SENTENCES OF SCRIPTURE
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
God says, Comfort, O comfort, my people.
The Lord says, I will wipe every tear from your eyes.
But we feel like voices crying out in the wilderness.
We wonder if we are alone in the barren desert.
Let us worship the God who saves.
Let us draw near to our God, clothed in fragile humanity, like us.
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES The Wexford Carol, Harp
THANKSGIVING FOR LIGHT
Let us give thanks for the light of Christ.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of all the universe, creator of light and darkness.
In this holy season, when the sun’s light is swallowed up by the growing darkness of the night, you renew your promise to reveal among us the splendor of your glory, made flesh and visible to us in Jesus Christ.
Strengthen us where we are weak, support us in our efforts to do your will, and free our tongues to sing your praise, for to you all honor and glory and blessing are due, now and forever. Amen.
EVENING PSALM: Psalm 88, selected verses Translation: Gannet Girl
1. A song; a melody; for a son of the Korahites.
To the leader, according to Mahalath Leannoth. A maskil for Heman the Ezrabite.
2. Lord God of my salvation,
in the day I cry out, and
in the night, before you.
3. Let my prayer come before your face;
Incline your ear to my ringing cry.
.4. For my soul is sated with troubles,
And my life touches Sheol.
5. I am counted with those who go down to the Pit;
I become like those with no help.
6. With those who have died forsaken,
as with those profaned;
Those who lie down in the grave
whom you do not remember,
for they are cut off from your hand,
7. You have put me in a pit of lowest places,
in the depths of dark places.
8. Your rage rests upon me,
and every breaker of yours knocks me down;
each of your breakers humbles me.
9. You have put those who know me far from me;
you have made me an abomination to them,
one who is shut up,
and I cannot go out.
10. My eye becomes dim from afflictions.
I call you, Lord, in every day;
I spread the palms of my hands toward you.
11. Do you do wonders for the dead?
Do ghosts rise up praising you?
12. Is your kindness recounted in the grave;
Your steadfastness in Abaddon?
13. Are your wonders made known in darkness?
And your righteousness in the land of oblivion?
14. But I cry out for help to you, Lord,
And in the morning my prayer confronts you.
15. Why, Lord, do you reject my life?
Hide your face from me?
16. I am wretched, and
I am one who has perished from my youth;
I suffer your terrors;
I am helpless.
17. Your rage has swept over me;
your terrors annihilate me.
18. They surround me like waters all the time;
They surround me completely.
19. You put far from me friend and companion,
Those known to me –
SOLO “O Come O Come, Emmanuel”
READING: “In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver
READING: Psalm 139
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND THE LORD’S PRAYER
ANOINTING: “I Sing a Night in Bethlehem” Vocal and Harp
HYMN: “O Little Town of Bethlehem” Verses 1-3
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, guide our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Bless the Lord.
The Lord’s name be praised.