Fourth Sunday of Advent: Bulletin & Readings for December 19, 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 fourth candle: Love

O God of our Joy, Come ~ In gratitude we remember you as creator of all, yet still mindful of each of your children. GO God of Love, Come ~ On this the last Sunday of Advent, as the new day dawns, may we remember how your birth lit the darkness of night with the hope of freedom, the joy of a promise fulfilled. Be with us. Shine your light in our hearts so that we might know your wisdom, see your faithfulness, and believe in your creative, seemingly impossible ways. We ask this through Christ, our Savior and our love. 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.

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray.

Collect of the Day 

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Ministry of the Word

The First Reading

Reader: Shanna

Micah 5:2-5a

2But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. 3Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. 4And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; 5and he shall be the one of peace.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm

Canticle 15 — The Song of Mary Reader:  Verna

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

The promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

The Second Reading

Hebrews 10:5-10

Reader:  Shanna

5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; 6in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.7Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).” 8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (1:39-45, (46-55))

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” [46And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”]

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Christ.

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: Henry

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 those who need your help, especially Margaret, Harold, Ellen, Karen, Kya, Rayne, Linda, Tom (and his wife, Erica), the Rodriguez and Principe families, Lynda, Deepa, Caroline, Georgia, Cathleen, Robert, Marcia, Lew, Nancy, Maria & her mother, as well as those we now name silently or aloud [pause]. Please comfort them in their time of need.

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 those who have died, silently or aloud [pause]. Let those we hold in our hearts be with You in Your heavenly kingdom. 

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.

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

Christmas Services

Services will be held in-person and online:

– Christmas Eve – Fri. Dec. 24 at 7pm
– Christmas Day – Sat. Dec. 25, 10:15am  MORNING PRAYER
– Sun. Dec. 28 – 9:30am MORNING PRAYER

Upcoming Collections

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

The Town of Secaucus food pantry collects items year-round, drop off available at the Community Center at 145 Front St. 

The Altar Flowers Today are for:

Maxine Searle by S. Elizabeth Searle

The Holy Communion

Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God.   Ephesians 5:2

During the Offertory, a hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung.

Doxology

(Words: Isaac Watts (1674-1748), para. of Psalm 117; Music: Old 100th, melody from Pseaumes octante trois de David, 1551, alt.; harm. after Louis Bourgeois (1510?-1561?); Licensed for Use: CCLI Copyright License 20716203; CCLI Streaming License 20716210

Representatives of the congregation bring the people’s offerings of bread and wine, and money or other gifts, to the deacon or celebrant. The people stand while the offerings are presented and placed on the Altar.

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

Ministers in this Service

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

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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