Week 3: Third Sunday of Advent – Affirmation

Our God is the true God of salvation; in him we trust, and we need never fear anything for he is our strength and our song, and our salvation. Because of the blessed hope of the Messiah’s coming we have joy, and we will draw water from the wells of salvation. As believers clinging to the hope of eternal life in Jesus, we give the Lord thanks, call upon his name, and make his deeds known among the peoples of the earth. We declare the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, to be great in the midst of his people.

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, in Roger Geffen, The Handbook of Public Prayer.
New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 1963. 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.

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: Isa. 12.2-6
OT: Zeph. 3.14-20
Gospel: Luke 3.7-18
NT: Phil. 4.4-7

(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 
We ask you, almighty God, let our souls enjoy this their desire, to be enkindled by your Spirit, that being filled as lamps by your divine gift, we may shine like burning lights before the presence of your Son Christ at his coming; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

~ The Gelasian Sacramentary, in Thomas C. Oden with Cindy Crosby,
Ancient Christian Devotional.. Downers Grove, IL; IVP Books, 2007. p. 26.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
O Lord, who has never forsaken those who seek you, we declare you to be great and good, the Holy One of Israel in the midst of your people.

Weekly Reflection on the Priesthood of all Believers
The people of God are to be a people of praise, worship, and prayer. Declaring or proclaiming God’s praise is fundamental to what it means to be priestly. It is who we are and what we do. Priests are to be people of worship in both actions and attitudes.

~ Scott Breslin. Embracing Our Priestly Nature at Work.
Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2017. p. 38.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
God Fulfills His Promise, Jeremiah 33.14-16

Book Reading
Carter, Guard the Good Deposit