I'd forgotten that CWM's Advent theme this year is "Preparing the Way of Peace" until I picked up a bulletin.
Prelude and Silent Meditation:
"Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty."
-Bishop Oscar Romero
Call to Worship: "Kindle a Flame"
Lighting of the Advent Candle: Peace in Our World
One: On this first Sunday of Advent, we pray for peace in our world. Let us pray for those places and situations in the world where we long for God's peace.
Name aloud or in silence your prayers for the peace of the world.
All: O God, we pray that you might make us instruments of your peace;
where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Opening Hymn: "Blessed Be the God of Israel"
Scripture Lesson: Isaiah 2:1-5
Special Music: a song Trelawney wrote based on Isaiah 40 ("Comfort, O Comfort")
Contemporary Lesson: God Inside Me by Rev. Kelvin Sauls
Reflection: Tiffany opened with talking about longing, and then segued into talking about World AIDS Day, and how 25 million have died of AIDS and 38 million are living with AIDS. She talked about how Advent is a season of waiting, and how it's difficult sometimes, that our God makes us wait so long. She said that William Self, a Baptist minister, said Advent is like the quiet hush in the theatre before the curtain goes up. That it is an inevitable and sure promise. She quoted Arundhati Roy: "Not only is another world possible, She is on her way" She returned to Self, saying he also likened Advent to plants in the winter or to pregnancy, a time of growth though a time of waiting, saying that gestation always precedes celebration. And that how we wait matters.
Call to Prayer: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" (v. 1)
Prayers of the People
A Prayer for World AIDS DAY (written by the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church):
As a worshiping community, we have been challenged by such a moment as this! A moment when we know we are living with AIDS and that we are loved and affirmed. A moment in which we can offer compassion to those with AIDS and HIV. A moment where we can sit and comfort those who suffer illness or grieve loss. A moment when we stand in solidarity with the care partners, health care workers, and researchers as they continue their diligent labor. A moment and an opportunity to be with all those who are ill with any disease. Those worried, fearful or weary. Those carrying others in prayer. In this moment: We all stand in need of God's healing.
Doxology: "Let There by Peace on Earth"
That hymn has the line "Let this be the moment now," and so in her invitation to the Passing of the Peace, Tiffany said, "Now is the moment."
Hymn: "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace"
Closing Hymn: "Behold a Broken World"
Benediction: "Dona Nobis Pacem" (not entirely the tune I'd gotten familiar with from CHPC)
In the post-dinner study group on the lectionary text, Tiffany asked us for our visions of peace. Marla said isn't it frightening that Peace feels so impossible that she can't think of anything besides caricatures of rainbows and puppies and rivers of Kool-Aid. In the discussion that followed, she(?) mentioned the polarization of opinions. I suggested that maybe that was one way we could work toward peace, working to reduce the polarization, to engage in respectful dialogue with people with whom we disagree. This was well-received.
Later, David mentioned what do you with situations where it seems like the only way to stop violence is with violence, like the Nazis in the Holocaust, what do you do with situations where someone deeply believes that life begins at conception and that abortion clinics are thus performing murders. We didn't really get into this, but I was glad that it was brought up because those are two kinds of problematic twists on nonviolence etc. which I think of a lot, and I think he presented them better than I would have.