December 10, 2023 – Second Sunday of Advent

Lectionary Readings   -   Gathering   -  Word  -   Eucharist   -   Sending   -   Music and Art

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 40:1–11
Comfort my people; a voice cries: prepare the way of the Lord!

Psalm 85:1–2, 8–13
God will speak peace; faithfulness and righteousness will meet.

2 Peter 3:8–15a
God is patient with us, but the day of the Lord is coming.

Mark 1:1–8
In the wilderness, John baptizes and proclaims the one to come.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

Wilderness living calls us to seek God
in the voice that cries out,
“Valleys will be lifted up
and mountains will be made low,”
to seek God
in the sound of the one who speaks of peace,
“The day of the Lord is coming,”
to seek God in the loud noise
that foretells what will be made new.
In the wilderness,
let us listen only for God’s voice. Let us worship God!

Prayer of the Day

Great God,
in these times between your birth and your coming,
we hear the words of John the Baptist for us today.
In baptizing and receiving confessions,
John pointed beyond himself to Christ.
Help us to embody the good news
that John proclaimed
in our words and our work,
that our lives might also foretell
the coming of peace.
Teach us to share good news
with those who yearn for transformation
and to listen for your gospel
when we need a change of heart.
In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Thanksgiving For Baptism

At the baptismal font:
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

O Lord our God, we give you thanks
for the hope and longing you instill in us
through the promise of our baptism—
a voice crying out in the wilderness,
a messenger to prepare the way,
the day of redemption drawing near.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
poured out upon us in baptism,
keep us awake and make us ready
for the coming of your glorious realm
of righteousness, justice, and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Confession and Pardon

At the baptismal font:
We have all sinned, not one of us is clean;
but there is mercy for those
who call on the name of the Lord.
Trusting in God’s grace, let us confess our sin.

“Prepare the way of the Lord,” your prophet says to us.
Forgive us when we have failed to prepare your way.
Forgive us when we have stood in your way, instead:
when we let the challenging words of your prophets roll off of lives,
rather than let them spark change;
when we walk around a neighbor in need,
rather than encounter a chance for compassion.
Forgive us, O Lord, and grant us assurance
that the glory of your coming does not depend
upon the righteousness of your followers.
Forgive us, O Lord, and free us to try again.

Lifting water from the font:
Every valley is lifted up; every mountain, made low.
Now the glory of the Lord is revealed,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!
Thanks be to God.

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
Holy God, our hope and strength,
by the power of your Spirit
prepare the way in our hearts
for the coming of your Word,
so that we may see the glorious signs
of your promise fulfilled;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Before the readings:
A voice is crying in the wilderness:
Listen to the word of the Lord.
Mark 1:3; John 1:23

After the readings:
Heaven and earth will pass away
but the word of the Lord stands forever.
Thanks be to God.
Isaiah 40:8; Mark 13:31


Ascription of Praise

After the sermon:
Now to the God of all wisdom,
who strengthens us according to the gospel,
through Jesus Christ be all glory forever. Amen.
Romans 16:25–27

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Affirmation of Faith

Season of Advent (and Christmas)
Out of Israel, God in due time raised up Jesus.
His faith and obedience were the response
of the perfect child of God.
He was the fulfillment
of God’s promise to Israel,
the beginning of the new creation,
and the pioneer of the new humanity.
He gave history its meaning and direction
and called the church to be his servant
for the reconciliation of the world.
Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.19

Prayers of the People

Watching and waiting for the coming of Christ,
we pray for the promise of a new creation,
saying: Come quickly, Lord; our hope is in you.

With expectation, we pray for the church . . .
May we hear the word your messengers speak,
so that we can change our hearts and actions
and live holy and faithful lives.
Come quickly, Lord; our hope is in you.

With expectation, we pray for the world . . .
Speak peace to your people
so that we might become your peace.
Don’t let us return to foolish ways.
Come quickly, Lord; our hope is in you.

With expectation, we pray for this community . . .
May your steadfast love and truth meet in this place
and righteousness and peace embrace in our streets,
so that all in our community will flourish.
Come quickly, Lord; our hope is in you.

With expectation, we pray for loved ones . . .
As you know the needs and hopes of each person,
bring comfort to all who are mourning or anxious.
Let us hear the compassionate words you speak.
Come quickly, Lord; our hope is in you.

God our hope, as the promised day approaches,
fill us with the joy of your Holy Spirit
and strengthen us to serve you faithfully;
through Christ, who is coming to reign. Amen.

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

At the communion table:
All things in heaven and earth belong to God,
who is coming in glory to reveal a new creation.
Let us offer our lives to the Lord.
2 Peter 3:8–15

Prayer of Dedication

At the communion table:
God Most High, receive the gifts of our lives
as an offering of gratitude for your grace.
Overshadow us with your Holy Spirit
and let it be with us according to your word,
for nothing is impossible with you. Amen.
Luke 1:35–38; 1 Corinthians 1:4

Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God:
The grass withers and the flower fades, but your word stands forever.
You speak tenderly to your people, with tidings of peace and comfort.
Like a shepherd, you feed us and gather us in your arms.
Therefore we praise you, joining the song
of the universal church and the heavenly choir:
A Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy”) is sung.

Blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior:
Baptized by John, Jesus came to be our way in the wilderness,
to wash us clean from the dust of death and the stain of sin,
and to pour out the power of the Holy Spirit among us.
The words of institution are included here.
Remembering your goodness and grace,
we offer ourselves to you with gratitude
as we share this joyful feast.
A Memorial Acclamation (e.g., “Christ has died”) is sung.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon this bread and cup;
make us one in the body and blood
of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Help us to repent and live in peace with you and with one another,
watching and praying for your new heavens and new earth
where righteousness and justice will be at home.
Through the Lord Jesus Christ,
in the unity of the Spirit,
we bless you, God of glory,
now and forever.
An Amen is sung.

Lord’s Prayer

Breaking the Bread

Communion of the People

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Prayer after Communion

At the communion table:
God our hope, we give you thanks
that you have given us this foretaste
of the justice, righteousness, and peace
of your promised new creation.
Strengthen us with this heavenly food
as we seek to serve your holy realm.
Lead us to live in joyful expectation
of the coming again in glory
of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church:
May the God of peace make you holy
and the power of the Spirit sustain you
until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!
1 Thessalonians 5:16–24

Prepare the way of the Lord! Amen.
Isaiah 40:3; Mark 1:3

John the Baptist Preaches in the Desert

by JESUS MAFA, 1973

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • Comfort, Comfort Now My People (O) GENEVAN 42 GTG 87
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (OEG) VENI EMMANUEL GTG 88
  • Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates (EG) TRURO GTG 93
  • On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry (OG) WINCHESTER NEW GTG 96


  • Come, Come Emmanuel (O) COME, COME EMMANUEL GTG 91
  • Now the Heavens Start to Whisper (OE) JEFFERSON GTG 94
  • Your Patience, Living God, Is Great (E) ALLEIN GOTT IN DER HÖH David Gambrell Breathing Spirit into Dust, GIA
  • Wild and Lone the Prophet’s Voice (OG) ABERYSTYWTH GTG 163


  • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence PICARDY GTG 347
  • Lord, We Have Come at Your Own Invitation (E) O QUANTA QUALIA GTG 503
  • The King of Love My Shepherd Is (O) ST. COLUMBA GTG 802
  • Wait for the Lord (OEG) WAIT FOR THE LORD GTG 90


  • Lord, Make Us More Holy (E) LORD, MAKE US MORE HOLY GTG 313
  • Our God, Our Help in Ages Past (E) ST. ANNE GTG 687
  • Prepare the Way, O Zion (OG) BEREDENVÄG FÖR HERRAN GTG 106
  • When All Is Ended (E) YOGANANDA GTG 376

Psalms and Canticles


  • Show Us, O Lord, Your Steadfast Love [MENDON]; GTG 449
  • Lord, You Have Lavished on Your Land [MELITA]; PAS 85A, LUYH 65


  • Dona nobis pacem (Taizé); PAS 85B
  • Righteousness and Peace Shall Go before the Lord; PAS 85C
  • The Lord Speaks of Peace; LP 92
  • Muéstranos, Señor / Lord, Let Us See Your Kindness; SSS 70/71
  • Show Us Your Mercy; OLOF 681
  • Show Us Your Mercy, O Lord [CONDITER ALME SIDERUM]; HTP1 34

Organ Music

  • “Prepare the Royal Highway Prepare the Way, O Zion,” Six Advent Improvisations, Paul Manz, MSM (ME)
  • “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” Five Advent Hymn Improvisations, Set 2, Michael Burkhardt, MSM (M)
  • “Lift Up Your Heads, You Mighty Gates,” Advent Postludes for Organ, Wilbur Held, MSM (ME)
  • “People, Look East,” Easy Organ Library, vol. 68, Jason W. Krug, LOR (E)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “Prepare the Way, O Zion,” Kenneth Dake, MSM, SATB, org, vln (E)
  • “Comfort, Comfort Ye My People,” Howard Helvery BP, SATB, pno (E)
  • “Every Valley,” John Ness Beck, BP, SATB, pno (E)
  • “The Lord Shall Come and Not Be Slow,” Zebulon Highben, AF, SATB, acap (M)
  • “Therefore, Watch That Ye Be Ready,” Hammerschmidt/ Mueller, CON, SSATB, org, stngs
  • “Prepare the Way, O Zion,” Michael Weaver, MSM, SATB, pno, tamb (M)

Handbell Music

  • “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” Sandra Eithun, 3‑6 oct, opt hc and perc, BP, HB749, Level 4-
  • “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” Mitchell Eithun, 3‑6 oct, GIA, G-9813, Level 2+
  • “Reflection on Stuttgart,” Karen Buckwalter, 3 oct, pno, fl, CGA, CGB1221, Level 2


  • John the Baptist, Aleksandr Andreevich Ivanov (VDL)
  • The River, John August Swanson (EYE)
  • John the Baptist Preaches in the Desert, JESUS MAFA (VDL)
  • The Desert in Advent, Jan Richardson (JR)
  • Preaching of St. John the Baptist, Pieter Bruegel (VDL)