Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the
CHURCH OF CHRIST, UNION
Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 18, 2016 10:30 am
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket– safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” —C.S. Lewis
FROM THERE TO HERE
Welcome & Announcements
Welcome to this service of worship! During the service, you are invited to rise in body or in spirit, standing or sitting, at points in the service marked “*.”
Please sign in using the pew folder, passing it back down the row so all can greet one another by name, and place the sheet in an offering plate. We’re glad you’re here!
Hymn Sing Choose Your Favorites
Hebrew Scripture Reading
Each week in Advent we begin with waiting and listening. Voices of the world speak in many voices and we pair these with wisdom from the ancient, still-speaking word of the prophets.
Voices of the World: Separated from Love
Voices from Scripture: Isaiah 7:10-16
Voice of Prayer: Savior of the nations, come Light of God, here make thy home! Marvel now, O heaven and earth that the Lord chose such a birth.
Lighting of the Advent Candles
One: In our darkest hour, we wait for a sign. A sign that we are not alone, not forgotten, that we are all in this together. A sign that not everything we have loved and tended and brought to bear fruit will wither away unremarked. Go ahead, says Isaiah: Ask for a sign. God knows your deepest fears. God is waiting to show you your deliverance.
All: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
One: We are still King Ahaz of Judah, holding tighter to our fears than to our purpose. Like Ahaz, we are too often prepared to sacrifice the future for temporary respite in the now. We cling to whatever advantage we find, even at the expense of our sisters and brothers.
All: Restore us, O God: let your face shine, that we may be saved.
One: Like Ahaz, we are given a sign in spite of ourselves: That even in the tumult of nations overthrown and the desolation of cities and fields abandoned, new life will come forth. And the most powerless child will still have the freedom to refuse the evil and choose the good.
One: We can choose love. Even if darkness should cover the earth, we can still stand fast for peace, for hope, for joy, for love. [Candles are lit.] In the world we will bring forth, God’s children will never feel abandoned. In that world, the weakest among us will exercise the power of love given form. When we embody God’s love in the world, we will bring salvation to all. We are the sign for which we have been watching.
All: Restore us, O God: let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Sung Prayer: Take my love and help it grow; Let my loving overflow. Take me now, and help me be
Part of Christ’s community.
• Opening Hymn Canticle of the Turning STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN
• Prayer of Approach and Confession
• Words of Assurance
• Passing the Peace of Jesus Christ
All who come to this sanctuary are welcome companions on this day! You are invited to turn to those nearest you and greet them with words of peace and joy.
THE WORD IN OUR MIDST
Anthem Ave Maria P. Liebergen
Union Church Choir
May God’s presence guard, protect and guide you. God bless you, God bless you. Our savior’s loving arms be ever ’round you. God bless you, God bless you.
No Children’s Church today, enjoy (or participate in) the pageant!! For children preschool age & under, care is available in the Nursery, downstairs off the Community Room.
Gospel Lesson Luke 1:26-38;46-55
Sermon Love from Below Rev. Kent Gilbert
GIFTS GIVEN FOR LOVE TO FLOW
Our gifts help sustain this particular community of caring by sustaining the building, pastors and staff, and all the materials that make our ministry of healing, justice, and teaching available to all in need. In addition, a good portion of our contributions flows out to aid to those in need via many external agencies.
This can now be done online or by text to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering” to contribute to the ongoing ministries, or add “youth,” or “missions” or designation of your choice to benefit one in particular.
Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
Offertory Prayer Song L. Smith
• Doxology To God all glorious heavenly light; OLD HUNDREDTH
To Christ revealed in earthly night;
To God the spirit now we raise
Our grateful hymn of thankful praise. Amen.
EXPERIENCING THE WORD
A Pageant for All People adapted from a script by Carolyn Peters and Rachel Small Stokes
Pageant members: All of You!
Narrator: Robert Rorrer
Prophet 1: Sayer Kobersmith
Prophet 2: Dorie Hubbard
Innkeeper 1: Cadence Perman
Innkeeper 2: Hazel Morris
Farmhand: Elizabeth Barrett
Shepherd: Barb Taylor
Angel Herald: Patty Boyce
The Star: Carol Gunkler
Thanks to Dana Rousey for all of her help with costumes
Hymns to be Sung When Directed
Gentle Joseph, Joseph Dear #105
Jesus, Our Brother, Strong and Good #138 vs. 1-4
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #144 vs. 1&3
Go, Tell It on the Mountain #154 vs. 1&3
We Three Kings
We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain, Following yonder star.
Refrain: O Star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright;
Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy Perfect Light!
Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain, gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never over us all to reign. Refrain
FROM HERE TO THERE
• Closing Hymn #132 Joy to the World vs. 1&3 ADESTE FIDELES
• Benediction & Sending Forth
Postlude (please be seated) Rigaudon C. Campra
Especially in our prayers
Each week we join millions of Christians who pray for one another through the ecumenical prayer cycle and, locally, the Berea Ministerial Association’s prayer cycle. Let us hold the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone and our brothers and sisters at Church on the Rock in your hearts, and pray for them.
Please also hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week. Prayer requests to be printed may be sent to the office anytime before 10:00 am Fridays.
¨ The healing of families, communities, and our nation and world, wracked by violence and murder, may we be agents of transformation.
¨ Refugees around the world.
¨ Prayers of solidarity and support for those made most vulnerable by the recent elections. May the people who follow Jesus follow him to the stranger, the outcast, the foreigner, and the destitute.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes, or who are homebound: Edith Hansen, Mary Miller, Alva Peloquin, Gloria VanWinkle.
¨ For Ruth Butwell, recovering from heart valve replacement and a stroke. Ruth has a Caring Bridge account, caringbridge.org/visit/determinedruth, which you can visit for updates.
¨ Prayers for all our family and friends who will be spending the holiday season with the painful absence of someone they love, or with a deep loneliness. Our community has suffered many losses and we weep with those who weep. Prayers that we may all reach to those in need with loving arms.
¨ Maddie Fresca, who just turned 2, has had seizures since having a stroke the night she was born. Her seizures now seem to be medication resistant.
¨ Rev. Rachel, back from parental leave. We have missed you, Les & Jack!
You Matter! Please Sign the Register, Check in on Facebook/Twitter and try a nametag! It’s hard to get to know people elsewhere, but we don’t want it that way at church. Let’s all try to get to know each other better.
No Childrens’s Church, all ages can enjoy the Pageant—or participate! Children’s Church will resume on January 8.
Help Wanted. We have an ongoing need for volunteers to help with Sunday services. Can you be a worship reader, greeter, coffee angel, etc.? For details go to the church website and click on “Volunteer” near the upper right corner (or talk to Doug Hindman).
Christmas Baskets: Mission and Service Board is partnering again with St. Clare Catholic Church for their local Christmas Basket Project. If you’ve signed up for a Christmas Basket, please remember to drop it off at St. Clare’s from 5-8pm, Weds. Dec 23. Questions contact the mission board.
LongNight Service: A Service of Light and Prayers for Healing, Dec. 21, 7:00 pm, in Cowan Chapel. This special quiet service is for anyone who is suffering in body, mind, or spirit during the holidays. Set on the longest night of the year, the service is meant as a loving community of care as we wait for the light to return.
Christmas Eve at Union Church: There will be two services on Christmas Eve: 5:30 pm (Music starts at 5:00 pm) followed by a potluck finger-food reception for all (please bring generous portions—there are always many guests!), and a special 11:00 pm service in Cowan Chapel to welcome the Christ Child at midnight. Please join us for any and all of these special events as we Wait and Watch for the Advent of the Lord.
Did you know that our weekly bulletin is published on the website every Friday afternoon? Go to union-church.org. It’s the farthest blue button on the right (cleverly titled “Weekly Bulletin”). You can read the anthem lyrics & prayer responses while you watch the service online if you travel for Christmas!
FYI: ABLE will not meet in December.