In the second week of Advent, worship turns to love. What you’ll find below are the worship resources for Week 2 – Our Songs Employ. In addition, you’ll find links to graphics that can be used for projection, bulletin covers, and social media. A huge thank you to Phillip Allen (@pallen411) for developing the graphics for me. BTW, Phillip is also working on a second set of graphics with a slightly more modern them, including a cityscape, so that is yet to come. I plan to post the last two weeks of Advent, and Christmas Eve resources between now and August 26, so keep on the lookout. In addition, the sermons for each week will be posted separately, starting in mid-September.
Just a reminder that I would love for this to be an interactive community experience, where you are sharing the ideas God is bubbling up in you and your team as you plan Advent around these themes. Don’t hesitate to comment, share, do whatever folk do. And please, let me know if you and your church are planning to worship through this series – it will allow me to pray for you and your congregations through the season of Advent.
Worship Theme: Our Songs Employ (Love)
Scriptures: Isaiah 11:1-10 – “The wolf will live with the lamb…and a little child will lead them.”
Luke 1:39-45 – “In a loud voice, [Elizabeth] exclaimed, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear.’”
Hymn Focus: Joy to the World! The Lord is come:
Let all their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
This morning, as we continue traveling through the season of Advent, on our way to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, we also continue in our worship celebrating the 300th anniversary of one of the most well-known Christmas carols, “Joy to the World.” We will join our hearts and voices, along with the prophet Isaiah, and Elizabeth to employ all of our songs in praise to God. And the fields, rocks, hills and plains – all of creation – will echo those songs of love for our savior, whose birth we commemorate, and whose returning we anticipate.
Advent Wreath Candle Lighting Liturgy
Reader 1 – Last week, we lit the candle of hope, as we sought to prepare room in our hearts and in God’s world for the coming of Christ. As we continue through the season of Advent, our wreath brightens as we light today the candle of love. (light 2nd candle)
Reader 2 – The prophet Isaiah foretold a kingdom of love, ushered in by the coming messiah, in which, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” (11:6)
Reader 1 – Centuries later, a pregnant Mary would visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was even further along with the child who would grow to be John the Baptist. The moment Mary arrived, the child within Elizabeth leaped for joy – somehow knowing the promised reign of love was closer than ever. Today, as followers of Jesus, we are called to bear the light of love to a world which appears to be consumed by anger, hatred and division. May our presence in the world stir it to an awareness of and openness to Jesus’ reign, in which no one is unloved. Let us pray.
People – Kindle love in us, O God, that our whole lives might be employed to sing songs of Jesus’ reign and rule. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
People (sing) –
Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns:
let all their songs employ;
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
Call to Worship (using words from “Come, Christians, Join to Sing, UMH 158)
One: Come, Christians, join to sing, loud praise to Christ our King.
ALL: Let all, with heart and voice, before his throne rejoice.
One: Come, lift your hearts on high, let praises fill the sky.
ALL: Alleluia! Amen!
ALL: God of love, as the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt when in the presence of the Savior to come, let our hearts be filled as we encounter you in worship today. May we be so filled with the love that comes from knowing Jesus, that our very lives might sing of your goodness and grace. May love be that for which we are known in the world. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
How great is the love that God has lavished upon us, that we should be called the sons and daughters of God! And that is what we are! (I John 3:1) In our living, and in our giving, we are called to reflect the generosity and love of the God who has called and claimed us as sons and daughters. When we give, and when we share the love in tangible ways, we help others see what Jesus is like.
Receive these gifts, O God, given from hearts grateful for having experienced your love in life-changing ways. We pray that you would guide the use of these and all of our gifts, that seeds of love might be sown here, and over all the earth – that your kingdom may come in fulness, and that your will may be done here on earth as it is already in heaven. We offer these gifts and our lives in the name of Jesus, the Love who came down at Christmas. Amen.
Sisters and brothers, you have been formed in love by the Father. You have been redeemed by love through the Son. You have been filled with love by the Holy Spirit. Go now in the power of that same love to change the world, one heart at a time.
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.
In addition, there are quite a few Advent and seasonal Christmas songs that would fit more than one week. Based on what you may have used for the first week, below are additional possibilities focused on the theme of love.
Key: UMH – The United Methodist Hymnal, TFWS – The Faith We Sing, W&S – Worship and Song
- People, Look East, UMH 202
- Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates, UMH 213
- Love Came Down at Christmas, UMH 242
- O Day of Peace That Dimly Shines, UMH 729
- There’s a Song in the Air, UMH 249
- Where Charity and Love Prevail, UMH 549
- A Star Shone Bright, W&S 3051
- Love Has Come, W&S 3059
- Adore Him, Hillsong Worship
- Noel – Chris Tomlin
- Midnight Clear (Love Song) – Chris Tomlin
- Newborn King – Bryan Brown, Jeff Pardo
- Advent Hymn – Christy Nockels
PDF of Worship Resources, Week 2 – Repeat the Sounding Joy, Worship Resources, Sunday, December 8, 2019, Second Sunday of Advent
Table Tent, Week 2 – Repeat the Sounding Joy, Table Tent, December 8, 2019
Graphic – Overall
Graphic – Lyric Blank
Graphic – Bulletin Cover
Graphic – Facebook Cover