I can vaguely remember the pastor lighting some candles before Christmas at FBC St. Albans, WV
but cant remember much after that. During my first year of seminary at BTSR, after thanksgiving, they started talking more about Advent and how the Christian and Jewish communities share a joint Messianic hope, there was talk about purple decorations, advent hymns (you mean carols? No, real live advent hymns) and special liturgies. I was a bit overwhelmed, still am, but awestruck with a sense of historical worship and religious traditions.
So I attended worship filled with all of the images from Old Testament class and sang O Come O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoijce! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! That was pretty amazing for me. I love that hymn.
This year I am sure that I have messed up everyones Advent. I have introduced four taize responses and put the church in the round. Here is a picture of the sanctuary and the order of service.
Order of Service
Ringing of the Bell
Wait for the Lord, whose day is near.
Wait for the Lord: be strong, take heart!
Advent Candle Lighting singing We Light Advent Candles
Opening Prayer (Collect of the Day from the BCP)
Call to Confession
Words of Assurance
Song of Praise
Bless the Lord my soul and bless God's holy name.
Bless the Lord my soul who leads me into life.
The Word of God for the People of God
Thanks be to God
Prepare the way of the Lord
Prepare the way of the Lord,
and all the people will see the salvation of our God.
Hymn of Invitation/Response
Prayers of the People of God
O Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord hear my prayer.
When I call, answer me.
Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord, hear my prayer.
Come and listen to me.
The Lord's Prayer
Stewardship Hymn From the Rising of the Sun
Prayer of Dedication
This is gonna take a few weeks to sink in.
I'd hoped to post my sermon, but you just cant go away the week before advent, come home hit the ground running and have all in place for sunday morning. So my sermon was a creation supplied by 26 hours of driving reflection, puffed up by an advent workshop earlier in the year and some astronomical observations in relation to the True Light whose coming we celebrate. Next week, watch out.