Upcoming Worship Focus


Preview for Service of Word and Sacrament
December 17, 2017
Third Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Color: Blue
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Tiburon, California

This weekly study guide seeks to help us prepare for the upcoming Sunday service and teaching. 


Call to Worship
One:      God’s love animates and sustains our lives.
Many:   God’s love made known in Jesus brings healing and redemption to a world that longs for wholeness.
One:      We rejoice that we have been made whole in Christ’s love.
Many:   As we light the candle of love today, may we be shepherds of God’s love to a world ready to be illumined with the wonder of God.

Community Prayer
God of love, for you nothing is impossible.  In this Advent season, draw us close, teaching us the wonder of your all-embracing love.  By your Holy Spirit, fill us with new life and hope so that we, like Mary, might be your servants bearing witness to your promise.  Awaken us to action.  Stir us to courage.  Rouse us to prepare a way for your coming.  May your love shine through us, in us, and around us for the world to see.  Amen.

Sermon Focus
On this third Sunday of Advent, we will light the candle of love and consider the great love that Mary had for her son, Jesus.  Did she know what he would mean to the world?  It must have been quite an experience being the mother of Jesus!  In word and in song, we will celebrate Mary and the Advent season.

Working Title       Mary Did You Know?             Bethany Nelson

Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Her mercy is for those who fear her from generation to generation. She has shown strength with her arm; she has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. She has helped her servant Israel, in remembrance of her mercy, according to the promise God made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to God’s descendants forever.”
Possible Hymns
Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates No. 93
Love Has Come   No. 110

Quote and Questions for Continued Reflection, Meditation, and Prayer
“There is a reason Mary is everywhere. I've seen her image all over the world, in cafés in Istanbul, on students' backpacks in Scotland, in a market stall in Jakarta, but I don't think her image is everywhere because she is a reminder to be obedient, and I don't think it has to do with social revolution. Images of Mary remind us of God's favor. Mary is what it looks like to believe that we already are who God says we are.”
~ Nadia Bolz-Weber

1) Is Mary an important biblical figure for you?  Why or why not?
2) Imagine being Mary … what might your reaction have been when receiving the news of Jesus from the angel Gabriel?
3) What does it mean for your soul to magnify the Lord