Sunday, December 16, 2018: Third Sunday of Advent — Affirmation

This Week’s Theme
Great in Your Midst Is the Holy One of Israel
Isaiah 12.2-6

During the Season of Advent, the Church expresses and declares that God will fulfill his Word in bringing the Messiah into the world. The first Advent Messiah came to save, and in the second Advent the Messiah comes to consummate his work. This text stresses that a remnant of God’s people will regather in the land to rejoice in his working. “In that day” signifies the moment when God delivers his people testified to in the previous chapter, when the nation comes together again under the reign of Messiah. They praise the Lord who, although previously was angry with them, now comforts and delivers them. With the coming of Messiah, God’s people will affirm God as their salvation, the one in whom they trust, and who banishes fear from their hearts. Indeed, he has become their strength, their song, and their salvation.

At his arrival, they will draw water from the wells of salvation with joy, giving thanks to the LORD, calling on his name, and making known among the nations what he has done. With joyful shouts of proclamation and song they declare the glorious things the LORD has done, broadcasting God’s great works all over the world. The song ends with an exhortation for Zion, the people of God, to shout and sing for joy for the Holy One of Israel is great who dwells in their midst. Affirmations of joy and praise should accompany our worship and reflections at Advent: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!”

Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

Blessed Lord, who has caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, ever one God, world without end. Amen. 

~ Book of English Collects, 1549 (Geffen, p. 69)

Call to Worship  

Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.

Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus 

You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.

Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day

Sunday: Gen. 35.28-29; Gen. 40-41

Lectionary Readings for the Day

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Psalm: Isa. 12.2-6*

OT: Zeph. 3.14-20

Gospel: Luke 3.7-18

NT: Phil. 4.4-7

(Click here for all readings)

* In a very few instances in the Lectionary, no Psalm reading is offered for reasons relating to the thematic nature of the day.

Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in 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, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Departing to Serve

Mercifully hear, O Lord, the prayers of Thy people; that as they rejoice in the Advent of Thine only-begotten Son according to the flesh, so when He cometh a second time in His Majesty, they may receive the reward of eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. 

~ Gelasian Sacramentary (Wright, p. 18)

Affirmation for the Day
We praise the LORD for his anger has turned away; now, he comforts us.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Let us give thanks to the LORD, and call on his name, for he has done glorious things for us, sending his Son, our Savior, into the world.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus

The Lord Has Visited His People
Luke 1.68-79

Book Reading
Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism

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