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REFLECTIONS

Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.

—Simone Weil

In a very deep sense, the entire Christian life in this world is lived in Advent, between the first and second comings of the Lord, in the midst of the tension between things the way they are and things the way they ought to be.

—Fleming Rutledge, from The Bible and the New York Times

 

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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
December 03, 2017
1st Sunday of Advent
Center City Campus

OPENING SENTENCES

Leader:   The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together!

—Isaiah 40:5

GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN  

CHORUS
Go tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere
Go tell it on the mountain,
that Jesus Christ is born

While shepherds kept their watching
O'er silent flocks that night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light

CHORUS

The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Savior's birth

CHORUS

Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And brought us God's salvation
That blessed Christmas morn

CHORUS

Lyrics by John W. Work Jr., 1907, Music: African-American Spiritual.

 

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GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader:    The Lord be with you. 

People:     And also with you!

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill my promises to my people. 

People: Justice and righteousness will fill the land and all will live in peace and safety. 

Leader: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; 

People: justice and righteousness will fill the land and all will live in peace and safety. 

—Jeremiah 33:14-16

PRAYER OF INVOCATION

 

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O COME O COME EMMANUEL

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

CHORUS
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel


O come thou rod of Jesse
free thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of hell thy people save
and give them victory o're the grave

O come thou Key of David Come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
And drive away the shades of night
And pierce the clouds and bring us light

O come thou Wisdom from on high
And order all things far and nigh
To us the path of knowledge show
And cause us in her ways to go

O come, Desire of nations,
bind all people in one heart and mind
Bid envy strife and quarrels cease
Fill all the world with heaven's peace

Lyrics by Jason Mason Neale

 

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LOVE CAME DOWN AT CHRISTMAS

Love came down at Christmas
Love incarnate, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign

REFRAIN
Emmanuel
Our God with us
Emmanuel
Our hope, our trust

Worship we the Godhead
Love Incarnate, Love Divine
Worship we our Jesus
But wherewith for sacred sign

REFRAIN
Emmanuel
Our God with us
Emmanuel
Our hope, our trust

 

© 2009 5 PM Records. Authors Alex Mejias and Christina G. Rossetti

 

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IN COVENANT MEMBERSHIP
STORIES OF GOD’S WORK & VOWS
CANDIDATES

Minister: Do you renounce sin and the power of evil in your life and in the world?

Candidate: I renounce them.

Minister: Who is your Lord and Savior?

Candidate: Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior

Minister: Will you be a faithful covenant member of Liberti Church, and through a life of worship, community, and mercy seek to advance God’s purposes here and throughout the world?

Candidate: I will, and I ask God to help me. 

Minister: Do you promise to accept the spiritual guidance of the church and its leaders, to walk in a spirit of Christian love with this congregation, and to seek those things that make for unity, purity, and peace?

Candidate: I do. 

LIBERTI CHURCH 

Minister: Do you promise to love, encourage, and support these brothers and sisters by teaching them the gospel, by being an example of Christian faith and character, and by giving the strong support of God’s family in fellowship, prayer, and service?

People: We do.

 

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CONFESSION OF FAITH—THE APOSTLES’ CREED 

Minister:    Let us affirm our faith together in the words of the Apostles’ creed: Do you believe in God the Father? 

People:     We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. 

Minister:    Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God? 

People: We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead. 

Minister: Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit? 

People: We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic1 church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. (1 that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places) 

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

Minister: Almighty God, by the love of Jesus Christ you draw people to faith, and welcome them into the church family.  May we show your joy by embracing new brothers and sisters, who with us believe and with us will work to serve you. Keep us close together in your Spirit, breaking bread in faith and in love, one with Jesus Christ our Lord and Master. Amen. 

PASSING THE PEACE & ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

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THE WORD OF GOD

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
SCRIPTURE READING
Isaiah 64:1-9, NRSV

64O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence— 2as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! 3When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. 4From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. 5You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. 8Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. 9Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.

Minister:  This is the World of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God!

SERMON
Sermon Series: The Crown: Isaiah & the Arrival of King Jesus
Sermon Title: Oh That You Would Tear Open the Heavens!
Speaker: Jared Ayers

 

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THE LORD’S TABLE

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

 The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts now!  
We lift them to the Lord.

    Let us give thanks to the Lord our saving God.
It is right and good, always and everywhere.
To give thanks, to the Lord.

Minister:  With joy we praise you, gracious God, for you have created heaven  and earth, made us in your image, and kept covenant with us  —even when we fell into sin. We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord, who came among us as the Word made flesh to show us your glory, full of grace and truth. Therefore we join our voices with all the saints and angels and the whole creation to proclaim the  glory of your name, saying:    

        Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
        hosanna in the highest!
Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
        hosanna in the highest!

Minister:  You are holy, O God of majesty, and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Born in humility, he came to rule over all. Helpless as an infant, he showed the power of your love. Poor in     things of  the world, he brought the wealth of your grace. Rejected by many, he welcomed all who sought him. In his dying and rising, you gave  birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant     by water and the Spirit. Remembering your gracious acts in Jesus Christ, we take from your creation this bread and wine and joyfully celebrate his dying and rising as we await the day of his coming. With thanksgiving we  offer our very selves to you to be a living and holy sacrifice, dedicated to your service. So together     we proclaim the mystery of the faith:

 

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Your death, O Christ, we proclaim.
Your rising celebrate! 
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new
(REPEAT)

Minister: Lord, our God, send your Holy Spirit so that this bread and cup may be for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  May we  and all your saints be united with Christ and remain faithful in hope  and love. Gather your whole church, O Lord, into the glory of your kingdom.     Even so, come Lord Jesus! 

Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son, 
praise to the Spirit, 
Our God the Three in One.

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

Minister:    Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.    

People:    Therefore, let us keep the feast. 

HOLY COMMUNION   

Minister:      The gifts of God for the people of God.     

Gluten-free communion wafers are available at the welcome table in the front lobby of the church. Please pick one up prior to coming forward to take communion. Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. We invite all committed followers of Jesus Christ to partake of this sacrament: those who are baptized members of a congregation that proclaims the Gospel, who are at peace with God and their neighbor, and who seek strength to live more faithfully for Christ.

 

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PRAYERS FOR REFLECTION

If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with his people, the church. If you are unable to receive Communion, we invite you to meditate on one of the following prayers:

PRAYER FOR THOSE SEARCHING FOR TRUTH: Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might be undaunted by the cost of following you as I consider the reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life that you promise. Amen.

PRAYER OF BELIEFLord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross, and offering forgiveness and new life. Knowing that you have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior and Lord. Amen. 

PRAYER OF COMMITMENT: Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you in baptism and in a life of committed discipleship in your church. Grant that I may take the necessary steps to be one with your people, and live in the fullness of your Spirit. Amen.  

 

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WHAT CHILD IS THIS

What Child is this, who laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping,
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping? 

Chorus:
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing.
Haste, haste to bring Him laud:
The Babe, the Son of Mary. 

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading. 

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through
The cross be borne for me, for you
Hail, hail the Word made flesh
The Babe, the Son of Mary 

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come peasant, king to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings:
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise a song on high
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary

Author Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. Lyrics from album Every Light That Shines At Christmas

 

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PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE 

Minister: Lord, in your mercy,

People: Hear our prayer.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Minister: Let us pray as our Lord Jesus has taught us:     

People: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

 

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SENDING INTO GOD’S WORLD

OFFERING

O, COME ALL YE FAITHFUL 

O come, all ye faithful,
joyful and triumphant;
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of angels

CHORUS
O come, let us adore Him;
O come, let us adore Him;
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord!


Sing, choirs of angels,
sing in exultation;
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above:
"Glory to God,
all glory in the highest!"

CHORUS

Yea, Lord we greet Thee,
Born that happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv'n.
Word of the Father,
now in flesh appearing:

CHORUS

Music & lyrics by John F. Wade, 1743.

 

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BENEDICTION

Minister: Beloved, be encouraged in the Lord, and do not be led astray. Stand firm in the Gospel, and do good deeds, all for the glory of God. 

—Hebrews 10:24; Mark 13:5

People: Amen.


DISMISSAL

Minister:  Lets us go forth in the name of Christ.

People:  Thanks be to God!

 

 

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