Week 4: Fourth Sunday of Advent, Arrival

God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary, a young virgin betrothed to Joseph, of the house of David, and prophesied, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1.31-33, ESV). In the arrival of the baby Jesus, the Son of the Most High has come, and the Kingdom has drawn near!

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Replenish our hearts, O Lord, with the oil of a true faith in thy coming; and grant us vigilance in the dark night, whilst thou art longsuffering and waiting that all should come to repentance; so that, when there shall be a cry, Behold the Bridegroom! we may be found ready for his appearing, and by thy mercy fit to enter into his joy; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, unto whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be glory and praise, ever world without end. Amen.

~ James Ferguson (Ferguson and Wallis, p. 19-20)

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: Job 12-14

Lectionary Readings
Psalm: Luke 1.46b-55
OT: 2 Sam. 7.1-11, 16
Gospel: Luke 1.26-38
NT: Rom. 16.25-27

(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 Christ our God, Who wilt come to judge the world in the Manhood which Thou hast assumed, we pray Thee to sanctify us wholly, that in the day of Thy Coming our whole spirit, soul, and body may so revive to a fresh life in Thee, that we may live and reign with Thee for ever.

~ Mozarabic Rite (Bright, p. 19)

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, is the Son of the Most High God, the King of Israel.

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

Book Reading
Anderson, The Unfolding Drama of the Bible

Special Church Year Services
Christmas Eve: Thursday, December 24, 2020
Christmas Day: Friday, December 25, 2020