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REFLECTIONS

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
After Thanksgiving our folks
Unpacked the manger scene
With Joseph, Mary, shepherds
And three kings on bended knee
But left the manger empty
Till we slept on Christmas Eve

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

And now my wife and children dream
Of gifts beneath the tree
While I place in the manger
Baby Jesus figurine
Sipping Christmas whiskey
Wondering if I still believe

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

—David Bazan, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” from the album Dark Sacred Night

According to the Christian… calendar each year begins with the season of Advent, which uniquely concerns itself with past and future events: it remembers the first coming (“advent”) of the Messiah and looks forward to the day when, as the Nicene Creed puts it, Christ “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” To be a Christian is to live between these two advents, to be thankful for the salvation brought by the first Advent and to be soberly penitent in light of Christ’s inevitable return in judgment. The believer therefore lives poised, as it were, on a cusp, with Before and After falling off on either side of the moment.

—Alan Jacobs

 

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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
December 10, 2017
2nd 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

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

 

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GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader: The Lord be with you.

People: And also with you!

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: A voice cries in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the Lord; make God's way clear." 

People: Prepare the way of the Lord! 

Leader: For the glory of the Lord shall be revealed; 

People: Prepare the way of the Lord! 

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

People: prepare the way of the Lord!

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

 

© Public Domain CCLI Song # 2678690 -- CCLI License # 30403221

 

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COME THOU LONG EXPECTED JESUS


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 saints Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Joy to those who long to see thee
dayspring of on high appear
Come thou promise rod of Jesse
of thy birth we long to hear
On the hills the angels singing news, 
glad tidings of a birth
Go to Him your praises ringing
Christ the Lord has come to earth

Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end;
By His life he brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number,
Born within a cattle stall;
This the everlasting wonder,
Christ was born the Lord of all.

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.

Words by Charles Wesley. Music by Rowland Prichard.

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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: God does not want anyone to perish, but rather for all to come to repentance. Therefore, let us confess our sins, for God's salvation is at hand. 

—2 Peter 3:9; Psalm 85:9

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People:    Faithful God, we confess that we have not led lives of holiness. We suffer from impatience, apathy, and greed; we have not been at peace. We repent of these offenses and         turn to you in love. Forgive our iniquity and pardon our sins, that we may walk in righteousness to the glory of your name; Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION & WORDS OF PARDON

Leader:    By the mercy of Christ, your sins are forgiven, for salvation is at hand for all who turn to God. 

—Psalm 85:2, 8-9

SONG OF RESPONSE - KYRIE ELEISON

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy
On us.
(X2)



PASSING THE PEACE & ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

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THE WORD OF GOD

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
SCRIPTURE READING
Isaiah 40:1-11, NRSV

40Comfort, 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.
 

Minister:  This is the Gospel of the Lord
People: Praise to you, O Christ!

SERMON
Sermon Series: The Crown: Isaiah & the Arrival of King Jesus
Sermon Title: Tidings of Comfort and Joy
Speaker: Jared Ayers

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APOSTLES’ CREED

Minister: Let us say what we believe.

People: We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand
of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. 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. (1that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places).

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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 BELIEF: Lord 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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WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED THEIR FLOCKS

While shepherds watched.their.flocks.by.night,.
All seated.on.the.ground
The.angel.of.the.Lord.came.down,
 And.glory.shone.around.

“Fear not!" said he for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds”
Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind

To you in David’s house this day
Is born of David’s line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign:

The heavenly babe you there shall find
to human view displayed
All meanly wrapped in swaddling band
And in a manger laid”

Chorus
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Christ is born
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Christ is born

All glory be to God on high
And to the earth be peace
Good will henceforth from God to man
Begin and never cease

Chorus

All glory be to God on high
And to the earth be peace

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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

HARK THE HERALD

Hark, the herald angels sing, 
"Glory to the newborn King.
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled." 
Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies,
With th'angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem."
Hark, the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;
 Hail, th'incarnate Deity;
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel. Hark, the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav'n-born Prince of Peace,
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris'n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give us second birth.
Hark, the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Lyrics by Charles Wesley

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BENEDICTION

Minister: May faithfulness spring up from the ground and  righteousness look down from heaven as you walk in the way of peace, and may the blessing of God, Eternal Majesty, Living Word, and Holy Comforter, be with you now and always. 

—based on Psalm 85:11-13

People:   Amen.

DISMISSAL

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

People:   Thanks be to God!

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