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Trinity United Church
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Advent 2

“Connection not Perfection”


Rev David: May the peace of Christ be with you.

Welcome to Trinity United Church in Port Coquitlam, BC.
We are so grateful that you have chosen to spend some time with us, we are glad you are here. 

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Acknowledgement of Territory 
Much of what we know as the Northwest Coast of North America was occupied by the Coast Salish Peoples. The territory where Trinity United Church of Port Coquitlam resides is the unceded territory of the Kwikwetlem First Nations. Our acknowledgement of unceded traditional territory is a first step in reconciliation between settler cultures and indigenous peoples and the decolonization of western systems that continue to oppress and exploit indigenous peoples and land. The work of reconciliation is daunting. The work of reconciliation will not be ours to complete, but neither is it ours to abandon. 

Let us prepare our hearts and minds for worship.

Prelude: “Welcome Home Video”    CLICK HERE

Lighting of the Advent Candles

Last week we lit the candle of Hope, reminded that hope is a deep trust that Advent may begin in the threat of violence, but it ends with the joy of new creation. This week we light the candle of peace.
Peace should not be confused with the absence of conflict.
The Roman “Peace” was maintained by the constant threat of violence.
The Peace promised in Advent is something bigger. Advent Peace includes satisfaction for the ailing, justice for the oppressed, inclusion of the marginalized, and comfort to the bereaved. 
Advent Peace calls each of us to do what is right, though it may be difficult, painful or frightening.
As we light the second candle of Advent, may we hear the call to participate in genuine peace.

[The second blue candle is lit]

*2021 WorshipCollective

Sung Response: “Open Our Eyes”

Open our eyes 
to the wonder of the season,
0pen our hearts to your peace
God of the universe
we are dust within such vastness
God of the baby,
stars and angels sing your praises.
Open our hearts to your hope, God.
Open our hearts to your peace.
Open our hearts to your joy, God,
and open our hearts to your love.*

*copyright 2021 WorshipCollective

Opening Prayer:

Come, long expected One,
Bless our worship with your presence.
Open our hearts to receive your peace.
Bless our hands to make your peace for others.

Hymn: “There’s a Voice in the Wilderness Calling” VU 18

Reconciliation Meditation

Even during a pandemic, we are beginning a season that can quickly become overwhelmingly busy and full with preparations, events, concerts, visits, and to-dos. Added to that traditional busy-ness is a new anxiety around the pandemic, financial stability, and ecological crisis. Now is a time for us to make some space to receive the gift that God wants us to receive, the gift of peace. Remembering that Advent Peace is a call to do what is right for all to experience justice and comfort, I invite you to slow down for a moment with me. Maybe take a few deep cleansing breaths. Maybe close your eyes or just let them rest half-lidded. And imagine a felt sense of God’s peace. What might peace feel like to you? Imagine the physical sensation of being peaceful. Imagine what peace feels like and hold on to that feeling. Breathe into that feeling and let it grow and be refined into a pure peace. This is the gift God is preparing you to receive. I am going to read a line from scripture. Then we are going to sit with God’s gift for us for a few minutes. If you feel your thought’s are getting busy again, simply repeat the words from scripture silently to yourself and return to this pure gift.

Luke 1:7c “…prepare his ways.”


“…prepare his ways.” Amen.


The Story: 

The Story of Zechariah

I’ve been in ministry for 18 years now. And every year, I get to the Second Sunday of Advent and I ask my congregation, “Who is Zechariah?” and we proceed to piece the story of Zechariah together as a community. Now, the last two years, that’s been difficult because Zoom doesn’t led itself to that kind of interaction. So I’ll just have to tell the story.

Zechariah was a priest in the Great Temple in Jerusalem. It was his turn on the Holy Day to go into the Holy of Holies and listen for the word of God. Now the word of God had not been heard in many many years. But when Zechariah entered the Holy of Holies, an Angel appeared to him.

Zechariah freaked out, he was terrified. But the angels said, “Do not be afraid, your prayers have been heard. You wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son and you will name him John. You will have great joy and gladness and many will rejoice when he is born. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will call people to turn away from their evil ways and to come back to following God. He will prepare a way for the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One you’ve all been praying and waiting for who will set Israel free.”

Zechariah responded, “How can this be? I’m old, and my wife is old! We can't have children."

And the Angel said, “Because you don’t believe me, I’m going to make you mute and deaf until what I’ve said happens, then you will know it is true.”

Everyone outside the Temple was waiting for Zechariah to come out to tell them if God had anything to say this year, but when Zechariah came out, he couldn’t speak or hear.

Well, Elizabeth did conceive and she did give birth to a son and since Zechariah couldn’t speak, she named the baby boy, “John.” And that’s when Zechariah regained his hearing and his voice.

And Zechariah sang the song we are about to sing. We call it the Canticle of Zechariah.

Canticle of Zechariah VU 901

Reading: Luke 3:1-6 Video, WorshipCollective    CLICK HERE

Hymn: “All Earth is Waiting” VU 5  CLICK HERE


Holy One,
prepare in us a way for Our Lord.
Fill in the valleys.
Lower the hills and mountains
Make smooth the rough ways,
that a way may be made in us
for the Good News
of your presence among us.
In the name of the awaited one,
we pray. Amen.

In the fourth year of the government of Justin Trudeau, when John Horgan was premier of British Columbia, and Brad West was Mayor of Port Coquitlam, while a plague continued to ravage the peoples of the earth and waters flooded the Fraser Valley, the word of God comes to us:

"Shop to exhaustion!
Spend money you don't have!
Make yourselves so busy you don't have time for prayer or reflection;
produce astronomical amounts of waste by way of packaging and wrapping;
and of course, eat and drink yourselves into a coma..."

This is NOT the word of the Lord.
This is NOT what God wants for us.

What our secular culture has done with Christmas is a mockery of how Christ would have us be in the world.

Today the readings rehears the origin story of John the Baptizer. It's Year C of the Lectionary so we are hearing from the Gospel of Luke. And Luke's Gospel doesn't start with the birth of Jesus, but with the announcement and birth of John the Baptizer. The two stories of John and Jesus are intertwined in Luke's Gospel, but John's story usually gets pushed aside in our rush to get to Christmas.

But this is Advent, and Advent isn't Christmas. Advent is about preparing for the end of the old world so that the new world, God's reign, can begin.

So we hear of the miraculous birth of John. John's father, Zechariah, was a priest in the Temple and his mother, according to Zechariah, was too old to have children. And yet, she conceives and bears Zechariah a son.

We don't know anything about John's upbringing, or his youth or if he ever even met his cousin Jesus... in a week or so, we will hear how John leapt in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary came to see her, indicating that the unborn John recognized the unborn Jesus as the Messiah. However, we are told that in adulthood, John had difficulty identifying Jesus.

In Adulthood, John had difficulty recognizing Jesus as the Messiah because Jesus wasn't quite the Messiah John thought he'd be.

John expects the Messiah to raise up an army and bring hell, fire and brimstone down on the Romans and all the other unrepentant sinners in the ancient world. And that isn't how Jesus does it.

John proclaims the words of the prophet Isaiah, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

Isaiah, who wrote those words, was speaking out in Babylon, during the exile. The Babylonians had a religious rite where giant stone statues of fertility Gods were taken on parade through the city streets and the country side, making the fields fertile for sowing seed. And a way literally had to be made for these giant statues. It was a huge public work preparing the roads for the passage of the huge statues. The valleys had to be leveled, the pot holes filled in, the bends straightened out. Isaiah uses that image to prepare the people for their liberation from captivity in Babylon. For Isaiah, preparing for the Messiah is a massive public work.

Luke's John adopts Isaiah's words. This is the kind of massive overhaul that needs to be done to prepare for the coming of the Anointed One. We aren't talking about washing the floors and a fresh coat of paint. We're talking about demolition and rebuilding. And it isn't something that individuals take on alone. Preparing for the coming of the Anointed One of God is a massive public work.

And, we need to remember, its a public work that favors the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, and the captive. We aren't evicting the unemployed, gentrifying the slums and hiking up the rent. The point of the public work is to raise up the lowly, give light to those who sit in darkness, and to guide our feet in the way of peace.

John proclaims a baptism of repentance. If we will remember, repent means "turn your lives around to live how God wants us to live." Advent preparation is about turning our lives around, not just as individuals, but as a community to build together a world that honours the one we worship.

To prepare for the reign of God:
our public works need to honour unwed mothers and children
our public works need to honour refugees and the underemployed
our public works need to honour people of colour (Jesus wasn't white)
our public works need to honour people with addiction and mental illness
our public works need to honour the people who were here before us

In the fourth year of the government of Justin Trudeau, when John Horgan is premier of British Columbia, and Brad West Mayor of Port Coquitlam, while a plague continues to ravage the peoples of the earth and waters flood the Fraser Valley... may the word of God come to us. And may we prepare a way in the wildnerness that honours the Living Christ. Amen.

Special Music: with David Rogers



 Our ministry at Trinity United Church is made possible with your generous gifts and service. Thank you.  

Let us pray:

Holy One, Bless our gifts that they may bring peace.
Not a peace that is merely the absence of violence,
but a genuine peace that brings comfort to the afflicted,
justice to the oppressed, and joy to the bereaved.
In the name of the awaited one, we pray. Amen. 

Prayers of the People:

Holy One, hear us as we give thanks and pray for your world and your people.
Today we give thanks for your gifts, O God:
    for family and friends;
    for the joys of life and the greater joy of celebrating together;
    for baptism, the outward sign of an inward journey of 
    and for your love, which makes these and all things possible.

God of Peace, as we anticipate Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey of long ago, we remember the promise of restoration that you made to them and all your people and we pray:
    for prisoners of conscience, especially women who are targeted 
and silenced;
    for those who, like John, proclaim truth in the face of oppression;
    and for those who speak peace in the midst of violence.
God of Mercy, transform your world with your love.

O God, who seeks relationship with and for us, on this day we pray:
    for those who will spend parts or all of this season alone;
    for those in care home and hospital;
    for our loved ones who live now in your eternal joy.
God of heaven and earth, of fulfillment and promise, heal us we pray.

God of life, open our hearts that we might receive you and hear your voice. 
Open us to the possibility of true change, in us and in others.
Remind us of your promise, made again to every generation of your enduring love.

We pray these things in the name of the One who comes, Jesus Christ.*

*2021 WorshipCollective

Disciples’ Prayer: “Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother”  CLICK HERE


Hymn: “O Holy City, Seen of John” VU 709

Sending Forth: 
Let’s go from this place today…
trusting [fold your hands over your heart]
in the voice of God, [hand over your mouth]
whispered in the soft brush of wings [sweep hands high and down like wings]
in the hand of Christ, [hold out one hand]
offering to help [hold out the other hand]
when we feel small [hug yourself, bow your head]
trusting [hands over your heart]
in the power of the Holy Spirit [flex your arm muscles]
that reminds us of a bigger story [sweep arms overhead]
Let us go in peace [fold hands over heart]

*2021 WorshipCollective