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Advent 2020 | A Great Light: Joy to the World (December 13, 2020)

Advent 2020: A Great Light
1. Advent 2020 | A Great Light: A Little Light (November 29, 2020)
2. Advent Centering Prayer (November 29, 2020)
3. Advent 2020 | A Great Light: Becoming a People of Peace in a Season of Waiting (December 6, 2020)
4. Advent 2020 | A Great Light: Joy to the World (December 13, 2020)
5. Advent 2020 | A Great Light: Christ is Born (December 20, 2020)

Please participate in the following liturgy, reading aloud all the parts in bold italics.

Welcome & Invitation

Call to Worship

We find the mighty God in the most unlikely places.
An empty tomb, an infant in a stable.

Today, may we find him afresh, slipping through each crack of the unlikely corners of our lives.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.
His mercy endures forever.

Song: Prepare the Way

Prepare the way, prepare the way,
Prepare the way of the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus

You are the Light of the world,

Song: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

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.

Formation: Those Who Sow in Tears & Prayers of the People

from Psalm 126

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. 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.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced…

May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.”

Scripture Reading: John 1:6-8, 19-28

“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.

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’

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.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to You, Lord Christ

A Great Light: Making Space for Light to Shine

Practice: Making Space

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.

Confession Assurance

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;

that we may delight in Your will,
and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your Name.

Silent confession (space to confess our sins and wait in God’s presence).

The Lord has already shown you mercy.
The Lord has already had compassion on you.
The cross of Jesus has turned mourning into dancing,
And washed clean the ashes of repentance.
Jesus strengthens our weak knees
When we still have a long way to go.
Be free! We are forgiven.
Laugh out loud! We are forgiven.
Love God with everything! We are loved.

Silent assurance (space to receive God’s merciful love and say “thank you” in response)

The Great Thanksgiving (Eucharist & Sacrament of Desire)

Now let’s draw near in the presence of our Savior.

The Lord be with you!
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

And so this day, we join with Saints and Angels
in the chorus of praise that rings through eternity,
lifting our voices to bless you we say:

Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord God Almighty
heaven and earth are full of Your glory,
Glory to you, O Lord most high.

On the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying,
“This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way he took the cup saying,
“This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”

Now, Lord, we pray that in your mercy and goodness, in the power of your Holy Spirit, you would sanctify this bread and wine to be for us the sacrament of the body and blood of Your Son.

Is the Father with us?
He is.
Is Christ among us?
He is.
Is the Spirit here?
He is.

This is our God.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We are his people.
We are redeemed.

Therefore by taking this bread & drinking this cup, we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

These are the gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, And feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

Alternatively, for those who are not receiving communion, the Sacrament of Desire may be prayed.

Sacrament of Desire

Now, in union, O Lord with the faithful at every altar of Your Church,
I present to You my soul and body
with the earnest prayer that I will remain united to you.
And since I cannot now receive You sacramentally,
I pray that you would come to me spiritually.
I unite myself to you, and embrace you with my soul’s affection.
Let nothing separate me from you,
that I may live and die in Your love.

Song: Prepare the Way & Prince of Peace

Prepare the way, prepare the way,
Prepare the way of the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus

You are the Light of the world,

You are Lord of Lords, You are King of Kings
You are Mighty God, Lord of everything

You’re Emmanuel, You’re the Great I Am
You’re the Prince of Peace who is the Lamb

You’re the living God, You’re my saving grace
You will reign forever, You are ancient of days

You are Alpha, Omega, beginning and end
You’re my Savior, Messiah, Redeemer and friend

Community Life

Christmas Caroling in the Cold
Join us for outdoor Christmas Caroling on Friday, December 18th at 6pm. We’ll gather in an open field with a bonfire at the Culp’s (7681 Campground Rd.) for carols, candles, and cocoa. Dress warmly as the entire event will be outside (bring a mask too for arrival/departure). Please RSVP Today if you plan to attend so we can be sure we have enough supplies.

Candles for Canopy Life – “A Little Light”
Share “a little light” and support our friends at Canopy Life this Advent. For each $25 you donate, Canopy Life will send a candle to three friends of your choosing and include them in a series of Advent devotionals throughout the season. Get started by going to

End of Year Giving
We’re so thankful for your steady financial support of this community. You can manage your giving online at

Join Us Next Week for Christmas!
Join us next week for our special, end-of-year Christmas gathering.

The Cross of Christ

All our problems,
We send to the cross of Christ!

All our difficulties,
We send to the cross of Christ!

All the devil’s works,
We send to the cross of Christ!

And all our hopes,
We set on the Risen Christ!

Blessing & Sending

All the Lord’s blessings on you and yours,
as we navigate these shadowlands,
still illumined in Him,
and held in His good purpose,
in between His once and future comings.
    (Fleming Rutledge)

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Parish Text Updates