Worship: December 13, 2020

 ZION UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

22 Gettysburg Street  Box 538

Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

Third Sunday in Advent

December 13, 2020

9:00 am

Live stream link for worship:  Zion UCC Sunday Services Livestream – December 13 2020

 

Welcome to Zion and a special welcome to our visitors in these days of adjusting to a new normal in worship.  Because of the rising concerns for the spread of the covid-19 virus, we have chosen to live stream our worship services, suspending in-person worship until we gain a clearer picture of how to gather together in the sanctuary to worship safely.  These are difficult times and even with the hope for a vaccine in the near future, it will be some time before enough people have the vaccine in order to effectively control covid-19.  We ask for your patience and understanding and your faithful support of the church in these days of a new normal for all of us.  Let us continue to pray and to remain faithful, knowing that our God continues to reach out and to embrace us.  We sometimes need to be reminded that our God promises to be near to us in the most difficult days as well as the days when life seems easy for us.

As you follow along in the bulletin during live stream worship, please participate quietly when you come to the bold print.

 

PRELUDE

“Infant Holy, Infant Lowly”, Alexandre Guilmant, arr. Michael Ryan, ©2012 The Lorenz Publishing Company

TIME OF SHARING

LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLE OF JOY

It is an age-old story that still speaks to us through the centuries.

It is a story of power and taxation, of overcrowded housing and

refugee displacement, of the slaughter of innocents.

It is a story of love and family, gifts from strangers and

the awe of the heavens, of individual people saying ‘Yes!’

It is a story of hope being sent to us in unexpected ways that we often deny.

I will praise you, O Lord. Although you were angry with me,

your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.

The Lord is my strength and my song; God has become my salvation.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Give thanks to the Lord, call on God’s name; make known among the nations

God’s mighty deeds, proclaim that the Lord’s name is exalted.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Sing to the Lord, for God has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.

Shout aloud and sing for joy, great is the Holy One among you!

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Today we light three candles. The first candle is the candle of hope.

During Advent we wait in the hope that God’s promises will be fulfilled.

The second candle is the candle of peace.

We can have peace because God’s preparations

have brought forth the fulfillment of the promises.

Today’s candle is the candle of joy.

God has given us the waters of salvation! Let us rejoice.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Together, let us pray, saying:

Gracious Lord, as we wait during Advent for the coming of your Son,

fill our lives with joy.

Fill us with joy because we will draw from the waters of salvation.

Fill us with joy at the coming of your Son.

And fill us with joy as we serve a world

 that needs the joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

GATHERING HYMN “Savior of the Nations, Come”

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

Savior of the nations, come;

Virgin’s son, make here your home.

Marvel now, O heaven and earth,

That the Lord chose such a birth.

 

From God’s heart the Savior speeds;

Back to God his pathway leads;

Out to vanquish death’s command,

Back to reign at God’s right hand.

 

Now your manger, shining bright,

Hallows night with newborn light.

Night cannot this light subdue;

Let our faith shine evermore.

 

Praise we sing to Christ the Lord,

Virgin’s son incarnate Word!

To the holy Trinity

Praise we sing eternally.

 

TIME OF CONFESSION

The first step to a wholeness in our lives is the admission that we are broken people.

We find ourselves anxious; we find ourselves living with regrets;

we hold grudges; we do not live in perfect harmony with others;

there is a gnawing ache within us that longs for freedom,

a freedom that only God can give.

So, let us join together and confess the longing we have

to be at one with God, at one with each other, and at one within ourselves.

Creator and Savior God,

you have promised that your Son will come again to planet earth,

bringing this age to an end and ushering in a time of perfection, of life, and of joy.

Forgive us, we pray, if as we wait we have abused your gifts,

wasted your resources, hurt your people, and faltered in commitment.

Pardon us, lift us up, and empower us to be your faithful and loving people.

And now let us confess in silence those fears that keep us from loving as Christ has loved us.

 

CONFESSION MEDITATION

“Heavenly Gift”, Juliet Calkins, ©1989 The Lorenz Publishing Company

 

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

We receive the Lord’s pardon.

We believe the Lord’s promises.

We treasure the Lord’s presence.

We anticipate the Lord’s coming.

Be assured of God’s forgiveness and live in hope.

Live as a people of hope, making a difference in the world.

Thanks be to God for this magnificent gift of love.

 

 THE GIVING OF OURSELVES AND OUR OFFERINGS

In receiving we are blessed,

and in giving we are fulfilled.

(For the time being we would ask you to mail your offering Zion United Church of Christ, PO Box 538, Arendtsville, Pennsylvania 17303, or to use the Electronic Funds Transfer option which is available by contacting the church office.  Your ongoing support of the church is deeply appreciated in these days.)

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

We are grateful, Holy God, not only for the opportunity to receive,

but also for the opportunity to give.

 

VOCAL SOLO

“Gesu Bambino”, P. Yon, Arr. Fettke, Lillenas Publishing, ©1999 Pilot Point Music

Kevin C., soloist

 

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON FOR THE MORNING

Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11

61:1 The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
61:2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
61:3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion– to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory.
61:4 They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
61:8 For I the LORD love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
61:9 Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the LORD has blessed.
61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
61:11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

 

EPISTLE LESSON FOR THE MORNING

I Thessalonians 5: 16-24

5:16 Rejoice always,
5:17 pray without ceasing,
5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
5:20 Do not despise the words of prophets,
5:21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good;
5:22 abstain from every form of evil.
5:23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
5:24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

 

GOSPEL READING FOR THE MORNING

St. John 1: 6-8, 19-28

1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
1:7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
1:8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
1:19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
1:20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.”
1:21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.”
1:22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
1:23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,'” as the prophet Isaiah said.
1:24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
1:25 They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
1:26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know,
1:27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.”

1:28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

SILENT PRAYER AND PREPARATION

“I Wonder as I Wander”, The Singing Church, ©1985 Hope Publishing Company

 

THE MESSAGE FOR THE MORNING

 

PASTORAL PRAYER AND THE LORD’S PRAYER

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,

The power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

 CLOSING HYMN  “Go, Tell It on the Mountain”

 

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;

Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

 

While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night,

Behold, throughout the heavens there shone a holy light.

 

The shepherds feared and trembled when lo! Above the earth

Rang out the angel chorus that hailed our Savior’s birth.

 

Down in a lowly manger the humble Christ was born,

And God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn.

 

COMMISSION AND BENEDICTION

May you welcome the Lord at his coming

with a head that is clear,

with a heart that is pure,

and with hands that are busy doing God’s work.

 

CHIME MEDITATION

“The Christmas Chimes”, Lani Smith, ©1975 The Lorenz Publishing Company

POSTLUDE

“I Saw Three Ships”, Dan R. Edwards, ©2012 The Lorenz Publishing Company

 

The Altar Flowers are presented to the glory of God and in loving memory of Marshall and Isabelle L. by Dot R. and Jane G.

During this virus situation, the Office Manager will often be working from home.  Please call the office before stopping by.

Coming Up Next Week:

December 13                   Live stream Worship                                       9:00 a.m.

With annual meeting

Sunday School                 Zoom                     10:30 a.m.

December 16                   Bible Study                      Zoom                       6:30 p.m.

 

Looking Forward:

December 20                   Live stream Worship                                       9:00 a.m.

Sunday School                 Zoom                     10:30 a.m.

Carol Sing             Zion Parking Lot               3:00 p.m.

December 21                   Consistory Mtg                Zoom                       7:00 p.m.

December 24                   Sanctuary Open for meditation & prayer   10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Live Nativity         Zion Parking Lot               3:00 p.m.

Live stream Christmas Eve Service                 7:00 p.m.

With Holy Communion

 

Pastoral Care:  If you would like a visit from George, please contact him and let him know a convenient time.

Thank You for all the get well cards, phone calls, and prayers during my hospital stay and since my return home.  An extra special thank you to Pastor George for his phone calls, visits and prayers. All were greatly appreciated. – Don H. and Family

Annual Meeting:  Today’s the Day!  During the live stream service today, Zion will have a presentation by the Consistory President and Finance Committee Chairperson covering the agenda items listed in the mailing you received concerning the annual meeting.  Two Consistory members will also be present from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. this afternoon in the sanctuary should you wish to drop by with more questions or to hand in your ballots.  All church members will vote by proxy ballot this year (proxies were included with the letter), and proxies must be returned by December 20th to the church office, either in regular mail or by email; there will also be a box in the utility room on the back porch of Zion House for your convenience.  Thank you for participating in the business of the church!

Christmas Activities:  Zion plans to hold a Carol Sing on the parking lot at 3:00 p.m. next Sunday, December 20th.  Come enjoy some music of the season from the comfort of your car or lawn chair depending on the weather; we will be singing Christmas carols as well as enjoying some of the choir members singing solo!  Masks and social distancing are the order of the day.  A bonfire in the fire pit will enhance the event.  There will be normal parking on the parking lot for this event (unlike we parked for summer worship services).

On Christmas Eve Day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the sanctuary will be open to provide you with an opportunity for personal meditation and prayer.  Christmas music will be playing as well.   Please wear masks and maintain social distancing in the sanctuary.

On Christmas Eve, Zion plans to have a live Nativity with carols on the parking lot,

again at 3:00 p.m. with the pergola transformed into the manger in Bethlehem complete with fire in the fire pit. Bring your lawn chairs and your masks and celebrate the birth of the Christ Child together at a safe distance.  There will be parking in the normal way for this service.

On Christmas Eve at 7:00 p.m., we will live stream a Christmas Eve worship service from the sanctuary at Zion as we anticipate the birth of our Savior.  Several soloists will share special Christmas music and we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

The Offering Box will be in the sanctuary on December 13th from 1p.m. to 2 p.m. if you would like to deliver your offerings to the church in person.  Also, the offering box will be at the Carol Sing on December 20th and in the sanctuary during the time of meditation and prayer.  Thank you for your generous support of Zion in these difficult times.  Because you have continued to be faithful in your support of the church, we have been able to maintain our ministry and witness to the community.

2021 Offering Envelopes will be available for pick up from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on December 13th in the sanctuary as well as on December 20th at the Carol Sing and on December 24th when the sanctuary is open for meditation and prayer.  Please pick up your own offering envelopes as well as any you may be able to deliver to family and neighbors.   Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Prayer Requests:  Don’t forget to send your prayer requests via email to the church office by Friday evening to have them included in the Sunday service

 Homewood Christmas Gifts:  Thank you, thank you for the Homewood Christmas gifts! Even in these difficult times we were able to collect 142 Christmas cards, 22 bottles of unscented lotion, and 34 boxes of tissues to help brighten the holiday season for the Homewood residents.  They were deeply appreciative when Angie dropped off the gifts on Monday afternoon at Homewood in Hanover.

Search Committee Update:  The Search Committee has been meeting on a regular basis and has been receiving pastoral profiles from Penn Central Conference. The Committee has begun to have conversations and preliminary interviews with at least 2 candidates who have expressed interest in serving as pastor of Zion. It is a slow process, but the members of the Search Committee are optimistic because there appears to be a good response to Zion’s profile. The members of the Committee have developed a good rapport working together.

John’s Meals Mac & Cheese:  Don’t forget!  Your mac & cheese donations for John’s Meals can be placed in the labeled bin in the storage closet on the back porch of Zion House at a time convenient to you.