Week 1: First Sunday of Advent, Anticipation

As we await the coming of Christ, let us humbly confess our faults and shortcomings, affirming to our God that we are the clay, the work of his hands, and that he is the potter, our maker and Lord. Only the Father can forgive and help us, and only his Son can provide healing for us. We all today must prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. As we anticipate the coming of the Lord at the beginning of this Advent season, so let us too humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, cleanse ourselves from our foolishness and distraction, and prepare our hearts for a visitation from the Lord from heaven

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O LORD, for whose advent thy Church has waited long: save us lest the hope of thee grow dim, and we say: Where is the promise of his coming? And lest we, forgetting to watch with lamps trimmed and loins girded, be found unprepared to meet thee, when thou comest at such an hour as we think not. But grant that we be numbered with the wise, who, looking to thy promises, prepare the way for the Son of Man to come in his glory. Amen.
~ W. E. Orchard (Ferguson and Wallis, p. 7)

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

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.

Chronological Reading for the Day
Sunday: Gen. 1-3

Lectionary Readings
Psalm: Ps. 80.1-7, 17-19
OT: Isa. 64.1-9
Gospel: Mark 13.24-37
NT: 1 Cor. 1.3-9

(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

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.

Benediction 
Therefore we ask that we may know what we love, since we ask nothing other than that you give us yourself. For you are our all: our life, our light, our salvation, our food and our drink, our God. Inspire our hearts, I ask you, Jesus, with that breath of your spirit.
~ Columbanus (Wright, p. 393)

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
You are our Father, O Lord Most High; you are the potter and we are the clay. Mold us into the vessel you desire us to be today.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Lord Has Done Great Things for Us, Psalm 126

Book Reading
Anderson, The Unfolding Drama of the Bible