Last week, I shared my own candle lighting liturgy for Advent but then Maren Tirabassi posted this beautifully simply liturgy inspired by Howard Thurman and I love it. If you haven’t chosen something because you’re exhausted and it’s Thanksgiving and all of the other things that are taking up your time, go and find this wonder.
I was also delighted to find these offertory prayers by Joanna Harader in my email a few days ago. These are just delightful and a blessing to hand off to any nervous layleaders that aren’t quite sure how to find words of their own. (This is a compliment to you, dear pastor. You do such an amazing job crafting worship that these dear souls only want to addd to your hard work. They might not have the words for it so I’m here to remind you.)
This is that Sunday where John steps into the murky river waters and starts pointing fingers. It’ll happen again in the early weeks of January and I like that full story told then. Here, I want hints of what it means to welcome such change.
I found myself singing this after reading the lections for this week. This is a quiet, meditative version that could work for the beginning of worship if your licenses allow use of it. It might lead into the following call to worship.
Call to Worship Inspired by Baruch 5:1-9 It is morning and sleep still clings to our eyes. It is morning and there are new wonders awaiting our tired eyes. It is morning and we have shuffled into the living room to find community and praise before we've really prepared for the day. We cling to our mugs and sip on hope because sorrow and affliction clung to us all night. It has wrapped us up and held tight for too long. We are ready for something else. It is morning and we are ready to put on Jesus. Let us put on our robes of splendor and may God show us glory in every thing under heaven. It is morning and we are ready for glory.
Could there be a wee hint of those angels singing from Angels We Have Heard on High here? Why not? Really, bring on the glory. We all need it. Or at least I need it. I also really like Jesus, O What a Wonderful Child but I can’t find a version that I like.
As I wonder about singing in these Advent days, I wondered about what would lead to singing a Nunc Dimittis. It’s so often used as a blessing or even a funerary song as this collection of variations from Natalie Sims reveals. I wanted it to be something else for those other moments of worship when we are not sure how to praise but we want to find God’s peace. I wrote this thinking that it might lead toward singing one of these songs. Or maybe just listening to a soloist sing as it is in these pandemic days.
Sometimes Prayer for Peace Inspired by Luke 1:68-79 Sometimes it is hard to remember all that is promised and imagined to be with God's glory. Sometimes we forget or we are just too tired from another restless, sleepless night so full of worry for the world. Sometimes we are not sure what blessing looks like or feels like. We get stuck on what it was back then so that it feels impossible to find now. Sometimes it doesn't feel like anything will ever change. That is when it is too hard and we need a tender hand to hold. We need to know that we are not alone in these shadows and frustrations. We need to remember that God is with us just as God has always been with us leading us to the peace we need most. Sometimes this is what peace feels like. Sometimes it is just like this.
That’s all I’ve got for now.
I am praying for you, dear pastor. I’m praying for you so much.