Advent Wreath Readings based on the Song of Zechariah, Luke 1.67-79

2016-advent-wreath-trinity-sarasota

Advent Wreath at Trinity United Methodist Church in Sarasota, Florida

First Sunday in Advent: Hope
ONE
Blessed are you, O Lord our God
In Christ, you visit us and redeem us
In Christ, you raise up a mighty savior for us
In Christ, you deliver us from all that seeks to destroy us
In Christ, you show great mercy to us
You keep your promises and your covenant

ALL
Fill us with your healing and hope,
so we may speak and serve without fear,
in holiness and righteousness all our days
for the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

Light the candle of hope

Second Sunday in Advent: Peace
ONE
Blessed are you, O Lord our God
In Christ, you visit us and redeem us
In Christ, you raise up a mighty savior for us
In Christ, you deliver us from all that seeks to destroy us
In Christ, you show great mercy to us
You keep your promises and your covenant

ALL
Fill us with your power and peace,
so we may speak and serve without fear,
in holiness and righteousness all our days
for the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

Light the candles of hope and peace

Third Sunday in Advent: Joy
ONE
Blessed are you, O Lord our God
In Christ, you visit us and redeem us
In Christ, you raise up a mighty savior for us
In Christ, you deliver us from all that seeks to destroy us
In Christ, you show great mercy to us
You keep your promises and your covenant

ALL
Fill us with your justice and joy,
so we may speak and serve without fear,
in holiness and righteousness all our days
for the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

Light the candles of hope, peace, and joy

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Love
ONE
Blessed are you, O Lord our God
In Christ, you visit us and redeem us
In Christ, you raise up a mighty savior for us
In Christ, you deliver us from all that seeks to destroy us
In Christ, you show great mercy to us
You keep your promises and your covenant

ALL
Fill us with your light and love,
so we may speak and serve without fear,
in holiness and righteousness all our days
for the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

Light the candles of hope, peace, joy, and love

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Notes:
This worship resource may be used for worship at home or as a congregation. It emphasizes the classic Advent candle symbols of hope, peace, joy, and love. The text is inspired by the Song of Zechariah, the powerful blessing and prophecy spoken by him at the circumcision of his son, John the Baptist. (Luke 1:57-80) It’s appropriate for any lectionary year.

This worship resource calls for more and more candles to be lit each Sunday. This reminds us of the present and second coming of Christ growing nearer as time passes and the celebration of Christ’s first coming at Christmas growing nearer as well. Thus, no candles are lit prior to the service. Some prefer to have the previous weeks’ candles lit prior to the service so only one candle is lit each week, thus adding light to those already lit. Feel free to use whichever method you prefer.

Click here for a resource for lighting the Advent Wreath on Christmas Eve.
Click here for a brief history of the Advent Wreath, instructions for how to make one, and two more Advent Wreath Readings

Advent Wreath Readings based on the Song of Zechariah © 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution
(By Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com)
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Let the Tears Fall – A prayer of Lament and Release

Let the Tears Fall

Holy One, you are near and present in all things: highs and lows, joys and sorrows, celebration and suffering.

God, we come to you now in the midst of yet another storm, in a season of grief and loss of loved ones, belongings, and a sense of normalcy. More chaos, more loss, more pain.

Let the tears fall.

For the hurt in our hearts, we ask for healing, God. Hold us in our pain and bring peace to the storm.

What is hurting in your heart that you want God to heal?

The congregation offers their petitions silently or aloud

Let the tears fall.

For the hurt in our community, our families, friends, neighbors, strangers, we ask for healing, God. Surround our homes, neighborhoods, churches, schools, businesses, hospitals, and parks with your love and care.

What is the hurt in your community that you want God to heal?

The congregation offers their petitions silently or aloud

Let the tears fall.

For the hurt in our world from war, oppression, hunger, and injustice, we ask for healing, God. Shine hope in all places where there is despair.

What is the heart in our world that you want God to heal?

The congregation offers their petitions silently or aloud

Let the tears fall.

Lord, you catch them in your hands. In the ocean of our grief and lament, you call out again and again, “Peace, be still.”

We ask for healing in the name of Jesus, who heals all suffering and who taught us to pray, saying:                                

Conclude with The Lord’s Prayer

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I’m grateful for the prayer ministry of Rev. Macon Armistead, my colleague in ministry at Coronado Community United Methodist Church who gave me permission to post his moving prayer. 

This prayer could be used for a healing service or Longest Night service in addition to weekly worship. – Lisa <><

Let the Tears Fall © 2022 Macon Armistead
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Four Prayers for All Saints Day Based on Hebrews 12.1-3

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on Pexels.com

Opening Prayer for All Saints Day
Jesus,
You are The Way, opening the path
You are The Truth, clearing the clutter
You are the Light, blazing the trail

You run
You endure
For the sake of joy
To set joy before us
and in us

Inspire us to keep running
To run remembering joy is our strength
Inspire us to remember and endure

Opening Prayer #2 for All Saints Day
Jesus, Pioneer and Perfector of Faith
Your race comes with a cross
A course of blood and tears
Mocking and piercing

Help us take up our cross and follow
Disregarding shame (that ancient enemy)
In you, it falls by the wayside
Tired scraps on the breath of new life

Help us remember and endure
Help us take up our cross and run
We’ll sit down with you in the next life
Not this one
Amen

Prayer: Help Us Run
Heavenly Father,
You surround us with great and good companions
With witnesses who run the race before us
Now cheering us on
Inspiring us with their courageous faith

Help us run with perseverance

Blessed Jesus,
Pioneer and Perfector of our faith
You blaze the trail
You endure the cross
You disable its shame and ours

Help us run with perseverance

Holy Spirit,
You companion us and supply us
with witnesses running beside us
Churning up the dust of this well-traveled path
Encouraging us with the steady beat of their beautiful feet

Help us run with perseverance
Daring, Enduring, Alive with Hope
Amen

Prayer of Confession for All Saints Day
Run beloved, run
Lay aside every weight
Every worry
Every excuse
Every inner critic shouting against inspiration

Lay aside the sin that clings so closely
Every self-serving motivation
Every self-medicating choice
Every weak thing you’ve trusted more than God

Lay them aside and run
Run beloved, run
Run with perseverance the race
Looking not to the dust, but to Jesus
The Pioneer and Perfecter of your faith
Look not to the right or to the left
Look to Jesus
Focus
Follow

The congregation is invited to offer their own prayers of confession

Run
Run remembering
You are forgiven
Joy is your strength
Run remembering
Our Jesus, who endured
So that you may not grow weary or lose heart
For your strongest step is yet to come

*****
You’re welcome to use these works in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Opening Prayer for All Saints Day © 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com

Opening Prayer #2 for All Saints Day © 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com

Help us Run © 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com

Prayer of Confession for All Saints Day © 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com

Speaking Peace in the Face of the Storm

Quotefancy-806355-3840x2160As I write this, Hurricane Ian is gaining strength and making its way to Florida. I have family and friends in the Tampa Bay area. I serve a congregation located beachside between the Atlantic Ocean and the intercoastal waterway, Coronado Community Church in New Smyrna Beach. We have 10 sister churches in Cuba.

There’s much to warrant true concern. There’s much that is unknown. In the midst of it all, God is near. God’s well of hope, safety, and belonging is deep and it is for you. Love one another, make the best decisions you can, pray and trust God. You are not alone.
Your sister and servant in Christ- Lisa <><

Jesus, we see You calming storms
Storm tossed seas and stormy lives
Extend Your power and grace again,
Upon us and all in need

Speak peace and healing over bodies and spirits
overwhelmed by the crashing waves of circumstance
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and perspective over minds and hearts
adrift in confusion or drowning in fear
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and hope over people, families, and communities
swamped by danger and loss
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and truth over the media.
Inspire them to use their influence
to build hope and goodwill rather than stir up anxiety
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and protection over first responders –
firefighters, law enforcement, medical personnel,
power workers, government workers, and shelter workers-
as they risk their lives to keep people safe
and help those who are suffering.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and belonging over those who are displaced by evacuation –
those in shelters, those stranded on highways,
those in hotels, those far from loved ones.
Keep them safe.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and well-being over those who are hunkering down-
the well prepared, the foolish, and the vulnerable,
especially those who are poor or alone.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

You are the Prince of Peace.
You are the Resurrection and the Life.
You are strong to save.
Our hope and trust are in You

Offer your own prayers. Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

If you are using this prayer in a group setting, one person reads the light print and everyone reads the bold print. 

*****
Speaking Peace in the Face of the Storm © 2017, updated 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Three Prayers based on Hebrews 11

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m blessed, challenged, and encouraged by the writing ministry of Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes, a retired United Methodist pastor. I’m grateful for permission to pass along many of them on my blog.

Consider subscribing to his blog, www.unfoldinglight.net. When you do, his prayers will appear in your inbox Monday through Friday. – Lisa <><

Hope by Steve Garnaas- Holmes

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
—Hebrews 11.1

Hope is not optimism, not wishing,
not a bet on the future,
but trust in what is already present, unseen.
I hope in the sunrise because the earth is already turning.
My faith is not that God will intervene
and make things better or fix problems;
my faith is that love is at work.
I trust in hidden love even as injustice runs loose.
I believe in our Oneness even as war and racism wound us.
I know our Belovedness even as we assault each other.
Even though we damage the earth,
though the violent rage and the rich oppress the poor,
still this world is born of Goodness,
and grace flourishes even in bad places,
and Love holds us in aching but untiring arms.
Even when the way is not well lit, I live in hope.

Homeland by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

People who speak of faith make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
— Hebrews 11.14

Beloved Dark Mystery,
among the places I have gone, the places I have stayed,
the places I long to see—
I am seeking a homeland.
A place of deep belonging, of rest and safety,
where my story is part of the story,
my life is part of the beauty.
Whether a native in my native land
or an immigrant still rooting or a ceaseless nomad,
I know my true home, my original soil, is you.
I am at home in you.
You are my womb, my earth, my people, my root.
You, Love that births all being,
you are my homeland,
and I am always coming from you
and traversing you and returning to you.
Here is my gratitude, my peace, and my belonging.
Thank you.
Amen.

Tender by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

When I am weak, God,
let me be weak,
without resistance to your grace.

When I am powerless
may I be empty of all
but your power.

When I am angry
let my anger melt into its fear,
my fear rise into trust.

When I am outraged
let my passion for justice
be benevolent and steadfast.

When I despair
root my longing in your presence,
my desire in your hope.

Loving God, by your sure hand
keep me fearlessly tender,
mercifully strong.