Peace Sunday 2014 - Worship Resources

We invite you to celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent (Peace Sunday) with us as "On Earth Peace Sunday" beginning this year. This page has worship resources (including a downloadable "Moment in Mission" bulletin insert) you can use for observing this day with your congregation. If you want donation envelopes for a special offering, please call or email Darlene at 410-635-8707 orInfo@OnEarthPeace.org and tell her how many you need.

Thank you, and Blessed Advent. He is coming!


Anticipating Peace

Come for worship:

Come for worship, expecting the miracle of God's coming.

Come for worship, anticipating the peace the psalmist carols.

Come for worship, awaiting the birth of Christ.

Come for worship, participating in this celebration of Advent.

Come for worship.  Come.

Lighting the Candle of Peace: 

Single Reader Version

As we light the Second Advent candle we pray,

May Christ's birth bring the light of peace into our hearts, into our families, into our congregation, into our community & into the world

and we especially pray for ____________________.

Wherever there is fear or brokenness, may Christ's light shine.  Amen.

Responsive Version

One: As we light the second Advent candle, we pray:

May Christ's birth bring the light of peace into our hearts.

Lower voices: Where there is fear or brokenness, bring the light!

One: May Christ's birth bring the light of peace into our homes.

Children/younger: Where there is fear or brokenness, bring the light!

One: May Christ's birth bring the light of peace into our congregation.

Board/Leadership: Where there is fear or brokenness, bring the light!

One: May Christ's birth bring the light of peace into our community.

Higher voices: Where there is fear or brokenness, bring the light!

Leader: May Christ's birth bring the light of peace into world.

All: Where there is fear or brokenness, bring the light! AMEN

advent candles

Consider these words from scripture and the following reflection:

"Someone is shouting in the desert, 'Get the road ready for the Lord; make a straight path for him to travel.'"  --Mark 1:3, Isaiah 40:3

My spouse and I will soon be celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary - just a few months after our older child and spouse celebrated their first and a few years after our younger child started college.  Our nest is now empty.  And the nearly 10,000 days we've been together seemed to go by in about 26 minutes.  On April 14, 2014 nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria.  Not even 300 days have passed, and yet it feels like 1000 years.

When the persecuted first Christians become restless awaiting Christ's return, Peter tells them, "with the Lord one day is like a 1000 years, and 1000 years are like one day.  The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you...in accordance with his promise, we wait for a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness is at home." 

It's hard to wait for the good stuff when we're in the middle of the bad stuff.  In the meantime, John the Baptist cries, "Prepare the way of the Lord!"  Isaiah says, "Comfort my people" and promises, "He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep."  The Psalmist proclaims,

...He will speak peace to his people,

To his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,....

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;

Righteousness and peace will kiss each other.

Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,

And righteousness will look down from the sky.

The LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.

Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.

Good things are surely coming, even if they aren't here yet!   That is our hope.  That is our vision.  May it be so.

(See Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8)

A moment in mission for On Earth Peace Sunday:

What does it mean to "Prepare the way of the Lord" in our day? How do we "make his paths straight" in our lives and communities? How do we live into the baptism of the Spirit?

The simple answer of heaven to these questions is ever the same: "Peace on earth, good will to all."

The people living in Palestine in Jesus' time had a much richer word for peace in their language:

"Shalom ... means at one and the same time-relief from oppression and suffering, overflowing life, both in terms of fulfillment of potential and plenitude of health and well-being, and smiling relationships between people within community." Jesus Christ, Peacemaker: A New Theology of Peace, Terrence J. Rynne (Orbis Books, 2014).

On Earth Peace invites you to join in the peace that bears good will-in this holiday season, and throughout the coming year. We invite you to:

  • Listen with us to the voices of those who are excluded from full participation in our churches and communities because of race, gender, class, or other identity.
  • Learn with us about how to do our part in undoing centuries of white privilege and racial oppression with our Anti-Racism Transformation Team.
  • Lead with us in protecting our nation's children from the age inappropriate risks of military marketing with our Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign.
  • Follow with us in helping every church "to live and teach as Jesus lived and taught" with our Living Peace Church, Community of Practice.
  • Serve with us in developing youth leaders for nonviolent social change and conflict transformation with our Agape-Satyagraha Training and student internship programs. 

We are grateful for your financial support in this season of giving and throughout the year. We value even more your personal and congregational participation in this work of peace.

He is coming! Prepare the way! Shalom ba'olam. 

Join in Prayer:

Dear God,

Help us to wait together for your new life.

Help us to wait together when we grieve.

Help us to wait together for your new life.

Help us to wait together when we hurt from broken relationships.

Help us to wait together for your new life.

We wait with the angels who knew that Christ's birth brought peace.

Help us to wait together for your new life.

We wait with Mary who knew that Christ's birth brought equality.

Help us to wait together for your new life.

God, be active in our innermost being.

Spirit, may your power come to life.

Christ, be born within and among us.

Amen

As you depart:

May God be with us as we wait through the Advent darkness

May God bring new life within us to its full growth 

May we be with God as she stirs in our hearts and bellies

Christ will be born anew in my home 

Christ will be born anew in my neighborhood

Christ will be born anew in our world

May Christ be born anew in me

May I be born anew in Christ  

We wait in mystery and darkness

Let there be peace.