December 16 Midweek Service

OPENING PRAYER

Stir up our hearts in wonder, O God.

May we wear a mantle of praise

as we delight in your gift of salvation,

in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

ADVENT SONG All Earth Is Hopeful ELW 266

ADVENT DIALOGUE

In this Advent time of waiting and watching, the words of the angel Gabriel break into our world:

“Greetings! The Lord is with you.

Do not fear, for nothing will be impossible with God.”

We respond with Mary to the angel’s message:

“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

We join with Elizabeth to greet the mother of our Lord:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

We echo Mary’s song of praise:

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

In this Advent time of waiting and watching, let us pray:

Gracious God, you come to us in new and surprising ways. You make the impossible possible. Help us, like Mary, to answer your call, that the light of Christ may spread to all the world.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

(Based on Luke 1:28-47)

All Earth is Hopeful - by Alberto Taule

All earth is hopeful, the Savior comes at last!

Furrows lie open for God's creative task:

this, the labor of people who struggle to see

how God's truth and justice set everybody free.

2 People of Israel, you heard the prophet tell:

"A virgin mother will bear Emmanuel";

she conceived him "God with us," our brother, whose birth

restores hope and courage to children of this earth.

3 Mountains and valleys will have to be prepared;

new highways opened new protocols declared.

Almost here! God is nearing, in beauty and grace!

All clear every gateway, in haste, come out in haste!

4 We first saw Jesus a baby in a crib.

This same Lord Jesus today has come to live

in our world; he is present, in neighbors we see

our Jesus is with us, and ever sets us free.

CANDLE LIGHTING (if you have an Advent wreath, use that, or any candle...)

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.

As darkness falls, may we watch for your light.

Keep us awake and alert to your coming and strengthen us to the end,

that we may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (light candles)

HYMN OF LIGHT God's Perfect Gift - written by Nancy Wilson

SCRIPTURE READING Isaiah 61:1-3; 10-11

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

TIME OF REFLECTION - Time of Silence

Questions to Ponder

What word, image, or phrase stands out for you in this reading?

Where will you look for God’s glory?

Where do you engage in wonder at God’s creation; in wonder at the love, grace, and forgiveness of Christ;

in wonder at the transforming work of the Holy Spirit?

PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH

During these weeks of waiting and expecting, where people live in fear of the unknown, we pray for peace.

Where people are confused about your will for their lives or for the world, we pray for clarity.

Where people doubt your presence and your word, we pray for trust.

Where people are curious, and await the future with hopeful anticipation, we pray for wonder.

Most of all, when the world longs for you, we pray you help us respond with glad tidings of comfort and joy.

We pray all this in the name of Jesus, our long-expected Savior. Amen.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. AMEN

BLESSING

The peace of God accompany your waiting,

the light of ☩ Christ warm your hearts,

and the joy of the Spirit fill you with hope. Amen.

EVENSONG As the Dark Awaits the Dawn ELW #261

From Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #26385.New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved