On Sunday, November 27th, 2022, we gather for a Worship Service in-person at the Chapel (2700 W 14th Street) and via the Zoom platform (online and by phone) at 11:00 A.M.
To join us at the Chapel, buzz Zion Church (Bob Bucklew) from the Directory at the front of the 2700 Building on the campus of San Sofia apartments or enter from the accessible ramp from the rear parking lot. When you arrive, call Bob at 216-375-5323 to open the parking lot gate.
For the online link and phone info to join the worship service via Zoom, please scan down below…
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, BEVERLY WURM
Beverly began a part-time position… She will be keeping some limited Office Hours at church/home. The days and hours are:
Monday – 9am – 1pm
Wednesday – 10am – 2pm
Thursday – 9am – 1pm
Beverly can be reached at: [email protected] or by phone at: 216-273-7561 (church) or 216-310-6810 (mobile).
The bulletin is attached. You may use it to follow along with us in the worship service or as a Devotional this week.
Season of Advent and Advent Wreath Candle Lighting
Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas, but it is an active watching and waiting for the arrival of Christ in our world and in our lives in a new way. We read these passages pointing to the day of judgment and Christ’s return to remind us that we are still actively waiting, alert and awake. Because of the Nativity story, that Christ came to us in a completely unexpected way as a newborn child, so in these days we must be ready for Christ to enter our world, our lives, and our hearts in an unexpected way. How do we live faithfully in times when our faith might be tested? When the world isn’t as we hoped it would be? Where can we find signs of God’s faithfulness in our lives, in the world around us?
Advent means “coming.” It is a time of longing, watching, and praying for God’s healing, transformative presence to be ever more vibrantly present in the world. In this sense, Advent is a season in which we focus on that key phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “thy kingdom come.” As Christians, the good news we strive to live by and declare is that love is stronger than hate, peace more enduring than war, hope more powerful than despair — and the light of God’s love will dispel forever the shadows of shame cast by violence, suffering, sorrow, and contempt.
To help proclaim that God’s new world is at hand, we are sharing four candle lighting litanies for personal, family-based, or congregational use during the holy season of Advent. The Candle-lighting liturgy for the Advent wreath ties into the worship theme, “Up to Restoration – An Advent Song of Ascents.”
Isaiah is our anchor text for this Advent worship series. But Psalms gives us the mood, theme, or even soul. “How I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of God!’” The opening line from Psalm 122 captures something of the Advent spirit this year. From “How I rejoiced” to “go to the house of God.” We are singing a song of ascent this Advent season.
Let us go up. Up, why up? Going to God is always up. Going to worship is always up. That was a ge-ographic reality for the Jewish people. Jerusalem was built on a hill, so no matter which direction you approached, you were going up. And since true worship could only happen in the temple, let us go up to worship is the description of the approach.
But what are we approaching? Well, worship of course. And something more. This is Advent, the season of anticipation, of watching and waiting – active waiting. Christmas? Well, no and yes. We’re not trying to be mysterious here, but there is definitely a no and yes to that question.
No, the season of Advent isn’t really designed to be a countdown to the celebration of Christmas. It is a time of preparation for Christ’s return and the establishment of the kingdom of God. It is a reminder that we are heading someplace; we are works in progress; we are longing for something more. That’s the upward call of Advent. We sing an Advent song of ascent as we climb up to worship in that new reality, that new way of being in the world. Not that this is a human-made reality, but that we are longing for this completion. We are looking forward.
At the same time, we are indeed looking back. Yes, we are anticipating Incarnation, the time when God broke into our history and became present in an astonishing way. And we look forward to when Emmanuel – God with us – will be how we live always. We remember Christmas, the real depth and power of this singular act and the child who lived God’s presence among us, something that even the worst of the commercialism cannot ultimately overcome. We can grumble about how we’ve lost the true meaning of Christmas in this crass and cynical age, and perhaps we should. But we can also be surprised at how something pure and wonderful can appear in the most unlikely places, from the most unlikely sources to remind us that we are all longing for something more, something of eternity and of the beloved community described by the one whose birth we celebrate. That is anticipation worthy of singing Advent songs of ascent.
Feel free to use these litanies in whatever ways you see fit this Advent — proclaiming all the while “Up to Restoration – An Advent Song of Ascents.” Adapt them and make them your own!
Advent Sundays with Zion Church
Sunday, November 27th, 11:00am – First Sunday of Advent
Sunday, December 4th, 11:00am – Second Sunday of Advent – Holy Communion
Sunday, December 11th, 11:00 am – Third Sunday of Advent
Sunday, December 18th, 11:00am – Fourth Sunday of Advent
Saturday, December 24th, 6:30pm – Christmas Eve
The Scripture Readings are:
This reading contains a vision shared with Micah 2:1-4. Both prophets witnessed terrible violence and the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel, but they had hope that the southern kingdom of Judah might learn and change their ways. The two prophets shared a hope that the people would turn back to God and gather in Jerusalem at the temple, a hope the people would turn away from violence and war and instead turn to God, and other nations would follow suit, with lessons learned going forth from Jerusalem: peace in God’s name.
Psalm 122 is a prayer for Jerusalem, the holy city, calling the people into worship and into God’s ways of peace. Both the temple for God and the throne of David were established in Jerusalem, and the psalmist calls the people into worship, into a litany of praying for peace for the city and its people. For the sake of God, the psalmist prays that those who gather in worship seek the goodness and well-being of the city.
For Advent, the Epistle readings follow Romans (except for the third Sunday when the reading is from James). In this passage, Paul writes near the end of his letter that this is the time to wake up. This is the time to pay attention to how we live and act in this world. Paul is hoping that Christ’s return is eminent, but even if it is not, this is always the time to live into the light, to live as if everything about us is exposed, and we have nothing to hide. Instead of acting in the way of this world and trying to mask who we are, Paul calls the believers to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, to let Christ be the face the world sees.
Jesus calls the disciples to keep awake in part of his final discourse in Matthew 24. Jesus shares the story of Noah as a warning, that people didn’t heed the signs of the flood and simply focused on living their own lives. For those who do not pay attention to what is going on and focus on only themselves, they can neither perceive where God is at work nor how evil is at work in the world around us. Jesus then tells of the coming of the Promised One, where some are taken and some left—not a “rapture” as mythologized among some, but rather a metaphor to be ready, for Christ is at work in our world and lives and will be in a new, unexpected way. Like an owner of a house who would be prepared for anything if they were expecting a thief, so we must, as faithful followers of Jesus, be ready for Christ.
The Sermon/Reflection is “We Begin to Invite God In” by the Rev. Scott Rosenstein, based on the reading of Matthew 24:36-44.
Our Worship Service is also available through the Zoom platform on Sunday, November 27th, 2022, at 11:00 A.M. (Eastern Time).
Please join us to give thanks to God this Sunday, in-person in the Chapel, or via Zoom!
216-273-7561 – church (new phone number)
216.577.1514 – mobile