Dunsford United Church – Worship at Home Service Advent 2 – “Peace” – December 6, 2020

Welcome to our community of faith family.

Mission Statement: We are a diverse, intentional, inclusive, compassionate, hope-filled Christian family of faith, seeking to respect everyone’s individuality and dignity as Jesus modelled, creating safe space, to demonstrate the spirit of God’s love through worship, work, growth, and respect for all creation. We celebrate and value people of every age, health, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, family configuration, background, ability, interest, culture, economic circumstance and faith journey. All are encouraged to be in full participation in the life and work of all ministries. We endeavor to be aware of, and responsive to, the needs in our community and beyond.

An Advent Prayer of Confession and Healing

As we witness to fear, in the news and in our streets,

we make space for hope in our lives.

With broken hearts, faltering steps, and a desire for healing,

we make gestures of peace with each other.

As we greet strangers, neighbours, and friends,

we make a place for joy in the chaos of our concerns.

Awaiting a future announced and promised by the Living God,

we make room for love in our habits, hearts, and homes.

Holy One, you make the crooked ways straight and mend the broken soul.

On this day, as we offer simple gifts in the face of profound need,

remind us how your grace grows in our giving and receiving.

Inspire the rebirth of love—in our world and in our lives—

as we dedicate ourselves to your justice and mercy.

Amen.

Light a candle if you have one.

Video “Angels from the Realms of Glory”

Scripture readings

2 Samuel 7: 1-16 from The NIV Bible: “God’s Promise to David”

After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders[a] over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[b]; your throne will be established forever.’”

Luke 1: 26-38 from The NIV Bible: “The Birth of Jesus Foretold”

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Prayer

God of Hope, you hear our silent prayers and urgent cries.

Hear us now as we pray for your world and its people.

God of hope, hear our prayer.

God of Peace, on this day we pray

for the people of Bethlehem, of Israel, and of Palestine;

for places suffering conflict;

for refugees who have nowhere to lay their heads;

for those who find themselves in strange lands.

God of the morning star, protect all people. Guide us in the ways of mercy and justice.

God of Joy, on this day we pray

for those who will spend this day alone;

for those whose tables will have an empty place this year;

for those in care homes and hospitals;

and for our loved ones who live again in your eternal joy.

God of heaven and earth, of anticipation and promise, be with us and heal us.

God of Love, open our hearts, that we might receive you and hear your voice.

Open us to the possibility of true change, in us and in others.

Remind us of your promise, made again to every generation, of your enduring love.

May things on earth be as they are in heaven.

We pray these things in the name of the One who comes, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Video “In the Bleak Midwinter”, David Phelps

Resources: Prayers from Hidden In Plain Sight, The United Church of Canada

Thank you to Carol Embury for preparing the service.


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