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Fourth Sunday of Advent
Preparation for Worship
Songs: Ask yourself and the people who will be worshipping with you (kids included), “What are some of the songs we sing about joy?” Play them on Spotify, sing them acapella, or create your own instrumental arrangement.
Bible: You will need a Bible to read from the scriptures. You can use this doc or your phone as well…but I’d recommend using an actual Bible.
This week’s liturgy is based on the following texts:
2 Samuel 7:1-11,16, Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:26-38.
You can decide who will lead the different movements of this gathering. It would be great for every person to have a part.
The season of Advent is a time of preparation, a time of great expectation and anticipation, the season when we celebrate that God entered the world in the form of a baby. Today we will listen and watch and wait in expectation of God’s power at work among us as we celebrate this season.
Call to Worship
Leader: Our souls magnify the Lord!
All: Our spirits rejoice in God our Savior!
Leader: The mighty One has done great things for us!
All: Holy is God’s name!
For God is our Maker and our Redeemer;
from generation to generation God gives mercy.
Leader: Let us worship God.
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on God’s love and God’s call.
Reading of the Psalm
The psalmist writes in Psalm 89 (NRSV),
I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
2 I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to my servant David:
4 ‘I will establish your descendants forever,
and build your throne for all generations.’”
19Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said:
“I have set the crown on one who is mighty,
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20 I have found my servant David;
with my holy oil I have anointed him;
21 my hand shall always remain with him;
my arm also shall strengthen him.
22 The enemy shall not outwit him,
the wicked shall not humble him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.
24 My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;
and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
25 I will set his hand on the sea
and his right hand on the rivers.
26 He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation!’
Exhortation from the New Testament
Romans 16 (CEB) says, 25 May the glory be to God who can strengthen you with my good news and the message that I preach about Jesus Christ. He can strengthen you with the announcement of the secret that was kept quiet for a long time. 26 Now that secret is revealed through what the prophets wrote. It is made known to the Gentiles in order to lead to their faithful obedience based on the command of the eternal God. 27 May the glory be to God, who alone is wise! May the glory be to him through Jesus Christ forever! Amen.
Prayer of Preparation
Guide us, O God, by your Word and Spirit,
that in your light we may see light,
in your truth find freedom,
and in your will discover your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The time of listening is a series of reading the scripture, re-telling the story, and paying attention to where God is stirring your hearts as you listen. Invite everyone to listen to the words of the scriptures and to be ready to re-tell the story.)
A reading from 2 Samuel 7 (NRSV).
Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” 3 Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”
4 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: 5 Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. 7 Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” 8 Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; 9 and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.
A reading from Luke 1 (NRSV),
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Let’s remember together what was said in these readings. You may want to read/act out one or both of the readings. What was said first? What happened next? (go around the circle and tell the story to each other. Try to remember as many details as possible.).
What part of these scriptures grabbed your attention? Why do you think that part stood out?
Let each person in the circle take a turn to wonder about something in this text…a word, a phrase, something that happened in the text, something that you’re thinking about… Start out by saying “As we read these texts, it made me wonder…”
What where are you experiencing joy in this season?
What will we carry into this week from this text?
How can we be praying this week?
Prayers of the People
God of Grace,
Thank you for this season of waiting.
Thank you for the joy of children
waiting for the excitement of gift giving.
Thank you for the gift of songs and joy this season brings.
Thank you for the gift of Jesus;
we have been waiting for a Savior.
We pray for all who are waiting this morning;
those who are waiting for healing
because they live with sickness and pain;
those who are waiting for good news
because they are weighed down with grief.
We pray for all of the earth that is waiting–
Throughout the world, in and on and under it,
waiting happens, waiting grows and gathers,
the earth is pregnant waiting for redemption.
In eager expectation we wait for the revelation of the Son of God.
Lord in every aspect of our lives, may we know the presence of the Wonderful Counsellor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
Be glorified and magnified in our world, in our country, in our communities, in our homes, in our lives.
To the glory of your great name.
And now we pray together the prayer you have taught us to pray, saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
Go out into the world in peace.
Be faithful in service and persistent in prayer;
be Advent people,
loving and serving the Lord.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or imagine, according to the power at work within us, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.