Worship Guide - First Sunday of Advent

Worship Guide

December 3, 2023

First Sunday of Advent


Creating Disciples of Jesus who Transform the World






Minister: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

People: And also with you!


Lighting the Advent Candle - Hope


Reader 1: In the days of exile and uncertainty, the prophet Isaiah cried out: O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence. As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you (Isaiah 64:1-3)


Reader 2: In the midst of our own encounters with uncertainty and upheaval and our longing for deliverance, Jesus calls to us, “Therefore, keep awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will come” (Mark 13:35)


People:   We wait as people surprised again and again by God who shakes us out of our complacency and wakes us up to the work of the kin-dom.


Reader 1: We light this candle as a sign of our shocking hope. May we stay awake to God’s activity in the world as we wait in expectation that even now God is with us, working to restore us to the fullness of life with God and one another. Amen


Special Music: “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”                 Charles


Centering Words:


God is the potter; we are the clay. May God fashion us into vessels of beauty and purpose this Advent season.


*Call to Worship:


Leader:    The Lord of host redeems us when we stray.

People:   With a mighty arm, God comes to save us.

Leader:    When God hid his face, we strayed. When God withdrew his presence, we stumbled.

People:   God has fed us with the bread of tears and give us tears to drink in full measure.

Leader:    Yet, through his Son, God calls us back from the pit and restores our future.

People:   God shines upon us with love, that we might be saved.

Leader:    Come! Let us worship as we pray.


ALL: God of glory, your power darkens the skies and causes the moon to grow dim. When we scatter to the four winds, gather us from the ends of the earth and restore us as your people. Awaken us from slumber, that we may be found ready when the master of the house returns.  Amen.


Hymn: Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus”


Come, Thou long expected Jesus born to set thy people free;

from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,

hope of all the earth thou art;

dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.


Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,

born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.

by thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone;

by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.




Words of Assurance


We have been enriched in every way through the grace and peace of Christ.

When we abide in this grace and live in this peace, we are vessels worthy of God’s kingdom.



*Old Testament Reading:  Isaiah 64:1-9


1      O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,

so that the mountains would quake at your presence—

2      as when fire kindles brushwood

and the fire causes water to boil—

to make your name known to your adversaries,

so that the nations might tremble at your presence!

3      When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,

you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

4      From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived,

no eye has seen any God besides you,

who works for those who wait for him.

5      You meet those who gladly do right,

those who remember you in your ways.

But you were angry, and we sinned;

because you hid yourself we transgressed.

6      We have all become like one who is unclean,

and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.

We all fade like a leaf,

and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

7      There is no one who calls on your name,

or attempts to take hold of you;

for you have hidden your face from us,

and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.

8      Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;

we are the clay, and you are our potter;

we are all the work of your hand.

9      Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,

and do not remember iniquity forever.

Now consider, we are all your people.


Leader:    This is the Word of God for the people of God

People:   Thanks be to God.




Time with Young Friends: “Jesus Loves Me


Children’s Message: “In the Potter’s Hand”


Hymn: “Advent Song”


Light the Advent candle, one:

Now the waiting has begun;

we have started on our way,

time to think of Christmas day.


Candle, candle, burning bright,

shining in the cold winter night;

candle, candle, burning bright,

fill our hearts with Christmas light.


Light the Advent candle, two:

Think of humble shepherds, who

filled with wonder and the sight

of the child of Christmas night.


Candle, candle, burning bright,

shining in the cold winter night;

candle, candle, burning bright,

fill our hearts with Christmas light.


Light the Advent candle, three:

think of heavenly harmony;

angels singing "Peace on Earth"

at the blessed Savior's birth.


Candle, candle, burning bright,

shining in the cold winter night;

candle, candle, burning bright,

fill our hearts with Christmas light.


Light the Advent candle, four:

Think of joy forever more;

Christ Child in a stable born,

gift of love that Christmas morn.


Candle, candle, burning bright,

shining in the cold winter night;

candle, candle, burning bright,

fill our hearts with Christmas light.


Light the Christmas candles, now;

Sing of donkey, sheep, and cow;

birthday candles for the King,

let the alleluias ring.


Candle, candle, burning bright,

shining in the cold winter night;

candle, candle, burning bright,

fill our hearts with Christmas light.


Sermon: “Our Shocking Hope” Mark 13:24-37


24 “But in those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not give its light,

25     and the stars will be falling from heaven,

and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35 Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”




Prayers of the People: Joys and concerns

   Silent Prayer, Pastoral Prayer     




Invitation, Prayer of Confession and Pardon:


Christ our Lord invites to his table

       all who love him,

who earnestly repent of their sin

and seek to live in peace with one another.

Therefore, let us confess our sin before God

and one another.


Merciful God,

we confess that we have not loved you

with our whole hearts.

We have failed to be an obedient church.

We have not done your will,

we have broken your law,

we have rebelled against your love,

we have not loved our neighbors,

and we have not heard the

cry of the needy.

Forgive us, we pray.

Free us for joyful obedience,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Hear the good news:

Christ died for us while we were yet sinners;

that proves God's love toward us.

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!


In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

Glory to God. Amen


 The Great Thanksgiving  


The Lord be with you

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise.


It is right, and a good and joyful thing,

always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

You formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life.

When we turned away, and our love failed,

your love remained steadfast. You delivered us from captivity, made covenant to be our sovereign God, and spoke to us through your prophets, who looked for that day when justice shall roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

And so,

with your people on earth and all the company of heaven we praise your name and join their unending hymn:


Holy, Holy, Holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes

in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.


Holy are you, and blessed is your Son

Jesus Christ whom you sent in the fullness of time to be a light to the nations.

You scatter the proud in the imagination of their hearts and have mercy on those who fear you from generation to generation.

You put down the mighty from their thrones and exalt those of low degree.

You fill the hungry with good things, and the rich you send empty away.

Your own Son came among us as a servant, to be Emmanuel, your presence with us.

He humbled himself in obedience to your will and freely accepted death on a cross.

By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection, you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.

On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:


"Take, eat; this my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."


When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:


"Drink from this all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it in remembrance of me."


And so,

in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith


Christ has died;

Christ is risen;

Christ will come again.


Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine.

Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.

By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at his heavenly banquet.


Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever.   Amen


And now with the confidence of children of God, let us pray:


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever.



Sharing of the Cup and Loaf

Moment of Prayer and Meditation

Prayer of Thanks


Eternal God, we give you thanks

for this holy mystery

in which you have given yourself to us. 


Grant that we may go into the world

in the strength of your Spirit,

to give ourselves to others,

in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. 





Hymn: “View the Present through the Promise”    


View the present through the promise,

Christ will come again.

Trust despite the deepening darkness,

Christ will come again.

Lift the world above its grieving

through your watching and believing

in the hope past hope's conceiving:

Christ will come again.


Probe the present with the promise,

Christ will come again.

Let your daily actions witness,

Christ will come again.

Let your loving and your giving

and your justice and forgiving

be a sign to all the living:

Christ will come again.


Match the present to the promise,

Christ will come again.

Make this hope your guiding premise,

Christ will come again.

Pattern all your calculating

and the world you are creating

to the advent you are waiting:

Christ will come again.