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Monday, November 21, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings--Advent Already!!!!!???? Edition

Advent 1
And welcome to Year B everyone!

AS we celebrate our New Year, let us open with prayer (prayer found here):
God of justice and peace,
from the heavens you rain down mercy and kindness,
that all on earth may stand in awe and wonder
before your marvelous deeds.
Raise our heads in expectation,
that we may yearn for the coming day of the Lord
and stand without blame before your Son, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. 

Coming back?
How many of us have had to explain (or ask) why we begin Advent with readings pointing to the "end-times"?
12 years ago, when I was on internship, I called the lay reader during this pre-Advent week to tell her what the readings were.  Her comment was "they better not be depressing".  That Sunday I opened the sermon by relating that story and pointing out that we did have the less depressing part of Mark 13.  Afterward she came up and agreed that I was right on that count (but still felt that the readings were less that uplifting).  The A1B readings are found here

So how is your worship community beginning the time of preparation for the coming of the Christ child?  Maybe a focus on Isaiah's vision of heaven being torn open?  Or Mark and the stars falling from heaven?  OR will you talk about some other way of preparing for Christmas?  Are you having a Hanging of the Greens service at some point or will the decorating happen at some other time, to be ready when people arrive for worship?

And what about candles and wreaths?  Any great ideas for candle liturgies out there?  And for those who follow them, what order are Hope Peace Joy and Love really in?  I swear they changed it every year while I was growing up.

Is the time right?
Share your wisdom on Advent and candles, and waiting for the Coming (or 2nd Coming) in the comments....


  1. Hi, Gord!
    I'm using the Psalm (Call to Worship) and Isaiah (Wreath lighting, first 3 Advent Sundays) but diverging from the gospel readings to dig in to the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth (this week), Mary and Elizabeth (Advent 2) and the Magnificat (Advent 3), with a brief meditation on Joseph and the placement of Jesus in that family tree (Advent 4) to round things out. We'll also be celebrating, dedicating new hymnals that day, which is great but makes life complicated.
    My Advent wreath liturgies are here, in case anyone is looking for something.
    The theme I'm working with for this week is God's capacity to surprise us with a new hope, painting Zechariah and Elizabeth's story as the prologue of our Christian epic.

  2. Thank you for sharing your wreath liturgy Songbird!

    I'm leaning towards the Mark text this week and connecting it to our contemporary situation. I might touch on the persecution his community was experiencing and the corruptions of the Roman system. Contrasting that with the hope of Christ and a kingdom not of this world.

  3. I am still struggling with the lessons. I think I am going to preach on Advent--the waiting for and the hope. We had our Diocesan convention last weekend and it's theme was Hope.

    I need to go get some coffee and look at this again.

  4. Hi all!
    For Advent this year I am revisiting a theme I used 3 years ago (in another place). Each week we will have another aspect of "Be NOt Afraid". This week is "Be Not Afraid, A New World is Coming". I am pondering how to use the piece "Joy Shall Come Evne to the Wilderness" interspesed thorugh the sermon. Have to discuss that with the musician at our weekly meeting tomorrow.

    My early thoughts (borrowed heavily if not copied directly from 3 years ago) can be found here

  5. LiturgyLink has advent ideas, candle liturgies, and sure to check that out.

    We are going with a theme of "heaven revealed" this year, so we're following the Isaiah readings, revealing a little more each week. The theme words we've decided on for the candles are Light-Peace-Joy-Love.

    we're doing a totally new thing for the Advent candles--we've written new church-appropriate words to Paul Simon's new Christmas song "Getting Ready For Christmas Day." Each week we'll sing a new verse, light the candle, and then sing the chorus again together. I practiced last night with the band and I'm pretty sure it's going to be awesome, but such a different feel than a usual Advent! To balance, we're singing some of the plainer Advent hymns, like "Creator of the Stars of Night" this week, and in a couple weeks we're singing "The Desert Shall Rejoice." ie, stuff we don't sing much. ;-) Should be fun!

  6. THat sounds great Teri! Ilove Paul Simon, must find that piece somewhere....

  7. Happy New Year to you all! I'm in the middle of some parish ugliness at the moment, so I really need a good dose of hope, peace, joy and love. I got a Twitter post a week or so ago about Occupy Advent, so I think I'm going to focus on that theme. To occupy Advent means to take possession of and stand in a place of hope, joy, peace and love, in spite of all the hustle and bustle that the season brings. And I must check out Paul Simon....

  8. Yay - its finally time to celebrate Advent. I love it! Been involved with a Lectionary worship resourcing project - some IKEA based ideas here for anyone feeling a bit arty.
    I've got all age worship, so we're going with Chrismon this year - but stowing away the lamps ideas for next year.
    Lady Father, thanks- your Occupy Advent comment has given me inspiration for our Communion Service next sunday - taking possession and standing in hope, joy, peace and love - a great help.
    Love this season - but love Lent too - so much opportunity for creativity in worship.
    Can you tell I'm excited? :)

  9. I am wandering from lectionary slightly over teh next 4 weeks. But here is the Advent Candle liturgy I am using. It is a minor reworking of what I did 3 years ago.

  10. I'm ditching the lectionary for Advent also! (The readings make theological sense to me, but it's so far away from where people are that...well, I just let it go). So, like Songbird, we're doing Zechariah and Elizabeth this week, title is Preparation. It's a re-working of 2002's sermon, about how we are preparing for something we know will come (baby Jesus in the manger) yet also preparing for God to surprise us.

    Advent 2 is going to be the Annunciation, but it's at a completely different congregation, and I'm not sure what's happening with it yet.

    I also get to do Christmas Eve, which is pretty nice for a supply preacher. But I need to get to work on all this!

    Blessings, and Happy Thanksgiving to the U.S. preachers!

  11. If anyone would like a copy of the churchy-Advent words we wrote for the verses of the Paul Simon song, I would be happy to send them. You can use them with attribution (I'll include the author's name in the document). Just send me an email: tericarol21 at yahoo dot com. It might be hard to pull off if you don't have super talented guitar players and singers who can do that rock/folk thing, but you can use it as poetry too. We kept the chorus the same, so you can also use that as a response. :-)

    I'm full of ideas today. Hoping that creative energy sticks around for a little while--I could use it!

  12. I am partly on lectionary. this week I think we will look at Isaiah 64, Zechariah's prophecy, Mary's Magnificat and Simeon's song. May use the Isaiah reading each week as well.

  13. Ah, Advent.
    I'm reading the lectionary passages, but only using them for jumping off points and the telling of the story.
    I've decided to embrace the idea of the surprising and radical nature of the incarnation of Christ.
    So, I'm taking the classic themes of Advent: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and talking about the radical element to them.
    I'm excited.
    But I'm also terrified, because, as a part of this, I'm completely switching up worship, including a new order of service and using different versions of the Gloria Patri and the Doxology.
    Yikes. Pray for me!

  14. I'm still fiddling with an Advent theme. I think I'm using the lectionary texts - our bulletins come preprinted with them, so I don't have much leeway to mix things up.

    I'm doing a Jesse tree thing for the Advent wreath lighting/children's time and it may flow over into my sermon. I haven't gotten the Jesse tree ornaments out yet to look at them yet.

    I'm just frustrated that the gospel is so repetitive - didn't we just do this 2 weeks ago with Matthew? It's hard enough to connect these passages to my congregation, but to spend so many weeks focused on it?

  15. Doing Mark and talking about the circle/cycle of time to explain why we're doing an end-times gospel on Advent I.


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