Week 4: Fourth Sunday of Advent – Arrival

Micah addresses the little town of Bethlehem-Ephrathah, that though it was small and insignificant, out of this village would come for the LORD the one who was destined to be the Messiah-Ruler, the one anointed by God to deliver his people, the very one, too, who would become Israel’s “Ruler” whose origins are from old, from ancient times. The one for whom Israel waited is none other than the babe of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ. He will shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, and his people will dwell securely in his Kingdom of peace.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Show us, O Lord, thy glory shining through the veil of our flesh, and reveal unto us the lowliness and gentleness of Christ, who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, and took upon him the form of a servant, that he might deliver us from every bondage, and enrich us with the treasures of thy grace. Amen.

~ Roman Missal, in James Ferguson and Charles L. Wallis, eds.
Prayers for Public Worship: A Service Book of Morning and Evening Prayers Following
the Course of the Christian Year. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958. p. 31.

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: Mic. 5.2-5a
Gospel: Luke 1.39-55
NT: Heb. 10.5-10

(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.

Eternal God, through long generations you prepared a way for the coming of your Son, and by your Spirit you still bring light to illumine our paths. Renew us in faith and hope that we may welcome Christ to rule our thoughts and claim our love, as Lord of lords and King of kings, to whom be glory always. Amen.

~ 136, in The Theological and Worship Ministry Unit. Book of Common Worship.
Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993. p. 173.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
O God, we welcome the arrival of your King-Messiah into the world, the one whom you have chosen to be Savior and Lord over your people and the nations, Jesus our Lord.

Weekly Reflection on the Priesthood of all Believers
God is the same God working the same purposes from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. It can be easy to get lost in the laws of Leviticus or the stories of the Judges. While there is always more to learn about the Bible, never forget that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always working to destroy the works of the devil and redeem the world.

~ Ryan Carter. Guard the Good Deposit.
Wichita: TUMI Press, 2019. p. 39.

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

Book Reading
Carter, Guard the Good Deposit

Special Church Year Services
Christmas Eve: Friday, December 24, 2021
Christmas Day: Saturday, December 25, 2021

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