Advent is a season that teaches us to do something that is very hard for us to do: wait. It teaches us how to wait for the Advent or arrival of Christ into our world, not just way back then in Biblical times, but now—in those places where we long for his presence and need his intervention. Waiting for Christ’s coming into the places of our lives where we need him most right now ushers us into a special kind of waiting that is alert and watchful, full of anticipation and yet patient. (Ruth Haley Barton)
This morning we began the season of Advent and our theme this year is “In the Margins: Find Jesus in Unexpected Places.” Here are some statements I used to describe Advent:
- Advent is a season of waiting and watching for the renewal of all things.
- Advent is a season where we pay attention to the “in-betweenness” of life.
- Advent is a season where we hold in one hand “this” and the other “that.”
- Advent is the space between what is and what will be.
- Advent is a time to look back and remember Christ’s coming into the world, look ahead with anticipation at Christ’s return and live deeply in this present moment, praying and living in such a way that the prayer Jesus taught us, “on earth as it is in heaven” might become more and more of a reality.
We closed our gathering with the song, “All Who Hear” from Young Oceans. This is a beautiful Advent resource, both sonically and lyrically. We followed it with this prayer from the Iona Community Worship Book:
You keep us waiting.
You, the God of all time,
want us to wait for the right time in which to discover
who we are, where we must go,
who will be with us, and what we must do.
So thank you…for the waiting time.
You keep us looking.
You, the God of all space,
want us to look in the right and wrong places
for signs of hope,
for people who are hopeless,
for visions of a better world that will appear
among the disappointments of the world we know.
So thank you…for the looking time.
You keep us loving.
You, the God whose name is love,
Want us to be like you—
to love the lovely and the unlovely and the unlovable;
to love without jealousy or design or threat;
and, sometime most difficult of all,
to love ourselves.
So thank you…for the loving time.
And in all this, you keep us.
Through hard questions with no easy answers;
Through failing where we had hoped to succeed
and making impact where we felt we were useless;
through the patience and the dreams and the love of others;
and through Jesus Christ and his Spirit,
you keep us.
So thank you…for the keeping time,
now and forever, Amen.
How did you begin the season of Advent?
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Only King Forever
- Advent Call to Worship
- Song of Hope (Robbie Seay Band)
- Great Are You, Lord (All Sons and Daughters)
- The Sacrament of Baptism
- Good, Good Father (Chris Tomlin)
- Announcements and Offering
- Message (Finding Hope in the Margins)
- All Who Hear (Young Oceans)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.