"A Village Church With A Heart For The World"

Christ United Church

12 Perth St., PO Box 113, Lyn, ON, K0E 1M0
(613)498-0281 (Phone)   (613)498-2589 (Fax)

 lynunitedchurch@cogeco.net                   www.lynunitedchurch.com                  Follow on Twitter:  @Ch1United

If you wish to watch this service on YouTube the link is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0dOA87lZXQ

Worship Leader: Barb DeJeet                                                                 Music Director: Tim Hallman

Sunday, November 28, 2021

First Sunday of Advent

JESSE’S TREE – “A shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots.”
Isaiah 11:1


Music Used in this Service:
VU 7 Hope is a Star (V1 modified by Juanita Austin)
VU 1 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (V1 modified by Juanita Austin)
VU 688 O Day of God, Draw Nigh (Lyrics by R.G.Y. Scott 937 & Music by Genevan Psalter 1551)
VU 400 Lord Listen to Your Children Praying (OneLicense 00384)
VU 2 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (OneLicense 83979)
Go Now in Peace (One License 78821)

If you wish to watch this service on YouTube the link is:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnaGzVse2bM

Welcome / Announcements

 Land Acknowledgement:
As we begin today, we acknowledge the history, spirituality, culture and stewardship of the land of the Indigenous People of this region. We seek to live in respect, peace, and right relations as we live, work, and worship upon Traditional Territory. We are mindful of the broken covenants and the need to strive to make right with all our relations.

Meaning of Advent:
A time of waiting, watching, listening.
A time of remembering, anticipating.
A time of renewal and wonder.
The beginning of a new year.

Lighting of Advent Candle:
Hope admits that we’re not quite there yet.
Hope means that something good is within reach.
Hope calls out to us, so that we come to see the good that awaits.
God is our hope.
Let us taste, see, hear, feel, smell and anticipate this hope.
May hope be found in a manger and throughout the world.

Advent Hymn: VU 7 - “Hope is a Tree”
Hope is a tree with roots growing strong,
In God’s creation, we all belong.
(use refrain from VU #7)

Call To Worship:
Our promised salvation is at hand.
A righteous branch has sprung forth, bringing hope to our world.
Our eyes have beheld the goodness and mercy of the Lord.
A Son has been given to us, bringing justice and virtue to our land.
Our hearts have felt the stirrings of God’s Presence.
The Spirit of truth is here to heal us, teaching transgressors God’s ways.
Let us worship the God of our salvation.

Opening Hymn: VU 1 (music)
O come, and let a righteous branch arise,
Its holy limbs up, reaching to the skies.
In you, when we are rooted, we are strong.
Together we are blest and we belong.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel, shall come to thee, O Israel.

Passing of the Peace:
The Lord is our righteous branch, the gateway to everlasting life. In celebration of this mighty gift, let us share signs of peace with one another this day.

Opening Prayer:
Holy Mystery, we begin this season of Advent with great anticipation for your coming to live among us. This has been a year like no other we have experienced. So much has been outside of out control. And so, we approach this season prayerfully, setting aside the distractions. Protector God, we know you will guide us through the shadows and provide blessed moments that will delight and comfort us. We value this time together when we can focus on your word and its relevance for our lives, while we journey with hope into this season of miracles. AMEN

Prayer For Illumination:   
God of our salvation, there is wisdom, peace and joy for those who keep your Word. By the power of your Holy Spirit, lead us in your truth and teach us to do your will for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Jeremiah 33: 14-16 – “A righteous branch from David’s line.” (reader)
Luke 21: 25-36 – “Signs in the heavens; parable of the fig tree” (reader)

Reflection: “God’s Hopeful Story”

It is that time of year again. There might be snow on the ground, Christmas music is on the radio, Christmas lights are popping up everywhere, Christmas trees are going up and we, as Christians, start out the season of the church year that we call ADVENT. The word Advent comes from the Latin Adventus meaning “the coming of the Savior” It is the season of the Christian church that marks a period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, also known as the season of Christmas.

 Please pray with me: Holy One, we yearn to learn about this HOPE that came into the world for us. We come with open hearts to be filled with understanding from your word. AMEN

Advent, a time of waiting, watching, listening. A time of remembering, anticipating. A time of renewal and wonder.
The beginning of a new year.

Each year, we celebrate the season of Advent in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We read the words of the prophets, we tell the stories of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, angels and the Magi. We put ourselves back in that time and place of watching and waiting for the Savior of the world, expectant and hopeful. And then, we find ourselves here, in the 21st century, watching and waiting for the return of our Savior, expectant and hopeful. We hear the words like hope and faith, then the promise of peace in the world; the joy of God’s fulfilled promises and the gift of love into the world, each year during Advent.

Our churches are decorated with greenery representing the evergreen hope, love, joy and peace of the coming of our Lord. The liturgical color is purple, signifying great royalty in the coming of the Lord. And the Advent Candles represent a journey; a journey each week, bringing us closer and closer to Bethlehem.
The candle of HOPE begins our journey venturing with the shepherds towards the town of Bethlehem. The message of this morning, the message of the candle being lit, the message on the hearts and lips of the shepherds beginning their journey and the message we should be focused on, is the message of great hope.

The hope represented by that candle, is a much greater and much grander hope. It represents the hope of an entire nation, it represents the hope of the entire world. It represents something that you and I often take for granted.

You know…we probably hear the Christmas story told every single year, but we forget what it was like before the very first Christmas; what it was like before the savior came. Imagine yourselves in the shoes, or in this case .. the sandals ,. of the shepherd we heard about.

His religious life was much different than our own. Church was much more about following strict laws and coming into the sanctuary for little more than to make sacrifice and offerings to pay the atonement for the breaking of the strict laws they were supposed to be following.

It was an endless cycle, try to follow laws that were impossible to follow, break the laws and then make payment for your sins through burnt offerings and sacrifices. Never being good enough, never being able to live up to the law, always falling short. Can you imagine how tired, how defeated, how desperate one could begin to feel always coming up short, forever and ever having to pay your way into heaven and never finding quite enough there to make full payment, Frustrating….yes…!! But there was HOPE.

Let us look into the Old Testament, Jeremiah to what God had to say. “ Behold, the days are coming when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which she will be called:

The Tree of Jesse!!

Jeremiah wrote to his people about the great hope that they had. They would not have to make atonement forever and ever .. soon there would come the Lord who would never lack. To summarize .. the prophet Jeremiah says “the throne will never be empty and the debt will forever be paid upon the coming
 of our Lord.”

And this is the hope that the shepherd had in his heart the night that the angels appeared and gave him a message of great hope and joy. The savior has been born. No more “He is coming,” much rather “HE IS HERE” Can you imagine the hope, the anticipation, the eagerness to run to Bethlehem to see the Lord. Our shepherd was overflowing with hope and joy, because of what it meant for him and what it means for all of us.

It is like this ..Years ago, there was a wealthy widowed man, who with his devoted son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others adorned the walls of the family estate.

The father was proud of his son becoming an experienced art collector. But the day came when war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram that his beloved son had been killed while carrying a fellow soldier to a medic. On Christmas morning a knock came to the door of the old man’s home, and as he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced himself saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.” “I’m an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.”

As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of his son. Though the art critics would never consider the work a piece of genius, the painting did feature the young man’s face in striking detail, and seemed to capture his personality.

The following spring the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation! According to the old man’s will all of the art works would be auctioned. The day arrived and the art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s spectacular paintings, The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum’s list. The painting of the man’s son.

The auctioneer asked for and opening bit. The room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” Minutes passed without a sound from those who came to buy. From the back of the room someone callously called out, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s forget it and go on to the important paintings.

There were others who echoed in agreement. But the auctioneer replied, “No, we have to sell this one first. Now who will take the son?” Finally, a friend of the old man spoke, “I knew the boy, so I’d like to have it. I will bid the $100.” ‘” I have a bid for $100,” called the auctioneer. “Will anyone go higher? After a long silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once. Going twice. Gone.”

The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone was heard to say, “Now we can get on with it!” But the auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a picture of some old guy’s son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars’ worth of art here! We demand that you explain what’s going on!”. The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son … gets it all.”

This is how it is for all of us, this message is the summary for what Christmas is really about. Last week we talked about how we could not enjoy the joy of Christmas without the pain of the cross ..
and this is why.

 All of the hope of the coming messiah hinges on the true purpose for the coming of the messiah, freedom from sin and death. So, as we begin our journey to Bethlehem, let us remember this hope, as ones who do not take the gift for granted. Let us remember what it was like before Jesus came, when we were slaves to sin and death.

Let us look to the babe in the manger through the eyes of a shepherd, gazing on his Lord for the first time, fully understanding what a huge fulfillment of hope that baby represented. Let us look forward to December 25th with the same hope in our hearts, knowing the price that has been paid for our souls, and knowing what a joyous and hope-filled thing it is to celebrated the birth of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

Let us know the true meaning of the angel’s words when she declared, “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord”.

May your hearts be filled with the great hope of expectation as we journey to Him these coming weeks, getting closer and closer to Bethlehem.

Responding Hymn: VU 688 “O Day of God, Draw Near” (vs 1,2,3,5)

Offering Prayer:

It is right to share our blessing in a world where justice for many is still but a dream, and mercy is but a hope seen from afar. With thankful hearts, we joyfully share our gifts in gratitude to our God. May we increase and enrich in love, even as you increase and enrich the gifts we bring before you this day. Send them forth into your world as signs of the bounty of Christ coming into the world. In your precious name, AMEN.

Prepare Our Hearts For Prayers Of The People & Lord’s Prayer
VU 400 “Lord Listen to Your Children Praying” (x2)

 Prayers of the People:
Holy One, as we prepare ourselves to welcome the Christ child, may we let go of all that does not create hospitable space: the times that we are prickly and short with others; the negativity and gossip that creeps into our conversation; the subtle suffering we habitually ignore or the “isms” into which we heedlessly stumble.

Soften our hearts, our tongues, our thoughts and our actions, that we may gently embrace this tender babe and enfold and reflect the light of Christ in our daily living.

Merciful God, you encourage us with signs of your coming and urge us to keep watch, that we might greet you with heads raised high when you come to restore all of creation.

Watching and waiting, we pray for this world that needs your saving power; for nations at war, for all who suffer from violence, in the streets or in their homes; for all who live in worry or fear; those who have forgotten the ways of righteousness; those who have never heard of your rescuing love; all those who have lost hope, or never had it at all.

We pray, too, for your church in the world, that we may increase in ardor for you and your children, and work in confidence for your coming reign.

 Now by the power of your Holy Spirit, make us ever more faithful that we may greet you in confidence and joy on that great day; through Christ, who taught us to say, “Our Father”.

Closing Hymn: VU 2 “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”

We wait
We wait alertly.
We wait.
We wait patiently.
We wait.
We wait together.
Come, Jesus, our Emmanuel, come.

Go in peace, live in love and seek to be holy in all that you do.

Closing Hymn:  "Go Now In Peace"