Recorded Worship Service for December 3, 2023
First Sunday of Advent






Watch this week’s service above.

Today’s Readings and Hymns:
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1   
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
2
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4
From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.
5
You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6
We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7
There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
8
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.



1   
Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock;
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2
In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
stir up your strength and come to help us.
3
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved.
4
O Lord God of hosts,
how long will your anger fume when your people pray?
5
You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6
You have made us the derision of our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved.
17
Let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one you have made so strong for yourself.
18
And so will we never turn away from you;
give us life, that we may call upon your name.
19
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved.


3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


1Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.

5In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

8Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” 19The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”

21Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. 22When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. 23When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.



Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding!
“Christ is near,” we hear it say.
“Cast away the works of darkness,
all you children of the day!”

Wakened by the solemn warning,
from earth’s bondage let us rise;
Christ, our sun, all sloth dispelling,
shines upon the morning skies.

See the Lamb, so long expected,
come with pardon down from heav’n.
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
one and all, to be forgiv’n;

So, when next he comes in glory
and the world is wrapped in fear,
he will shield us with his mercy
and with words of love draw near.

Honor, glory, might, and blessing
to the Father and the Son
with the everlasting Spirit
while unending ages run!



Precious Lord, take my hand,
lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night,
lead me on to the light.
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

When my way grows drear,
precious Lord, linger near,
when my life is almost gone,
hear my cry, hear my call,
hold my hand lest I fall.
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

When the darkness appears
and the night draws near,
and the day is past and gone,
at the river I stand,
guide my feet, hold my hand.
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.



The King shall come when morning dawns
and light triumphant breaks,
when beauty gilds the eastern hills
and life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child,
to bear and fight and die,
but crowned with glory like the sun
that lights the morning sky.

Oh, brighter than the rising morn
when Christ, victorious, rose
and left the lonesome place of death,
despite the rage of foes.

Oh, brighter than that glorious morn
shall dawn upon our race
the day when Christ in splendor comes,
and we shall see his face.




Worship Leaders: Pastor Colleen Cox, Sue Wagner

Music: Deb Jenks (organ and piano), Joan Kulp (soprano), Senior Choir


Additional Resources:

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.

Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE #A-730287 and CCLI licenses #21502973 and #21502966. All rights reserved.

Liturgies and music graphics from Sundays and Seasons, © 2023 Augsburg Fortress Publishers. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Augsburg Fortress Publishers under license #SB143962.