Here it is, friends. Week 1 of Worship Resources for Repeat the Sounding Joy. The theme for this 1st Sunday of Advent is “Prepare Him Room,” as we hold out the hope of Jesus’ coming and return. Through the prophecy of Isaiah, and the angel’s announcement to Mary recorded in Luke 1:26-38, worshipers will connect with a hope that does not disappoint, no matter how bleak things may look. This hope is not naively ignoring the reality of pain and brokenness all around us. It is, instead, anchoring our lives in the hope that Jesus, the son of the Most High, has come to set the world aright. It is also hearing and responding to the call to reach out with that hope in tangible ways that make a difference in someone’s life, or in our world, right here and right now.
Everything to pull together your first week of Advent is included in the pdf, Repeat the Sounding Joy, Worship Resources, Sunday, December 1, 2019, First Sunday of Advent
Just a few thoughts:
- We continue to work on the images, and hope to have those posted soon.
- I’m going to post each week’s worship resources on a separate post for several reasons. As soon as I complete a particular week, I want to get that in your hands. Also, not having done this before, I don’t want to overload the site with huge attachments all at once. I will, however, compile everything into one large document by the time everything is posted, for those who would find that easier.
- You’ll notice that a sermon is not included. The messages will be posted separately, by the middle of October at the latest.
- The easiest way to keep up to date with what is being posted is to subscribe to updates for the blog. Be assured, this is not a cheap ploy to get you to subscribe to my blog – I just don’t know how else to do that. #workinprogress
This process has put me in touch with my love for worship and preaching, and for the local church. If anyone finds these resources helpful, know that you are free to use them, not only with my blessing, but with my prayers. I’d love to have you let me know who all is using them, so I can pray for you and your congregations by name.
In addition, please use the comments section to add your own thoughts and ideas. As I shared previously, I would love for this to be a community of worship leaders, coming together and offering our common gifts toward a common goal – that this Advent, the people of God would repeat the sounding joy of Jesus’ birth in a fresh way!
In Christ with you,
Repeat the Sounding Joy:
An Advent Worship Series
Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of “Joy to the World”
Sunday, December 1, 2019 – 1st Sunday of Advent
Worship Theme: Prepare Him Room (Hope)
Scriptures: Isaiah 2:1-5 – “They will beat their swords into plowshares.”
Luke 1:26-38 – “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”
Joy to the World! The Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.
This morning, we enter into the season of Advent – the beginning of the Christian church year. The season of Advent invites us into a time of waiting and of expectation. We come awaiting the celebration of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Lord, to be sure. But we also come anticipating Christ’s return, that great and glorious day when all of God’s promises will be fulfilled, and the reign of God will bring about the redemption and restoration for which our hearts, and all of creation, yearn.
This year also marks the 300th anniversary celebration of the beloved hymn, “Joy to the World.” Our worship throughout this season, will be woven together around themes that are found in the verses of this hymn. Turning our ears and our hearts to God’s Word found in Isaiah’s prophecy of a messiah to come, as well as the opening scenes in the gospel of Luke leading up to and including Jesus’ birth, we will be invited into God’s story. In addition, we will be called to share that story with a world that is hungry – hungry for the hope, love, peace and joy that we believe can be found in Christ alone.
This morning, we will hear the invitation to “let ev’ry heart prepare him room,” as we cling to the hope of this season and of our faith.
Advent Wreath Candle Lighting Liturgy
Reader 1 – On this first Sunday of Advent, we begin to light the candles in our Advent wreath. Each week, as we draw nearer to Christmas, our wreath grows brighter. This morning, we light the candle of hope. (light 1st candle)
Reader 2 – In the midst of dark times, the prophet Isaiah called the people of God to hope, as he wrote the following words: “Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
Reader 1 – Centuries later, the angel would come to Mary with another message. Hope was on the way, in the form of the child she would conceive and bear to the world, Jesus. And today, we hold onto the hope of Jesus as we prepare to celebrate His birth, and as we long for His return. Though our world often seems filled with darkness and despair, we are called to bear the light of hope in ways that pierce the darkness with the light of Christ. Let us pray.
People – Kindle hope in us, O God, that we might prepare room in our hearts and in your world for Christ to come and come again. In Jesus’ name we ask, pray and trust. Amen.
People (sing) –
Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
let earth receive her King;
let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.
Call to Worship
One: Into Mary’s ordinary life, the angel broke, announcing something new, something that would change everything.
ALL: Into our lives, and into the world, God longs to come, bringing new life, bringing hope.
One: But there’s so much to do, life is so busy.
ALL: And so much struggle in the world, so much hurt and pain.
One: Yet into the mess of the world, Jesus came, and into the mess of our lives, He still comes.
ALL: Let every heart, starting with mine, make room for the coming of Jesus this season.
ALL: Eternal and ever-present God, we thank you for meeting us in worship today. Break into our hearts as we sing and pray and listen. Give us a fresh vision of hope, for weary hearts and a hurting world. Then, help us to not only wait for the hope that you will bring, but to dedicate our lives to offering that hope in tangible ways to those whose hearts you allow us to touch. We ask it all in the name of Jesus, the hope of the world. Amen.
Isaiah was invited to share a vision of hope that would the swords of division into the plowshares of provision. Mary was invited to bear to the world the hoped-for messiah, come to set people free. We are invited to bear hope to a hurting world by giving of ourselves, and of the gifts with which we’ve been blessed. When we live generously, offering our tithes, gifts and offerings, we join Mary in saying to God, “I am your servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Lord, the apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:12, “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” As we offer our gifts to you this day, we lift up this bold prayer. Bless these gifts. Multiply them. Send them to be used wherever in the world your Spirit is breaking through with hope of a world yet to be. And then, we humbly ask, use us in those same ways. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Prayer of Great Thanksgiving (adapted from the UM Book of Worship, Great Thanksgiving for Early in Advent)
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
You formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life. When our sin, and the brokenness of the world seemed to stamp out hope, your light continued to shine. You delivered us from captivity, made covenant to be our sovereign God, and spoke to us through your prophets, who offered a vision of that day when justice shall roll down like waters and righteousness like and ever-flowing stream, when nation shall not lift up sword against, nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ, whom you sent in the fullness of time to be a light to the nations. Your own Son came among us as a servant, to be Emmanuel, your presence with us, a fulfillment of the hope for which the world still longs. The One whom the angel announced would be great and be called Son of the Most High humbled himself in obedience to your will and freely accepted death on a cross.
By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection, you gave birth to your Church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.
On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
When the supper was over he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said: “Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
On the day you raised him from the dead he was recognized by his disciples in the breaking of the bread, and in the power of your Holy Spirit your Church has continued in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup.
And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we prepare our hearts to receive Christ anew, offering ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us. And we proclaim the hope and the mystery of our faith.
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood and empowered by the gifts of the Spirit.
By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, showing forth the fruit of the Spirit until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at his heavenly banquet. Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty God, now and for ever.
May the God of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as your trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13, NIV) Church, go into the world, and poke holes in the darkness, offering hope wherever you go.
I recommend, if possible, using “Joy to the World,” UMH 246, in its entirety, to close each service. I believe that there is power in bookending worship with a single, focus verse during the lighting of the Advent Wreath, and the song as a whole at the end. Not every pastor or congregation will find purpose and meaning in that – so use it as you see fit.
Key: UMH – The United Methodist Hymnal, TFWS – The Faith We Sing, W&S – Worship and Song
• Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, UMH 196
• People, Look East, UMH 202
• Toda La Tierra, UMH 210
• O Come, O Come Emmanuel, UMH 211
• Bread of the World, UMH 624 (Communion)
• Jesus, Joy of Our Desiring, UMH 644
• O Day of God, Draw Nigh, UMH 730
• God Almighty, We are Waiting, W&S 3047
• View the Present through the Promise, W&S 3048
• Come as You Are (Communion) – Crowder
• Seasons – Hillsong Worship
• He Shall Reign Forevermore – Chris Tomlin
• Hearts Waiting (Joy to the World) – Matt Redman
• O Come Be Born Again – Jennifer Martin
• Build Your Kingdom Here – Rend Collective
• Hope and Glory – Tim Hughes
• Kingdom Come (Lift Up Your Heads) – KXC
Here is where I confess my giftless-ness in the area of visuals. Here are a few ideas, and feel free to share more as comments, to build the community.
• Use blue and purple fabric to drape the altar table and around the worship space, with simple white lights to bring contrast. Please consider safety if lights actually come in contact with fabric.
• Keep the Advent Wreath central and visible through the season. An overall focus is the growing light that comes as we draw closer to the celebration of Christ’s birth, and His return.
• If you have folks who create banners, each week could have one banner with the theme word, and another banner with the theme phrase from the song. For example, Week 1 would have the word hope on one banner, and the words, “Prepare Him Room” on the other, each simply text on a blue/purple background that accents the paraments and/or table decorations. Another idea would be to add hope, love, joy, and peace to a banner each week of advent, culminating with the word Christ in the center.
Next Steps/Take Home Ideas
Each week, I’d encourage additional engagement in the theme from worship by providing, in a bulletin, or handed out following worship, a table tent (simply ½ sheet of cardstock, folded in half).
On the table tent would be the theme for each week, along with the words of the key verse from Joy to the World. Individuals/families could sing that verse at each evening meal. In addition, I would include 2-3 reminder questions around the theme, along with a mealtime prayer to offer each night that week.
Families could also be invited to light their own Advent wreath at the center of a dinner table.
If you would like to see a sample of this week’s table tent, click here: Repeat the Sounding Joy, Table Tent, December 1, 2019