17 December 2023
God Invites Us To Gather
Words of Welcome
- Welcome to worship here at Maple Grove United
- My name is Rev. Jessica McCrae and I am so happy to be leading this time of worship with Our wonderful team here we have our musicians Dr. Deborah Henry and Eran Rozen, Pat on guitar, (Ron on trumpet? Patty on Drums?) our choir, our scripture reader Kim, our greeters Donna and Bonnee, Charlotte on live streaming and projection, with John on sound. Thank you everyone!
- Reminder that the contemplative prayer sessions Arnaud and I are running continue on Wednesday in the chapel at 11 if it is your first time please come 10 minutes earlier for a bit of an introduction, also week 2 of our Advent bible study is in the chapel on Thursday at 11.
- Longest Night service Dec 21 at 7 pm
- Christmas Eve services 6:30 instant pageant family service with my amazing group of volunteers – please encourage any little ones (or adults!) to come dressed as a favourite animal, shepherd, angel or king or queen) and 9 pm traditional candles and communion
- If you would like to make a financial donation to the ministry of this church you can leave a donation on the plate near the back of the church, where you entered … or you can do so online through etransfer or Canada Helps.
Acknowledgment of the Land –
Today and for the rest of Advent we are doing something a little different for our land acknowledgement. We will sing together The Wendat Carol, a retelling of the hymn Twas In the Moon of Wintertime, with Huron rather than Cree stories and images. As part of our truth and reconciliation work we acknowledge there are many different languages and cultures within the First Nations of this land. Thank you to Deborah for bringing this version to my attention. Let us stand and sing
Hymn: The Wendat Carol
Our Christ Candle is lit. We give thanks for the light of Christ in our life and in the work and worship we do together. If you are at home I invite you to light your own candle to celebrate the light that lives in our world. Let us prepare our hearts and minds for our worship, as we listen to our prelude.
Lighting the Advent Candle – Joy (Shelagh Leitch)
We wait as people who experience uncertainty and pain, yet we are called to witness to the persistent joy that sustains our life as God’s people.
We light these candles as signs of our shocking hope, just peace, and fierce joy. May our lives shine with the fierce, tenacious joy of the Light who lives in our hearts as we wait and work for the coming of God’s kin-dom on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
Sung Response: Behold, Behold, I Make All Things New. MV 115
Call to Worship
Live with the certain knowledge
That God is always coming into the world.
We will seek God, not in a long ago stable or ancient manger,
But in the people we meet and the depths of our own hearts.
May the blessing of Christmas make you a blessing to others;
May the peace of the season pervade all that you do.
We will welcome the challenge of discipleship.
We will offer ourselves as God’s disciples.
We will go commit to live in hope, peace, joy, and love.
*Hymn: What Child Is This? VU 74
Prayer of Approach & The Lord’s Prayer
Loving God, we open ourselves to you,
trusting that you are breaking into our world in new and amazing ways,
to bring us joy unlike any we have know,
to show us the creative power of hope.
and to teach us the peace that comes from justice.
Fill us with the kind of joy that cannot be contained, but must be shared with others.
Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you,
as we prepare to welcome the Christ Child
so that we may walk in, and reflect, the light of the Christ
in our words and in our actions.
This we pray in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray together saying ….
Hallowed be your name
Your kindom come
Your 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 yours is the kindom
The power and the glory
Forever and ever
Prayer of Confession
Today as we reflect on joy we admit that sometimes joy is hard to feel,
Sometimes joy overshadowed by the worries of the world,
The anxieties in our life,
Empathy for the problems facing others.
But then we remember the song that Mary sang.
Help us to remember that you are coming to change the world
Help us to remember that you are coming to lift up the oppressed,
Help us to remember that with you all things are possible.
Even with things are not perfected
Even when there is much still left to do
Help us to find joy in the life around us
Help us to find joy in the promise of what is coming,
Help us to find joy in the waiting.
Sung Response: Wait for the Lord. VU 22 (3x)
Assurance of Pardon
God promises to be with God’s people
Even if the path are not yet straight,
Even in the world is imperfect,
Even if there is still much to do.
Christ is coming, with new beginnings
And new life.
We are loved, we are forgiven, we are not alone!
Let us find joy in this day,
Let us share the joy of this day.
The Word of God Proclaimed
Prayer of Illumination (Kim MacKay)
God, you call us to prepare the way in the world for your love, for your hope, for your peace, for your joy.
May your Word prepare our hearts for action and service. Amen.
Reading: Luke 1:26-38
Page 26 of your pew bibles, in the New Testament
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.”[a] 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?”[b] 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[c] 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.
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God.
Sermon: Welcoming Mary
Hymn: There Was A Child in Galilee (Dreaming Mary) MV 134
Our Response to God
Offering: We will take time in our service now to give thanks for the gifts that have been given so generously this week – financial donations, donations to our outreach projects, time, talents, and prayers …. Let us stay seated as we sing …
Offering Hymn: In The Bleak Midwinter (v. 4) VU 55
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him – give my heart.
Waiting, watching God, we have heard your call to give ourselves in love, to make room for hope, peace and joy to be born into our world.
We answer that call with these, the gifts of our lives and the payment from our hard work.
Accept these gifts we pray.
In the name of Jesus. Amen
Prayers of the People
We praise you God of joy
And give you thanks that you chose to be born among us
To live our life with all of its human frailties and challenges.
We thank you for the miracles of courage and faith and trust
That we see in those who welcomed you.
May these qualities come to life in us.
Help us God to see you alive among us here and now
Help us to hear the song that Mary sings,
and to find hope amidst the fear and suffering in our world,
knowing that into all of it, you are being born again,
your spirit is bringing justice and working in us to bring compassion.
Help us to recognize the hope of which Mary sang
being born again here and now for us as well.
And help us to understand that this gift comes with great responsibility – responsibly to act, to love, to hope, to share.
Sometimes God it is tough to see you here, with the stresses and worries of our world,
it is sometimes hard to understand how you are calling to us, and that we have what you need for your purposes.
Sometimes it is tough to feel the promises of hope and new beginnings.
And so we ask that you hear us as we pray for ourselves and those close to us;
Be with all who are facing at this time of year the difficulties of life that continues as normal
Despite all of the celebrations in our midst –
we pray for all who entering the journey of grief and those whose grief is brought again to the surface,
Those who are recovering from surgery
Those who are wrestling with illness
Those who are lonely, afraid, and filled with anxieties
Those whose relationships are coming to an end
Those who are struggling with the realities of the economic uncertainty,
Those who are praying for new beginnings.
Especially this day we pray for the many areas of tension, hurt and fear in our word.
We pray for those those who have lost their homes as a result of violence, natural disaster, or economic disaster.
We pray for those living in fear
Living with lack of food and clean water
Those whose lives have been turned upside down.
Be with all who are in need this day God and fill them with your strength
And may the hope of this season help to light their difficult path
And may all of us, no matter where our feet travel on this journey to Bethlehem,
No matter how twisted our roads may seem,
Find the joy that is calling to us,
Open our hearts to the hope that is beckoning us
And truly recognize the love that is made known to us in Jesus
When we arrive tired and spent at the manger.
Welcome us, nourish us, and then send us on our way
to committed to do your work, to reflect your hope in this world.
We make our prayers in the name of the baby awaiting to be born, who will be our Messiah, our Saviour, our Christ. Amen.
*Hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem. VU 64
Sung Blessing: Go Now In Peace