Blue Christmas/Comfort Candle Virtual Service

This is a Meditative Worship for those who need Comfort over the Christmas Season. It may take place at anytime, even in place of Christmas Eve if service if that is (perhaps) too painful for you this year. You can do this without any supplies or with candle(s) to light. (If you have an Advent Wreath you may wish to light it up to the week you are at and add a Comfort candle)

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A Prayer For an Empty Advent:

God,

I’m reminded again 

that it’s ok that Advent 

is empty

Wasn’t Mary’s Magnificat

about filling up the empty

with Good things!

Weren’t the Angels Sent

to gift the silent world

with Holy Songs?

Wasn’t the whole and entire point?

To fill the world a little more with the love of God. 

To put Jesus physically, right here on Earth!

God, remind us that it’s not only ok, but traditional to feel empty at Advent.

And if we are trudging, the long trudge, especially this year, 

please send the Holy Spirit to trudge with us we pray.

And to remind us, it’s ok if Advent feels empty this year.

Amen

Picture Thanks to Rev. Erin A. Jacobson

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, A Song about Trudging through Life, especially verse 2

God, for those of us who haven’t felt like putting up a tree,

or hanging garlands–those of us who have only half heartedly decorated

Or not decorated at all–

It’s ok. We can blue, and sad.

You don’t need any festooning.

You don’t need any bells or whistles.

You are God.

Present in the very midst of Sorrow–

Isn’t that why we light the candles? Because sometime we need the reminders

that you are present, especially when we cannot see Hope, Peace, Joy or Love in the World?

That’s why today we are lighting an extra candle in our hearts. The candle of Comfort. For you–Wonderful Counselor, promise that with Christ too.

Amen

Picture Thanks to Rev Erin A. Jacobson
Reading of Isaiah 40:1, Isaiah 55:1,11

Isaiah 40: 1, 55: 1, 11

Comfort, O comfort my people,
   says your God.

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price. 

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Comfort Ye My People

Comfort Ye My People from “The Messiah”

Magnificat Remixed

Magnificat Remix: (Based on Luke 1:46-55)

Holy is our God, How Holy is our God that we are able to Magnify Xem in our tiny acts?

God’s Mercy is plentiful, bringing comfort to generation upon generation.

Scattering those who think they have power, and empowering those feel emptied out!

God always, always remembers God’s promises.

God sends the rich away hungry, and fills the hungry with good things.

God brings those who sits on thrones down, and lifts up those who are low in spirit.

This is the God we worship and love, the God, wonderful Counselor, the Abundant God, the Guardian of Peace.

This is our comfort, Fill us up God, especially when we feel desolate, we pray.

Amen.

Lighting of the Comfort Candle Candle (if you chose you may light a candle at home)

Candle Lit GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Closing Prayer: Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ be with me. Amen*

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Low Bass Cover

Benediction: May you make it through this Christmas knowing there are no requirements. Instead, may God Console and Comfort You and may Christ’s Peace be with you. Amen.

Picture Thanks to Rev. A. Erin Jacobson

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My Thanks to Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl and Rev. Marie O’Connell for the inspiration for this Virtual Worship and Rev. Erin A Jacobson for contributing the images

*Prayer adapted from http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/St._Patrick’s_Breastplate

More Advent Resources Here

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(Special Thanks for the donated Images from Rev Erin Jacobson)


Advent Day 11

Then God said to me “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the words of the Lord”—Ezekiel 37: 4

Advent 4 Full of God’s Word Narrative Lectionary Year 4

Luke 2:1-14 [15-20]

Psalm 96:7-10

Call to Worship

Ascribe to the Lord , O families of people!

We will ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!

Ascribe to the Lord, all the glory due God’s Name!

We will Worship God in holy splendor with all the earth!

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that we are not always full of the good news. Sometimes we stop short of sharing God with others. We are uncertain about how to share, or are afraid of how to frame our faith. Teach us to share Christ in a loving and compassionate way we pray, Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God is good, all the time. Hear the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God, teach us the good news, remind us of it everyday we pray. Amen.

Hymns: See Advent Candle Suggestions

Children: What do you good with good news? Who would you tell the good news to first? How is good news spread? Also a great Resource: An Unexpected Christmas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM1XusYVqNY

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

Advent 3 Full of God’s Word Narrative Lectionary Year 4

John 1:1-18

Psalm 130:5-8

Call to Worship

I wait for the Lord

My soul waits, for with God is the power to redeem!

I wait for God, more than those who are waiting for the morning

Come, let us wait for the joy that comes with God!

Confession: God, I confess that sometimes I confuse abiding joy with the fleeting feeling of happiness. Sometimes I forget the you are working for joy to the entire world. You want every single person to be able to experience security–food, shelter, companionship. I confess that I am not always working towards that goal. Help me to build a kingdom where everyone can experience deep and abiding joy. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God loves us and forgives us. Let proclaim the joy with truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgive.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God, let us remember that our God is a God of Joy. Our God does not dictate unnecessary suffering, but instead wants love and peace. Help us to hold onto that we pray. Amen.

Hymns: See Advent Candle Suggestions

Children: Talk about the difference between Joy and Happiness. Talk about who might be good examples of people who have joy.

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

Advent 2 Full of Purpose Narrative Lectionary Year 4

Full Bulletin by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl

Isaiah 55:1-13

John 4:13-14

Call to Worship:

God we are thirsty for you.

Come Holy Spirit, fill us up.

God we long for peace

Come Christ, we long for your Peace.

God we are ready.

Come let us spend some time with God today.

Jesus we are here longing for you

Prayer of Confession: God we are thirsty for your presence, because we know when we get it our purpose will become clear, and our need to pursue and accumulate anything and everything will disappear, and we will finally, finally be at peace. But God, we confess, we are not at peace yet, we continue to thirst for more, we continue long for all that we do not yet possess. Forgive us, and help us to see the feast you set before us and to be satisfied, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Christ’s mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, we are already forgiven. Let us glory in the good news; In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication/Day: God you are enough. Let us remember and dedicate ourselves to you today and everyday we pray. Amen.

Hymns: See Advent Candle Suggestions

Children

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

Advent 1 Full of Prophesy/Life Narrative Lectionary Year 4

Call to Worship

Ezekiel 37:1-15

John 11:25-26

Call to Worship

God you know our questions before we even ask them, we are struggling this year, can these bones live, only you know

And you reassure us, saying that you will send us the Word we need

Give us the word of Hope, we need

Come let us gather around the Word of the Lord

Confession: God, we confess that we do not know if these bones can live. Sometimes, we cannot even ask the questions about resurrection. We are too busy struggling along. We confess that we are weary to bone. Weary of the evils of the weary, weary of injustice, weary of illness, weary of sorry. We confess that we forget to ask for hope. Forgive us, and teach us to see and know that you are already at work in the world. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus Christ is the Hope of the World, assuring us of the truth that we can tell one another: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God, the struggle is real, because you are already here, making things happen. Remind us of your presence, from our first breath. Inspire us with your Holy Spirit, and encourage us as we need it we pray. Amen.

Hymns: See Advent Candle Suggestions

Children: Read Emily Dickon’s Hope is a many feathered Thing Poem. Discuss what kids Hope for.

More resources.

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

Advent Candles Year 4 Narrative Lectionary

Advent Candle Suggestion: In our Church we do Candles as our Children’s Time, We have our small collection of children light the candles youngest to eldest (whoever is there), those who haven’t gone go first. It is impromptu, not planned. It saves on having to schedule and ensures that the candles are lit and we spend children’s time explaining the meaning of the candle and how it relates the story of the week. If you don’t have children, I bet you could do this with your deacons as well.

Week 1: Hope/Prophesy

God you whisper to us, when we dare not hope suggesting to us the impossible

Mortal do you think these bones can live?

God it is in your multitude of knowledge, that we say the answer back to you, you know

Speak hope to the bones

We will speak hope together

Come let us speak the hope of the Holy Spirit today, and Live!

Lighting Hymns: Live Into Hope, Taize: Bless the Lord my Soul, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (v. 1)

Week 2: Peace/Purpose

God promises that all those who thirsts will drink, all those who hunger will be fed

Come, the banquet is set, all are invited

Truly peace shall reign, for everyone shall have enough

Come, and listen, so that you may live. I will make you an everlasting covenant

Who wants to taste and See the Lord?

Come, let us practice this peace today and everyday

Lighting Hymns: Comfort Comfort You My People, Taize Nada the Turbe, O Come O Come Emmanuel v. 3, God of Peace (to the tune of Silent Night)

Week 3: Joy/God’s Word

God we are ready for your Word

The Word was with God, and the Word was God

Your joy shines through troubles, more than just happiness, God’s Word is life sustaining Joy!

All things come to being through God, and without God not one thing came into being.

Each of us have a spark of that joy within us!

Come let us renew our joy with God!

Hymns: O Come O Come Emmanuel v. 2, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence v. 2 & 3, Joy to the World Taize: The Kingdom of God, O Come All Ye Faithful

Week 4: Love/Good News

Hymns: The First Nowell, What Child is This

God we are thankful you unleashed your love into the world

Good News has come

There is nothing like the love of God

Filling the world with good news

Reminding us that hope, joy and peace are possible, fulfilling the promises of the covenant

Come let us whisper that God is coming soon!

Hymn Suggestions: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence v. 1 & 4, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus v 3 & 4, O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go, Of the Father’s Love Begotten, Taize: Magnificat

Christmas

All is well, Christ is here

Hear the Good News of Great Joy.

Christ has come, the baby is here!

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Guardian, the Heir of Peace!

Come let us worship the Lord

Glory to God, One Earth Peace, and Goodwill towards humankind!

More Advent Resources: Year 4

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14

John 14:27

Call to Worship

Our God is the God of Resurrection

God will never leave us

Our God is the God of peace

Come let us worship God!

Prayer of Confession: God we confess that sometimes your instructions confuse us. You tell us both to live our lives and to look towards heaven. You know we are only human, so it is difficult for us to do both at the same time. Forgive us when we get distracted or confuse. Remind us that practicing hope, and peace here on earth is worth it. And help us when we go astray, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting, know the truth in your heart: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God it is a good thing you are the Prince of peace, and that you leave pieces of it for us to follow, because we definitely need help on that. Guide us to your peace today and everyday we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Take My Life, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less, O For a Closer Walk with God, Abide with Me, Lord Make Us Servants of Your Peace

Children: God promises peace. Ask the children to imagine what peace is like–help them to imagine peace as creativity not just silence or stillness. Discuss how we might practice peace now.

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

More Narrative Lectionary Year 4

Nov 21st Isaiah: A Child is Born

Isaiah 9:1-7

John 8:12

Call to Worship

God says, those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.

We rejoice before you!

God promises a child will come to us, his name shall be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace

Come, we will rejoice with the joy of the harvest!

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that sometimes we don’t feel like we have seen the great light. All too often we feel like we still stumbling in the dark. We long for the day we can proclaim wonderful counselor and peace, but right now, we are weary and bleary eyed. Open our eyes, help us to know what the next right step is, we pray. Help us to let the light in, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Hear the Good News: Jesus Christ already knows and forgives, so let us proclaim the truth that has already happened: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven

Prayer of Dedication/the Day: Holy Spirit, you remind us again that the fruit of our labors, the harvest, all comes from you. And though we do not have the eyes to always see what seeds are being planted, help us to have faith, to seek peace, and to trust that the work is just and good, and give us the strength we need to carry on today and everyday we pray. Amen.

Hymns: We Gather Together, Let All Things Now Living, For the Fruit of All Creation, Joyful Joyful we Adore Thee, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, We Plow the Fields and Scatter

Children: Humans are like plants but more complicated. Talk about what plants need to grow, then talk about what humans need to be healthy and grow. Talk about the importance of care and how Jesus promises to light the way and to take care of all of creation of the world, and wants us to be partners in caring–for plants and each other.

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

More Narrative Lectionary Year 4

Justice Prayer

Jesus when you said

Justice would roll down

like water….

Did you mean

that it would

trickle first

down my face as a tear

of compassion?

Or will it truly unleash?

Like the dams of injustice

finally breaking through…

I want to know,

because I am thirsting for Jesus

Like a deer in the desert–

and when I look for justice,

I find rules or civility or equality

or some other thing,

that we humans think is justice,

but it isn’t really.

So here’s a prayer for justice,

the big kind, that washes away everything else.

So here’s a prayer for justice, the rip-roaring kind,

full of righteousness, and grace and hope.

Even if it has to start as a trickle,

Because, you and I know God,

I will take all the justice I can get.

So here’s a prayer for all the justice,

any of the justice we can find today, and everyday.

Please God,

Thank you.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt/share with permission of Pastor Katy Stenta

If you find my prayers useful please consider supporting my 2nd year pursuing my Doctorate of Ministry in Creative Writing as a Public Theologian at Pittsburgh Seminary.

Shannon A Thompson

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