By: Bethany Apelquist
This liturgy was created by Rev. Bethany Apelquist, a long-time member of the Mercy Community who now pastors a church in Warner Robins, GA. Bethany’s church community is using Mercy’s devotionals throughout the season of Advent and she wanted to incorporate themes and quotes from the devotionals into her candle-lighting liturgy. Please enjoy or feel free to use them in your own church communities.
Week One of Advent: Hope
Today we light the first candle of our advent season, the hope candle. What is hope? Hope in the words of Isaiah looks like taking our swords and transforming them into plowshares, or tools of peace and love. Ivan Cooley writes this week “so now I can put down my sword, pick up my plow, and get the ground ready for seeds of love that have been planted in my life. I will lay down my spear and use a pruning hook to maintain this love and keep it beautiful. I will love ALL people, and I will study war no more.” We light this candle with that hope that Ivan speaks of ringing in our hearts.
Week Two of Advent: Peace
Today we light the second candle of our advent season, the peace candle. What is peace? Peace is what God wants for each one of us. David Swank writes “These types of wars seem like a never ending thing. People are fighting over the money and power they want to gain for themselves, spending billions on utter foolishness, where there are thousands of poor and needy people in dire need of important necessities such as food, clothing, and hygiene products. But, I trust that God wants better for us- that God wants us to care for one another.” We light this candle with the vision of Peace, something better for us and for our world.
Week Three of Advent: Joy
Today we light the third candle of our advent season, the Joy candle. What is Joy? Joy is what we hear in the words of Mary’s prayer, when she says “in the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.” Isaiah Lewis writes “(Mary) takes joy in the radical mercy God is showing everyone” he goes on to say that Mary outlines this joy as “oppressive and oppressed people being up on equal footing, and everyone having enough to eat” We light the Joy candle with the joy of Mary’s prayer for a future that is marked by love and justice.
Week Four of Advent: Love
Today we light the fourth candle of our advent season, the Love candle. What is love? Love is the freedom that Jesus users into this world. Jennifer Arnold writes “Jesus’s death reminds us that when there is big enough love, death is not the final word. Resurrection reminds us that love will always win. When we rest in the truth of everlasting love that cannot die we are finally free.” We light the Love Candle remembering God’s never ending love for us.
The Christ Candle
Tonight, on the eve of the birth of our savior we light the Christ Candle. Who is Christ? Christ is the light of the world born to us to reveal God to us. Pastor Brittany writes “That’s how God comes to be with us– delivered by a poor weary women… it reveals the depth of God’s love for human beings, that relational, earth-shattering, paradigm-shifting, messy, every-day love, and that changes everything. We light the Christ Candle holding the hope, peace, joy and love that Christ brings into our weary world.