Peace: it’s something that most people hope to experience, but the lack of peace in our lives and in our world is never far from our attention.
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we will light the fourth Advent candle to represent the peace that Jesus brings into the world. Together, the four candles represent love, hope, joy, and peace – four things that are desperately needed in all places and at all times.
Here is a preview of this Sunday’s order of service, along with what each portion represents:
- Welcome/Announcements: We take care of the business of the church.
- Prayer: We acknowledge God’s presence among us and invite him to be attentive to our worship.
- “Our God”: We proclaim that God is more powerful than any other force in this world.
- Lighting of the Advent Candle: We reflect on Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who comes bringing ultimate peace into the world.
- “Silent Night”: We sing a favorite Christmas carol – one that speaks clearly of the peace Jesus brings.
- “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”: We sing another Christmas song that has a rich history of proclaiming God’s peace in the midst of earthly conflict. (Pastor David told the full story of this song back on Christmas Day 2011.)
- Responsive Reading (Luke 1:46-55): We read Mary’s song, in which the mother of Jesus celebrates the truth that God is stronger than all the rulers of this world.
- “It Is Well with My Soul”: We proclaim the profound truth that in Jesus, we can be at peace despite living in a broken, chaotic world.
- Offering: We give tithes and offerings to symbolize our full trust in God and to celebrate the peace he gives.
- “Change My Heart, O God”: We prepare for prayer by asking God to shape our hearts after his image – to make us at peace with him.
- Prayer: We listen for God’s voice as we lift our concerns to him.
- Special: We reflect on a musical selection that gets us thinking more about the nature of God’s peace.
- Scripture Reading (Isaiah 9:1-7): We hear the words of the ancient prophet who foretold the coming of a Prince of Peace.
- Scripture Reading (Matthew 5:14-16): We listen to Jesus’s words that call us to shine our light so all people can see Christ in us.
- Message (“Shining the Light”): We
- “I Surrender All”: We commit ourselves to pursue Jesus and his peace with our entire selves.
- Benediction: We receive a blessing as we depart and take up the work of making peace in our world.