By Rick Shallenberger, Equipper Editor, Regional Director, U.S. North Central
Several have asked how to incorporate the RCL scripture passages, theme, and sermon into a weekly worship service. This sample will incorporate all four passages, Advent lighting ceremony, and responsive reading, sermon, communion, and reflection questions. This is just one example of how an RCL worship service can be done. Please note we are not stating how many worship songs to use. Some congregations just have two or three worship songs, others have more. Also, please note we are not suggesting the offertory and communion be right after the sermon. Both are important elements of a worship service, but your team may want to change the order for your congregation or fellowship group.
Call to Worship Song or Worship Video
Worship Leader: Welcome to all. This week begins the season of Advent, a time when we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus, his arrival into the life of every believer, and his anticipated Second Coming. This week’s theme is put off darkness and put on the armor of light. (Member’s name) will begin by reading portions of Psalm 122:1-9
Member: Psalm 122:1-9, “I rejoice with those who said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord… This is where the tribes of the Lord go up to praise the name of the Lord… Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” (It helps to have the text on the screen.)
Worship Leader: (Prayer: Lord, we thank you that we can meet in peace, and we pray for our brothers and sisters around the world that they can meet in peace and security. And that all of us can truly rejoice in the house of the Lord. Amen.)
Let us worship together. Some might prefer to stand; others might worship better sitting down.
Member: (The Advent reading might be done by a husband/wife, or a parent/child duo.) Advent 1 pictures hope – our hope is in the return of Jesus. The prophet Isaiah talks about this time. Let’s read from Isaiah 2:1-5. As we read this, (name of member) will come up and light the first Advent candle, the candle of hope. I will read a line, and the congregation will respond by reading the next line, as shown in our bulletin (or on the screen)
Member: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of mountains
Congregation: It will be exalted about the hills and all nations will stream to it.
Member: Many people will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…
Congregation: He will teach us his way, so that we may walk in his paths…
Member: He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks…
Congregation: Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Member: This is the hope we have in Jesus, and a beautiful description of God’s kingdom, which is characterized by peace and justice — a mountain that draws all inhabitants of the world to it. Just as the light of the Advent candle draws our eyes to it, the glory of the kingdom will draw all people to it. (Prayer: Lord, let the hope we have in you sustain us and enable us to continue to walk in the light of the Lord. During this season of Advent, help us to continue to pray, “Your kingdom come, and please bless our efforts to be lights for you. Amen.)
Worship Leader: Just like the psalmist, and the prophet Isaiah, Paul also encouraged us to walk in the light of the Lord. Let’s read Romans 13 together, beginning in verse 11. I’ll begin, then you read aloud the slide labeled congregation.
Worship Leader: “The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
Congregation: “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
Worship Leader: In Matthew, Jesus admonished his followers to be continuously prepared for his arrival by doing the things he instructed them to do. Pastor (name) will be giving a sermon titled: Should We Celebrate Jesus’ Second Coming?
Pastor – Sermon: Matthew 24:36-44 (see https://equipper.gci.org/2022/09/sermon-for-november-27-2022-advent-1)
Communion (Often flows best if pastor leads the end of sermon into communion)
Offertory: (Having a member say a few words gives more opportunity for involvement)
Worship Leader: Before we sing our closing song, Pastor (name) asked me to leave you with a couple questions from the sermon to think about this week. (These can be placed in a printed bulletin and brought attention to.)
- When thinking about the Second Coming of Christ, have you ever felt confusion or fear?
- What do you think would happen if people knew the exact time of Christ’s return?
- What are some ways you would like to live as if Christ was coming today but plan like his arrival is far in the future?