Bulletin 12/23: The Fourth Sunday of Advent
ADVENT 4 – MORNING PRAYER & COMMUNION
PRELUDE MUSIC (a time for silent reflection)
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT WREATH
Leader Light and peace, in Jesus Christ our Lord
People Thanks be to God.
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Last Sunday we lit the Candle of Joy. We have now lighted the Candles of Hope, Peace, and Joy as we remember that Jesus, born in Bethlehem, will come again to fulfill all of God’s promises and bring us everlasting hope, peace, and joy.
Father, all-powerful God, your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan, filled as she was with unboundless love of God. We light this fourth candle in commemoration of that pure love.
(the fourth candle is lit)
Lift our minds in watchful hope to hear the voice that announces his glory and open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming.
Love is like a candle shining in a dark place. As we light this candle we celebrate the love we have in Christ.
Let us pray:
Stir up your might, we pray, O Lord, and come; rescue us through your great strength so that salvation, which has been hindered by our sins, may be hastened by the love and grace of your gentle mercy. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
HYMN #74 BLUE Blest Be the King Whose Coming
Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God! For him let doors be opened, no hearts against him barred! Not robed in royal splendor, in power and pomp, comes he; but clad as are the poorest, such his humility!
Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God! By those who truly listen his voice is truly heard; pity the proud and haughty, who have not learned to heed the Christ who is the Promise, who has atonement made.
Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God! He only to the humble reveal the face of God. All power is his, all glory! All things are in his hand, all ages and all peoples, till time itself shall end!
Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God! He offers to the burdened the rest and grace they need. Gentle is he and humble! And light his yoke shall be, for he would have us bear it so he can make us free!
OPENING SENTENCES AND COLLECT OF THE DAY
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Let us pray.
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
A Reading from Micah 5:1-5
Now you are walled around with a wall; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the ruler of Israel upon the cheek. But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace. If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil, we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers.
Reader The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
Let us say together Canticle 15
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
HYMN #202 RED People, Look East
People, look east. The time is near of the crowning of the year. Make your house fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table. People, look east and sing today: Love, the Guest, is on the way.
Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare, one more seed is planted there. Give up your strength the seed to nourish, that in course the flower may flourish. People, look east and sing today: Love, the Rose, is on the way.
Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim, one more light the bowl shall brim, shining beyond the frosty weather, bright as sun and moon together. People, look east and sing today: Love, the Star, is on the way.
Angels announce with shouts of mirth him who brings new life to earth. Set every peak and valley humming with the word, the Lord is coming. People look east today: Love, the Lord, is on the way.
A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 1:39-45
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
Reader The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
SERMON Pastor Neil
THE NICENE CREED (please stand)
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
In readiness and joyful expectation of Christ’s reign of peace, let us pray for our needs and the needs of others.
For the peace of the world, our unity in Christ, and peace among the peoples of the earth. For the leaders of the nations and all in authority. Come, O Lord, and save us.
For the church throughout the world and the faithful in every place. For Eugene and Chilton our bishops, for Neil our pastor, for deacons and all who minister in Christ. Come, O Lord, and save us.
For all who endure illness, oppression, poverty, or any other suffering; for the dead and the dying; for Pastor Neil’s pastoral and healthcare ministry, and for other caregivers. Come, O Lord, and save us.
We especially pray for those suffering from human rights abuses; because of natural and humanity’s disasters, and for those we name now… (please add your petitions). Come, O Lord, and save us.
Bring together those who have been divided by misunderstanding, hatred, and mistrust. Heal the divisions in our nation. Give wisdom and good courage to our leaders. Come, O Lord, and save us.
For all our blessings which we name now…(the people may add their thanksgivings). For ourselves, our families and companions, and those we love. Come, O Lord, and save us.
Give us ears to hear, O God, and eyes to watch, that we may know your presence in our midst during this holy season of joy as we anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let us confess our sins to God (Silence may be kept).
Officiant and People
God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, opposing your will in our lives. We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created. We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen.
Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through the grace of Jesus Christ. Strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.
Officiant The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.
[Please greet one another in the name of the Lord.]
Let us with gladness present the offerings and gifts of our life and labor to the Lord. [Please be seated]
HYMN #81 BLUE Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung! Of Jesse’s lineage coming as seers of old have sung. It came, a blossom bright, amid the cold of winter, when half spent was the night.
Isaiah ‘twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind, with Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind. To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a Savior, when half spent was the night.
O Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air, dispel in glorious splendor the darkness everywhere; true man, yet very God, from sin and death now save us, and share our every load.
PRESENTATION HYMN #63 BLUE O Heavenly Word, v. 1-2
(Sung to tune of “Old 100th”)
O heavenly Word, eternal Light, begotten of the Father’s might, who in these later days wast born for blessing to a world forlorn;
pour light upon us from above, and fire our hearts with ardent love, that, as we hear thy truth today, all wrong desires may burn away.
THE HOLY COMMUNION
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Celebrant will chant:
It is indeed right and salutary … (preface continues)
…we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of the universe and giver of life. You formed us in your own image and called us to dwell in your infinite love. You gave the world into our care that we might be your faithful stewards and show forth your bountiful grace.
But we failed to honor your image in one another and in ourselves; we would not see your goodness in the world around us; and so we violated your creation, abused one another, and rejected your love. Yet you never ceased to care for us, and prepared the way of salvation for all people.
Through Abraham and Sarah and Hagar, you called us into covenant with you. You delivered us from slavery, sustained us in the wilderness, and raised up prophets to renew your promise of salvation. Then, in the fullness of time, you sent your eternal Word, made mortal flesh in Jesus. Born into the human family, and dwelling among us, he revealed your glory.
Giving himself freely to death on the cross, he triumphed over evil, opening the way of freedom and life.
On the night before he died for us, our Savior Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his friends, and said: “Take, eat: This is my Body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said: “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”
Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Remembering his death and resurrection, we now present to you from your creation this bread and this wine. By your Holy Spirit may they be for us the Body and Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Grant that we who share these gifts may be filled with the Holy Spirit and live as Christ’s Body in the world. Bring us into the everlasting heritage of your daughters and sons, that with blessed John and all your saints, past, present, and yet to come, we may praise your Name for ever.
Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
PRE-COMMUNION ANTHEM S-164
Jesus, Lamb of God: have mercy on us. Jesus, bearer of our sins: have mercy on us. Jesus, redeemer, redeemer of the world: give us your peace, give us your peace.
The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.
WELCOME TO THE TABLE
All are welcome to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, without exception. The usher will direct you when to come forward (those in the back of the room come first). Cup your hands together to receive the bread and when the wine is offered, either dip your wafer in the wine or assist the chalice bearer to guide the cup to your lips. Alternately, you may cross your hands over your chest to indicate you wish a blessing from the priest. The elements will be brought to those who are unable to come forward.
Loving God, we give you thanks for restoring us in your image and nourishing us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. Now send us forth a people forgiven, healed, renewed; that we may proclaim your love to the world and continue in the risen life of Christ our Savior. Amen.
Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace, as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, hold on to what is good, return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering, honor all people, and let our gentleness be known by everyone. May God, who raised our Lord Jesus from death, lift us up and restore us to wholeness. And may God bless us all, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Amen.
HYMN #100 BLUE Joy to the World
Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her King; let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the world! The Savior reigns; let us our songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy, repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; he comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness, and wonders of his love, and wonders of his love, and wonders, wonders of his love.
Celebrant Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia, Alleluia!
People Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia!