December 4, 2016 – Advent 2

Links of Interest/Bibliography:
Text Week
Working Preacher
Stewardship of Life: Return, Rend & Receive

Hymn It Came Upon A Midnight Clear VU 44

Words of Welcome and Announcements
Welcome to St. Luke’s, a proud congregation of the United Church of Canada. If this is your first time with us, please be sure to come across the hall for coffee/tea and snacks after worship. We have visitor offering envelopes available from the greeters, as well as a “Welcome Brochure” outlining our contact information. If you have come looking to speak to someone, please be sure to find one of our Pastoral Care Volunteers wearing an “I am here to listen” nametag.

Lighting the Advent Wreath & Centering
Advent Chant (on the screen) Phil Porter

Call to Worship:
One: Two small flames flicker and grow. Reminding us to keep seeking hope, and that hope can grow into personal peace. When each of us nurtures our peace, it can’t help but grow.
All: A single candle offers us hope. Two candles inspire peace.

Hymn Ring a Bell for Peace VU 65

Opening Prayer:
We pray that this hour might be filled with peace and compassion. May your spirit’s presence surround us today and travel with us this week as we remember this time. Amen.

Theme Conversation The Jesse Tree: Another Seven Days
Spin Me A Story AGCS #17 v.1

Readings Joel 2:12-13, 28-29 (3:1-2)

Hymn Spirit, Spirit Gentleness VU 375

Reflection Visions & Dreams
Prophesy, visions and dreams.  Today’s gift from the lectionary reeks of peace.  Dreams come from ideals.  They are lofty and wishful.  Dreams still can be achievable, even if they are lofty. World Peace is lofty and wishful, but it’s probably more achievable than me becoming a millionaire.   Visions are dreams that come with some wisdom.  Having a vision about World Peace probably includes the knowledge that before you can have peace with others, you must have peace with yourself.  If you have your own internal conflict, how can you possibly be peaceful with others?  Prophecy is the public or vocal reminder that our dreams and visions need to be for the greater good.   We hear lots of prophetic voices on a regular basis:  advocates against child poverty and homelessness, mental health advocates, literacy advocates, lgbtq+ issues, and human rights issues.  We hear lots of “you’re doing it wrong” too, but let’s be clear: simply telling someone they are doing it wrong isn’t prophecy – that’s just getting in the way.

Bob and I have been watching a show all fall called “The Great Indoors”.  The main character in the show is a new supervisor to a group of people he simply doesn’t understand.  Sometimes he feels they are speaking another language.  He tells them they are wrong and often insinuates, if not outright says, they are stupid.  And he wonders why they have no faith in his leadership.  And it’s true.  They have great respect for him, but no faith that he has any idea about the world and what makes it tick.  In his mind, his underlings are so clueless about life in general, it is offensive to him.  I just want to sit him down and somehow find the words to explain to him that he’s never going to get anywhere using that kind of strategy.

Dreams, visions and prophecy, neither one of the three can be successful without the other two.  Dreams aren’t successful unless there’s a path to get there.  Visions and prophecy together supply that path.  Visions aren’t successful unless they are accompanied by the energy that dreams and prophecy supply.  And prophecy can’t be successful without the hope that comes from dreams and visions together.

A church is a community of people who work together on common dreams, visions and prophecies.  What are our dreams as a community of faith?  Do we have any visions?  Who are our prophets?  What are they saying? Are we ready to listen? Are we ready to share our wisdom? Are we ready to dream?

Hymn Spirit, Spirit Gentleness VU 375

Minute for Mission Brunswick St Executive Director Sandra Nicholas

Offering Invitation Peace is ours to share, it is up to us to find the best way to share it.

Offertory What Can I Do? MV 191

Offering Prayer May these gifts and those given through PAR inspire peace, in our congregation, in our community, and beyond. Amen

Prayer Music Make Me A Channel of Your Peace Music Ministry

Prayers of the People Heather Starr-Williams

Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing Hope Is A Candle Linnea Good

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