Week 3: Third Sunday of Advent, Affirmation

We affirm that soon and very soon our Lord Jesus Christ will return and restore creation, under his reign. When that occurs, the prophetic promise of Psalm 126 will be revisited, as of old. He will restore the fortunes of his people, filling our mouths with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy. We will say in that day, “The LORD has done great things of us; we are glad” (Ps. 126.3, ESV). Having sown our hope and lives in tears, we shall reap with all those who believe with shouts of joy. And the principle will be clear; those who go out weeping, bearing seed, shall return with shouts of joy, bearing the fruit of their hope with them!

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O LORD our God, who has bidden the light to shine out of darkness, who hast again wakened us to praise thy goodness, and ask for thy grace: accept now in thine endless mercy the sacrifice of our worship and thanksgiving, and grant unto us all such requests as may be wholesome for us. Make us to be children of the light and of the day, and heirs of thy everlasting inheritance. Pour out upon us the riches of thy mercy, so that we, redeemed in soul and body, and steadfast in faith, may ever praise thy wonderful and holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Liturgy of the Greek Church (Ferguson and Wallis, p. 1)

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. 35.28-29; Gen. 40-41

Lectionary Readings
Psalm: Ps. 126
OT: Isa. 61.1-4, 8-11
Gospel: John 1.6-8, 19-28
NT: 1 Thess. 5.16-24

(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.

O Almighty Father, Source of all being, Fountain of light and salvation, we adore Thy infinite goodness in sending Thy only begotten Son into the world, that, believing in Him, we may not perish, but have everlasting life; and we pray Thee that, through the power and grace of His first Advent to save the world, we may be made ready to meet Him at His second Advent to judge the world; through the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Bishop Walsham How’s Collection, A.D. 1823. (Fox, p. 211)

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord, you do great things on behalf of all those who cling in faith to you.

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

Book Reading
Anderson, The Unfolding Drama of the Bible

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