Third Sunday of Advent: Bulletin & Readings for December 12, 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 third candle: Joy

O God of our Joy, Come ~ In gratitude we remember you as creator of all, yet still mindful of each of your children. Grant us the patience to live in joyful hope, to trust in your abiding presence. Open our eyes to see your healing at work in our lives that we might touch the world with tender, compassionate care. Give us the wisdom, courage and strength to bring the joy of your love to transform the earth and to light the way to a more just and peaceful world. We ask this through Christ, our Savior and our joy. 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 

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

The Ministry of the Word

The First Reading

Reader: Helen

Zephaniah 3:14-20

14Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! 15The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. 16On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. 17The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing 18as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.19I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. 20At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm

Canticle 9 — The First Song of Isaiah (Isaiah 12:2-6)
Reader:  Pat

Surely, it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid.

For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, and he will be my Savior.

Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation.

And on that day you shall say, Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;

Make his deeds known among the peoples; see that they remember that his Name is exalted.

Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, and this is known in all the world.

Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.

The Second Reading

Philippians 4:4-7

Reader:  Helen

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (3:1-6)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

7John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 9Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” 12Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” 14Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 18So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

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: Paul

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, Amanda, 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.

Intercessor: O God of hope, we remember those who need your help and those who have died, silently or aloud.

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

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.

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.

The Altar Flowers Today are for:

WBuzz Johanson by Lisa Dever

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
Tech Verger: Kiki, Henry or Helen

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.