First Sunday in Advent
November 27, 2022
Advent is here. And soon we will celebrate the birth of Jesus—Christmas. Just as the season slides one into another, Advent will arrive as the companion to winter and the longest darkness of the year. As I sit here, I spy a huge tree in this distance, behind it the vision of a ponderous cloud, gathered in both deepest darkness and almost painful light. The clouds are barreling by, as if steered somewhere in a maniacal imperative to get to a destination beyond the window. These dramatic clouds are all about hurry.
Our gospel reading from Matthew is about an event that some of we moderns call the rapture. A judgment time in which people will go about their business, and some of us will disappear in a moment to the great beyond, leaving the rest of us to carry on. Those that disappear are the elect of God’s mercy. The rest of us are left behind to continue our lives, best we can. Whatever the rapture is, it is fearsome: a time of condemnation, panic, weeping, and mourning. Where have half of us gone; and what is to become of the rest of us?
Here we see a theology in which time is cleaved in two: an roiling age of perverse sinfulness, and a new age of God’s mercy and redemption, ushered in through Jesus’ birth, life, and teachings. The gospel’s vision of the “apocalypse” is relentless: particular people are saved; other people with no mercy are left in the dark. The old age is marked by the presence of Satan and the demons, and by idolatry, sin, injustice, exploitation, sickness; enmity between nature and humankind, violence, and death.
Matthew believes our work as people of faith, followers of Jesus, is to usher in the new age of mercy and forgiveness. The gospel message is that we should get to it. Pastor Neil
PRELUDE MUSIC (a time for silent reflection)
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT WREATH
SIGN OF THE CROSS
People ☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Celebrant May your hearts be filled with hope as you hear the promises God made to bless all the peoples on earth through Abraham, the father of our faith.
People Thanks be to God
Celebrant Today is the First Sunday of Advent, we will light a candle to remember hope, the matriarchs, patriarchs, Abraham, Sara, Hagar, Isaac and Jacob, the ancient ancestors of our faith.
Celebrant Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Celebrant Blessed are you, sovereign Lord, God of our ancestors: to you be praise and glory forever. You called the patriarchs to live by the light of faith and to journey in the hope of your promised fulfilment. May we be obedient to your call and be ready and watchful to receive your Christ, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path; for you are our light and our salvation. Blessed be God forever.
The first candle is lighted.
Celebrant Let us pray:
People Lord Jesus we give thanks for our Father Abraham who by faith obeyed your call and became the father of many nations. Give us faith to listen to your voice that our hearts may be filled with the hope of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
OPENING HYMN #72 BLUE Hark the Glad Sound
Hark! The glad sound! The Savior comes, the Savior promised long; let every heart prepare a throne, and every voice a song.
He comes, the prisoners to release, in Satan’s bondage held the gates of brass before him burst, the iron fetters yield.
He comes, the broken hearts to bind, the bleeding soul to cure; and with the treasures of his grace, to enrich the humble poor.
Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace, thy welcome shall proclaim; heaven’s eternal arches ring, with thy beloved Name.
Celebrant ☩ Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever.
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Celebrant Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
THE COLLECT OF THE DAY Celebrant The Lord be with you. People And also with you. Celebrant Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
THE COLLECT OF THE DAY
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Let us say the psalm in unison
1 I was glad when they said to me, *
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 Now our feet are standing *
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built as a city *
that is at unity with itself;
4 To which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord, *
the assembly of Israel,
to praise the Name of the Lord.
5 For there are the thrones of judgment, *
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: *
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls *
and quietness within your towers.
8 For my brethren and companions’ sake, *
I pray for your prosperity.
9 Because of the house of the Lord our God, *
I will seek to do you good.”
Jesus said to the disciples, “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away.
So, too, will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Reader The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
SERMON PASTOR O’FARRELL
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
Celebrant and People together, all standing
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
In calling forth creation from the void, God you revealed yourself in human form. You manifest your concern for your whole universe. Hear the world’s needs, as we bring the matters of our hearts before you.
Pour out your life-giving Spirit on your holy church throughout the world. Equip its members to boldly proclaim their common faith and your bountiful blessings across the earth. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Let your Spirit move over our unruly time and heal its people broken in spirit and body. Bring peace to a weary and struggling world. Intercede and bring peace to Ukraine, Afghanistan, Haiti, the Middle East, and the streets of Baltimore. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Help those suffering from mental illness, broken families, and homelessness. Protect Mother Earth from human neglect and destruction. Protect animals and species in danger from human selfishness, greed, and misadventure. This must break your heart as much as it breaks ours. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Create changed hearts within us. Help us to become our best selves, as you created us to be. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Burn out all that is evil in us. Consecrate us for holy service. Empower us to work toward the salvation of the world. Give us energy and insight for our personal missions. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Renew the faith of all who call you Lord, so that we may devote ourselves to worship, teaching, and prayer—all to reveal your grace to a fragile humanity. Give noble purpose to our secular leaders, and a desire to do justice in the land and in the world. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Be with those who are dying and ill, their families and loved ones. Bless the pastoral ministries of this congregation. Safeguard immigrants and refugees. Provide solace and healing to those beleaguered by the reality of their lives. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
We especially pray for those we silently name now. (Pause) Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Celebrant Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
A CONFESSION OF OUR SINS TO GOD
Celebrant Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbors.
Silence will be kept
Minister and People Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Celebrant Almighty God have mercy on you, ☩ forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen.
Celebrant The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.
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 It is indeed right and salutary that we should— in all times and in all places—give thanks to you, Almighty Father, through Jesus Christ your son. For by water and the Holy Spirit, you have made us a new people in Jesus Christ our Savior, to show forth your glory in all the world. Therefore, we praise your name and join angels and archangels by saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. ☩ Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself. When we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you in your mercy sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.
He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself
in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole
On the night before his death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
After supper he 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 shed for you and for many 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.
We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanks- giving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts. ☩ Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. ☩ Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace. And at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom. All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ.
By him, and with him, and in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father,
now and forever. Amen.
And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
THE CALL TO COMMUNION
Celebrant 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.
Celebrant will distribute communion to people in their chairs.
THE GENERAL THANKSGIVING
Celebrant Almighty and everliving God,
All We thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen
Celebrant Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace. We live and walk as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, to hold on to what is good, and to return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering; do justice, 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 Holy Spirit. Amen.
Celebrant Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
The King shall come when morning dawns, and light triumphant breaks; when beauty gilds the eastern hills and life to joy awakes.
Not as of old, a little child to bear and fight and die, but crowned with glory like the sun, that lights the morning sky.
The King shall come when morning dawns and light and beauty brings: Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray, come quickly, King of kings.
POSTLUDE: PLEASE REMAIN SEATED IN YOUR CHAIRS UNTIL THE MUSIC IS OVER