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REFLECTIONS

God told the world he was going to send it a king and the world waited. The world thought, a golden fleece will do for His bed. Silver and gold and peacock tails, a thousand suns in a peacock’s tail will do for his crib. His mother will ride on a four-horned white beast and use the sunset for a cape. She’ll trail it behind her over the ground and let the world pull it to pieces, a new one every evening...
Jesus came on cold straw, Jesus was warmed by the breath of an ox. “Who is this?’” the world said. “Who is this blue-cold child and this woman, plain as the winter? Is this the Word of God, this blue-cold child? Is this His will, this plain winter-woman?’” The world said, “Love cuts like the cold wind and the will of God is plain as the winter. Where is the summer will of God?”

-Lucille Carmody, in the Flannery O’Connor novel The Violent Bear It Away


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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
December 13, 2015
Third Sunday of Advent

 

OPENING SENTENCES
Leader: Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. 

 

HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING

Hark, the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King.
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled."
Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies,
With th'angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem."
Hark, the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the n ewborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail, th'incarnate Deity;
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark, the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail, the heav'n-born Prince of Peace,
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris'n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give us second birth.
Hark, the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!”


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GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you. 

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. 
People: Those who lived in a land of deep darkness-on them has light shined. 
Leader: A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
People: And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him. His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. 

-from Isaiah 9:2, 11: 1-4, NRSV. 

PRAYER OF INVOCATION

 


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LOVE CAME DOWN AT CHRISTMAS

Love came down at Christmas
Love incarnate, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign

CHORUS
Emmanuel
Our God with us
Emmanuel
Our hope, our trust

Worship we the Godhead
Love Incarnate, Love Divine
Worship we our Jesus
But wherewith for sacred sign

CHORUS
 



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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. 
                                                                                                                      -Proverbs 28:13, NRSV


PRAYER OF CONFESSION
People: Father, we come to you this morning as people who need to be redeemed. We need to be made whole. We confess that we need You to heal us for we cannot heal ourselves. We confess our faithless hearts. We have looked for redemption everywhere but in your arms. We haven’t looked there because we doubt your love for us. Forgive us we pray. Now, Father, accept our confession and receive us gladly. We ask this not upon our deserving it, or even the honesty of our confession, but for the sake of Jesus. You rejected Him, the innocent, in order to embrace us, the guilty. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION & WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: Through Jesus Christ forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
—from Acts 13:38; Ephesians 1:7, NRSV
                                                                                                                                                        SONG OF RESPONSE - GLORIA PATRI
Glory be to the Father
Glory be to the Son
Glory be the Spirit Three in One
As it was in the beginning
It will be forever
Amen, Amen, Amen. 

KIDS' CHOIR
PASSING THE PEACE & ANNOUNCEMENTS
 


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING
Revelation 12:1-2, NRSV

 

1A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. 3Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 5And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; 6and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
7 And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, 8but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, ‘Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, 11 who accuses them day and night before our God.
But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death. 12 Rejoice then, you heavens
and those who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you with great wrath,
because he knows that his time is short!’                                                                                              

Minister: This is the word of the Lord. 
People: Thanks be to God!

SILENT REFLECTION
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION & SERMON
Sermon Series: Responding to Christmas
Sermon Title: "Now Has the Salvation, Power, & Kingdom"
Speaker: Jared Ayers


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APOSTLES’ CREED

Minister:Let us say what we believe.
People: We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven and is seated
at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. We 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.


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THE LORD'S TABLE

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

The Lord be with you. 
And also with you. 

Lift up your hearts now!
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our saving God.
It is right and good, always and everywhere.
To give thanks, to the Lord. 

Minister: With joy we praise you, gracious God, for you have created heaven and earth, made us in your image, and kept covenant with us-even when we fell into sin. We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord, who came among us as the Word made flesh to show us your glory, full of grace and truth. Therefore we join our voices with all saints and angels and the whole creation to proclaim the glory of your name, saying: 

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might. 
The whole earth is full of your glory,
hosanna in the highest!
Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest!


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Minister: Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith. 

Your death, O Christ, we proclaim. 
Your rising celebrate!
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new. 
(REPEAT)

Minister: Send your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray, that the bread which we break and the cup which we bless may be to us the communion of the body and blood of Christ. Grant that, being joined together in him, we may attain to the unity of the faith and grow up in all things into Christ our Lord. And as this grain has been gathered from many fields into one loaf, and these grapes from many hills into one cup, grant, O Lord, that your whole Church may soon be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son,
praise to the Spirit,
Our God the Three in One. 

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

Minister: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
People: Therefore, let us keep the feast. 

COMMUNION
Minister: The gifts of God for the people of God.


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If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with his people, the church. If you are unable to receive Communion, we invite you to meditate on one of the following prayers:

PRAYER FOR THOSE SEARCHING FOR TRUTH: Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might be undaunted by the cost of following you as I consider the reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life that you promise. Amen.

PRAYER OF BELIEF: Lord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross, and offering forgiveness and new life. Knowing that you have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior and Lord. Amen.

PRAYER OF COMMITMENT: Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you in baptism and in a life of committed discipleship in your church. Grant that I may take the necessary steps to be one with your people, and live in the fullness of your Spirit. Amen.


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O COME, O COME EMMANUEL

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

CHORUS
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, thou Rod of Jesse,
free thine own from Satan's tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave.

CHORUS

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

CHORUS

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

CHORUS


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COMMUNION PRAYER

People: God of grace, you renew us at your table with the bread of life. May this food strengthen us in love and help us to serve you in each other. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Minister: Let us pray as our Lord Jesus has taught us:
People: Our Father in heaven, 
             hallowed be your name,
             your kingdom come,
             your will be done,
             on earth as it is in heaven. 
             Give us today our daily bread. 
             Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
             Save us from the time of trial, 
             and deliver us from evil. 
             For the kingdom, power, and glory are yours, 
             now and forever. Amen. 
 


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SENDING INTO GOD'S WORLD

OFFERING
 

ALL MUST BE WELL

Through the love of God our Savior, all will be well;
Free and changeless is His favor; all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us;
Perfect is the grace that sealed us;
Strong the hand stretched forth to shield us;
All must be well.

Though we pass through tribulation, all will be well;
Ours is such a full salvation; all is well.
Happy still in God confiding,
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Steadfast through the Spirit’s guiding,
All must be well.

We expect a bright tomorrow; all will be well;
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, all is well.
On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Yes in living, or in dying,
All must be well.

On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Yes in living, or in dying,
All must be well.


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BENEDICTION

Minister: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

People: Amen. 

DISMISSAL

Minster: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. 
People: Thanks be to God!







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