FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
ORDER OF WORSHIP
December 10, 2023
PRELUDE Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, Prichard/Schram
-FELLOWSHIP/OUTREACH COMMITTEE will be meeting today Dec. 10 after worship service.
-TUESDAY MORNING COFFEE GROUP meets at First Lutheran Mission Coffee House at 9:30ish.
-THURSDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY AND PRAYER TIME will be meeting in the Center Meeting Room at 9:30 AM.
SESSION will meet Thursday. Dec. 14 at 7:00 PM at the North Meeting Room.
-POINSETTIAS FOR CHRISTMAS: We are accepting monetary donations for poinsettias to grace and beautify our sanctuary. If you would prefer to purchase and bring your own poinsettias, we will be glad to display them also. Names of those honored or remembered will be included in the PowerPoint on Dec. 17 and 24. There will be a sign-up sheet on the office counter.
-THE PC(USA) CHRISTMAS JOY SPECIAL OFFERING will begin Sunday, Dec. 3 until Dec. 24. Envelopes are by the offering plates or write Special Offering, Christmas Joy in the memo line of your check. Thank you for your generosity!
-The Worship Committee is looking for GREETERS to welcome attendees at the north door of the sanctuary each Sunday. Greeters should arrive no later than 10:15 to hand out bulletins, welcome attendees, and ask visitors to fill out the pew inserts. If you are interested in doing this, please contact Ginny or a member of the Worship Committee.
-WORSHIP COMMITTEE will be meeting on Dec. 17 before worship service at 9:45AM
-ADVENT POTLUCK will be held next Sunday, Dec. 17 following worship service. Please bring a dish to share if you are able, but please plan to attend in any case as there is always plenty of food. The Christian Education Committee will provide a short program after the meals.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Listen! The voice of God calls out across the ages.
God calls us to be prepared
We come to prepare ourselves for Christ’s transformation in our lives.
We come to prepare a way for the hope and peace that Christ brings.
Let us worship God.
SPECIAL MUSIC ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ (Dave Barkus)
ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTING – Linda B
Advent 2 – Peace
Our Advent Wreath reminds us of the approaching celebration of Jesus' birth
* the round wreath of evergreen leaves reminds us that God's love is everlasting
* the light of the candles represents the light which Jesus brought into a dark world.
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ. (Light Candle).
Today we light the second candle of Advent, the candle of Peace. (Light candle)
God has a peaceful dream for the world, and we dream it too. We dream of a peaceful world where people of all race and cultures will come together, where discord is a memory, and we join together as one…at peace…at Christ’s table. We are reminded that in a time of discord, two candles, seeking peace, can lead us to hope for a time of peace.
Isaiah 9: 6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
Response: On this day, we remember the Lord of All who brings peace surpassing all understanding.
*HYMN ‘A Candle is Burning’ (tune of ‘Away in the Manger’)
A candle is burning, a candle of peace,
A candle to signal that conflict must cease.
For Jesus is coming to show us the way,
A message of peace humbly laid in the hay.
CALL TO CONFESSION
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (in unison)
God of tenderness and love, breathe your grace into our lives. Forgive our wandering ways, and guide us along your paths of peace. When we lose our way, and forget the reason and purpose of this season, carry us back to you. Lead us up to that high mountain of faith and hope, that we might truly proclaim: "Here is our God!" In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
*GLORIA PATRI (on screen)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, Amen.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
1 Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
3 A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass;
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers; the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers; the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
9 Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him
and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms
and carry them in his bosom
and gently lead the mother sheep.
HYMN #3 (Blue) Comfort, Comfort, You My People
Comfort, comfort you my people, tell of peace, thus says our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness bowed beneath oppression's load.
Speak you to Jerusalem of the peace that waits for them;
Tell them that their sins I cover, and their warfare now is over.
For the herald’s voice is calling In the desert far and near,
Bidding us to make repentance, since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise in meeting, and the hills bow down.
Make you straight what long was crooked, make the rougher places plain;
Let your hearts be true and humble, as befits God’s holy reign.
For the glory of the LORD now o'er earth is shed abroad,
And all flesh shall see the token that God’s word is never broken.
2 Peter 3:8-15a
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be destroyed with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and destroyed and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.
Gospel Mark 1:1-8
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight,’ ”
4 so John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And the whole Judean region and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him and were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
SERMON Advent-ures: Preparation and Reconciliation (Donna Flint)
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (taken from the Confession of 1967)
The church responds to God’s message of reconciliation in praise and prayer. In that response, it commits itself afresh to its mission, experiences a deepening of faith and obedience, and bears open testimony to the gospel. Adoration of God is acknowledgment of the Creator by the creation. Confession of sin is admission of all men’s guilt before God and of their need for his forgiveness. Thanksgiving is rejoicing in God’s goodness to all men and in giving for the needs of others. Petitions and intercessions are addressed to God for the continuation of his goodness, the healing of men’s ills, and their deliverance from every form of oppression. Now to the God who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, to this God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
*HYMN OF RESPONSE #10 (Blue) ‘On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry’
On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry
announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake and harken, for he brings
glad tidings of the King of kings!
Then cleansed be every life from sin:
make straight the way for God within,
and let us all our hearts prepare
for Christ to come and enter there.
We hail you as our Savior, Lord,
our refuge and our great reward.
O let Your face upon us shine
And fill the world with love diving.
All praise to You, eternal Son,
whose advent has our freedom won,
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Spirit, evermore.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
-Susan H (MK’s daughter)
-Richard C and Dolores as caregiver
-Bob J and Jan as caregiver
-Darwin L and Jeanne as caregiver
-Bob O and Nancy as caregiver
Our homebound or in care members: Richard C, Bob J, Delores K, Rose P, Cliff R, Dee W (Please reach out and call)
This Week’s Prayer Families: Ian & Abb G & daughter Violet, Jon & Linda G & daughters Grace & Lottie
Those who mourn: We pray for the Barnett and Goodale families and all who have lost loved ones.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
INVITATION TO OFFERING and PRAYER OF DEDICATION
*DOXOLOGY (on screen)
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
*CLOSING HYMN #8 (Blue) ‘Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates’
Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
behold, the King of glory waits;
the King of kings is drawing near;
the Savior of the world is here!
Fling wide the portals of your heart;
make it a temple, set apart
from earthly use for heaven's employ,
adorned with prayer and love and joy.
Redeemer, come! I open wide;
My heart to Thee, here, Lord, abide.
Let me Thy inner presence feel;
Thy grace and love in me reveal.
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
POSTLUDE The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came, arr. Anna Laura Page