Sunday, December 3 2023



DECEMBER 3, 2023

11:00 A.M.

† Stand as you are able


Organ Prelude


Welcome and Announcements      John Strawbridge, Lay Leader


Choral Introit     “Savior of the Nations, Come”     Bach

Savior of the nations, come;

Virgin’s Son, make here Thy home!

Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,

That the Lord chose such a birth.


† Call to Worship

L: What will set us journeying in search of Christ this Advent?

P: How far are we prepared to go out of our way to look for the signs of His coming and to prepare a path?

L: How will we travel through this season?

P: Will we be burdened by responsibilities and tasks, loaded with othersexpectations, overwhelmed by their needs? Will we be full of joy or weary of grief?

L: What will guide our steps in these weeks?

P: Will we follow a thread of longing, the hint of an alternative pathway, the words and music of the gathered community?

L: Sisters and brothers in Christ, Advent awaits us.

P: Let us walk on the road and begin the journey. May we find the birth of the new thing that awaits us in familiar words, rituals, and customs. Let us walk in the light of our Lord as we await his coming again.


†  Opening Hymn     “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”     UMH 196

A Reading from the Psalms    NRSV

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

The word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God!


First Sunday Advent Reading, The Sutton Family

Reader 1: Christmas draws near, and as we approach this season of anticipation and celebration, we’re reminded of the significance of light in the darkness. Lighting a candle in the encompassing darkness becomes a beacon guiding our way. In the absence of light, we falter, losing our direction, unable to discern our past or glimpse our future. But a single candle, flickering resolutely, offers us a path forward.

Reader 2: The words of Psalm 80 echo through the ages: ‘Stir up your might, and come to save us. Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.’ As we light the first candle on this Advent wreath today, we embody these pleas for restoration and salvation.


Congregation: “Light one candle; see it glow, Brightly, so that all may know, How one candle shows the way, Making our darkness bright as Gods day.

Lighting of the Candle of Hope

Let us join our hearts in prayer: Merciful God, as we light this first candle on this Advent Sunday, may its flame shine brightly amidst encroaching shadows, heralding the coming radiance of your presence at Christmas. Grant us the grace to heed the prophets’ calls for repentance, forsaking our sins. May we, in the commemoration of the nativity, prepare ourselves to joyfully anticipate the glorious coming of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. In His name, we pray. Amen.


Passing of the Peace


Sharing Joys and Concerns

Pastoral Prayer


Choral Response     “Cares Chorus”

I cast all my cares upon You.

I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.

And anytime that I don’t know what to do.

I will lay all my cares upon You.


† Gospel Lesson     Mark 13:24-37     NRSV

But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But about that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.

The Gospel of our Lord.  Praise be to you, O Christ.


Sermon     Rev. Levon D. Sutton, Pastor


Invitation to Offering


Offertory     “O come to  Us, Emmanuel”     Larson

O come to us, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear,

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free thine own from Satan’s tyranny;

From depths of Hell Thy people save

And gave them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou Dayspring, come

And cheer our spirits by Thine advent here;

And drive away the shades of night,

Pierce the clouds, bring us Your light!

O come, we pray, Messiah, come,

And open wide our heavenly home;

Make safe the path and guide our way,

O come, Emmanuel, we pray.

O come, Desire of nations, bind

All peoples in one heart and mind;

Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;

Fill all the world with Heaven’s peace.

O come to us, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel.


Offering Prayer

Gracious One, in this season of Advent, we wait with hope, And we give with hope. Hope for the dawn of your reign; hope anchored in your abiding presence among us. Accept these generous offerings, and wield them in your labor of healing and hope across our world. Amen.

Holy Communion

The Great Thanksgiving                      UMH 9

The Lord’s Prayer                               UMH 10

Breaking the Bread

Giving the Bread and Cup

† Closing Hymn     “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light”     UMH 206




Embrace the mantle of hope. Let hope resonate within you and radiate the hope of Christ to all you encounter. Spread hope by recognizing the humanity in others. Spread hope by lending an ear to someone’s narrative. Spread hope by lifting prayers for our world. In this Advent season, let us seek, embody, and extend hope. As you venture into the marvels of God’s creations, impart hope to those you encounter.

May hope guide our steps and grace our words, as we share the light of Christ with all we meet.Amen.

† Choral Benediction     “Let the Earth Now Praise the Lord”     Antes

Let the earth now praise the Lord,

Who has truly kept His word,

And at last to us did send

Christ, the sinner’s help and friend.

Ringing the Bicentennial Bell



Organ Postlude

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on December 1, 2023

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