Grace to you, siblings in Christ
I pray this service finds you joyful, well and safe.I apologize for not being able to include the words with the music this week, but the words are included below.
Peace, Pastor Chris Lee
Second Sunday of Advent: Order of Service, December 6, 2020
Prelude: ELW 245- “Creator of the Stars of Night.” Vocalists with hand chimes: Brittany and Miriam Anderson.
John calls people to repent, to clear the decks, to completely reorder their lives so that nothing gets in the way of the Lord’s coming. The reading from Isaiah gives the context for this radical call: the assurance of forgiveness that encourages us to repent; the promise that the coming one will be gentle with the little ones. Isaiah calls us all to be heralds with John, to lift up our voices fearlessly and say, “See, your God is coming!” We say it to one another in worship, in order to say it with our lives in a world in need of justice and peace.
Confession and Forgiveness
Blessed be God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, whose forgiveness is sure and whose steadfast love endures forever. Amen.
Together let us honestly and humbly confess that we have not lived as God desires.
Loving and forgiving God,
we confess that we are held captive by sin. In spite of our best efforts, we have gone astray. We have not welcomed the stranger; we have not loved our neighbor; we have not been Christ to one another. Restore us, O God. Wake us up and turn us from our sin. Renew us each day in the light of Christ. Amen.
People of God, hear this glad news: by God’s endless grace your sins are forgiven, and you are free— free from all that holds you back and free to live in the peaceable realm of God. May you be strengthened in God’s love, ☩ comforted by Christ’s peace, and accompanied with the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening Hymn: ELW 254- “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” both verses.
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus ELW 254
1 Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art,
dear desire of ev’ry nation, joy of ev’ry longing heart.
2 Born thy people to deliver, born a child, and yet a king;
born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all-sufficient merit raise us to thy glorious throne.
Prayer of the Day
Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming strengthen us to serve you with purified lives; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11
In grand, flowing, poetic lines, the prophet announces that the exile of God’s people in Babylon is over. God will deliver Israel and will care for her as a shepherd cares for the sheep. This word can be trusted, because the only enduring reality in life is the word of God.
1Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
3A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
8The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
9Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.
Psalm: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
1You have been gracious to your land, O Lord;
you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
2You have forgiven the iniquity of your people
and blotted out all their sins.
8I will listen to what the Lord God is saying;
for you speak peace to your faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to you.
9Truly, your salvation is very near to those who fear you,
that your glory may dwell in our land.
10Steadfast love and faithfulness have met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11Faithfulness shall spring up from the earth,
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12The Lord will indeed grant prosperity,
and our land will yield its increase.
13Righteousness shall go before the Lord
and shall prepare for God a pathway.
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-15a
This short letter deals with pressing concerns regarding the final advent of Jesus, especially concerns that could arise over its apparent delay. The author of the letter calls on Christians to anticipate the promised coming of the Lord through conduct dedicated to God.
8Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
11Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
14Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15aand regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
The Gospel of Mark does not begin with a story of Jesus’ birth but with the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord.
1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’ ”
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Sermon: Pastor Chris Lee
Hymn of the Day: ELW 266- “All Earth is Hopeful,” (Toda la Tierra) verses 1, 2, & 4.
All Earth Is Hopeful ELW 266
1 All earth is hopeful, the Savior comes at last!
Furrows lie open for God’s creative task:
this, the labor of people who struggle to see
how God’s truth and justice set ev’rybody free.
2 People of Israel, you heard the prophet tell:
“A virgin mother will bear Emmanuel”;
she conceived him, “God with us,”
our brother, whose birth
restores hope and courage to children of this earth.
4 We first saw Jesus a baby in a crib.
This same Lord Jesus today has come to live
in our world; he is present, in neighbors we see
our Jesus is with us, and ever sets us free.
Prayers of Intercession
God of power and might, comfort your people and come quickly to this weary world. Hear our prayers for everyone in need.
Faithful God, you teach us to wait for you with faithfulness and patience. Sustain and support us in our doubts and questions. Nurture our faith as we discern and enact your mission. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Loving God, you set the stars in the sky and breathe life into the earth. Renew the face of creation where it is in need of your healing touch. Mend the wounds of environmental damage and restore balance to ecosystems so that all creation can declare your praise. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Steadfast God, you never tire of seeking justice. Where people suffer from discrimination, judgment, and injustice, speak words of truth and comfort. Lead us toward a world where faithfulness will sprout underfoot and righteousness rain down from above. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Leading God, you ask us to make uneven ground smooth. Make even the disparities between your people. Sustain and support people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Accompany disability advocates who work for a world accessible to all. Teach us to celebrate the great diversity in our midst. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Tender God, you know sorrow and joy alike. We pray for those in our families and congregation who are not joyful in this holiday season. Comfort those who grieve, be a companion to all who are lonely, tend those who are sick or struggling with depression, and gather all people in your healing embrace. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Lord of every blessing, your Son’s blessing came to those living with poverty, grief, hunger, thirst, and persecution. Shape our vision of the saints to match his own. Awaken in us your call to serve all who suffer. Especially this day we pray for Woody Kasselman; Luellen Kasselman; Greg, Judy and Kristine Mayer; Mariah Pearson; Jeanna LaRue; Louise Larson; Karen Bemowski; and Dan Wolever. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Eternal God, we give thanks for the saints who have prepared your way in the wilderness and taught us to continue their faithful work, especially Nicholas of Myra. Make their generous lives an example for all. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Draw near to us, O God, and receive our prayers for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
Communion Anthem: “On Jordan’s Banks,”- George. Vocalists: Brittany and Miriam Anderson.
On Jordan’s Banks (COMMUNION)
1 On Jordan’s banks the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh:
Awake and hearken, for he brings
glad tidings of the King of kings.
2 Then cleansed be every breast from sin
Make straight the way for God within;
And let us all our hearts prepare
For Christ to come and enter there.
3 For thou art our salvation, Lord
Our refuge and our great reward;
Once more upon thy people shine,
And fill the world with love divine.
4 All praise, eternal Son, to thee
Whose advent sets thy people free,
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost for evermore.
Prayer after Communion
Gracious and abundant God, you have done great things for us, and we rejoice. In this bread and cup you give us life forever. In your boundless mercy, strengthen us and open our hearts to the world’s needs, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
The Creator of the stars bless your Advent waiting, the long-expected Savior fill you with love, the unexpected Spirit guide your journey, ☩ now and forever. Amen.
Sending Hymn: ELW 253- “He Came Down,” verses 1 & 3.
He Came Down ELW253
1 He came down that we may have love;
he came down that we may have love;
he came down that we may have love;
3 He came down that we may have peace;
he came down that we may have peace;
he came down that we may have peace;
Go in peace. Prepare the way of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Image credits: Prepare_the_Way, Franciscans.org.uk; Waitforit maccov.org; and King is Coming– Prepare the Way, Sharefaith.
Music Director: Pam Edwards
Vocalists: Brittany & Miriam Anderson
“Creator of the Stars of Night.” Text: Latin hymn, 9th cent.; tr. Hymnal 1940, alt. Music: Plainsong mode IV. Text copyright Church Pension Fund. All rights reserved. Permission to print and podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.
“Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.” Text: Charles Wesley, 1701 – 1788. Music: W. Walker, Southern Harmony, 1835. All rights reserved. Permission to print and podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.
“All Earth is Hopeful” (Toda la Tierra). Text: Alberto Taule, b. 1932; tr. Madeleine Forell Marshall, b. 1946. Music: Alberto Taule. Spanish text and tune copyright 1993 and tr. copyright 1995 Centro de Pastoral Liturgica, admin. OCP Publications. All rights reserved. Permission to print and podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.
“On Jordan’s Banks.” SA, arr. Graham George/ Augsburg Publishing House, #ACL 1551. All rights reserved. Permission to print and podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.
“He Came Down.” Text: Cameroon traditional. Music: Cameroon traditional; arr. John L. Bell, b. 1949. Arr. copyright 1986 Iona Community, admin. GIA Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved. Permission to print and podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.
Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Reprinted/ streamed with permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS006904. Duplication in any form is prohibited without permission or valid license from the copyright administrator.