Advent Worship Series
This year for Advent, we will focus on our traditional themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, but with some enhancements. As Christians we believe that there is hope, peace, joy and love in the midst of proclamations of the victory of decline and death all around. It is especially in this season of expectant hope that we can instead proclaim the awe-inspiring presence of God’s reign that continually makes all things new, that we proclaim hope in the midst of hopelessness, peace in the midst of conflict, joy in the midst of despair, and love in the midst of hate. (Inspired by Marcia McFee Worship Design Studio http://worshipdesignstudio.com/)
Each Sunday in Advent, our choir will be singing a beautiful Introit Light of Light (J. Raney) to bookend our candle-lighting rite as we explore these themes. In order to further deepen your Advent journey, we encourage you to try different prayer practices in preparation for each week. You may also want to use the Advent Devotional O Come Dawn of Hope available at the church or online at www.adventreflections.org.
Week I (December 1) Hope in the midst of hopelessness (Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5)
Begin preparation for this Sunday on November 25 with spiritual practice of Gratitude. You are encouraged to begin each day with the intention of being aware of where you see hope. Be grateful for those people, places and things, and perhaps even journal about them. There is hope in this world, but often we are too blinded by hopelessness to notice. Making it a practice to notice hope in the world enables us to better become that hope for others.
Week II (December 8) Peace in the midst of conflict (Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10)
Begin preparation for this Sunday on December 2 with spiritual practice of Centering Prayer.
You are encouraged to begin each day with the praying of the reflection, and then spending some time in quiet contemplation. Ideal time for such a practice is twenty minutes of silence, focusing on a sacred word, and releasing all thoughts. Spend however much time is comfortable for you centering yourself by resting in the arms of your loving God, and carrying that peace with you the whole day through.
Week III (December 15) Joy in the midst of despair (Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10)
Please note that to deepen our joy, there will be a special Cantata this Sunday in memory of longtime choir member Robert Faroo. See page xx… for details.
Begin preparation for this Sunday on December 9 with spiritual practice of Praying with the Arts. You are encouraged to begin each day with opening yourself to joy that comes from some kind of art. Find a picture that draws you in, a poem that moves you, a piece of music that touches a place deep within. Prayerfully sit with it, opening yourself, asking the spirit to guide you as you pay close attention, as it evokes feelings, insights thoughts. Let the art become a vehicle to a deeper relationship with God, and bring you joy.
Week IV (December 22) Love in the midst of hate (Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25)
Begin preparation on December 16 with spiritual practice of Prayer through Service. You are encouraged to make your work your prayer. Put feet to your prayer by living in service to others, following the example of Jesus who through his ministry to people was a tangible sign of God’s love.