Sunday morning December 6

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Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.
Reveal among us the light of your presence
that we may behold your power and glory.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory forever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


Center of Our Hopes Thou Art

Charles Wesley
Center of our hopes thou art,
End of our enlarged desires;
Stamp thine image on our heart,
Fill us now with holy fires;
Cemented by love divine,
Seal our souls forever thine.

All our works in thee be wrought,
Leveled at one common aim,
Every word and every thought,
Purge in the refining flame,
Lead us through the paths of peace,
On to perfect holiness.

Let us altogether rise,
To thy glorious life restored;
Here regain our paradise,
Here prepare to meet our Lord;
Here enjoy the earnest given
Travel hand in hand to heaven.

Confession of sin

Seek the Lord when he can still be found;
call him while he is yet near.
Let the wicked abandon their ways
and the sinful their schemes.
Let them return to the Lord so that he may have mercy on them,
to our God, because he is generous with forgiveness.

cf Isaiah 55

A time of silence and self-examination may be kept.

Lord God,
we have sinned against you;
we have committed evil in your sight.
We are sorry and repent.
Have mercy on us according to your faithful love.
Wash us completely clean of our guilt; purify us from our sin.
Put a new, faithful spirit deep inside us,
and return the joy of your salvation to us
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


cf Psalm 51

May the Father of all mercies
cleanse us from our sins,
and restore us in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bless the Lord,
because he has listened to our request for mercy.
Therefore our hearts will rejoice
and we will thank him with our song.

cf Psalm 28:7,9

The Word of God

Psalm 80

Shepherd of Israel, listen!
    You, the one who leads Joseph as if he were a sheep.
    You, who are enthroned upon the winged heavenly creatures.
Show yourself before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh!
    Wake up your power!
    Come to save us!
Restore us, God!
    Make your face shine so that we can be saved!
Lord God of heavenly forces,
    how long will you fume against your people’s prayer?
You’ve fed them bread made of tears;
    you’ve given them tears to drink three times over!
You’ve put us at odds with our neighbors;
    our enemies make fun of us.
Restore us, God of heavenly forces!
    Make your face shine so that we can be saved!
You brought a vine out of Egypt.
    You drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
    then it planted its roots deep, filling the land.
The mountains were covered by its shade;
    the mighty cedars were covered by its branches.
It sent its branches all the way to the sea;
    its shoots went all the way to the Euphrates River.
So why have you now torn down its walls
    so that all who come along can pluck its fruit,
    so that any boar from the forest can tear it up,
    so that the bugs can feed on it?
Please come back, God of heavenly forces!
    Look down from heaven and perceive it!
Attend to this vine,
    this root that you planted with your strong hand,
    this son whom you secured as your very own.
It is burned with fire. It is chopped down.
    They die at the rebuke coming from you.
Let your hand be with the one on your right side—
    with the one whom you secured as your own—
    then we will not turn away from you!
Revive us so that we can call on your name.
    Restore us, Lord God of heavenly forces!
    Make your face shine so that we can be saved!

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Psalm prayer

Faithful shepherd of your people,
as we look for the light of your countenance,
restore in us the image of your glory
and graft us into the risen life of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 64:1-7

If only you would tear open the heavens and come down!
    Mountains would quake before you
    like fire igniting brushwood or making water boil.
If you would make your name known to your enemies,
    the nations would tremble in your presence.
When you accomplished wonders beyond all our expectations;
    when you came down, mountains quaked before you.
From ancient times,
    no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
    no eye has seen any god but you
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him!
You look after those who gladly do right;
    they will praise you for your ways.
But you were angry when we sinned;
    you hid yourself when we did wrong.
We have all become like the unclean;
    all our righteous deeds are like a menstrual rag.
All of us wither like a leaf;
    our sins, like the wind, carry us away.
No one calls on your name;
    no one bothers to hold on to you,
    for you have hidden yourself from us,
    and have handed us over to our sin.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 11:2-11

Now when John heard in prison about the things the Christ was doing, he sent word by his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

Jesus responded, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them. Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me.”

When John’s disciples had gone, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John: “What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A stalk blowing in the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes? Look, those who wear refined clothes are in royal palaces. What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. He is the one of whom it is written: Look, I’m sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way before you.

“I assure you that no one who has ever been born is greater than John the Baptist. Yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

Jerusalem, look to the east and see the joy that is coming to you from God.

Bless the Lord God of Israel
because he has come to help and has delivered his people.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,
just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.
He has brought salvation from our enemies
and from the power of all those who hate us.
He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and remembered his holy covenant,
the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.
He has granted that we would be rescued
from the power of our enemies
so that we could serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes,
for as long as we live.
You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
You will tell his people how to be saved
through the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”

Luke 1:68-79

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Jerusalem, look to the east and see the joy that is coming to you from God.

Brief silence.

The Apostle’s Creed

Let us unite in this historic confession of the Christian faith: 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


Intercession and thanksgiving

Prayers are offered
for the day and its tasks
for the world and its needs
for the Church and her life


Father, hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power
and come among us,
and with great might succor us;
that whereas, through our sins and wickedness
we are grievously hindered
in running the race that is set before us,
your bountiful grace and mercy
may speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory, now and forever.  

The Lord’s Prayer

Awaiting his coming in glory,
as our Savior taught us, so we pray

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever.


May the Lord, when he comes,
find us watching and waiting.