A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
First Sunday of Advent 10:30 am
What can’t wait? Hope for a better day. Peace and repentance. Joy and delight! Love for self, neighbor, Creator, and creation. God is waiting and ready. Step in!
From There to Here: We Gather
Hymn Sing Choose Your Favorites!
Welcome and Invitation
One: Hope is gravity for the broken—
All: Pulling us up.
One: Hope is manna in the wilderness
All: When we want to give up.
One: Hope is seeing stars in the city
All: When we forget the sky is there.
One: Hope is the anthem of faith
All: And the reason we’re here.
One: So come to this place with your hopes and your fears,
All: For the God of new life is drawing near.
One: Let us worship Holy God.
¨ Hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Veni, Emmanuel
O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Child of God appear. Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.
O come, O Wisdom from on high, and order all things far and nigh; to us the path of knowledge show and help us in that way to go. Refrain.
O come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in heart and mind. Make envy, strife and quarrels cease; fill the whole world with heaven’s Peace. Refrain.
Lighting the Candle of Hope Bob and Jean Boyce
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 Hope is lit.
Prayer of Approach and Confession
One: Gracious God, You paint a picture of a better world—
A world of peace and joy, of equality and grace.
But we turn our heads and close our eyes,
Afraid that you might want us to help.
All: You ask us to be brave, and we are complacent. You ask us to speak out, but instead we stay quiet. You ask us to listen, and we assume we are the experts. You lead with love, and we wait on the sidelines.
One: Forgive us for always being ten steps behind you.
All: Forgive us for all the ways we are works in progress. Fill our hearts with a hope that won’t let go. Gratefully we pray, Amen.
Words of Assurance
¨ Passing the Peace
The Living Word Among Us
Special Music Trumpet Concerto Mov. 1 Haydn, Olivia Puckett, trumpet
Scripture Reading Isaiah 2:1-5
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.He shall judge between the nations and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord! ~ New Revised Standard Version Updated
Children’s Moment Please join in singing as we bless children everywhere:
May God’s blessing 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.
Please note that Union Church services are livestreamed, including the Children’s Moment. A “no camera zone” is at the back of the balcony, behind the AV booth.
Scripture Reading Matthew 24:36-44
But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark,and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so, too, will be the coming of the Son of Man.Then two will be in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken, and one will be left.Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day[b] your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. ~ New Revised Standard Version Updated
Sermon Hope Can’t Wait Rev. Kent Gilbert
Call to Prayer and Offering
Ringing of the Peace Bell
The Union Church Peace Bell was created by Jeff Enge in honor of Union Church member Carl Eschbach (1904-1998). A twin bell hangs in Berea’s sister province in Japan and is also rung in the hope of peace for all nations.
Prayer & Reflection Questions
A Chance for Generosity: www.easytithe.com/union
Our gifts help sustain this particular community of caring by sustaining the building, pastor and staff, and all the materials that make our ministry of healing, justice, and teaching available to all in need. In addition, a portion of our contributions flows out to aid those in need via many external ministries.
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. Baskets are placed at the head and foot of each aisle for those who wish to make an in-person donation. Electronic donations can be made very simply and easily at: https//: www.easy tithe.com/union
You can even give by text! Text to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering”)
You can also use US mail! Mail to: 200 Prospect St., Berea, KY 40403
Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
Community Prayer in Poetry Sarah Are
Someone once told me that hope was naive—
A foolish game that children play
When they pray that summer won’t end,
And bedtime won’t come.
Someone once told me that hope was naive as they
Cradled pessimism in their lap like a sleeping cat,
Stroking their ego while they stoked a fire within me.
Unfortunately for them, I’m allergic to cats.
And unfortunately for them, those who deny hope
Will never know vulnerability;
For hope requires us to believe in a better day—
Even when this one is falling apart.
Hope looks the 24-hour news cycle in the face,
Hope looks our broken relationships in the face,
Hope looks our low self-esteem in the face,
And declares at low tide that the water will return.
Hope is exhaling, trusting that your body will
Hope is watching the sunset and setting an alarm.
Hope is planting seeds in the winter, assuming
summer will come.
I never said it would be easy.
The ground is frozen, you are thirsty,
and the night is long.
But I will say this—
I have found hope to be the rhythm of love and
the fiber of faith;
For to hope is to believe in God’s ability to bring
about a better day,
And like a child with an Advent calendar,
I will always be counting down the days.
So to those who cradle pessimism and fear,
You can find me outside—with the kids—wishing
Praying to the God of today
That tomorrow will be just as beautiful.
Set your alarm.
We’d like for you to join us.
The sunrise won’t wait.
Our Lord’s Prayer
All: Our Maker, Our Mother, and Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
From Here to There: We Depart in Hope
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
We light the Justice Candle today in honor of Hope’s Wings Domestic Violence Program, established in 2006 by a group of committed community members at First Christian Church in Richmond, Kentucky. These core founders identified a need for domestic violence services for women and children in the Madison County Community. The identified need turned into a vision which quickly turned into a program committed to providing emergency housing, outreach, and education to the community.
In March 2006, Hope’s Wings became a non-profit organization of its own, no longer affiliated with the church. During the spring of 2008, construction of an emergency shelter was completed and the shelter opened in 2009. The facility was lovingly named “The Marilyn Isaacs House,” in honor of a local schoolteacher who was a great advocate for women and children and whose life ended too soon. To date, Marilyn Isaacs House has been a safe haven for more than 800 women and children and the Hope’s Wings program has served and educated thousands more in Madison and surrounding communities.
Mission Statement: To empower victims of domestic violence to make safe and permanent changes through support, understanding, education, and awareness. To achieve this we offer intensive case management services tailored to helping victims focus on employment, education, and transitioning into independent living.
Hymn #110 Black Now Bless the God of Israel Forest Green
Now bless the God of Israel who comes in love and power,
who raises from the royal house deliverance in this hour.
Through holy prophets God has sworn to free us from alarm,
to save us from the heavy hand of all who wish us harm.
Remembering the covenant, God rescues us from fear,
that we might serve in holiness and peace from year to year.
And you, my child, shall go before, to preach, to prophesy,
that all may know the tender love, the grace of God most high.
In tender mercy, God will send the dayspring from on high,
our rising sun, the light of life for those who sit and sigh.
God comes to guide our way to peace, that death shall reign no more.
Sing praises to the Holy One, O worship and adore.
Please come down to the Community Room after worship for Coffee Hour and conversation
The altar pumpkins are a gift from Margery Baldwin of Baldwin Farms
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 (Link to World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer cycle. (union-church.org/ministries/prayer/). Let us hold the people of Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore and our brothers & sisters at Dreyfus Church of Christ in our hearts, and pray for them. Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week.
¨ Prayers for all the people of Ukraine for their safety and sovereignty. Prayers also that the government of Russia will turn to reason & respect for their own peoples’ lives as well as for Ukrainian families.
¨ All those seeking a new and just society and those fearful that they will be supplanted, may God open their hearts and include them in grace.
¨ BG and all the family, at the death of Maurice Hibbard on Nov. 21.
¨ The family of Ruth Crockett, who passed away on Nov. 22. She was the widow of Rev. Dale Crockett, who served Union Church from 1975-1984.
¨ Judith Singleton’s daughter, Stephanie, at the death of her partner, Barb.
¨ Matt Saderholm, who recovering from an extensive surgery to remove a pituitary tumor.
¨ Jess Burton, her partner, Jake, and their little girl, Lila, who has serious gastric issues; and Jake, recovering from respiratory and other health issues.
¨ Doug Hindman now at The Terrace in Berea.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Jan Hamilton, Betsy Hoefer, Dorie Hubbard, Loyal Jones, Lois Morgan, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Patsy Boyce, sister-in-law of Bob and Jean Boyce, undergoing chemotherapy.
¨ Michelle, beloved nurse at Morning Pointe, undergoing treatment for cancer.
¨ Celebrations with Prayers of Joy! Birthdays: today, Nov. 27 – Carrie Jadud; 29 – Barb Taylor and Bodhi Hammond; Dec. 3 – NoraRuth Jenkins, Larry Brandenburg, Chris McKenzie; 4 – Alva Peloquin
If we haven’t got your important dates, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!