By his appearance in the flesh our Lord visited us when we were distancing ourselves from him, and he chose to seek out and justify us when we were sinners. He visited us as a doctor visits an ill patient, and, in order to cure the ingrained sickness of our pride, he gave us the example of his own humility. He redeemed his people by giving us freedom, at the price of his own blood- we who had been sold into the slavery of sin and were committed to serving the ancient enemy.

—Bede the Venerable

(Repentance is) the turning of all of ourselves, without leaving anything behind or outside, toward God; a refocusing of the mental life, and its cultural and social underpinnings and of our feelings, affections, and instincts, in light of what God has done in Jesus Christ.

—Lamin Sanneh, from Whose Religion Is Christianity?


Gathering Before God

December 9, 2018
2nd Sunday of Advent
 Main Line Campus

Opening Sentences

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

—Isaiah 40:5

As With Gladness Men Of Old

As with gladness men of old 
did the guiding star behold;
as with joy they hailed its light, 
Leading onward beaming bright;
so, most gracious God, may we 
evermore be led to Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped 
To that lowly cradle bed,
There to bend the knee before 
Him whom heav'n and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet 
Ever seek the mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare 
at that manger rude and bare;
so may we with holy joy, 
pure, and free from sin's alloy,
all our costliest treasures bring, 
Christ, to thee, our heav'nly King.

Holy Jesus, ev'ry day 
keep us in the narrow way;
and when earthly things are past, 
bring our ransomed souls at last
where they need no star to guide, 
where no clouds Your glory hide.

In the heav'nly country bright 
Need they no created light;
Thou its light, its joy, its crown, 
Thou its sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing 
Alleluias to our King.


Greeting & Preparation

Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you!

Call to Worship 

Leader: I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his Word I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning. 
People: There is no darkness with you, O Lord.

Leader: O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
People: There is no darkness with you, O Lord.

Leader: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. 
People: There is no darkness with you, O Lord.

 —based on Psalm 130:5-7

Prayer of Invocation


Angels We Have Heard On High

Angels we have heard on high, 
Sweetly singing o'er the plains;
And the mountains in reply, 
Echo back their joyous strains. 
Glo……..ria, in excelsis Deo!
Glo……..ria, in excelsis De…o!

Shepherds, why this jubilee? 
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be; 
Which inspire your heav'nly song? 
Glo……..ria, in excelsis Deo!
Glo……..ria, in excelsis De…o!

Come to Bethlehem and see,  
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee, 
Christ the Lord, the newborn King. 
Glo……..ria, in excelsis Deo!
Glo……..ria, in excelsis De…o!


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? 
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 pleasing. 
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 the song on high, 
the virgin sings her lullaby: 
joy, joy for Christ is born,  
the Babe, the Son of Mary.


Call to Confession

Leader: With confidence in God's mercy,
let us confess our sin.

Prayer of Confession

People: Lord, have mercy on us.
We are not ready for your coming.
We live in sin, as though there were no justice.
We live in fear, as though there were no grace.
Forgive us, Lord.
Show us your mercy and steadfast love.
Lead us in your truth, and teach us your paths,
for you are the God of our salvation. Amen.

Silent Confession & Words of Pardon

Leader: The Lord is our righteousness; in Christ, we are forgiven! 

—Jeremiah 33:16

Song of Response- Kyrie Eleison

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy
On us.

Passing the Peace & Announcements


The Word of God

Prayer for Illumination & Scripture Reading
Luke 1:5-25, 57-80, NRSV

5In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. 8Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” 19The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.” 21Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. 22When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. 23When his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 24After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 25“This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”

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

Sermon Series: Christmas Characters
Sermon Title: John the Baptizer: Turning
Speaker: Don Overton


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.

(1that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places).


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… 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!

Minister: You are holy, O God of majesty… together we proclaim the mystery of the faith:

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

Minister:  Lord, our God, send your Holy Spirit…Gather your whole church, O Lord, into the glory of your Kingdom.

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.


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.  


Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Come Thou long awaited Emmanuel! 
Come Thou long awaited Emmanuel!  

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.


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.



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.


Sending into God’s World


God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen / We Three Kings

God rest ye merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Saviour
Was born upon this day;
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy!

From God our heavenly Father

This blessed angel came;
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same;
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy!

O, star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a king on Bethlehem's plain;
Gold I bring to crown Him again;
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.


Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and sacrifice,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Worship Him, God most high.




Minister: May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of
the Holy Spirit.
People: Amen. 

—Romans 15:13


Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. 
People: Thanks be to God!