Third Sunday of Advent—A Sevice of Lessons and Carols
Morning Worship at 11 o’Clock
Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
The Church Gathers
Organ Prelude “Across the Hills the Tidings Fly” trad. English
Words of Welcome and Announcements (by the minister)
† Choral Introit “Come, O Long-Expected Jesus” Christian Gregor
Come, O long-expected Jesus, Born to see 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,
Long-desired of every nation, Joy of every waiting heart.
The Bidding Prayer
Beloved in Christ,
this Christmas Season it is our duty and delight
to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels,
and to go in heart and mind to Bethlehem,
and see this thing which is come to pass,
and the Babe lying in a manger.
Therefore let us hear again from Holy Scripture
the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our sin
until the glorious redemption brought us by this holy Child;
and let us make this house of prayer glad with our carols of praise.
But first, because this of all things would rejoice Jesus’ heart,
let us pray to him for the needs of the whole world, and all his people;
for peace upon the earth he came to save;
for love and unity within the one Church he did build;
for goodwill among all peoples.
And particularly at this time let us remember
the poor, the cold, the hungry, the oppressed;
the sick and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved;
the aged and the little children;
and all who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not,
or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.
Lastly let us remember all those who rejoice with us,
but upon another shore and in a greater light,
that multitude which no one can number,
whose hope was in the Word made flesh,
and with whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.
These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven,
in the words that Christ himself has taught us.
The Lord’s Prayer (unison)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And 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. Amen.
To Hear the Word
First Lesson Genesis 3:8-15,17-19 John Strawbridge is the Liturgist.
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”
The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
† Hymn “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” No. 196
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.
† Second Lesson Genesis 22:15-18 Ryan Moore is the Liturgist.
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”
† Hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” v 1,2,4,7 No. 211
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. Refrain
O come, thou Rod of Jesse’s, tree
an ensign of thy people be;
before thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on thy mercy call. Refrain
O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace. Refrain
† Third Lesson Isaiah 9:2,6-7 Cathy Dryden is the Liturgist.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
† Hymn “All Earth is Waiting” No. 210
All earth is waiting to see the Promised One,
and open furrows await the seed of God.
All the world, bound and struggling, seeks true liberty;
it cries out for justice and searches for the truth.
Thus says the prophet to those of Israel:
‘A virgin mother will bear Emmanuel,’
one whose name is ‘God with us’ our Saviour shall be;
with him hope will blossom once more within our hearts.
Mountains and valleys will have to be made plain;
open new highways, new highways for the Lord.
He is now coming closer, so come all and see,
and open the doorways as wide as wide can be.
In lowly stable the Promised One appeared;
yet feel his presence throughout the earth today,
for he lives in all Christians and is with us now;
again, with his coming he brings us liberty.
† Forth Lesson Isaiah 11:1-4a, 6-9 Betsy Fisk is the Liturgist.
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
† Hymn “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” No. 216
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
as those of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night.
Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
the Rose I have in mind;
with Mary we behold it,
the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
she bore to us a Savior,
when half spent was the night.
3. [Subject to copyright]
Anthem “Celebrate the Promise” Joseph Martin
Celebrate the promise of the King. Come and celebrate,
cast out your earthly fear; The Lord will soon appear.
Celebrate the promise of God’s love. Let music start to ring;
Rejoice, give thanks and sing! Gentle Mary, chosen one,
you are highly favored. God will bless you with a Son;
He will be our Savior. Call His name Emmanuel:
God with us, together. He will be the King of Kings!
He will rule forever and ever.
Fifth Lesson Luke 1:26-35, 38 Sefi Abedoh is the Liturgist.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
† Hymn “Tell Out, My Soul” No. 200
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of his word;
in God my Savior shall my heart rejoice.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his Name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
his mercy sure, from age to age to same;
his holy Name–the Lord, the Mighty One.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by.
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.
Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
to children’s children and for evermore!
† Sixth Lesson Luke 2:1-7 Laura Gamble is the Liturgist.
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
† Hymn “The First Noel” v1 No. 245
The first Noel the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel.
† Seventh Lesson Luke 2:8-16 Leticia Enos is the Liturgist.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.
† Hymn “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” No. 229
Infant holy, infant lowly,
for his bed a cattle stall;
oxen lowing, little knowing,
Christ the babe is Lord of all.
Swift are winging angels singing,
noels ringing, tidings bringing:
Christ the babe is Lord of all.
Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping
vigil till the morning new
saw the glory, heard the story,
tidings of a gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow,
praises voicing, greet the morrow:
Christ the babe was born for you.
† Eighth Lesson Matthew 2:1-11 Susan Allenback is the Liturgist.
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
† Hymn “In the Bleak Midwinter” No. 221
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.
† Ninth Lesson John 1:1-14 Daniel Bailey is the Liturgist.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
† Hymn “O Come, All Ye Faithful” No. 234
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him, born the King of angels;
O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him,
O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
lo, he shuns not the Virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, begotten not created; (Refrain)
Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest; (Refrain)
See how the shepherds, summoned to his cradle,
leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
we too will thither bend our joyful footsteps; (Refrain)
Child, for us sinners poor and in the manger,
we would embrace thee with love and awe.
Who would not love thee, loving us so dearly? (Refrain)
Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be all glory given.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing: (Refrain)
To Respond in Faith
† Our Mission: (unison)
We understand as our mission: To celebrate the vision of God’s Good News in Jesus Christ in liturgy, learning & life through the revitalization of our congregation, the restoration of our building, the strengthening of our traditions, while recognizing our unique presence & mission in the city.
We feel this is where God’s Spirit is leading our congregation at this time in our history.
The Collection of Tithes and Offerings
Offertory “O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings” Handel, from “Messiah”
Lauren MacDonald Hyland, Mezzo Soprano
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
Get thee up into the high mountain,
O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem,
Lift up thy voice with strength;
Lift it up, be not afraid.
Say unto the cities of Judah: Behold your God!
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
Arise, shine, for thy light is come,
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
† Presentation of Tithes and Offerings (unison) No. 99
To God be the glory, to God be the glory, to God be the glory for the things he hath done. With his blood he has saved me; with his power he has raised me; to God be the glory for the things he hath done.
And Scatters to Be the Church in the World
† Hymn “Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light” No. 223
Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
and usher in the morning;
O shepherds, shrink not with affright,
but hear the angel’s warning.
This child, now weak in infancy,
our confidence and joy shall be,
the power of Satan breaking,
our peace eternal making.
(Other verses subject to copyright)
† Dismissal with Blessing
Go now, with the songs of Christ on your lips and in your hearts
We go now, to be God’s people.
† Choral Response “Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall Come” arr. Thomas Helmore
Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel!
† Ringing of the Bicentennial Bell
† Organ Postlude “Allegro Festivo” Charles