Advent is about the “coming days.” God’s people have always lived in great expectation, but that expectation finds specific, repeated enunciation in the texts appointed for these four weeks. The ancients anticipated a “righteous Branch to spring up for David.” The Thessalonians awaited “the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints.” Our Lord’s contemporaries hoped for the time “to stand before the Son of Man.” With them we eagerly await the coming days: another Christmas celebration, a second coming, and the advent of our Lord in word and sacraments.
PRELUDE: December Prayer- Afanasieff/Menzel/Midnight
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
As a matter of hospitality, we invite everyone to fill out information in the red fellowship pad found on each pew at the center aisle and pass it down so everyone may be greeted by name during the passing of the peace. Written announcements can be found at the back of the bulletin.
LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLES(Isa. 2:4)
The primary symbolism of the Advent candles has to do with light growing in darkness—leading up to the coming of Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ.
As the Lord has promised, in days to come:
The nations shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
Let us walk in the light of the Lord. Amen.
CHORAL INTROIT: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel- text: J. M. Neale; music by Charles Gounod
CALL TO WORSHIP AND PRAYER OF THE DAY (Luke 21:28)
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Alleluia. Stand up and raise your heads
your redemption is drawing near. Alleluia.
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
GATHERING HYMN # 88 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (verse 1, 6-7)
PRAYER OF RECONCILIATION
Blessed be the holy Trinity, + one God,the Lord of Israel who comes to set us free,the mighty Savior who comes to show mercy, the Dawn from on high who guides us into peace.
Let us come before God in confession.
Silence is kept for reflection.
To you, O God,
We lift up our souls.You know us through and through;we confess our sins to you.Remember not our sins; remember us with your steadfast love.Show us your ways;teach us your paths;and lead us in justice and truth,\for the sake of your goodness in Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Children of God, come with joy and draw water from the well of salvation.
Remember the gift of baptism: your sin is washed away in the name of + Jesus;you belong to Christ; you are anointed to serve. Stand up and raise your heads! The reign of God is near. Amen.
The Peace of Christ be with you all. And also with you.
OFFERING OF MUSIC: E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come- Paul O. Manz; adapted by P.F. Tillen
ALL SING O Come. Little Children
SUNG PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION # 453 Open Your Ears, O Faithful People (verse 1)
FIRST READING: Jeremiah 33:14-16
In the Old Testament, “righteousness” often has to do with being faithful in relationship. God acts righteously both in punishing Israel for its sin and in having mercy. In today’s reading, Jerusalem’s future name—”The Lord is our righteousness”—proclaims that the Lord is even now working salvation for Israel.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
PSALM 25 Lord, I Gladly Trust In You (see insert for music)
SECOND READING: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Upon Timothy’s report from the congregation at Thessalonica, Paul is exuberant with gratitude for them. In this passage from his letter, Paul voices overflowing thanks, joy, and blessings for the people of this growing church.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
GOSPEL: Luke 21:25-36
God will fulfill God’s purposes and, already, hidden signs of that fulfillment abound. On that great day there will be dismay, perplexity, confusion, and terror, but God’s people shall be given strength to stand boldly and receive God’s promised redemption.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
A BRIEF TEACHING
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
As we await the coming of Christ, we pray in hope for the church, the world, and all of creation.
A brief silence.
Equip your church, merciful God. Secure our roots in the soil of your eternal word. Ease our worries and remove our shame. Grow our faithfulness and let your steadfast love blossom among us. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Sustain your creation, holy God. Water the parched soil. Restore depleted fields. Send farmers, forest rangers, and gardeners to care for fig trees and wheat fields, gardens and arboretums. Increase our love for the land. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Grow peace within us, abundant God. Raise up leaders in every community grounded in your justice and mercy. Increase their love for all people. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Feed the hungry, living God. Gather our harvest into a feast for our neighbors. Move us to nurture those who are bereaved and lonely. Empower those living with HIV/AIDS and all who are sick (especially). Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Increase our joy, wondrous God. Plant thanksgiving in our hearts and multiply the good fruit of our outreach ministries and creation care programs (especially). Guide us in our service to local and global neighbors. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Here other intercessions may be offered.
In thanksgiving, we remember all who have died and now rest in your glory. Hold all who mourn in the comfort of your eternal light, and bring us to delight in the new life you promise. This week we commemorate: Eusebius and Company; Maura Clarke and Companions; Zephaniah; Francis Xavier; John of Damascus; Clement of Alexandria; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; John A. T. Robinson; Nelson Mandela; Nicholas of Myra; Ambrose of Milan; and Romaricus. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Confident that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, we bring to you these prayers and those unspoken, in the name of Christ, our Savior and Lord, who taught us to pray:
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
INVITATION TO DISCIPLESHIP & STEWARDSHIP(Luke 1:46–47, 51–53)
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
as you led your people in ages past,
you direct our journey into the future.
We give you thanks that
you came to us in Jesus Christ,
and we eagerly await his coming again
that his rule may be complete
and your righteousness reign over all the world.
Then we will feast at his royal banquet,
and sing his praises with the choirs of heaven.
By your Spirit,
open our eyes to the generosity of your hand,
and nurture our souls in all spiritual gifts.
Fill us with gratitude overflowing
that we may share life and love in praise to you,
God of all the ages,
in the gracious name of Jesus Christ, your Son,
by the power of your Holy Spirit,
now and forever. Amen.
Let us magnify the Lord, rejoicing in the one
who scatters the proud, lifts up the lowly,
and fills the hungry with good things.
During this time of offering you are encouraged to take a moment to be in prayer with God and reflect on what it means to be a student or disciple of Jesus Christ. The Gospel understanding of discipleship is a way of being in the world that affects every relationship. Disciples shape one another according to the action of the Spirit in their lives. The energy of the disciples flows from faith in what is unseen yet believed. At its very core, discipleship is a call to a love so radical that it never gives up on God, one’s neighbor, or one’s self. How is God calling you to use your gifts, talents, time and resources to love radically, especially as a part of this worshipping community?
Offerings and tithes will be collected by the ushers in the Narthex (the great entrance hall) following worship. If you would like to make an offering using your smart phone or tablet, go to www.SouthminsterChurch.org and click on the Donate link.
OFFERTORY: Veni, Emmanuel- 8thcentury plainsong, setting by P.F. Tillen
HYMN OF PRAISE Glory Be to Our Creator
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
O Lord our God, we give you thanks
for the hope and longing you instill in us
through the promise of our baptism—
a voice crying out in the wilderness,
a messenger to prepare the way,
the day of redemption drawing near.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
poured out upon us in baptism,
keep us awake and make us ready
for the coming of your glorious realm
of righteousness, justice, and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SENDING HYMN # 82 Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
POSTLUDE: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus- hymn tune HYFRYDOL by Roland Huw Pritchard (1830); setting by Chuck Marohnic
NOTES: Order of service and content is in accord with the Presbyterian Church’s Directory for Worship. Prayers are from the Sundays and Seasons (Year C), Glory to God Hymnal on-line, and the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (2018). Commemoration of Saints is from the 2018 Book of Common Worship, beginning on pg 1145.
Stop off in Nelson hall for the coffee hour first. We will begin in the basement Room 102 around 10:45. We are starting to collect for Bees, so remember your offering! The K-2nd and 3rd-5th classes will rotate separately after our opening and we will conclude around 11:45.
Dec. 2nd – Focus on Mission and Advent
Dec. 9th – Pageant practice during the Church School hour
Dec. 16th – Pageant during service, no Church School for K-5th
Church School resumes on Jan 6th!
CALLED CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
There will be a Called Congregational meeting on December 9th to review the 2019 budget, elect Nominating Committee members, and review changes in Pastor Christian’s Call.
Help provide animals for people in need around the world as a way of giving some much needed resources. Currently, the Church School is raising money for Heifer Project to buy bees. How many can we get? Please help support the children in their mission by contributing to their effort. Please make out your check to Southminster and put Heifer Project in the memo line. God bless!
TOWEL BUNDLE TIME!
The Mission Team needs your help as we gather the items for our gifts to our neighbors at the Hope Center. We have had large donations of toothbrushes and toothpaste. Our big need this year is for deodorants, bar soap and combs. We appreciate your help during the busy holiday season. Look for the collection box near Nelson Hall.
From the Calendar of Commemorations:
2 Maura Clarke and Companions (Martyrs of El Salvador, 1980) – Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, Maryknoll Sisters, Dorothy Kazel, Ursuline Sister, and Jean Donovan, a lay person, targeted specifically by the Somoza dictatorship in El Salvador for their work with the poor, were raped and murdered by a U.S. trained death squad.
3 Zephaniah (7th century BCE) – One of the 12 Minor Prophets of the Hebrew Bible; the Book of Zephaniah deals with the judgement of God and the Messianic Kingdom.
Francis Xavier (1506– 1552) – Spanish priest and missionary to the Asian continent and Japan, co-founder, with Ignatius of Loyola, of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
4 John of Damascus (c. 676– c. 749) – Syrian monk and priest, hymnist, theologian; named by the Catholic Church as Doctor of the Church (title given to saints recognized for significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research, study, or writing.), and regarded as one of the founders of the Eastern Orthodox Church. His hymn texts are still in use today in both the Eastern and Western churches.
Clement of Alexandria (d. c. 215) – Greek philosopher and theologian, regarded as one of the Church Fathers for his influential early writing on Christianity.
5 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756– 1791) – Austrian composer; Mozart wrote important pieces in every genre of the day, including symphonies, operas, solo music for voice, violin, piano, clarinet, French horn and others, Masses, and many smaller sacred works.
John A. T. Robinson (1919– 1983) – Anglican priest, New Testament scholar, author and bishop; lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge, and later Dean of Trinity College; Robinson is considered a major force in shaping liberal Christian theology.
Nelson Mandela (1918– 2013) – South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist, imprisoned from 1964-1990; after his release from prison, he served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.
6 Nicholas of Myra (d. c. 350) – Christian bishop of the ancient Greek city of Myra (modern-day Demre, Turkey) during the time of the Roman Empire. Very little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas. Tradition attributes many acts of generosity to Nicholas, all of which contribute to the legend of “St Nicholas”, the giver of gifts to children in December.
7 Ambrose of Milan (c. 339– 397) – Bishop of Milan and governor of Liguria and Emilia, he is regarded as one of the Doctors of the Church. Ambrose is credited with promoting “antiphonal chant”, a style of chanting in which one side of the choir responds alternately to the other.
8 Romaricus (d. 653) – (Romaric of Remiremont) – Frankish nobleman who became a monk and abbot, co-founder of the monastery and convent at Remiremont, France.