December 18, 2022

Liturgy, Reflection, Benediction 2022.12.18

Let us pray.

Beloved church family,
let this morning be a time of slowing.
Let us find a moment to pause and rest,
to practice patience and experience peace.
May our liturgy today be a healing balm
for the busyness of this season.

Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation.
We see the darkness and feel the cold,
but also, we have the light and warmth to come.

And behold what awaits us!
God is here, God is present,
God came to earth to be among us,
to bring about God’s vision of
peace and restoration.

Let us treasure this time together.

On this final Sunday of Advent,
we light the fourth candle for love.
In the name of God, the Creator,
of Christ, the Risen One,
and of the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life.
Amen.

Scripture Reading

We invite you to hear from the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-25.

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly.

20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.”

24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he dis as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had given birth to a son, and he named him Jesus.

The Good News of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.

Homily and Reflection

Homily Podcast – Dreaming of a Just Love 12.18.2022

How is Jesus being “with us” an anchor through imperfections and surprises this season?

Is there someone you might respond differently to in light of God’s Love?

What’s awakened and unsettled in you as you move with God through the certainty of the status quo to the creative unfolding of God’s Just Love?

Benediction

Let us leave with a benediction.

Vox family, as you leave today,
may you be surrounded by love –

Love that gives you strength to face
deep divisions and disagreements.
Love that shows you kindness when
you admit that you’re wrong.

Love that covers over your judgement
so that you are free to pass this love to your
neighbors, families, coworkers, and friends.

May this love empower you to forgive –
not just those who have wronged you,
but also yourselves, for as much as we
can love, we have been shown a love
that is a thousand times greater.

So go now in the name
of God, the Creator,
of Christ, the Risen One,
and of the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life.
Amen.

Go in peace, and live the church.
May you find community and belonging this week.

[ Photo by José Ignacio PompéHire ]

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