Trinity United Church
Sunday, November 28, 2021
“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.
If you are joining us on YouTube, please check out our website at ucpoco.ca. We would also appreciate if you would subscribe to our channel, and like and share our service. Those buttons are right below the video, and it does make a difference when you interact with our account.
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”
Lighting of the Advent Candles
Advent begins in anticipation of apocalypse – the end of the world.
Hope is a deep trust that Advent ends in a New Heaven and a New Earth. However we find ourselves this Advent Season: as a pandemic drags on; with the threat of climate disaster hanging over us; in financial distress, we trust in hope that we participate in a story that is bigger.
God is already among us. But soon, we will know it.
The Advent promise is that we are part of something bigger.
We light our first candle in hope.
[The first blue candle is lit.]*
*copyright 2021 WorshipCollective
Sung Response: “Open Our Eyes”
Open our eyes
to the wonder of the season,
0pen our hearts to your hope
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
Holy One, as the season grows dark
Instill in us a trust
that light will not be overcome
by the darkness.
Open our eyes to see your presence among us.
Hymn: “People Look East” VU 9 CLICK HERE
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 hope. Remembering that Advent Hope is a deep trust in God’s presence even in the darkness, 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 hope. What might hope feel like to you? Imagine the physical sensation of being hopeful. Imagine what hope feels like and hold on to that feeling. Breathe into that feeling and let it grow and be refined into a pure hope. 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.
Psalm 25:4 “…teach me your paths.”
“Teach me your paths.” Amen.
WE HEAR THE WORD OF GOD
The Story: "There Will Be Signs" CLICK HERE for video.
Psalm 25:1-10 refrain2 VU 752
Reading: “Worship Collective” CLICK HERE for video.
Hymn: “Tomorrow Christ Is Coming” VU 27 CLICK HERE
As the sky falls,
as the waters rise,
as signs appear
on the sun and the moon,
help us, Holy One, to trust
that these are labour pains
of a New Creation,
and strengthen us
to be midwives
of wisdom and grace. Amen.
For the last 50 years or so, the United Church of Canada, most mainline churches, have followed the Revised Common Lectionary.
The Revised Common Lectionary is a collection of readings set out for every Sunday in a three year cycle. The years are identified as years A, B, and C. The years end on Reign of Christ Sunday and begin on the First Sunday of Advent. Today is the first day of Year C. Each year of the lectionary follows a semi-continuous reading of one of the synoptic Gospels, that's the first three books of the Christian testament: Matthew, Mark and Luke. This year we will be hearing mostly from Luke.
Because John is a distinctive Gospel, he doesn't follow the same timeline as Matthew, Mark and Luke, his Gospel gets sprinkled into the years, especially Year B, since that is Mark's Gospel, and the book of Mark is quite short.
Four times in the year, we part from the semi-continuous reading of the gospels: Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.
In the four high seasons of the year: Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, the Lectionary readings are thematic. The readings are selected from throughout scripture to support a particular theme.
Easter the theme is the Appearances of the Resurrected Jesus and the Early Church.
Lent the theme is Following Jesus to the cross.
Christmas the theme is the joyful fulfillment of prophecy. The Season of Christmas is short, only 12 days, but if you count how many times the words fulfillment and prophecy are used, you'll start to twitch.
Advent is where it gets interesting. Because the world is run by consumerism and secular identity, most people think the theme of Advent is preparing for a little baby to be born. Thank you, Hallmark, but that is incorrect. Despite retailers assertions, Advent is not about preparing for the birth of Baby Jesus.
According to the Readings in the Lectionary, the theme of Advent is the end of the old familiar world, a world filled with injustice, darkness, and suffering so that God's Reign can begin.
The readings for Advent are actually Apocalyptic.
There will be signs in the sun and the moon... there will be wars and rumours of war... Nation against nation... there will be earthquakes, famines, and plagues... the powers of the heavens will be shaken... Wake up!
Literally, Apocalypse means "unveiling." We see the world for what it really is and what it isn't.
Folks get to the end of November and they want to rush into Christmas carols; But advent is arguably the most important season of the year. In Advent, we acknowledge that the world isn't what it could be. We have the opportunity to express our longing that the world be different than it is. We can even express a longing for ourselves to be different than we are.
In Advent, we acknowledge that the world as we know it, is falling apart and needs to fall apart, so it can become something better.
What would we have different in the world?
We would address climate change.
No more wars.
We would end poverty/hunger/unnecessary suffering
We would end racism/homophobia/transphobia/misogyny
In Tues@2211 we've been watching the Knowledge Network series "British Columbia: the untold story" and I can think of a hundred and 50 years of history I would love to rewrite, because I feel such shame for how we have treated one another on this planet.
The promise of Advent is that the world doesn't have to be this way. Jesus offers us an alternative way of being in the world.
A way that does not return violence for violence.
A way that brings justice to all creation.
A way that eliminates unnecessary suffering.
A way that builds up the body of Christ with all its diverse parts.
Unfortunately, generations of so called followers of Jesus have ignored his call, claiming to worship him, instead of following what he taught.
Now, Jesus also points out that in the midst of the chaos and calamity, in the midst of the ending of the old world, there is something else: If you look up, you will see the "Son of Man" in power and glory.
Jesus tells the parable of the fig tree. In the midst of the chaos and endings there are also signs of a delicate new birth.
This Advent season,
may we discern the longing
for the world to be different;
may we prepare a place in our hearts,
in our lives
for the world to be radically changed;
may we boldly follow
the alternative worldview the Messiah offers,
and may we see the signs of promised new growth. Amen.
WE RESPOND TO GOD’S WORD
The ministry of Trinity United Church is the ministry of its members and adherents. It isn’t possible with out your gifts of time, skill, prayer and money. We have doe good work together. We make space for important ministries; we work to generate funds for good causes; we care for our membership; we support national and international initiatives. We witness to Christs presence and activity the world.
Your gifts make that possible. If you would like to make a financial offering, you can do so by sending a check to the office, leaving an envelope in the plate when you leave, or by clicking on the “Donate Now” button on our website.
Let us pray:
God of Hope,
You are the light in the darkness.
May our gifts of time, money, skill and prayer
bear witness to your light,
here, in our community, and around the world.
In the name of the one we will call Emmanuel,
We pray. Amen.
Prayers of the People:
*inspired by The Right Reverend Peter Short’s, “There’s Heaven in This Ground”, from Outside Eden: essays of encouragement (Observer Publications, 2006)
Where do we find heaven, O God of Ages?
Is it soaring above us, in angels’ song and wandering stars,
a realm of glory, grand and triumphant,
as our carols proclaim?
Or can we find it her, below, in the midst of life and struggle?
We pray because we long for change that reveals your love:
a just sharing of food, water and resources;
the peaceful mending of bodies and spirits;
shelter and friendship for the lost and forgotten.
In Jesus, you show us that there’s heaven in this ground;
this place and time;
not because we make it to the top, but
because you meet us at the bottom
in the hard-to-reach places of our hearts and world.
In the midst of conflict and peace, need and justice, memory and vision, you are there.
We give thanks, Loving God, for our hope in the One who comes,
in whom your promise is born anew; and we pray:
for those driven down by life;
for those ill in body and spirit;
for places and people broken by violence;
for our loved ones gone before us.
And we lift up our prayers in hope:
borne of faith in your steadfast love and keeping;
borne of trust in your vision of peace and justice;
born in Bethlehem in lowliness;
born in us, this day, inspiring our witness and our work.
We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the One who comes.*
*copyright 2021 WorshipCollective
Disciples’ Prayer: “Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother” CLICK HERE
WE GO FORTH
Hymn: “Herald, Sound the Note of Gladness” VU 28 CLICK HERE
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]
*copyright 2021 WorshipCollective