You are currently viewing Fourth Sunday of Advent: Bulletin & Readings for December 18, 2022

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Bulletin & Readings for December 18, 2022

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.

Lighting of the Advent Wreath

The lighting of the third candle: Love

O 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 

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: Paul

Isaiah 7:10-16

10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. 15He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm

Reader:  Verna

Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18

Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *
       shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *
       stir up your strength and come to help us.

Restore us, O God of hosts; *
       show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
O Lord God of hosts, *
       how long will you be angered
       despite the prayers of your people?

You have fed them with the bread of tears; *
       you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *
       and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

Restore us, O God of hosts; *
       show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
16 Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, *
       the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.

17 And so will we never turn away from you; *
       give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
18 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; *
       show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

The Second Reading

Reader:  Paul

Romans 1:1-7

1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, 6including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Matthew 1:18-25

18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

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: Hannah

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 those on the prayer list, 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 – Saturday, Dec. 24 at 7pm
– Christmas Day – Sunday, Dec. 25, 10am

The Altar Flowers Today are for:

Rev. Ivor and Molly Toussaint by Toussaint Family

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 full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

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, Kiki & 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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