Christ Church Gabriola A Collaborative Anglican – United Church Open to All
Home Church, Advent 1, November 28, 2021, Rev. Karen Hollis
We acknowledge these lands upon which we worship are the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.
Whoever you are and wherever you are on life’s journey,
you are welcome here!
Preparing the Space Around Us
Welcome if you are gathering on zoom or if you are worshipping at home with the bulletin. We are one community and all part of the body of Christ. I invite you to prepare the space around you so that for the next hour you can be fully in this worship experience, not to keep out the realities of the world, rather to focus us in the midst of it all on God. If you need to go and get something or shift something around you, feel free. This is the first Sunday in Advent, which means we are in a new church year – happy new year! Today we enter into the season of presence . . . of watching and waiting . . . of spaciousness . . . of preparing. Welcome to this space where God will be born; welcome to the season of Advent and the gifts that are awaiting you here.
Preparing the Space within Us
Let us prepare now the space within us for a time of worship. I invite you to sit quietly, perhaps with feet on the floor, taking a couple of deep breaths and bring yourself into this moment. Open yourself to the presence of God who is with us and within us . . . as you intentionally open yourself to God, open yourself also to what you need from this time of worship.
One: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
All: And also with you
Call to Worship - Enfleshed, adapted
One: Let us pay attention! Signs of our interconnection are everywhere.
All: God weaves all life together as the cosmos unfold.
One: The pattern in our lungs, mirrors tree branches.
All: The iris of a coyote’s eye is like a galaxy.
One: We are bodies that ebb and flow with the moon.
All: We are hydrogen and oxygen, water and stars.
One: The Holy Spirit gives us signs! We breathe in connection and divinity circulates through our bodies. In this season of Advent, may we breathe with your cosmic time, that we may not rush or force, but move towards flourishing with determined and compassionate hope. Amen.
Advent Candle Lighting
Hymn: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel v. 1&2 - VU #1
1O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. Refrain
Prayer of Confession - BAS
Most Merciful God,
We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us, that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.
Silent prayer of confession
Assurance of Grace
Friends, let us receive the gift of God’s grace. The light emitted from the first candle of Advent is a warm, inviting, glowing light; there is in the flame something mysterious, something other, and yet resonant, something true, like the light of God’s love. Receive today the love and the grace offered to you from the one whose love knows no bounds. Thanks be to God!
Peace of Christ
I invite you to look around this gathering at all the people, all the faces, all the names; each of us is a story, each a particular manifestation of the Holy, and together, the body of Christ. Let us unmute our mics and greet one another with the love of God and the peace that Christ brings . . .
N-Z: The Peace of Christ be with you!
A-M: And also with you!
First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NRSV) - Reader: Owen McCooey
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
Psalm 25 (Voices United) - Reader: Owen McCooey
To you, O God, I lift my soul; my God, in you I trust.
Let me not be put to shame, nor let my foes gloat over me.
Let none who wait for you be shamed;
let them be shamed who wantonly break faith.
Show me your ways; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me;
for you are God my saviour.
For you I wait all the day long.
Remember your mercy, O God, and your steadfast love,
for they are as old as time.
Do not remember the sins and offences of my youth.
According to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O God!
You are upright and good, O God,
therefore you show the path to those who go astray.
You guide the humble to do what is right,
and teach the lowly your way.
All your ways are loving and sure
for those who keep your covenant and commandments.
Gospel Reading - Reader: Angela Nutter
One: God be with you.
All: And also with you.
One: The Good News of Jesus Christ according to Luke;
All: Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 21:25-38 (NRSV)
‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’
Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’
Every day he was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.
One: This is the Gospel of Christ;
All: Praise be to Jesus Christ
Iona Affirmation of Faith
Let us affirm our faith . . .
We believe in God above us, Maker and Sustainer of all life,
of sun and moon, of water and earth, of male and female.
We believe in God beside us, Jesus Christ, the word made flesh,
born of a woman, servant to the poor, tortured and nailed to a tree.
A man of sorrows, he died forsaken.
He descended into the earth to the place of death.
On the third day he rose from the tomb.
He ascended into heaven to be everywhere present,
and His kingdom will come on earth.
We believe in God within us, the Holy Spirit of Pentecostal fire,
life-giving breath of the church, spirit of healing and forgiveness,
source of resurrection and of eternal life. Amen
Prayers of the People - Susan Brockley
One: God of Power and Glory,
All: Hear Our Prayer.
Lord’s Prayer - New Zealand Prayer Book – Jim Cotter
Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world! Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
in the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen
Offering - enfleshed.com, adapted
Author and visionary, Octavia Butler wrote, “All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is Change.” Change is everywhere in the world today and still we navigate the world as it is. We are currently living this tension in our world and in our congregation. We aren’t collecting offering during worship these days because that’s a bit beyond our technical capabilities, but we are still giving of our resources, of our time and energy; we’re tending to the needs of today. And we are looking to the future. Today after worship we are holding small group discussions on the Areas of Focus the Strategic Planning team has identified; while the covenant articulates our vision and dream as a congregation and the strategic plan we’re working on will give us a road map. It’s not exactly the whole map with starting place, with destination clearly marked – wouldn’t that be nice – it does give us the lay of the land around our starting place and identifies some of the road ahead. The Areas of Focus we’ll be discussing after worship illuminate a path through the terrain that we think will help us live into this tension of change in a constructive way. Change is inevitable . . . we can either brace for impact or participate in the creation of what change will bring. Our covenant and planning process indicates that we have opted for collaboration. Let us co-create the body of God by dedicating our offerings – our offerings of all kinds - that we might be a changed people.
Offering Prayer - enfleshed.com, adapted
Generous God, sometimes we struggle with how to meet the needs of the day while at the same time envisioning a tomorrow of systemic change. Discern with us how to wisely use our shared resources. We dedicate our offerings to the needs of today and to the dreams of the future. Amen.
Hymn: All Earth Is Waiting - VU #5
1All earth is waiting to see the Promised One,
and open furrows await the seed of God.
All the world, bound and struggling, seeks true liberty;
it cries out for justice and searches for the truth.
2Thus says the prophet to those of Israel,
'A virgin mother will bear Emmanuel.'
One whose name is 'God with us', our Saviour shall be,
through whom hope will blossom once more within our hearts.
3Mountains and valleys will have to be made plain,
open new highways, new highways for our God,
who is now coming closer, so come all and see,
and open the doorways as wide as wide can be.
4In lowly stable the Promised One appeared.
Yet, feel that presence throughout the earth today,
for Christ lives in all Christians and is with us now;
again, on arriving, Christ brings us liberty.
Blessing - Iona Community
If you are with another person, you’re invited to bless each other, taking every other line.
One: The Creator’s blessing be yours on your road, on your journey, guiding you, cherishing you.
A-M: The Son’s blessing be yours, wine and water, bread and stories, feeding you, challenging you.
N-Z: The Spirit’s blessing be yours, wind and fire, joy and wisdom, comforting you, disturbing you.
All: The Angel’s blessing be yours, on your house, on your living, guarding you, encouraging you. Let us walk together, a community on a journey sustained in God’s blessing. Amen!
One: Let us go now in peace to love and serve the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God! Alleluia!