Recorded Worship Service for December 10, 2023 Second Sunday of Advent
Watch this week’s service above.
Today’s Readings and Hymns: (Click on each blue arrow to expand/collapse each section.)
Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.
You have been gracious to your land, O Lord;
you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of your people
and blotted out all their sins.
I will listen to what the Lord God is saying;
for you speak peace to your faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to you.
Truly, your salvation is very near to those who fear you,
that your glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness have met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Faithfulness shall spring up from the earth,
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed grant prosperity,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before the Lord
and shall prepare for God a pathway.
8Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
11Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
14Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15aand regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.
24After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 25This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He 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. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The 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. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38Then 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.
39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
O Lord, how shall I meet you, how welcome you aright? Your people long to greet you, my hope, my heart’s delight! Oh, kindle, Lord most holy, your lamp within my breast to do in spirit lowly all that may please you best.
I lay in fetters, groaning; you came to set me free. I stood, my shame bemoaning; you came to honor me. A glorious crown you give me, a treasure safe on high that will not fail or leave me as earthly riches fly.
Love caused your incarnation; love brought you down to me. Your thirst for my salvation procured my liberty. Oh, love beyond all telling, that led you to embrace in love, all love excelling, our lost and fallen race.
Rejoice, then, you sad-hearted, who sit in deepest gloom, who mourn your joys departed and tremble at your doom. All hail the Lord’s appearing! O glorious Sun, now come, send forth your beams so cheering and guide us safely home.
Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the unity of heart and mind is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear, and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
From sorrow, toil, and pain, and sin we shall be free; and perfect love and friendship reign through all eternity.
“Comfort, comfort now my people; tell of peace!” So says our God. Comfort those who sit in darkness mourning under sorrow’s load. To God’s people now proclaim that God’s pardon waits for them! Tell them that their war is over; God will reign in peace forever.
For the herald’s voice is crying in the desert far and near, calling us to true repentance, since the reign of God is here. Oh, that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way. Valleys, rise to greet the Savior; hills, bow down in humble favor.
Straight shall be what long was crooked, and the rougher places plain. Let your hearts be true and humble, as befits God’s holy reign. For the glory of the Lord now on earth is shed abroad, and all flesh shall see the token that God’s word is never broken.
Worship Leaders: Pastor Colleen Cox, Suzie Harteg
Music: Deb Jenks (organ and piano); Pastor Bonnie Oplinger (organ); Marcie Bilger, Loren Eisenhofer, Karen Nein (vocalists); Carol Aulenbach, Ryan Heck, Brad Hill, Sue Wagner (percussion); Peals of Grace, Senior Choir
View and print the pre-reader’s version of this Sunday’s children’s bulletin: Pre-reader’s Version View and print the reader’s version of this Sunday’s children’s bulletin: Reader’s Version
The radio program Sing for Joy follows the weekly Sunday lectionary through music and reflection. To listen, click here: Sing for Joy. Program host Pastor Bruce Benson ties the biblical readings of the day with musical selections from a number of sources brought together by Dr. John Ferguson, retired professor of organ and church music. The program is produced by St. Olaf College.
Portions of today’s liturgy by Rev. Sarah Speed, A Sanctified Art LLC, sanctifiedart.org.