Opening Liturgy: Isaiah 40: 1-11

Here’s an opening liturgy based on Isaiah 40: 1-11, one of the suggested scripture readings for the second Sunday of Advent, Year B (December 4, 2011).  It was written by Rev. Penny L. Lowes, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a free lance writer. 

Processional Drama

Procession of an elder (may be dressed as the Prophet Isaiah or in modern clothes, but carries a tall wooden walking staff). From the back of the sanctuary the elder pounds the floor and speaks boldly:
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
    Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

He or she continues to center of sanctuary, pounds floor, continues speaking to all:
    Every valley shall be lifted up,
    And every mountain and hill made low;
    The uneven ground shall become level,
    And the rough places a plain.

The prophet walks to the altar, completes the verse holding up staff in both hands to heaven facing the congregation:
    Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    And all people shall see it together,
    For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
(“The Prophet” leaves after placing the staff across the Advent Wreath.)

Call to Worship
(based on Isaiah 40: 1-11)

One:     Listen! The voice of God calls out across the ages.

Men:    We hear and respond. We rise up to worship God
            from the valleys, the mountains, and the plains.

One:     Like a shepherd God leads us and tenderly gathers us together.

Women: Comfort, comfort O my people says our God of love.

All:       The grass withers and the flower fades;
            But the word of our God will stand forever!

Prayer of Invocation

O God,
You call to us from the wild places,
You call to us from the inner chambers of our hearts.
We come in answer to your call.
We come to pray, to praise,
To learn of your love for all creation.
Reveal your glory that we may see it together -
Inform and inspire us to seek your kingdom on earth in our time. Amen.  

From Valleys to Mountains, Service Prayers for the Second Sunday of Advent, was written by the Rev. Penny L. Lowes, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a free lance writer.  Posted on the Worship Ways website of the United Church of Christ.