Call to Worship
L: To Anna and Simeon, devout and righteous people, who longed to for peace in the world, God revealed the Messiah
All: the child destined for the falling and the rising of many and who will be a sign that will be opposed.
L: Anna and Simeon found peace at last in the promise fulfilled. For their eyes have seen the salvation of the Lord in the child named Jesus.
All: A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to the people of Israel.
L: Let us gather around that light and be transformed by the light into people who love justice and mercy and seek peace for all.
All: Jesus Christ is the Light of the World and the Prince of Peace for all people.
Song – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (v.1,2, 6,7) – UMH 211
O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, thou Wisdom from on high, and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show and cause us in her ways to go.
O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by thy justice here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
O come, Desire of nations bind all peoples in one heart and mind.
From dust thou brought us forth to life; deliver us from earthly strife.
Advent Candle Lighting
L: In Isaiah 11:9, the prophet declares, they will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea. We light this candle as a sign of hope that truth will prevail, justice be done for all people and peace will come. (light 2nd purple candle) As we pray and work for truth, compassion and justice, near and far.
All: Risen Christ, Light of the world, shine in our lives and shine among us now.
(all) God of justice, you sent your servant Esther into a life of privilege so that those without would be taken care of. In our privilege, show us how to advocate for those who have less, so that your world might be peaceful and just. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
Scripture Reading – Esther 4:1-17
When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went through the city, wailing with a loud and bitter cry; he went up to the entrance of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. In every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and most of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
When Esther’s maids and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed; she sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth; but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what was happening and why. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and charge her to go to the king to make supplication to him and entreat him for her people.
Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. Then Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him a message for Mordecai, saying, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—all alike are to be put to death. Only if the king holds out the golden scepter to someone, may that person live. I myself have not been called to come in to the king for thirty days.” When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
L: For the Word of God in scripture; for the Word of God within us and for the Word of God among us we say:
All: Thanks be to God.
Song – Hark the Glad Sound
Hark, the glad sound! The Savior comes, the Savior promised long;
Let every heart prepare a throne and every voice a song.
He comes, the prisoners to release in Satan’s bondage held;
the gates of brass before him burst, the iron fetters yield.
He comes the broken heart to bind, the bleeding soul to cure.
And with the treasures of his grace to enrich the humble poor.
Our glad hosanas, Prince of Peace, thy welcome shall proclaim;
and heaven’s eternal arches ring with thy beloved name.
Message – Pastor Gayle
Our Offering – Service, prayers, witness, time and resources
Doxology – Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow UMH 95
Prayer of Confession – UMH 8
Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will, we have broken your law, we have rebelled against your love, we have not loved our neighbors, and we have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray. Free us for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
P: in the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven
All: In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven! Glory to God. Amen.
Holy Communion – UMH 9
P: The Lord be with you
All: And also with you
P: Lift up your hearts
All: We lift them up to the Lord
P: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
All: It is right to give our thanks and our praise.
P: And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
All: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
P: as we proclaim the mystery of faith
All: Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen.
Sharing the Bread and Cup
Christ invites to his table all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to live in peace with one another to receive the sacrament of the bread and cup.
Song – I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light – UMH 206
Kathleen Thomerson CCLI#89848
I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world. The star of my life is Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
I want to see the brightness of God. I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of Righteousness, shine on my path, and show me the way to the Father.
I’m looking forward for the coming of Christ. I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race, we shall know the joy of Jesus.
The Way of Discipleship
Growing in Grace through study:
Sundays following worship. The Deeply Formed Life by Rich Villodas.
Growing in Grace through fellowship and more:
Welcome Table every Second Sunday 11:30 am. Come and share a meal and conversation.
Friday with Friends every Third Friday 11am in Narthex. Bring bag lunch. December 16th.
Growing in Grace through intercessory prayer:
Prayer group meets Mondays at 6pm on Zoom. All are welcome to join in prayer. Please send or share prayer concerns with Pastor Gayle.
Prayer Shawls: You may have noticed the throws on the chairs in the narthex. These were made by our own Prayer Shawl ministry. These “shawls” represent prayer and hugs for people in need. If this describes you or yours, please take one.
Growing in Grace through service:
A.C.T.S Food Pantry: Canned vegetables 15 oz size, low sodium canned vegetables, snack items, individually packed, Pop-top canned prepared meals suitable for our homeless clients, single serve prepared food suitable for our homeless clients, laundry detergent, dish detergent, cleaning supplies in general, toiletries and personal hygiene items, size 4T pull-ups, size 6 diapers, dog food.
Clothing for Featherstone School: small and medium size sweatpants in blue, gray or black.
You shop, AmazonSmile donates. Shop at smile.amazon.com to generate donations for Cokesbury UMC at no extra cost.
Please keep in prayer: Charles Crist, Kyle Keen and family, Drabcyzk family, Caesar, Barbie, Kaye, Charline, Valerie Hoyt, Millie, Mary Baker, Donna and Roshier Bailey, Mary Jane Fizer, Deirdre and John, Louise and Mark Young, Jane Foster, Claire Such-Hutton, Marian Ivy, Ellen and Carlos Kuvaszko, Al Firth, Margaret Franklin, Hallman family, Debbie, Lilli, Ollie, Linda, Chrissie, Toye, Wenona, people living with cancer, battling addictions, struggling with life changes, seeking the Lord. The ministry of Cokesbury. Featherstone School students, teachers, staff, parents.
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Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 4pm.