December 3, 2017
Sermon Message by Rev. Dr. Parrish Bridges
"Are You Ready?"
Call to Worship
Leader: Watch and wait, Christ is coming soon.
People: Christ is with us now.
Leader: Look and see, God’s creative power is close at hand.
People: God’s power is with us here.
Leader: Stop and notice, God has a plan to form our lives anew.
People: God is re-creating us each and every day, re-forming us in the image of love.
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9 (NIV) New International Version
1) Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
2) As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!
3) For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
4) Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
5) You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?
6) All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
7) No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have given us over to our sins.
8) Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9) Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look on us, we pray,
for we are all your people.
New Testament Reading: Mark 13: 24-37 (NIV) New International Version
“But in those days, following that distress,
“ ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
25) the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
26) “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27) And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
28) “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29) Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30) Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
32) “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33) Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34) It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35) “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36) If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37) What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ”
Prayer of Confession
Awesome God, we confess the sin of our separation from You. We have blamed You for hiding from us rather than admitting we have failed to see You in the thousands of ways You are revealing Yourself every day. We have not called on You, and we have not listened for Your call to us. Without You, we have become tiny islands of self-concern. Our links with the rest of Your children are stretched and broken. O God, we long for that loving community in which Your reign is acknowledged and Your purposes are served. Move us to that place, we pray. Amen.