responsibility and joy of that assurance.  Amen.

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