Worship: December 15, 2019

ZION UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

22 Gettysburg Street Box 538

Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

Third Sunday in Advent

December 15, 2019

Welcome to Zion and a special welcome to our visitors. Please sign the guest book!  If you do not have a church home, we pray that you will find one with us.  We have large-print bulletins available, as well as hearing assistance devices.  Please ask an usher if you require either of these.  Restrooms are located in the church school building.  Go through the door next to the choir and straight ahead.  We also have restrooms downstairs in Fellowship Hall.  Again, exit through the door next to the choir, turn left down the hall, and go down the steps.

*Where noted, please stand if able.

Congregational response is in bold print.

PRELUDE

TIME OF SHARING

CHIME INTERLUDE AND CANDLELIGHTING

LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLE OF JOY

Last Sunday we lit the candle of peace.

We light it and the candle of hope again

as we remember that Christ, who was born in Bethlehem,

will come again to affirm God’s great love for the world.

The lights of peace and hope that cannot be extinguished wherever we go.

The third candle of Advent is the Candle of Joy.

When the angel Gabriel told Mary that a special child would be born to her,

she was filled with joy.

She sang a song that began with the words,

“My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Just as the birth of Jesus gave great joy to his mother,

so his presence in the world gave joy to those who had none before.

He healed them and gave them

hope and peace when they believed in him.

From hope and peace grow joy.

We light the Candle of Joy to remind us

that when Jesus is born in us we have joy

and that through him there will be everlasting joy on earth.

Joy is like a light shining in a dark place.

As we look at this candle we celebrate the joy we find in Jesus Christ.

Let us pray:

Thank you, God, for the joy you give us.

 We ask that as we wait for all your promises to come true,

and for Christ to come again,

 that you would remain present with us. 

Help us today, and every day, to worship you,

 to hear your Word, and to do your will by sharing your joy with each other. 

We ask it in the name of the One who was born in Bethlehem, our Savior, Jesus.

*GATHERING HYMN # 102 “Savior of the Nations, Come”

TIME OF CONFESSION

Sometimes this season of expectation finds us feeling negative. We want the joy without the challenge of Advent. We distrust the prophets and their message of a need to change our ways.  We resent any judgment on our way of living.  We grumble against others.

There is so much within us that blinds our eyes and stops our ears. Yet God

invites us once more to let down the barriers, to confess all that cuts us off

from our own best selves. Come to this time of prayer, seeking salvation.

During this season of Advent we confess that in our Christmas preparations

there is more of culture than of Christ. We allow the noise and confusion

of the season to obscure the peace that is possible with you. We allow the raucous

 jingles of commerce to distract us from the profound mystery of Bethlehem.

We allow material and financial considerations to overpower spiritual realities.

Forgive us, we pray, and draw us back to the quiet presence of the living Christ.

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

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

God does not judge by what our eyes see or decide by what

our ears hear. The needy are delivered from their oppressors.

The righteous flourish and peace abounds. Even now, God’s realm

is among us making all things new. To all who are truly sorry for their

sin and seek forgiveness, let the Good News be clear: you are forgiven

and receive new life. We are free to bear the fruit of God’s love.

Thanks be to God for this magnificent gift of love.

HYMN RESPONSE # 288 “Spirit of the Living God”

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Melt me; mold me; fill me; use me.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. 

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON

Isaiah 35: 1-10, p. 623 (OT)

GOSPEL READING FOR THE MORNING

St. Matthew 11: 2-11, p. 10 (NT)

CHILDREN’S SUNDAY SCHOOL PROGRAM

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.

THE GIVING OF OURSELVES AND OUR OFFERINGS

As we offer thanks to God through the spoken word and the

sung word, we can also express our thanks by the sacrificial word.

OFFERTORY

*OFFERTORY RESPONSE # 717 “For the Life That You Have Given”

For the life that you have given, for the love of Christ made known,

With these fruits of time and labor, with these gifts that are your own;

Here we offer, Lord, our praises, heart and mind and strength we bring;

Give us grace to love and serve you, living what we pray and sing.

*PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Through these tithes and offerings, we seek to express

the love of Christ to our broken world, trusting that

they will become incarnate in deeds of love, acts of

mercy, and the proclamation of the truth that saves.

*CLOSING HYMN # 136 “Go, Tell It on the Mountains”

*COMMISSION AND BENEDICTION

May everlasting joy be upon your head and

heart, and may sorrow and sighing flee away.

*CHORAL BENEDICTION # 93 “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates”  v. 3

Redeemer come! I open wide my heart to thee;

Here, Lord, abide.

Let me thy inner presence feel;

Thy grace and love in me reveal.  

*CHIME MEDITATION

POSTLUDE

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

Greeter And Bulletin Sponsorship Sign-Up Sheets for 2019 are on the credenza. v(Bulletin Sponsorship is $15 per Sunday. Please place your remittance designated for Bulletins in the offering plate.)v

Coming Up Next Week:

Dec. 15, Worship with Children’s Pageant, 9:00 am No Sunday School; Confirmation & Sr High Grp, Trinity Lutheran, 6 – 7:30 pm

Dec. 16, Consistory Mtg, Zion House, 7:00 pm

Dec. 18, Survey Meeting, Zion House, 6:00 pm; What’s Cookin’?, Trinity Lutheran, 6 – 7:30 pm; Choir Practice, Church, 7:30 pm

Looking Forward:

Dec. 22, Worship, 9:00 am; Sunday School during Worship, 9:00 am; No Confirmation Class or Sr. High Group

Dec. 24, Christmas Eve service with Communion, 7:30 pm

Zion’s Financial Data

Income Through November $162,549.07

Expenses Through November $166,794.31

YTD Deficit ($4,245.24)

Weather Cancellation – If inclement weather causes cancellation of worship, the announcement will be on the church answering machine by 7:30 a.m. 

Pastoral Care Needs – If you need to contact George, please feel free to call his home number, 717 334-0069 or email at gpheber@embarqmail.com.   George is also available at the office by appointment only; please contact the church office or George to schedule an appointment.

REACH Cookie Tray Fundraiser –today is the last day for your orders! Tired of baking Christmas cookies?  Let REACH do it for you!  Order forms are on the credenza in the back of church with payment directions.  Fill out an order form and put it and your payment in the envelope.  Cookies may be picked up December 22nd.  Thanks for your support.

Homewood Auxiliary Dues – Today is the last day to pay your Auxiliary dues. The sign-up clipboard is located on the credenza at the back of church along with envelope for dues, $3 individual and $5 couple. New members please complete info on blank pages. Calendars are a thank you for your continued membership and support.

Stocking Stuffers available! – Zion’s Knitting Group has a selection of crafted items – knitted, crocheted, and sewn – available for purchase in the rear of church just in time to fill those Christmas stockings. Proceeds will be given in support of one of Zion’s many projects.

Lego Update –   What generosity! There were 55 LEGO sets donated to the Holiday Toy Bureau!  Thanks for making the holidays brighter for our community’s children.

Hoss’s Fundraiser – Our most recent fundraiser netted $106.77.  The next one is scheduled for Monday, March 16, 2020.  Thanks to all who came and ate!

John’s Meals –  Help!  John’s Meals has used all their plastic bags in which meals are packed for delivery!  Can you please consider donating any unused Wal-Mart, Kennies, etc. plastic bags to the cause? Just put them in the container in back of church or the container in the large Sunday School room.   To be really helpful, please double the bags and fold them flat – this works great for our packing teams.  Thanks for your generosity!

Habitat for Humanity – Saturday, January 4th is Zion’s volunteer day at Adams County Habitat for Humanity’s Biglerville house construction project.  Please contact Roger B. if interested in attending to help with inside work.

Upcoming Events at area UCC churches – Emmanuel U.C.C. in Hanover is sponsoring a series of free Community Concerts/Events. On Dec. 22, they will host the 109th annual Carol Sing at 7:00 pm.  On January 26 at 3 pm will be One Piano, Four Hands featuring Don Horneff and Myfanwy Jacob-Smith.  On Saturday, Feb. 22, at 7:00 pm there will be a showing of the classic silent film “The Freshman” starring Harold Lloyd with Michael Britt as organ accompanist.  On Sunday, March 22, at 3 pm, the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra comes to town.

Reminder From the Treasurer: When making a donation to more than one account, please write a separate check for each designation.  For example, when making a regular offering and a donation to Altar Guild, if paying by check be sure to include two separate checks noting the appropriate account on each check.  With so many funds, it is important to identify your giving with a separate check.  This will make the accounting much easier for the money counters and the treasurer.  Thanks so much!

Altar Guild – Zion is looking for a few good people to join the ranks of the Altar Guild! Members take turns monthly being in charge of flower sponsorships, paraments, candles, and Communion preparations.  If interested, please contact Donna M. for more information.