December 3, 2023 – First Sunday of Advent

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

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 64:1–9
Tear open the heavens and come down; save us from our sin.

Psalm 80:1–7, 17–19
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, and save us.

1 Corinthians 1:3–9
God will strengthen you while you wait for Christ’s coming.

Mark 13:24–37
In those days the stars will fall from heaven; keep awake.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

We are waiting for the dawn of God’s incarnation.
Restore us, O God. Let us see your face.
We are like clay awaiting the potter.
Restore us, O God. Let us see your face.
Teach us to keep alert as we wait.
Restore us, O God. Let us see your face.
Sustain us this day as we worship you.
Amen. Let us worship God!

Prayer of the Day

Great God,
no one knows the hour of your return,
yet we await your arrival, trusting that it will come.
There is a sense of urgency in our waiting.
We await the birth of Jesus,
but we watch for so much more,
anticipating all that your incarnation means in a hurting world.
Teach us to keep alert,
that we may not become complacent
or convinced that we have time.
Show us how to hurry up and wait,
to enact our expectation by sharing love,
offering forgiveness,
and living according to the movement of the Holy Spirit.
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.

Restore us, O God of hosts.
Let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Save us, O Lord, from traps of our own creating:
from fear that blocks the way of love,
from worry that blocks the way of joy,
from isolation that blocks the way of relationship,
from structural injustices that keep the world bound.
Forgive us, O God of hosts,
until the stars fall from heaven
and we live as people transformed.

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 . . .
Let your reign of love shape us,
as a master potter skillfully forms a vessel,
that we may reveal your beauty to the world.
Come quickly, Lord; our hope is in you.

With expectation, we pray for the world . . .
Draw near to those who wait for you.
Break into their circumstances with blessing.
Heal the earth that awaits your restoration.
Come quickly, Lord; our hope is in you.

With expectation, we pray for this community . . .
Transform the places in which we live.
Grant that the gifts you have given all of us
may be used for the common good.
Come quickly, Lord; our hope is in you.

With expectation, we pray for loved ones . . .
Comfort all who suffer and despair.
Assure them of your presence and care.
Let your face shine and save us.
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 heavens tremble and the mountains quake at your presence.
Although we have forsaken you, you have never forgotten us:
you are the potter and we are the clay, the work of your hand.
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:
Christ Jesus is our grace and peace, the Word that we proclaim,
the source of all our strength, and the giver of every good gift.
In Christ’s body, we have received fellowship with you, our God.
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.
Keep us awake until the hour of Christ’s coming,
when the sun and moon and stars will fall from heaven
and you will gather up the faithful from the ends of the earth.
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

Aging Grace

by Fe Langdon, 2011

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (G) HYFRYDOL GTG 82, STUTTGART GTG 83
  • Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise (O) ST. DENIO GTG 12
  • Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending (OG)) HELMSLEY GTG 348
  • Prepare the Way of the Lord (O) PREPARE THE WAY GTG 95


  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (E) FAITHFULNESS GTG 39
  • Jesus, Lover of My Soul (O) ABERYSTWYTH GTG 440
  • Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning (G) KEEP YOUR LAMPS GTG 350
  • View the Present through the Promise (G) FRANKLIN PARK LUYH 470


  • Come Now, O Prince of Peace (O-So-So) (EG) O-SO-SO GTG 103
  • Creator of the Stars of Night (E) CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM GTG 84
  • Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts (E) QUEBEC GTG 494
  • While We Are Waiting, Come (EG) WAITING (Cason) GTG 92


  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (G) HYFRYDOL GTG 366
  • People, Look East (G) BESANÇON GTG 105
  • Soon and Very Soon (G) SOON AND VERY SOON GTG 384
  • The Days Are Surely Coming (EG) LLANGLOFFAN GTG 357

Psalms and Canticles


  • O Shepherd, Hear and Lead Your Flock [ST. LOUIS]; PAS 80C, LUYH 64
  • O Hear Our Cry, O Lord [VINEYARD HAVEN]; GTG 355, PH 206, PAS 80B
  • Restáuranos, oh Dios / Restore Us, O God; SSS 72


  • Restore Us Again; PAS 80A
  • Lord, Come Soon; PP 145

Organ Music

  • “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” Love Divine: Six Hymntunes on Wesley Texts, Michael Burkhardt, MSM (M)
  • “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending,” Four Advent Hymn Prelude, Set 1, Wilbur Held, MSM (ME)
  • “People, Look East!” Advent Postludes for Organ, Kristina Langlois, MSM (M)
  • “Prepare the Way, O Zion,” Easy Organ Library, vol. 50, David Paxton, LOR (ME)
  • “Meditation: ‘Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine,’” And There Was a Star, Gilbert M. Martin, LOR (ME)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “Thou Shalt Know Him When He Comes,” Mark Sirett, AF, SATB, org (M)
  • “Advent Promise,” Paul Laubengayer, MSM, SATB, org (E)
  • “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers,” K. Lee Scott, MSM, SATB, org, brass, cong (E)
  • “Creator of the Stars of Night,” Andrew Brun, AF, 2 pt, pno (E)
  • “Blessed Be the God of Israel,” Michael Burkhardt, ECS, SATB, org (M)
  • “Savior of the Nations, Come,” Mark Shepherd, MSM, SAATBB, acap (A)
  • “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” John Ferguson, MSM, SSATBB, viola (A)

Handbell Music

  • “Night of Stars,” Bruce Tippette, 3‑5 oct, CGA, CGB1178, Level 2
  • “Creator of the Stars of Night,” Joe Galyon, 3‑5 oct, opt hc, JHS, 9594, Level 3-
  • “Keep Your Lamps,” Benjamin Tucker, 3‑6 oct, opt perc, ALF, 7200, Level 2


  • Aging Grace, Fe Langdon (VDL)
  • Advent Star, Scott Laumann (EYE)
  • Solar Eclipse from Mount Santa Lucia, Carleton E. Watkins (VDL)
  • Making Way, Jan Richardson (JR)
  • God’s Shining Face, George Millereau (VDL)