Upcoming Worship Focus

 

Preview for Service of Word and Sacrament, December 4, 2022
The Second Sunday in Advent
Liturgical Color: Blue


Westminster Presbyterian Church, Tiburon, California
Visit the church website: www.wpctiburon.org,
415-383-5272
240 Tiburon Boulevard, Tiburon, California 94920

This weekly study guide seeks to help members, friends, and visitors prepare for the upcoming Sunday service and teaching.
 Questions about worship can be directed to the church office at: 415.383-5272, ext. 1 or   .
   

 

Call to Worship

One:                Our peace is in Christ
Many:              who vanishes vengeance within us.
One:                Our peace is in Christ
Many:              who disarms our anger.
One:                We light the candle of peace for Christ
Many:              whose fire burns in us, but does not consume.


Community Prayer

Peaceful God, we seek your true heart.  We acknowledge that at times how we have perceived you have been the worst projections of ourselves.  We are angry, and so we have made you angry.  We are spiteful and so we have made you spiteful.  We want revenge and so we have made you bloodthirsty.  Unravel our twisted ways of thinking, that we might follow your thread of grace all the way to the manger.  Then birth yourself among us again.  Amen.


Sermon Focus & Title                                          The Release of Wrath
                                           Robert McClellan

Advent is filled with readings that portend of a coming stark, even fiery, judgment.  It’s not what we usually associate in our culture with that time of year so it strikes a particularly strange chord.  Upon exploration, something far more grace-filled and wrath-emptying is taking place, and not for God, but for us.  As the readings progress in Advent, observes, James Alison, they slowly lose their wrath so that when we arrive at the Christ child, there is none left to be found.  This, then, becomes the model for our prayer life for this season, to slowly chip away at the malice and callus that has built up in us over the year. 


Scripture(s)

First Reading
Isaiah 11:1-10
1   A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
          and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
2   The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
          the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
          the spirit of counsel and might,
          the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
3   His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
     He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
          or decide by what his ears hear;
4   but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
          and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
     he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
          and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5   Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
          and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
6   The wolf shall live with the lamb,
          the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
     the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
          and a little child shall lead them.
7   The cow and the bear shall graze,
          their young shall lie down together;
          and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8   The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
          and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
9   They will not hurt or destroy
          on all my holy mountain;
     for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
          as the waters cover the sea.
10On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Second Reading
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
1   Give the king your justice, O God,
          and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2   May he judge your people with righteousness,
          and your poor with justice.
3   May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
          and the hills, in righteousness.
4   May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
          give deliverance to the needy,
          and crush the oppressor.
5   May he live while the sun endures,
          and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6   May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
          like showers that water the earth.
7   In his days may righteousness flourish
     and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
18   Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
          who alone does wondrous things.
19   Blessed be his glorious name forever;
          may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen.

Hymns

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus 82
Comfort, Comfort Now My People 87


Quotes, Questions & Prompts for Reflection, Discussion, and Prayer

“Jesus reveals that there is no wrath in God, but the effect and the shape of his coming opens up the possibilities of wrath for those who don’t receive him in ways which could not be imagined. The workings of “wrath” become a measurable, detectable anthropological reality as the innocent lamb exposes to us our own responsibility for what we, deceived by the hallucinations of our own mob behaviour, thought of as the anger of a divinity.”
-James Alison

  1. What are your early impressions of the wrath of God?
  2. Christians understood Jesus in the very terms of today’s Older Testament readings.  What does it mean to understand Jesus in these ways?  
  3. How have we not fully lived into understanding Jesus in these ways?
  4. Is Jesus a radical break from the old or more of a continuation of the old?
  5. What does God accomplish in Christ?