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4023 VT Route 15
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posted on December 08
Secon Sunday of Advent, December 8, 2019
Worship Leaders: Pastor Michael Thorpe and Rev. Pat Thompson (due to Pastor Mike going to Binghamville)
*Please stand as you are able
GATHERING AND PRELUDE: Bringing in the Light of Christ
CALL TO WORSHIP
L: God’s Spirit has led us here.
P: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is PEACE.
L: God’s Spirit has led us here.
P: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is HOPE.
L: God’s Spirit has led us here.
P: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is JOY.
L: God’s Spirit has led us here.
P: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LOVE.
L: There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in the place,
ALL: And we know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord!
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND CELEBRATIONS
*OPENING HYMN: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” UMH#211
LIGHTING THE ADVENT WREATH – HOPE CANDLE
Reader 1: Every journey faces the unknown. And anxiety can sometimes overwhelm us. There is too much to do; our lists are long; our calendars are filled up; we worry that something will go wrong, or we won’t end up in the right place or take the right route. Getting lost is a real possibility on a journey. And yet. We claim hope for the journey, because we follow the one who will travel with us and sustain us on the way.
Reader 2: Isaiah says that there is one who is to come who will be the fulfillment of all our hope. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on this one, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. We place our hope in this one.
Reader 1: We light the candles of peace and of hope to give us strength for the journey. (Light two candles on the wreath – the blue one in front and the one behind it.)
Reader 2: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that God may teach us the ways of peace and hope.
P: Come, o come, Immanuel!
ADVENT PRAYER (in unison)
Loving God made flesh — as we rush through the days of Advent busy about many things – our minds full, our hearts racing, our bodies weary, from the mad pursuit to prepare for Christmas, slow us down, wake us up, open our eyes to see you right here, right now in front of us in the lines of traffic we want to rush past. in the preparations we want to finish. in the people we want to move out of our way in order to meet you — who has already come to this place, to this moment right here right now – Love made flesh, dwelling among us. We pray through Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen (Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar)
WORD AND RESPONSE (Please remain seated)
Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10
Hymn: “Soon and Very Soon” UMH#706
Gospel Lesson: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
When I was a young teenager, our summers were spent on either weekly trips to Ogunquit, on the Maine coast, or to Sturbridge Village, in Massachusetts.
Almost every weekend saw the same drill: long before dawn, Mom would roust us out of bed and start packing up lunches and hustling us out to the car. If we delayed that early arousal, Dad would get us out of bed. That didn't have to happen too many times for us to learn the first option was truly the preferred one.
We didn't worry about breakfast too much; dad always stopped at a diner shortly after we got into Maine and picked up a dozen donuts. We got to choose our own donuts, a dozen usually meant two each.
Getting to that donut shop was the issue. Our typical drive took us up route 13, north to route 101 then east to route 1 and the Maine coast. All of those roads back then were twisty, town to town roads. It was rare that the car went over 45 so that drive took FOREVER! All of us kids started calling out: “Are we there yet!?” long before we reached our first break stop.
As the oldest, I was taller than the other three and sat in the front seat with mom and dad, so I didn't ask that question very often. Dad would swat me one any time I did so I left that question to my younger sibs. Besides, once we got rolling, they would all fall asleep until we were almost there anyway.
That donut stop became very special. Dad always needed a couple of cigarettes by that time. Once my brothers and I finished our donuts, we scurried up the hill to explore. There was what looked like a desert at the top of the hill with tiny red pines that looked like cactus. Later in the summer, there were an amazing number of blueberries to pick as hardly anyone ever climbed up that hill for the same reward.
We are waiting for the birth of Jesus. Isaiah 'twas foretold it. That bit of scripture about the lion laying down with the lamb and the branch coming from the root of Jesse. That was long before Jesus.
In Matthew, we find that voice crying out in the wilderness many years after Jesus birth. He isn't warning the Sadducees and Pharisees about the birth, Jesus is already here. John is his cousin, knows he is already here. John has been waiting in the Jordan river, baptizing those who wish to repent, waiting for Jesus to come and take His turn in the Jordan.
John's message is a tough one. It is the same one Jesus will bring but somewhat more pointed. He directs his comments directly to the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the selfrighteous. John reminds them that he is not there to baptize the already saved.
John is there to offer repentance through baptism. He warns the Sadducees and Pharisees that they still need to bear good works after the baptism. He lets them know that Jesus is about to fill his sandals and lead all to the heavenly kingdom, if they will but sacrifice their wants for the way of the Lord.
John is setting an example for the people to follow. He is dressed in rags, eating bugs and drinking honey. I imagine he was quite a sight. And yet, people came to him. They came to be baptized, they came to hear of the coming king.
Are we there yet? Children in this country have had their noses pressed against the windows for a couple of weeks now. Sparkling lights, Christmas trees, reindeer, Santa and sleighs abound. As each day gets darker earlier and earlier and the snow flies, children ask: “are we there yet?”. John, in the wilderness asks the same question.
Laurie and I have driven the 401 in Southern Canada three times now. Not the whole thing mind you, just the bit that runs along the thousand islands and the north shore of lake Ontario, then between lake Erie and Lake Huron to the Michigan border. The 401 is the longest toll free road in North America.
The terrain is pretty flat. There are rare glimpses of the southern great lakes and Toronto seems to go on for some forty or fifty miles. The road is endless. Laurie and I have each asked “Are we there yet?”. That question usually ends up in a pit stop. I think four or five of those and an overnight are usually required before we near the end of our journey.
Advent is here. The birth is coming. “Are we there yet?” takes on new meanings. Have we been doing God's work? Have we been loving the Lord with all our heart, all our strength and all our mind? Have we been acting kindly, doing justice and walking humbly with our God?
It is those last three that John is asking of the Sadducees and Pharisees. They consider themselves Holy and righteous but have they been doing the work that Micah has simplified to three easy steps: act kindly, do justice and walk humbly with our God.
During this advent season, are we doing the same thing. Are we doing as Micah has suggested, or are we judging others' placement in society as somehow being unworthy of God's love? Are we going to bed each day confident in the knowledge that we have fulfilled Jesus one commandment to us? “Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 13:34, paraphrased).
Are we there yet?
In Your blessed and Holy name we pray. Amen
Hymn: “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” UMH#216
Offering Prayer (in unison)
Loving God, you are trustworthy and kind to all who seek you. Thank you for comforting us when we are afraid about what the future may bring. Send us patience through your Spirit so that we will cheerfully bear with one another as a community of faith. Help us to grow in wisdom as we wait for your purposes to be fulfilled in the world. Accept our offerings in Jesus’ name. Amen. (2 Peter 3:8-15a)
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS
The Lord’s Prayer
L: People of God, we wait with hope; we wait with courage; we wait with joy unspeakable, full of glory; we wait with the assurance that The Liberator will come in power, in justice, and in peace. Go now, trusting and believing that it is so . . . in the name of Jesus, the Christ!
Closing Response: “Bind Us Together” TFWS#2226
We are led this morning by
Michael Thorpe and Rev. Pat Thompson
you may call/text Pastor Mike at 802-355-9574
Worship Leaders: Michael Thorpe and Pat Thompson
Musician: Pat Thompson
Usher: Vernon Thompson
Reader: Greg McElroy
Reader Next Week: Linda Martin
"Prayer is not a substitute for action;
it is an action for which there is no substitute."
Mayerling Anderson Josh Ducharme Sabrena Ducharme Craig Lawson Nikki Ducharme Louise Thorpe Arlo Sterner Alice Martin Arthur Hooper Marilyn Blow Nathanial McElroy Judy Ward Angel and Royce Dunn Mary Daniels & Family James and DeeDee Clark
Marlene Bodeen Ellen Cleaves Janet Lanphear Family of Carol Paine
The next Tuesday night meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 17, at 6:00p.m. – place to be determined. Everyone is invited to join us. We will be studying chapter four of Journey to Bethlehem.
There will be a short meeting following worship to finalize plans for our Christmas Candlelighting Service and our Christmas giving,
If you plan to have flowers in the sanctuary during the Advent season or for our Christmas Candlelighting Service, please fill out the enclosed form and return it to Rev. Pat by Sunday, December 15.
The Bishop will be on the District at Hedding UMC in Barre from 1-4pm on this coming Saturday. All lay people are encouraged to attend.
Visiting hours for Carol Paine will be held at the funeral home from 2-4pm on Saturday, December 14.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.