In anticipation of the Lord’s soon return, believers everywhere are called to “wake from sleep.” Because our salvation is nearer to us today than when we first believed, we affirm that the day of Christ’s glorious coming is close at hand, and the night of sin and sadness is on its way out forever. In light of this certain prospect, we are to cast off the works of darkness, putting on God’s armor of light, and to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us make no room for fleshly desire or practice, not gratifying our flesh but seeking to please the Lord in all things. The Lord is coming soon; let us do all we can to live resonant with that belief. The day of our deliverance is near!
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O LORD Jesus Christ, Who at Thy first coming, didst warn us to prepare for the day when Thou shalt come to be our Judge, mercifully grant that, being awake from the sleep of sin, we may be always watching and intent upon the work that Thou has given us to do; Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
~ Rev. W. E. Scudamore, A.D. 1850. In Fox, Selina Fitzherbert. A Chain of Prayer Across the Ages: Forty Centuries of Prayer, 2000 B.C.-A.D. 1916. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1943. p. 211.
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)
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
An annual reading through the Bible in the order in which the events took place
Sunday: Gen. 1-3
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 122
OT: Isa. 2.1-5
Gospel: Matt. 24.36-44
NT: Rom. 13.11-14
(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 Lord, Who has revealed to us that “the night is far spent, the day is at hand,” grant that we may ever be found watching like servants who wait for the coming of their Lord; that, when He cometh and knocketh, we may open to Him immediately. Save us from all love of this world, that we may wait with patient hope for the day of the Lord, and abide in Him, that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming; through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
~ Adapted from Romans 13.12; Luke 12.36, John 2.28. In Selina Fitzherbert Fox. A Chain of Prayer Across the Ages: Forty Centuries of Prayer, 2000 B.C.-A.D. 1916. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1943. p. 212.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord, we will cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, for Jesus is coming soon.
“Worship is the supreme and only indispensable activity of the Christian Church. It alone will endure, like the love for God which it expresses, into heaven, when all other activities of the Church will have passed away. It must therefore, even more strictly than any of the less essential doings of the Church, come under the criticism and control of the revelation on which the Church is founded. Considering the outpouring of books on worship in recent years, it is obviously a subject of great interest and importance for contemporary Christians. Yet, sadly, worship is an issue that continues to divide us, both across the denominations and within particular congregations.”
~ David G. Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992. p. 15.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Emmanuel, God with Us, Matthew 1.18-25
Peterson, Engaging with God