December 16th, 2018 Third Sunday of Advent 10:30 a.m.
Welcome and Announcements
Lighting of the Advent Candle: We begin this third week of Advent with a sense of
liberating joy. Let us pause and breathe deeply as we hear these words spoken by Mary:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Call to Worship (from Isaiah 12)
One: Surely God is my salvation.
Many: With joy we will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And we will say in that day:
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
for great in our midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Sing praises to the Lord,
make known God’s deeds in all the earth.
O God, Source of all that is true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, and gracious, unite us to you in joy. Fill our minds with good and praiseworthy things so that we will put into practice what we have learned and received, heard and seen in Christ Jesus. In his name, and by the power of the Spirit, we pray. Amen.
*Opening Hymn (blue hymnal) #145 Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart
*Call to Confession: God calls us to fill our minds, hearts and lives with all that creates joy, but we are not always ready to go there. Let us confess our need for God’s forgiveness and grace.
*Confession of Sin (followed by silent confession)
God, in this busy season, we are discovering the ways in which we are not fully ready.
We are not ready to give up our shame.
We are not ready to abandon our fears.
We are not ready to rejoice.
We are not ready to turn to you instead of to worrying.
We are not ready to tell the truth. We are not ready to be just.
We are not ready to be real. We are not ready to be gracious.
We are not ready to show that we belong to you in all that we think, and say, and do.
Forgive us and change us. (Silent Confession)
* Assurance of Pardon (from Zephaniah 3, New International Version)
The Lord has taken away your punishment.
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
Thanks be to God for the Good News:
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
* Gloria Patri: Hymn 579 (blue hymnal) “Glory Be to the Father”
Passing of the Peace
The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.
Offering Hymn #13 (blue hymnal) Prepare the Way
* Doxology (Hymn 592, blue hymnal) “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow”
* Prayer of Dedication
Prayer for Illumination
Open our eyes, Lord we want to see Jesus
to reach out and touch him, and say that we love him.
Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen.
Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus.
First Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-20
Second Reading: Philippians 4:4-9
Message: Getting Ready for Christ to Come
Affirmation of Faith (from the PC-USA Brief Confession of Faith)
In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve.
We trust in Jesus Christ, fully human, fully God. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God: preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.
We trust in God, whom Jesus called Abba, Father.
In sovereign love God created the world good
and makes everyone equally in God’s image
male and female, of every race and people,
to live as one community.
God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant. Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still.
We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life. The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith, sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor, and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the Church.
In a broken and fearful world the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace. In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen
Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
*Closing Hymn (blue hymnal) #2 Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
*Charge & Blessing
*Denotes please stand if able.