Order of Worship
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Introduction to the day
God keeps the promise made to David to give him an everlasting throne. The angel tells Mary that God will give David’s throne to her son Jesus. She is perplexed by Gabriel’s greeting and by the news of her coming pregnancy, but she is able still to say, “Count me in.” We who know that Jesus is called king only as he is executed still find it a mystery hard to fathom, but with Mary today we hear the news of what God is up to and say, “Count us in.”
In the name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Light Your Wreath: We praise you, O God for this wreath, this wheel of time, that marks our days of preparation for Christ’s coming. As we light the candles on this wreath, open our eyes and hearts that we may worship you in spirit and truth. Enlighten us with your grace as we watch, wait, wonder, and worship during this advent season. Grant this through Christ our Lord, whose coming is certain and whose day draws near. Amen.
Confession and Forgiveness
Blessed be God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, whose forgiveness is sure and whose steadfast love endures forever.
Together let us honestly and humbly confess that we have not lived as God desires.
Silence is kept for reflection.
Loving and forgiving God,
we confess that we are held captive by sin. In spite of our best efforts, we have gone astray. We have not welcomed the stranger; we have not loved our neighbor; we have not been Christ to one another. Restore us, O God. Wake us up and turn us from our sin. Renew us each day in the light of Christ. Amen.
People of God, hear this glad news: by God’s endless grace your sins are forgiven, and you are free – free from all that holds you back and free to live in the peaceable realm of God. May you be strengthened in God’s love, + comforted by Christ’s peace, and accompanied with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer of the Day
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that would obstruct your mercy, that in an act of worship we may bear your redeeming love to all the world, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Instead of David building a house (temple) for God, God promises to establish David’s house (dynasty) forever. Centuries later, after the Babylonian exile, no king sat on the throne. Even then, however, the people of Israel remembered this promise and continued to hope for a king, the messiah, God’s anointed.
Psalm Psalm 89: 1-4, 19-26
Second Reading Romans 16:25-27
Paul closes his letter to the Romans by praising God because, in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, God has revealed the promised, divine plan of salvation for all humanity. Paul proclaims this gospel of Christ in order to bring about the obedience of faith among all nations.
Gospel Luke 1:26-38
In this annunciation, Luke makes clear that God comes with good news for ordinary people from little known places. This king will not be born to royalty in a palace, but to common folk in a stall. Here Luke highlights the role of the Spirit, a special emphasis in this gospel.
Prayers of the People
God of power and might, shine your radiance and come quickly to this weary world. Hear our prayers for everyone in need.
A brief silence.
Gracious God, all generations call you blessed. In this holy season we pray for our neighbors of other denominations and faiths. Inspire the faith of their people. Cultivate understanding among us and strengthen us in love and service to our community. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Creator God, you scatter the proud. Everything we have belongs first to you. Bless and protect the seas, mountains, plains, forests, skies, and soils that surround us. Give us humility as we tend them. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Righteous God, you humble the powerful and lift up the lowly. We pray for the leaders of all nations, that they amplify the voices of people in need. Guide all people entrusted with leadership, to create societies in which everyone can flourish. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Compassionate God, you fill the hungry with good things and send the rich away empty. Nourish those who lack access to adequate food and nutrition. Bless the work of advocates, community organizers, and food pantries. Encourage others to provide for their neighbors in need. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Healing God, you pour out mercy to all who cry out to you. Surround everyone in need of healing in body, mind, or spirit with your tender presence, particularly Alena, Jenna, Louis, Jerod, Julia, Marilyn, Julie, Jean, Marcella, Dennis, Michael, JoAnn, Sandy, Beth, Johnny, Meagan, Betty, Dione, Maria, Theresa, Margaret, Bruce, Susan, Tim, Henry, Mary, Ann Joyce, Greg, & Shelby. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Eternal God, you are faithful to the promises you made to our forebears. We give thanks for the ministry of Katharina von Bora Luther and other ancestors who organized, planned, dreamed, encouraged, and reached out as they served you. We give thanks for the bold leadership of female leaders in our own time. Inspire others with their steadfast witness. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Draw near to us, O God, and receive our prayers for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God grant that we may walk with humility into your grace and peace,
Our hearts filled with your love,
Our minds inspired by your truth,
Our wills strengthened by your hope.
Until at the end of our journey We know the joy of our homecoming and the welcome of your embrace.
And may the blessing of God who is Father + Son and Holy Spirit be upon us as we await the coming of the Christ child among us.
Go in peace. Prepare the way of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.