For some liturgical inspiration, since we know that many of us are struggling to find liturgical language adequate to the moment…Here we have some contributions from our RevGals community to help. Feel free to use as-is, adapt, or use for inspiration. If you use them in printed materials, please note the author and revgalblogpals.org. If you use them in online worship and it is possible to give credit in video descriptions, that is sufficient (no need for verbal attribution). Thanks!
Prayer of Confession based on Isaiah 64:1-9, Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 by Kathy Swaar
Come, Holy One!
Tear open the heavens and come down.
Come, challenging our assumptions,
binding up our wounds, opening our hearts.
Forgive our shortcomings, our holier-than-thou arrogance,
our omissions, our commissions, our errors, our goofs.
Shape us with your Word and by the power of your Spirit
into people of compassion and grace.
Fill our lives and world with your Presence,
that we may see you, hear you, feel you, touch you, taste you.
Come, Author of Life!
Restore us, heal us, save us.
Silent prayers of confession may be offered here.
Assurance of Pardon:
Ours is a God of grace and peace, of forgiveness and compassion,
of life and hope.
Faithful and just, the Holy One hears the cries of your heart,
and welcomes you back home.
Friends: Believe this Good News and be at peace. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
CALL TO WORSHIP (inspired by Isaiah 64: 1-9) By Cathy Kolwey
One: From ages past, for years to come
ALL: We wait on your revelation
One: Knowing that no one has heard, no ear perceived
ALL: No eye has seen what you have prepared for your people.
One: The unexpected awaits us and we proclaim anew
ALL: Light will come to our darkness, a Light for all your people.
INVOCATION by Cathy Kolwey
Turn us from darkness toward your light,
Wake us from complacency to attentiveness.
Move us from isolation and loneliness
toward the warmth of worshipping together.
Center us in the hope of an Advent promise,
as you reveal Your Word for us this day.
PRAYER OF RECONCILIATION by Cathy Kolwey
It is hard to think about beginning a time of waiting once again, O Holy One.
We are already feeling isolated and alone, fatigued with our own stillness,
Impatiently waiting to be able to busy our schedules again,
so that we can go back to avoiding our brokenness and hurt.
And yet, you call us once again, to this season of Advent, to sit in silence and wait.
Help us, O Holy One, to remember that the stillness you demand
Reminds of your love and hope, focuses us on your peace and joy.
Help us to find these promises in our Advent stillness, not just for ourselves,
But so we can share these gifts with a world in despair and darkness.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
We wait patiently for the Light of the World to come once again. Light for our darkness, hope for our despair, the God who reigns from everlasting to everlasting brings us the good news once again: in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven, Alleluia and Amen.
I (Teri Peterson) have written Advent Candle liturgies that you are welcome to use — sort of following the Narrative Lectionary, with a minor tweak. Here is the one I won’t be using as I’m skipping Daniel (but this bit goes with Daniel, just in case you need it!), and you can find the full set I am using here. If you need it to be responsive, the possible responses are in bold. Or it can be led by one voice. I will be using one voice but with actions by the congregation (covering eyes, reaching out, etc).
In the darkest times we cannot see to make our way…
our eyes adjust, but still everything is shadowed and grey.
We reach out, desperate
for the familiar
In the darkest times,
even a faltering light can be just enough:
the flame flickers, twinkles, dances—and it is dazzling!
For in its light, we see light: God in our midst.
~Candle is lit~
However impossible it seems,
God is present wherever we may be,
and blessed is the one who perseveres in prayer.
Come, O come, Emmanuel, God with us, and we will rejoice.
Musically…we don’t own these videos, they’re provided for inspiration or suggestion. Often I find that if I’m trying to get in the right mood for writing, it helps to spend half an hour or so listening to seasonally appropriate music (then I turn it off because I write in silence, but I know many who prefer to write with music!). In that spirit, here is half an hour that might help:
Here in Scotland, Christian Aid asks that we join them in an act of worshipful solidarity, using the hymn When Out Of Poverty Is Born on the first Sunday in Advent each year. You can learn more about this initiative here.
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back to the specific post. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com. For Worship Words, you may use or adapt what you find here, but please credit the author in printed orders of service/web publications and in public video descriptions if possible.
If you have written words for worship in this strange new world that you are willing to share, please send us an email: revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.