I was folding the bulletins, and there was also "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." After the opening verse and refrain, each verse is delineated:
Dec. 3, Advent 1, Love
Dec. 10, Advent 2, Peace
Dec. 17, Advent 3, Hope and Joy
I said to Laura Ruth, "Isn't the first Sunday in Advent Hope?" She said yeah. I said I wasn't sure if maybe there was some denominational differentiation -- but that Ari was pretty clear that the first Sunday is "Hope" and she grew up UCC.
I also saw in the bulletin that we were doing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." I made some comment about being excited about that because I love that hymn and neither of my churches had done it the previous Sunday -- and was informed that they're doing it every Sunday during Advent. I was like, "Really? Because I would totally go to church here if that's true." Thom said, "You already go to this church," and I said, "I come here on Wednesday evenings but I'm usually going to church elsewhere on Sunday mornings."
We did the Call to Worship (that "Advent Gathering" hymn) as cantor/congregation
Cantor: Here in this world where darkness surrounds us
Congregation: Show us your face, O promise of dawn
Cantor: We seek a sign that you are among us
Congregation: Show us your face, O Lord Jesus, come
Refrain: Come, O hope of your people
Come among us and stay
Lead us in mercy, up from the shadows
Shine in our darkness, be here today
We did the opening verse (and refrain) of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" plus the "O come, Thou Day-Spring, from on high" verse, and then Keith did the Sacred Text reading, and then we all sang the refrain.
The Sacred Text was the "Prologue" to the Gospel of John (Chapter 1, Verses 1-5) -- unobtrusively gender-neutral, but with "night" instead of "darkness," which threw me (but I forgot to ask by the time service was over). When Laura Ruth reiterated the end bit during her Reflection, she said "darkness" and a la Ari I was all, "And the darkness shall not overcome it, and..." following the "And the darkness has not overcome it."
In the Reflection, Laura Ruth talked about the light that we carry inside of us and how that light gets occluded.
For the closing hymn we sang first 3 verses of "Silent Night" (Sleep in heavenly peace / Christ, the Savior is born / Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth).
Afterward, I asked Laura Ruth why were singing "Silent Night" during Advent.
She said it's a really pretty song and she likes it... and it's about night.
I said I figured as much -- though Advent is also eschatalogical and we talk about the Reign of God as being both "already" and "not yet," and Advent is a weird thing because we are anticipating an event that has already happened.
According to the front lawn board, last Sunday's sermon was "Room in the Inn: Closets."
I came home to the newsletter (yes, I am on their mailing list).
Sun. Dec. 7 -- Sermon: "Making Room in the Inn: Relationships and Grudges"
And Sun. Dec. 14, Laura Ruth is preaching ("Making Room in the Inn: Spiritual Purpose").
And from the announcements in the bulletin:
They're doing Advent Outreach tables ("Volunteers are needed to help with set-up, clean-up, passing out cider and ornaments, and singing/playing Christmas carols.") Thurs. Dec. 4 & 11 from 5-7pm. I was all excited about this (and recalled being excited about it last year, though I never actually went -- possibly because I didn't walk home that way? or maybe it was a different day and I had class?) and yet managed to totally not notice the actual dates and thus while walking up College Ave. talking on my cell phone was surprised to see them across the street from me in front of the church.