THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
DECEMBER 13, 2020 | 10:00 AM
WELCOME TO ONLINE WORSHIP AT FIRST CHURCH!
Welcome to all who gather to worship online today! We hope you feel the warmth of God’s presence and welcome right where you’re at. If this if your first time joining us online, we are honored by your presence and hope to see you again soon! To stay informed, please subscribe to our weekly email.
First, we’re not just friendly, we’re friends! Our primary belief is that everyone (no exceptions!) is created in the loving image of God, who is love itself.
Second, in everything we do, we strive to live our mission: By the power of Christ, we are blessed to be a blessing!
WE GATHER TO WORSHIP
(the people’s words in bold print)
PRELUDE + CHIMING OF THE HOUR
“Reflection on an Ancient Plainsong”
(MUSIC: Michael Ryan)
CALL TO WORSHIP (Isaiah 61)
The spirit of the Lord God is upon us,
because the Lord has anointed us;
God has sent us to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
to give a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLE
HYMN OF PRAISE
“Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates”
God of new beginnings, by your Holy Spirit help us to open our hearts to the coming of Christ, so that our lives may reflect your grace and love. Through the Redeemer we pray, Amen.
SCRIPTURE READING - THE PSALTER
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
CALL TO CONFESSION
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Restoring God, you have preserved us yet our mouths are filled with despair instead of laughter and joy. You have done great things for us yet we want so much more. Forgive our greed and discontent, we pray. Restore us once more, that we may come home to you with shouts of joy. In Christ, Amen.
DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS
In Jesus Christ, God has done great things for us! Let us rejoice:
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!
Thanks be to God! Amen!
WE EXPERIENCE GOD’S WORD
SCRIPTURE READING - THE EPISTLE LESSON
I Thessalonians 5:16-24
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
(MUSIC: arr. Timothy Webb)
SCRIPTURE READING - THE GOSPEL LESSON
John 1:6-8, 19-28
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said,
“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said.
24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
"Sacrifice that Leads to Joy"
Rev. Lisa Martin, Pastor
WE RESPOND TO GOD’S WORD
ADVENT DECLARATION OF FAITH (Adapted from the PC(USA) Study Catechism, Q 32)
What do you affirm when you say that Jesus was "conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary"?
First, that being born of a woman, Jesus was truly a human being. Second, that our Lord's incarnation was a holy and mysterious event, brought about solely by free divine grace surpassing any human possibilities. Third, that from the very beginning of his life on earth, he was set apart by his unique origin for the sake of accomplishing our salvation. Thanks be to God!
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
WITH THE ADVENT HYMN
“Prepare the Way of the Lord”
(PREPARE THE WAY)
… 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
WE DEPART TO SERVE
“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”
“Gentle Mary Laid Her Child”
(MUSIC: arr. John A. Behnke)
GOD’S TITHES + OUR OFFERINGS
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First Presbyterian Church
810 Georgia Avenue
Lynn Haven, FL 32444.