Isaiah proclaimed with joy the prophetic promise to God’s people: from the ancestry and lineage of Jesse would come a branch from his roots, one who would be filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and would delight in God’s fear, and judge with justice and fairness. With righteousness he will judge the poor and pronounce an equitable sentence for the meek and vulnerable. God will transform all creation, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Jesus is this ruler from David’s line who will reign forever as Lord and King over God’s Kingdom. Let us prepare our hearts for the righteous reign of the Branch, the soon coming King and Kingdom of God revealed at the coming of Jesus Christ.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Stir up, we beseech thee, thy power, O Lord, and come; that by thy protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by thy mighty deliverance; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
~ Gregorian Sacramentary [BEC, 196]. In Geffen, Roger. The Handbook of Public Prayer. New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 1963. p. 67.
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. 25; 1 Chron. 1.28-34
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 72.1-7, 18-19
OT: Isa. 11.1-10
Gospel: Matt. 3.1-12
NT: Rom. 15.4-13
(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.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come. Gather my saints together unto Me, those that have a covenant with me by sacrifice. Alleluia! Alleluia! The powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Alleluia!
~ Fred H. Lindemann. The Sermon and the Propers: Volume I, Advent and Epiphany. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1958. p. 42.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Come, O Branch from the stump of Jesse, and bring the knowledge of the Lord to the earth as the waters cover the sea.
“The theme of worship is far more central and significant in Scripture than many Christians imagine. It is intimately linked with all the major emphases of biblical theology such as creation, sin, covenant, redemption, the people of God and the future hope. Far from being a peripheral subject, it has to do with the fundamental question of how we can be in a right relationship with God and please him in all that we do. One way or another, most of the books from Genesis to Revelation are concerned with this issue.”
~ David G. Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992. pp. 17-18
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Emmanuel, God with Us, Matthew 1.18-25
Peterson, Engaging with God