Third Sunday of Advent: 13 December 2020

JOHN 1:20 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straighth the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

Happy 3rd Sunday of Advent! And happy Santa Lucia! I pray this service finds you joyful, well and safe. Today I am especially thankful for all the people who work to make the life of the church continue to go. There is so much done by so many…blessed Advent to you all!

Peace, Pastor Chris Lee

Order of Worship for December 13, 2020

Meditation

“Rejoice always,” begins the reading from 1 Thessalonians. Isaiah and the psalmist make clear that God is turning our mourning into laughter and shouts of joy. “All God’s children got a robe,” go the words of a spiritual. It is not so much a stately, formal, pressed outfit as it is a set of party clothes, clothes we are happy to wear. We receive that robe in baptism, and in worship we gather for a foretaste of God’s party.

Opening Hymn: – ELW 715- “Christ, Be Our Light,” verses 1, 2, & 5. Brittany and Miriam Anderson, vocalists. Pam Edwards, pianist.

Prayer of the Day

Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the words of your prophets, that, anointed by your Spirit, we may testify to your light; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

Though the people had returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon, they continued to face hardship and oppression. In the language of the jubilee year described in Leviticus 25, the prophet, moved by the spirit of God, announces deliverance for those who are oppressed and comfort for those who mourn.

1The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
  because the Lord has anointed me;
 he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
  to bind up the brokenhearted,
 to proclaim liberty to the captives,
  and release to the prisoners;
2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
  and the day of vengeance of our God;
  to comfort all who mourn;
3to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
  to give them a garland instead of ashes,
 the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
  the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
 They will be called oaks of righteousness,
  the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
4They shall build up the ancient ruins,
  they shall raise up the former devastations;
 they shall repair the ruined cities,
  the devastations of many generations.

8For I the Lord love justice,
  I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
 I will faithfully give them their recompense,
  and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
  and their offspring among the peoples;
 all who see them shall acknowledge
  that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
10I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
  my whole being shall exult in my God;
 for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
  he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
 as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
  and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
  and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
 so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
  to spring up before all the nations.

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Paul concludes his letter to the Thessalonians by encouraging them to live lives of continual joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. The closing blessing is grounded in the hope of Christ’s coming.

16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets, 21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.
23May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28

John’s gospel describes Jesus as the “light of the world.” John the Baptist is presented as a witness to Jesus, one who directs attention away from himself to Christ, the true light.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

19This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said,
 “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
 ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ ”
as the prophet Isaiah said.
24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

Sermon: Pastor Chris Lee

Hymn of the Day: ELW 252- “Each Winter as the Year Grows Older,” verses 1, 2, & 5. Brittany and Miriam Anderson, vocalists. Pam Edwards, pianist.

Prayers of Intercession

God of power and might, shine your radiance and come quickly to this weary world. Hear our prayers for everyone in need.

God of preachers and messengers, you have entrusted your church with the work of proclaiming good news. Strengthen the witness of bishops, pastors, deacons, church musicians, lay leaders, and all people who contribute their prayers and talents to public worship. Embed your word in their hearts. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

God of every living creature, you announce the year of your favor for all of creation. Extend your kindness and relief to endangered animals and plants. Strengthen the human beings who rely on the rhythms of nature to make their living. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

God of all peoples and nations, you plant us as your oaks of righteousness and ask us to care for one another. Be present with the leaders of every nation as they govern. Give them a spirit of righteousness, that your goodness and mercy is revealed through their actions. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

God of exiles and wanderers, you repair what was once destroyed. We pray for people who have been displaced from their homes by fire, flood, earthquake, or storm. Support the work of Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Disaster Response, and all disaster relief organizations in their recovery efforts. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

God of the powerful and helpless, you clothe us with strength when our spirits are weak and weary. Bestow your spirit upon this congregation and empower us to comfort the people who turn to us in times of need. Make your church a place of refuge and healing, especially this day we pray for all who suffer: Woody and 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.

God of sinners and saints, you offer joy even in the midst of our grief. We are grateful for the beloved, imperfect people whose lives testified to your radiant love especially Lucy, martyr of the church. Anoint all who mourn with the oil of gladness. 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.

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Communion Anthem: ELW 244- “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers,” Handbell Choir, directed by Robin Asay.

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.

Blessing

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 248- “People, Look East,” verses 1, 3, & 4. Brittany and Miriam Anderson, vocalists. Pam Edwards, pianist.

The Lighting of the Advent Candle

Dismissal

Go in peace. Prepare the way of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Video link for December 13, 2020, Worship Service:

https://www.facebook.com/190629367619921/videos/145503267025260

Image credits: John the Baptist, stock.adobe.com/free_stock and Advent bustedhalo.com. Holly clip art: mamajwsmomentaway.blogspot.com

Music credits:

“Christ, Be Our Light.” Text: Bernadette Farrell, b. 1957. Music: Bernadette Farrell. Text and music copyright 1993 Bernadette Farrell, 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.

“Each Winter as the Year Grows Older.” Text: William Gay, b. 1920, alt.. Music: Annabeth Gay, b. 1925. Text and music copyright 1971 United Church Press.  All rights reserved. Permission to print and podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.

“Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers.” Text: Laurentius Laurenti, 1660 – 1722; tr. Sarah B. Findlater, 1823 -1907. Music: Swedish folk tune. Public domain.

“People, Look East.” Text: Eleanor Farjeon, 1881 – 1965. Music: French carol; arr. Barry Rose, b. 1934. Text copyright Miss E. Farjeon Will Trust, by permission of David Higham Associates. Arr. copyright 1999 Novello & Co. Ltd., London. 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.