Hilary Plowright
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Home Church, Advent 4, December 19, 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. We are in the season of Advent; it is a season of presence . . . of watching and waiting

 . . . of spaciousness . . . of preparing. Welcome to this space where God will be born anew; 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.

Prelude: Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming - VU #8

1 Lo, how a rose, e'er blooming,

from tender stem hath sprung,

of Jesse's lineage coming

as seers of old have sung.

It came a blossom bright,

amid the cold of winter

when half spent was the night.

2 Isaiah 'twas foretold it,

the Rose I have in mind,

with Mary we behold it,

the virgin mother kind.

To show God's love aright

she bore for us a Saviour

when half-spent was the night.

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:   The presence of God is found, not in abstract heavens but here, 

          in the Earth of things:

All:     In the shrill cry of life first emerging from a womb.

One:   In communities that gather round.

All:     In the land that holds us and the water that enables us.

One:   God is found in the possibilities of new life to come -

All:     Possibility for relationship.

One:   Possibility for intimacy.

All:     Possibility for seismic shifts around us.

One:   Come, let us rejoice with anticipation, open to transformation

Advent Candle Lighting  -  Ivany Family

Hymn: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel v. 1&5   - 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.

5 O come, O Key of David, come

and open wide our heavenly home;

Make safe the way that leads on high,

and close the path to misery. Refrain

Prayer of Confession   -   Enfleshed, adapted

God of Justice,

God of Compassion,

God of Sacred and Scandalous ways,

We have so much still to learn.

By your grace, we have come to know love more deeply than once before –

its mess, its complexity, its stubborn and tender truths transform us more each day.

Through fires that refine and valleys of death, you have guided us.

You draw us into the heart of Wisdom,

Saving us from the lies of destruction.

Turning us towards hope that liberates.

But still, O God, we struggle to trust in you.

And so, when we are afraid. Or hurt. Or weary…

We betray the very One who brought us thus far.

Search our hearts, O God, and see if there is any fear within us.

Meet us there with your good news that sets the captives free.

Forgive us from the harm we have done as we seek to harm no more.

Silent Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Grace

Beloveds, God does not abandon us to the systems that destroy.

God does not bind us to our regrets.

Or forever hold us to what we once believed.

God says, come and follow!

Know forgiveness and sin no more.

Love abounds. And Justice shall be manifest!

Wherever new life is desired,

may the peace of Christ be welcomed among us.

Thanks be to God who leads us on paths of resurrection.

Peace of Christ 

I invite you to unmute your microphones for the passing of the peace. Even as these COVID Sundays continue on, we show up and be community for one another. Here in this season of Advent, as we wait for God to show up in a new way, as we wait for our own ability to gather in a new way, let us celebrate the peace Christ brings, however, and whenever we gather. Those at the end of the alphabet, please join me in saying:

            N-Z: The Peace of Christ be with you!

            A-M: And also with you!

First Reading: Micah 5:2-5a  -  Reader: Tim Leadem

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.

Video: Mary’s Magnificat - The Work of the People

Gospel Reading  -   Reader: Nancy Hetherington Peirce                   

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 1:39-45 (MSG) 

Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,

You’re so blessed among women,

    and the babe in your womb, also blessed!

And why am I so blessed that

    the mother of my Lord visits me?

The moment the sound of your

    greeting entered my ears,

The babe in my womb

    skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.

Blessed woman, who believed what God said,

    believed every word would come true!

One: This is the Gospel of Christ; 

All:   Praise be to Jesus Christ

Reflection:  - A Portrait of Mary              

Silent Reflection

A New Creed

Let us affirm our faith . . . 

We are not alone,

    we live in God’s world.

 We believe in God:

    who has created and is creating,

    who has come in Jesus,

       the Word made flesh,

       to reconcile and make new,

    who works in us and others

       by the Spirit.

We trust in God. 

We are called to be the Church:

    to celebrate God’s presence,

    to live with respect in Creation,

    to love and serve others,

    to seek justice and resist evil,

    to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,

       our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death,

    God is with us.

We are not alone.

    Thanks be to God.

Prayers of the People  -    Paddy Waymark

One:  Creator of Love,

All:     Hear Our Prayers

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: Minute for Mission                                                                                

Offering Prayer

In this season where we prepare for God to be born anew in the world, we give thanks for all who attend to new life as it makes its way into the world. May we all be midwives in this season, lovingly attending to God’s fresh expressions in our midst. Amen.

Hymn: Down to Earth, as a Dove - VU #42

1 Down to earth, as a dove,

came to light holy love;

Jesus Christ from above

bringing great salvation

meant for every nation.


Let us sing, sing, sing,

dance and spring, spring, spring.

Christ is here, ever near!

Gloria in excelsis.

2 This is love come to light,

now is fear put to flight.

God defeats darkest night,

giving for our sorrows

hope of new tomorrows. [Refrain]

3 Christ the Lord comes to feed

hungry souls in their need;

in the house there is bread:

Jesus in a stable,

in the church a table. [Refrain]

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!