First Sunday of Advent: Bulletin & Readings for November 28, 2021

This bulletin includes the order of service as well as the readings for The Holy Eucharist Rite Two. The items in bold italics are intended for you to speak while you are in church, (while muted) on the zoom call or as you watch along with the video once it has been posted.

For those joining in-person worship, please review our In-Person Worship Guidelines.

Lighting of the Advent Wreath

The lighting of the first candle: Hope

O God of our Hope, come~ As we begin this Advent journey, restore us to faithfulness, and shepherd us through these weeks. Soften us and open us to trust in your love, your goodness,

your guiding presence. May we take in your word and bring it to life, giving hope to the hopeless through our words and actions. We ask this through Christ, our Savior and our hope. Amen.

Opening Hymn

Call to Worship and Confession of Sin

Wherever you are, God invites you to hear Her Word of liberation and to celebrate Her feast of communion. Bring your dreams and your musings, your fears and your anger, your trauma and your despair. Come from your sofas, your desks, your porches, your kitchen tables, so that your individual places become God’s beloved community, the living, breathing Body of Christ. 

Jesus welcomes everyone to God’s table. Are you ready to meet God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit? 

We’re ready!  Loving God, you bring order out of chaos in the world and in our lives. Meet with us in Christ today, change us and send us out to fill your world with love and light and laughter, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In this season of waiting, we come together to experience the grace of God. The only requirements for our participation are our openness and sincerity.   As we begin, we come together as a people to confess our sins to God because we all fall short of God’s plan of perfect love.  We do not confess to abase ourselves or to avoid punishment.  We confess to free our own hearts and minds, so we may remove the barriers between ourselves, our God, and our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus, for the wrong things we’ve done, we are sorry. Lord, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Lord Jesus, for the wrong things we’ve said, we are sorry. Christ, have mercy. 

Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, for the wrong things we’ve thought, we are sorry. Lord, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 

May the God of love bring us back to life, forgive us our sins, and assure us of eternal love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

For forgiving us, Lord Jesus: Thank you. For giving us a fresh start, Lord Jesus: Thank you. For helping us next time things are hard, Lord Jesus: Thank you.

Joy to the World. Amen.

Collect of the Day 

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Ministry of the Word

The First Reading

Reader: Keishna

Jeremiah 33:14-16

14The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Psalm

Reader:  Don (odds), Congregation (evens)

Psalm 25:1-10

1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you;        let me not be humiliated, nor let my enemies triumph over me.

2 Let none who look to you be put to shame; let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.

3 Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths.

4 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;in you have I trusted all the day long.

5 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting.

6 Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; remember me according to your love and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.

7 Gracious and upright is the Lord; therefore he teaches sinners in his way.

8 He guides the humble in doing right and teaches his way to the lowly.

9 All the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

10 For your Name’s sake, O Lord, forgive my sin, for it is great.

The Second Reading

Reader:  Keishna

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

11Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

The Gospel

Luke 21:25-36

25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees;30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 34“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Sermon – The Rev. Fletcher Harper

The Prayers

A Celtic Creed

We believe in God above us, maker and sustainer of all life, of sun and moon, of water and earth, of male and female. 

We believe in God beside us, Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, born of a woman, servant of the poor, tortured and nailed to a tree. A man of sorrows, he died forsaken. He descended into the earth to the place of death. 

On the third day he rose from the tomb. He ascended into heaven, to be everywhere present, unleashing a universal realm of love that will come on earth. 

We believe in God within us, the Holy Spirit of fire, life-giving breath of the Church, Spirit of healing and forgiveness, source of resurrection and of eternal life. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Reader/Intercessor: Hank

Intercessor: God of many names, God beyond all names; the beginning and the end of every story, the meaning of every life; infinite Mystery both hidden and revealed:

Hear us when we pray to you.

Intercessor: Blessed are You who join us together in the communion of Christ’s Body. Renew and energize your holy Church, in this congregation and throughout the world, that we may manifest your steadfast love in our common life of praise and service.

Hear us when we pray to you.

Intercessor: O perfect Wisdom, direct and rule the hearts of the leaders and shapers of society. Raise up prophets of righteousness and peace, and empower your people for the holy vocation of repairing the world. May we entrust all our labors to the work of justice.

Hear us when we pray to you.

Intercessor: O Deliverer, You unlock every door and make a way where there is no way. Set free all who are afflicted or distressed in body, mind or spirit. Resurrect their hope, grant them peace and refreshment, and restore their joy.

Hear us when we pray to you.

Intercessor: O Compassionate One, hold us in your mercy: heal the sick, mend the broken, protect the vulnerable, shelter the refugee, strengthen the weary, rescue the lost, and give courage to all who struggle. We remember especially those we remember now, silently or aloud.

Hear us when we pray to you.

Intercessor: O Lover of souls, when we wander far away, lead us back to You; when we refuse your embrace, do not give up on us; when we forget You, never forget us. We remember especially those who have died, silently or aloud.

Hear us when we pray to you.

Intercessor: O Desire of every heart, the answer to every longing: You are the strong force that never lets us go. We remember those who have died, silently or aloud.

Hear us when we pray to you.

Intercessor: God who has come, God who does come, God who is yet to come: Make us an Advent people, ready and alert to welcome and receive You in the stranger’s face, the loving act, the moment of grace, the presence of healing, the birth of possibility, the gift of wonder. Let every heart prepare You room.

Hear us when we pray to you.

Priest:  God, You show us the face of divinity, and reveal the fullness of our humanity. Come: renew your creation, restore us all in Christ, and enable us to become who we are, your faithful and loving people. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Peace

Announcements

Ingathering of the Pledges

We held our ingathering of the pledges last Sunday. If you have not yet submitted yours, you can still submit online, or there are cards available in church. Please know that your guidance and support are deeply appreciated by us and by this community. We thank you for sharing your gifts with the church.

Now thru December 12: Christmas Flower Memorials

If you’d like to contribute towards our Christmas poinsettias and memorialize or celebrate someone for the holidays, please make a cash or check donation in a Christmas Flower envelope at the church, or through online giving. Memorial/celebration names will be displayed in the Christmas Bulletins.

December 5: North Porch Collection

We will be collecting cash or check donations (made out to the church) to support North Porch. They fill the gap in emergency situations when needy families are displaced or have shortfalls in their budget.

Upcoming Collections

We will be collecting the following over the next few months:
– Gently Used Coats (Nov-Dec) – give to Helen Allen
– Children’s Hats, Gloves & Scarves (Dec-Jan) – give to Janet Reineke

The Town of Secaucus will be collecting toys and food for the holidays, drop off available at the Community Center at 145 Front St. The holiday toy and food drive ends November 28, however the food pantry collects items at this address year round.

Offertory

The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Now let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

How good it is to give thanks and praise.

It is good to give our thanks and praise.  It is a good and joyful thing always and everywhere to give thanks to you, God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.  You create the world from chaos.  By simply speaking, you set the cosmos into motion, and create all things from the dust of stars.

Blessed are you, O God, Creator of heaven and earth.

God of many blessings, you called out a people and then a family to be a blessing to all the people and families of the earth.  You gave them land, and promised to make them a great nation so that all of the nations of the world could be blessed.

Blessed are you, God of Abraham and Sarah.

God of salvation, when the people were but slaves in Egypt you called upon your servant Moses.  You gave him the power to speak salvation to the Pharoah, and led your people out of slavery.  You led them over the water, and helped them Passover into freedom.  When the people were hungry, you gave them food from the sky.  When the people were thirsty, you brought forth water from the rocks.  When the people were disordered and chaotic, you gave them the Law.

Blessed are you, God of our salvation.

You anointed prophets, who spoke the truth to power, and called the people to remember who and whose they were.  The prophets warned the people of the consequences of injustice and false worship.  When the people fell into exile, the prophets spoke words of hope and restoration when all around them, there was nothing but despair.

A voice is crying out: “Clear the Lord’s way in the desert! Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God!

You promised the coming of an anointed one, who would lead the people to peace and righteousness.  You promised that out of Bethlehem would come the Prince of Peace.  You promised the coming of your Realm, when “swords would be beaten into plows, and spears into pruning hooks.”

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.”

And so, in hopeful anticipation, we give thanks to you, God of Creation,  God of Abraham and Sarah, God of the Prophets, God of hope and deliverance, God of us all.  We join in praise and come together to sing of the saints of glory.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord.  God of power and might, heaven and earth are shining bright with the glory of your light. Blessed is the coming one, Christ Emmanuel your son.  Glory in the highest. Holy God, your name is blessed. 

Holy are you, and holy is your Son Jesus Christ, who is the Word made flesh, the one to whom John pointed in the wilderness, born to us in a manger when there was no room in the inn, who came to show us the way to your love.  He proclaimed good news to the poor.  He restored the sight to the blind.  He called the children to his side, taught the women, ate with sinners, and called out the religious leaders blinded by the letter of the Law.

Holy are you, and Holy is your Son Jesus Christ. 

Jesus was betrayed by those who loved him, persecuted by those who feared him, crucified by those who thought that his death would be the end of him. On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:

“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

And when the supper was over, Jesus took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples and said:

“Drink from this, all of you.  This is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

And so, in remembrance of these mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.  Make us a people secure in what has come, and hopeful for what is yet to be.  By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world.  Keep us vigilant in our Advent waiting until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet. 

Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

And now, in the words that Jesus taught us, we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven. hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kindgom come.
Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.

Breaking of the Bread

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.

Therefore let us keep the feast.

These are the gifts of God for you, the people of God.

The congregation receives communion.

(AT THE COMMUNION: We encounter the Real Presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in this Sacrament of Holy Communion. All who desire a closer relationship with God are encouraged to come forward: for a Blessing or, if you are baptized, for the Bread and Wine. NOTE: Until all restrictions have been lifted, only the bread is offered for communion.)

(Please wait for an usher until forming a distanced line in the aisle and come forward to receive from the priest.)

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, you are the author and giver of all good things. We give you thanks for the gift of life, for the meal we shared, and for reconnecting us as your people. Keep us nourished by this meal and this community. Keep us grounded in the ways in which you feed us, and in the ways we are all hungry. We pray these things through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Blessing

Closing Hymn

Dismissal

The Altar Flowers Today are for:

Edna Mondadori and Pat DeFerrari by Their Families

Prayer List

Margaret, Harold, Ellen, Karen, Kya, Rayne, Linda, Tom (and his wife, Erica), the Rodriguez and Principe families, Lynda, Deepa, Caroline, Georgia, Cathleen, Robert, Marcia, and Maria & her mother, Lew.

Ministers in this Service

Service Leader: Rev. Fletcher Harper
Altar Guild/Flowers: Susan J
Tech Verger & Verger: Shanna & Hank

Portions written by Robb McCoy, at http://www.fatpastor.me”
More Light Sunday 2021 at https://mlp.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/MLP_Sunday_2021_Order_worship.pdf

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