Liturgy / Dec 3, 2017

CALL TO WORSHIP

We gather in the name of the Lord our God. He has established us as His people.
Let us magnify the Lord together.

He chose Mary, a humble servant, to bear great promise. Through her he revealed his kind intentions to the world.
Let us rejoice in God our Savior.

He shows mercy to those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has done great things for us.

He scatters the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he brings down the mighty from their thrones.
Holy is his name.

He exalts those of humble estate and fills the hungry with good things.
Holy is his name.

He helps his servants in remembrance of his mercy.
Holy is his name.

Christ will reign on the throne of his father David, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness forever. The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this.
This is Jesus, our King. Holy is his name.

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PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Father thank you that you are a God who put on flesh, in kinship with your creation. We pray for the whole people of God hidden in Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

For believers throughout the world who endure physical harm because they follow our Lord Jesus, shelter them this week; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For our elected leaders in federal, state and local positions; would they serve with understanding, humility, and generosity; God of all mercy... hear our prayer.

For those of us struggling under financial burdens; would we ask freely and give freely; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the children in our city who lack families, mentors, or support; would you parent them and provide for them; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For your Church in Chicago; would our attention for others be called love; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For us in the Advent season, as we wonder at your gift called Emmanuel; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

And for all who come to the feast of Jesus this morning, for the hearing of our ears, rejoicing of our minds, and stillness of our souls; God of all mercy... hear our prayer.

Gracious Father, these are our requests. We trust in your mercy made known through your Son, Jesus, Christ our Lord. Amen.


If you aim for real flourishing, there is nowhere more dangerous.
— Andy Crouch

When David was king in ancient Israel, the kingdom flourished. Enemies folded under his military leadership. And wealth soared. David recognized these great benefits and thanked God for them. But also he wondered why God had not yet directed the construction of a proper temple. The Ark of the Covenant, God's sacred dwelling, was still housed in a tent as it had been during Israel's nomadic years. Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Nathan: "When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son." David's son Solomon would go on to build a temple of God in Jerusalem. But that temple would fall and rise and fall again. Not until the arrival of God's Son Jesus, who was likewise the offspring of David, would a temple emerge that would rise and fall and rise again. God's eternal dwelling was not to be a structure of stone and cedar but a living body, impervious to death.


PRAYER OF CONFESSION

You have established a kingdom of adoration. There is no one like you, and there is no God besides you.
Lord, forgive our pride and unbelief. You are our king.

You have established a kingdom of promise. According to your heart, you have made us your people without condition.
Lord, forgive our fear and doubt. You are our love. 

You have established a kingdom of anticipation. Your light breaks into the darkness of the world, and darkness will not overcome it.
Lord, forgive our weariness and cynicism. You are our faith.

Teach us to long for your kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. Grant us the eager impatience of a child as we wait.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus. 

Remove our offense that your kingdom is established slowly and humbly. Grant us trust in the vulnerable baby and the crucified son.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Thank you that our connection to you is always at your side. Christ will reign on the throne of his father David, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness forever.
Thanks be to God. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.