Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Third Sunday of Advent
December 16, 2018 10:30 am
“I have little patience for the blind joy of those who fail to see the sufferings of the world. I am skeptical of those whose joy seems forced, happy no matter what befalls them. But there is another joy—deeper than the good times and bad times life meets out, stronger than our best attempts and sorest failings—a joy that lifts us when we cannot lift ourselves, a peace that grasps us and returns us renewed. This is the joy Paul proclaims as he writes to the Philippians from prison. Rejoice in the Lord, for our deepest joy lies not in our circumstances, but in God. Let all know your forbearance. To know the joy that comes from God is not to be carried away in blissful happiness, but to be strengthened and deepened in our Love for the world.” —Barbara Gerlach
From there to Here: We Gather
Hymn Sing Choose Your Favorites!
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!
Prelude Alleluia! The Angels Will Sing Dana Mengel
Union Church Choir
Come, oh come, Holy One; Emmanuel, fill our world with beautiful light. Turn our night into day, take this darkness away, show the splendor and power of your might. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! The Angels will Sing. Alleluia! Alleluia! When you come down to reign as our King.
Come, oh come, God’s own son; Emmanuel, come to teach us your wonderful ways, cause all evil to cease, grant us heavenly peace come redeem us with mercy and grace. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! The Angels will Sing. Alleluia! Alleluia! When you come down to reign as our King.
Prophetic Readings Isaiah 12:2-6 (p. 821), Zephaniah 3:14-20 (p. 1113)
Advent Wreath Lighting The Light of Joy Jennifer Even Melton
The Advent Wreath tradition reaches back to pre-Christian northern Europeans who lit candles awaiting the winter solstice. By the 1500s, both Lutherans and Catholics had adapted the Advent Wreath as a devotional way to prepare for the coming of Christ, the Light of the World. Each week as we wait through Advent, we light a new candle representing an aspect of the light God intends for all people. This Sunday the candle of JOY is lit.
The light is passed forward as words guide our meditation on expectation. If the candle comes to you please pass it forward toward the wreath.
¨ Hymn #109 Black With Joy Draw Water St. Columba
¨ Passing the Peace of 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 hospitality.
The Living Word among us
Anthem O Come to Us, Emmanuel Joseph M. Martin
Union Church Choir
Oh come to us, Emmanuel, deliver us we pray. Lord, come to us, abide with us, restore our joy today. Lord come walk beside us come lead, teach and guide us. Shine in our shadows and show us the way. Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel shall come to us and ransom Israel.
Oh come to us Emmanuel and make us one in love. By your strong hand, Lord, heal our land with Grace from above. Bring peace for our sorrows, hope for tomorrow. Shine in our shadows and bring a new day. Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel shall come to us and ransom Israel. Oh, come, oh, come Emmanuel.
Contemporary Reading After Zephaniah 3:14-20 Chris Green
Each week in Advent Union Church has asked for words from local poets, or poets connected with our congregation. This week Chris Green shares his poem, After Zephaniah 3:14-20.
Gospel Lesson Luke 3:7-18 (p. 1229)
John the Baptizer preaches fierce words to those who come out to the wilderness to hear him preach.
Children’s Moment As the children return to their seats we sing:
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.
Following the Children’s Moment, children kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to Children’s Church in Cowan Chapel. They are also welcome to stay in the service if they prefer. The Children’s Worship Center in the back of the sanctuary has toys, books, and drawing materials for children (or parents) who would like help staying present in the service. For children preschool age & under, care is available in the Nursery, downstairs in Room 104 off the playground.
Christmas Pageant: Once upon an angel
Act 1 When invited, please join in singing:
Singing Together #123 Black Mary, Woman of the Promise
Act 2 When invited, please join in singing:
Singing Together #105 Black Gentle Joseph, Joseph Dear
Act 3 and Closing
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.
Many friends give online, and you can use your smart phone or computer and go to www.easytithe.com/union. You don’t have to register to make a contribution, but if you do, it can make future generosity that much easier. You can even give by text! Text to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering)
Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
From Here to There
¨ Hymn People Look East (opposite) Besancon
¨ The Sending and Blessing
Postlude (please be seated) Carol of the Bells Fantasy Robert D. Vandall
Prayer in Action Reflections
Space is provided here for you to write notes, to reflect, or draw responses to questions or ideas that occur to you during the sermon, or holy questions of your own. Today’s prayer questions are taken from “Once Upon an Angel,” our Christmas pageant.
What might an Angel of Creation be asking of you? What has God planted in you? Is there something that you are being asked to water and give your breath to? What is it? What emotions does the prospect give rise to in your heart of hearts?If an Angel of Courage appeared and asked for your faith in exchange for reason how would you react? What is precious enough to you to let people believe untrue things about you in order to protect or promote it? What is God sending angels of courage to you for right now?Angels of Witness inspire us to lift our voice, to cry out, to make straight the path. In the last week, how have you been visited by these angels? What has caused you to “leave your sheep in the field,” or the dishes in the sink, and step outside your front door? In your prayers today, who is in need of a crying voice. Is there something you can do today? Tomorrow?
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 China, Hong Kong and Macau and our brothers and sisters at Kirksville Christian Church in our hearts, and pray for them. Please 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.
¨ Children in detention centers, that they may be reunited with their families soon. 15,000 are now detained in the US.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes, or who are homebound: Edith Hansen, Nancy Hindman, Loyal Jones, Mary Miller, Alva Peloquin.
¨ Emily Spires, daughter of Randy Stone, continuing treatment for breast cancer.
¨ Mary Lou Wiese’s brother, Shelton Dean Jacobs, with serious health concerns.
¨ Javier Clavere, who had spinal surgery on December 11.
¨ Bob Boyce, recovering from shoulder surgery.
¨ Tonya , Judith Singleton’s daughter-in-law, diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
¨ Laura Robie, recovering from her second knee replacement.
¨ The family of Charles G. Smithson, Paul’s brother, who passed away on November 22 in Pacifica, California.
¨ Laura Nagle, who has received the Spirit of the Mission award from the Madison County Health Department. Congratulations, and thank you!
The family and many friends of Ruth Butwell, who died on Monday, December 10, at 89. A service in celebration of her
Short Meeting today right after worship. Union Church is considering bylaws to our Constitution that will establish a Union Church Endowment Fund. The proposed bylaws were approved by Church Council at its November 19 meeting and were discussed at our congregational meeting last Sunday and shall be voted upon at a special called meeting right after church today. Copies available in the vestibule.
Christmas Pageant at worship today! Once Upon An Angel: A Simple Christmas Story. During worship, you will be invited to join the story of Christmas as led by the youth of the congregation. Come as you are; no rehearsal necessary.
Longnight Service Friday, 7:00 pm. Those missing loved ones, those whose relationship has ended or is struggling, those who have lost work, or just had a hard, hard year can find it very difficult to be in touch with “merry and bright.” For just that kind of healing, Union Church is again opening our doors for a service of prayer and “come as you emotionally are” Christmas. You, a friend, or anyone in the community who is having a blue Christmas is welcome to come, be surrounded with gentle music, and reminders that the Light of the world is a healer of hearts.
The simple service will be held in Cowan Chapel. With readings, with songs, with prayer we’ll simply hold those in need in the Light of God’s love. For those who wish, there will be communion and personal prayers for healing of body, mind, and spirit. Please join us for this special reminder of the “reason for the season.”
Nativity Blessing. We have learned of a South American custom of bringing the babies from family nativities to the church to be blessed on Christmas Eve. If you would like to participate in a Union Church version of this custom, bring your Christ Child to the 5:30 pm Christmas Eve service.
Lost something? Check the lost & found shelves across from the office. Items will go to the Goodwill next week to find new homes.
Dancers of all abilities and skills are enthusiastically invited to help us dance in the light on Christmas Eve. Dancers begin the service with slow and lovely music as we light the worship candles for the service. If you would like to join (no experience necessary), contact Carla Gilbert (859-985-1144 or 859-358-2962) . Rehearsals will be scheduled as soon as the group is assembled. We’ve love to include male and female dancers in the group!
Online Alternative Giving Market. What to get that friend or family member for the holidays? Does your sister really need another sweater? Why not give alternative gifts this year that reach toward your loved ones’ hopes and dreams for a better world? Maybe what your friends and family really want for this year is health care, food and housing for those in need – or maybe disaster relief. Visit https://union-church.org/donate/acm2018/ and shop for that alternative gift for your loved ones.
Christmas Caroling! Today! Let’s gather at 4:00 in the Community Room. We will be carpooling (no trolley available this year….). Bring cookies or treats that can easily be carried away on a napkin. Ukuleles welcome!
Looking for Help? If you´re looking for help checking everything off your list this holiday season I am looking to work for you! I can help with cleaning/organizing, errand running present wrapping, decorating, childcare or house sitting between December 19th and January 12! Please contact me at (859)-582-3220 or email@example.com. Thanks – Della Walters
St. Clare Christmas Basket Program! Deliver items to St. Clare Church between 5 & 7 pm Friday, Dec. 21. Each year we partner with St. Clare to help provide food staples and children’s gifts for the holidays. In the sanctuary you will find information about how to provide food for families of various sizes, including a shopping list. Your items, put into a cardboard box (or boxes), along with any toys or children’s books, do not need to be delivered to St. Clare until December 21. We will collect toys and food baskets here if you wish, or would like help transporting your items. We’ve also got plenty of boxes if you need one. If you wish to make a financial contribution in lieu of shopping yourself, here are the recommended donation amounts: 2 person family: $70; 4 person family: $80; 6 person family: $100; 8 person family: $115. Specific toys needed include: Legos, Lincoln Logs, KNex, building blocks, Magnetix, tractors/ trucks/ cars, dolls and doll house furniture, play kitchen and food sets, puzzles, stacking toys, headphones, basketballs and soccer balls and jump ropes.
Adopt a Gift for Liberty Place Recovery Center Residents and Their Children. Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women is one of our Union Church Mission and Service projects as we support women who are making the courageous and difficult journey to freedom from addiction. You can help by adopting a resident or their children for a Christmas present. Provide your name and contact information in the basket on the giving table at church, or send it to Dodie Murphy, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859-868-9622. Many thanks for helping make the season brighter for those most in need!
Have a Heart For Fellowship, Communication and Welcoming New Members? We Need 3! The Community Life and Growth Board of the church helps “outsiders” become “insiders” by helping Rev. Kent welcome new members, get people acquainted with each other for ministry and spiritual support, and oversees our website, social media, and media outreach (advertisements, banners, webcasts, etc). We need three people to help fulfill this vital work with our pastor. Is one of them you? Please contact Carla Gilbert of the Nominating Board: carla_gilbert@ windstream.net or call the church office!
Ordination Service of Leslie Small Stokes, here at her home church! January 6, 4:00 pm. The service will be followed by a reception. Can you help? Call Mary Lou Wiese at 260-571-4959. Thanks!
On Jan. 22, the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy will hold their annual conference from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm at Embassy Suites Lexington, 1801 Newtown Pike. It will be a full day of presentations and discussions about the issues facing Kentucky during the 2019 General Assembly and beyond. Keynote speaker will be Mehrsa Baradaran, author of How the Other Half Banks and The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap. For more information, go to https://kypolicy.org/events/Registration fee is $25. Scholarships are available by contacting Sarah Zeller at email@example.com.
Please Sign up to Read Scripture or to Help Greet and Usher! Please use our electronic sign up system at union-church.org, and click on “Volunteer.” You can pick a date that works for you! OR you can also call the office and we’ll get you on the lists.
The Light of Joy
Let this time of waiting—this Advent season
be filled with the Light of Joy
Be still… and let Joy flow
Joy—like water—finds a way
Place a rock in its course, Joy flows around
Build a dam, Joy tunnels under, or spills over
Joy weaves a determined course
Be still… and let Joy flow
As these days grow shorter
And nights grow longer
As the Holy One draws near
Step into the stream
Offer your truest gift—your unique Light
to the unceasing flow
And as each stream converges—
as our tributaries flow into the larger beloved community—
Be still and know
That all those bobbing bubbles of Light
are the Light of Joy
In the Light of Hope,
And arising from the Light of Peace,
The Light of Joy—already ours—
spills into our gathered midst
Be still… and let Joy flow
— Jennifer Even Melton
After Zephaniah 3:14-20
From the midnight-dark,
sleep-drunk brain, when
worries erupt and spin
their ceaseless, spiked wheels,
Hold the warmth
of small gifts given—
the joyful eyes first
beholding the new born,
miles of crows-feet played
above the smiles of
fingers grasped, that
first passing of the peace
No less has it been,
will it be, is it now,
as you, walking in
kindness, have sparks
lifting from the puzzle
of your days, through
whose cracks angels
are cheering, like
when you walk into this
sanctuary how they
just start carrying on,
exalting, all the light
of the windows but
a glimmer of God’s gladness
and belief in your goodness
that mixes with all the doings
of those who have passed,
and are with us still,
all they brought, and bring—
They rejoice and dance
in the harbor of all that
your heart and hopes hold,
each twinkling, each embrace,
all whooping and stamping
for God’s got a party alright,
eternal, and here and now,
and then, and will be, and you—
it’s for you, because God’s always-
already got right with the world,
and, rolling on your pillow,
you’re beyond all bounds
from this long arriving,
and have heard
and have wondered
of a gathering in the cold,
hands given to hands,
so go with haste and find
Mary and Joseph,
the child lying in the manger.
— Chris Green