December 8, 2024 – Second Sunday of Advent

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

Lectionary Readings

Malachi 3:1–4
The Lord is like a refining fire; God’s messenger will prepare the way.

Luke 1:68–79
Zechariah’s song: Blessed is the Lord God, who has come to save us.

Philippians 1:3–11
The work that God has begun will be completed at Christ’s coming.

Luke 3:1–6
In the wilderness John cries out: Prepare the way of the Lord.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

A voice cries out; a prophet speaks:
In the wilderness, prepare the way.
The valleys are filled; the mountains are made low.
In the wilderness, prepare the way.
The winding roads are made level,
the rough ways made smooth.
In the wilderness, prepare the way.
God’s salvation has come
and even now it is on its way.
Blessed is the Lord God,
who has come to save us!

Prayer of the Day

God of the wilderness,
you have always sent your prophets
to lead us to repentance,
to make a way for your salvation to arrive.
Help us this day to receive your presence,
removing every hindrance and obstacle
to your Spirit’s work.
Make your salvation known
from every segment of our lives
to every corner of this earth. 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.
Incarnate One,
who claims us as your own
and comes into our lives yet again,
we give you thanks.
Through the waters of baptism
your Spirit prepares the way within us,
reshaping our lives.
Make us ready for the day
when you will scatter those
who take pride in their power,
and bring down from their thrones
those who rule with oppression and injustice,
when you raise up the lowly
and send away empty-handed
those with more than enough.
Open our eyes to see
the joy you are bringing,
that we may sing your praise. Amen.

Confession and Pardon

At the baptismal font:
In Jesus Christ
God seeks to smooth those places made rough by sin.
With humility and hope
let us make our confession.

Cleansing God,
we hear the call to repentance,
but we struggle to respond.
A voice tells us to turn around,
but we prefer our own ways.
You seek to purify us in love,
but we constantly elude your searching hand.
Our sin leads us in other directions,
away from you, away from life.
Look with mercy upon us.
Clear a place within us
so that something new might be born,
something that might return us
to the way you have shown us in Jesus Christ.

Lifting water from the font:
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
This is good news!
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
God of hope,
who never lets us go,
draw near to us
in these ancient words.
By your Holy Spirit
may we be filled,
lifted up,
and leveled
as you prepare in our hearts
the path of your coming. Amen.


Before the readings:
As God has spoken through the prophets,
God speaks now to us. 
Hear the word of the Lord. 
Luke 1:70

After the readings:
This is the promise of God 
to our ancestors and to us. 
Thanks be to God.
Luke 1:72


Ascription of Praise

After the sermon:
Blessed be the Lord. Amen.
Luke 1:68

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Affirmation of Faith

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 Intercession

Trusting in the steadfast love of the Lord,

let us pray for the fulfillment of God’s promises,

saying: Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.   


We pray for the church . . .

Keep us faithful in the gospel we share,

giving thanks for the gift of your grace

and praying always that your will be done.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.


We pray for the world . . .

Make a way in the wilderness of this world:

bring justice and equality to every land

and let all creatures know your saving love.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us. 


We pray for this community . . .

Send messengers of your way among us

to kindle in us a passion for what is right

and cleanse us from all corruption.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.


We pray for loved ones . . .

Let your tender mercy shine on them.

Give light to those who wait in darkness

and guide their feet to the path of peace.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.  


Come quickly, Emmanuel, in power and glory,

to establish your realm of justice and peace;

and make us ready, on the day of redemption,

to stand before you, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

Rejoicing in the Lord always,
we give thanks for the Word made flesh.
With grateful hearts
let us offer our whole selves to God.

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:
Your glory is a consuming fire;
who can stand in your presence?
Yet you have prepared the way for us,
with a messenger of grace.
You receive the humble offering of our lives
as a precious gift.

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:
Jesus Christ is our way in the wilderness:
at his word, every valley is lifted
and every mountain made low;
in his body, all flesh shall see your saving power.

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.

Through the power of the gospel
of Jesus Christ that we share,
bring to completion the good work
that you began in us,
and let our love for you and for one another overflow in abundance.

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 Provision,
we rejoice that you satisfy our needs.
By your presence in this meal
you have fed us and strengthened us,
as a mother nourishes her baby.
In this waiting season
fill us with hopeful expectation
that we may see the signs of your kingdom
all around us and rejoice
in your coming salvation and glory. Amen.

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church: 
May the peace of God, 
which surpasses all understanding, 
guard your hearts and minds 
in Christ Jesus. Alleluia!
Philippians 4:7

Rejoice in the Lord always. 
Again I say, Rejoice!
The Lord is near. Amen. 
Philippians 4:4–5

St. John the Baptist

El Greco

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • Comfort, Comfort Now My People (G) GENEVAN 42 GTG 87, PH 3

  • Come Down, O Love Divine (O) DOWN AMPNEY GTG 282, PH 313

  • Spirit Divine, Attend Our Prayers (E) NUN DANKET ALL’ UND BRINGET EHR’ GTG 407, PH 325

  • Preparen el camino / Make Ready a Highway (OG) PREPAREN EL CAMINO SSS 76


  • Prepare the Way, O Zion (OG) BEREDEN V.G F.R HERRAN GTG 106, PH 13

  • Jesus Knows the Inmost Heart (OE) LOE DE .S. GTG 427

  • On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry (OG) WINCHESTER NEW GTG 96, PH 10

  • Wild and Lone the Prophet’s Voice (G) ABERYSTWYTH GTG 163

  • As I Went Down to the River to Pray (G) AS I WENT DOWN TO THE RIVER VT 453


  • Lord, Prepare Me (OEG) SANCTUARY GTG 701, STF 2164

  • Prepare the Way of the Lord (OG) PREPARE THE WAY GTG 95

  • While We Are Waiting, Come (EG) WAITING (Cason) GTG 92


  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (OEG) HYFRYDOL GTG 366, PH 376

  • Come Now, O Prince of Peace (E) O-SO-SO GTG 103, STF 2232

  • Come, Ye Thankful People, Come (E) ST. GEORGE’S WINDSOR GTG 367, PH 551

Psalms and Canticles

Luke 1:68–79

  • Blest Be the God of Israel [MERLE’S TUNE]; GTG 109, PH 602

  • Blessed Be the God of Israel [FOREST GREEN]; PAS 1032, LUYH 67

  • How Blest Are You, O God [ D]; SGP 236


  • You Have Come to Your People; PAS 1013, PSA 158

  • In the Tender Compassion of Our God; PAS 1014

Organ Music

  • “ABERYSTWYTH,” Augsburg Organ Library: Advent II, Healey Willan, AF (ME)

  • “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BuxWV 211,” Dietrich Buxtehude, (ME)

  • GENEVAN 42, “Treuer Gott, ich muss dir klagen” (Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele), Partita 1–12 (1–10 manualiter; 11–12 pedaliter), Georg, (ME)

  • “WINCHESTER NEW,” Hymn Tune Innovations: Five Preludes for Lent, downloadable, Benjamin Culli, CON (M)

Piano Music

  • “Creator of the Stars of Night, with Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” CONDITURE ALME SIDERUM / DIVINUM MYSTERIUM, Hymn Meditations for the Church Year, Michael Larkin, MSM (M)

  • “Prepare the Way, O Zion,” BEREDEN VAG FOR HERRAN, Carols across the Centuries, Larry Shackley, LOR (M)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “Advent Echo Carol,” Mary Kay Beall, JM, 2 pt, pno, opt hd (E)

  • “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” Dan Forrest, BP, SATB, org, opt brass, opt cong (M)

  • “Rise Up, Get Ready,” Pepper Choplin, LOR, SATB, opt solo, acap (M)

  • “A Song for Advent,” Lowell Mason, HAL, SATB, pno (ME)

  • “Prepare the Way, O Zion,” Sheldon Curry, JM, SATB, keybd, opt perc (ME)

  • “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” Mark A. Miller, CGA, SAB, pno (E)


  • John the Baptist, Ghent Altarpiece, Jan van Eyck, 1425–29 (VDL)

  • St. John the Baptist, El Greco (Dominikos Theotokopoulos), 1597–1607 (PD)

  • The Sermon of St John the Baptist, Pieter Bruegel I, 1566 (VCS)

  • Philippians 1:3, Timothy R. Botts, 2016 (EYE)

  • River, John August Swanson, 1987 (VDL)