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Second Sunday in Advent - Homily -"The God of Comfort" by Pastor Jim





PRE-SERVICE MUSIC The Advent of Our King LSB 331

Comfort, Comfort Ye My People LSB 347


In the Name of our Advent Lord, a warm welcome to all who have gathered for worship this morning. On this Second Sunday of Advent, we pray that all who have gathered for worship will be comforted and challenged by the Word of God for us today. What a joy to be gathered around The Table of the Lord with the whole company of heaven and each other as we look forward to his coming again.

THEME of THE DAY Come Down with Comfort

Christians have a unique hope. It is not a maybe or if kind of hope. Rather, the Christian’s hope is for sure, but not yet. God’s chosen people in the Old Testament hoped for the coming of the Messiah, just as God had promised. Their hope was fulfilled when God sent his Son into the world. We Christians today hope for the Second Coming of the Messiah, and our hope is the sure expectation that he will keep his promise. It just hasn’t happened yet. The color blue, used in the Season of Advent, is an expression of the hope of The Church as it both looks forward to the Second Coming of Christ, and anticipates the celebration of his coming as a Child in Bethlehem.

Today we echo the call of John the Baptist to repent and believe as we prepare for our Lord’s coming. Thus we prepare our hearts for our God who comes with comfort and tenderness, having paid for our sins. Here is your God!


O God, you see how busy we are with many things. In this hour of worship and prayer, give us rest from all that would cause us to be anxious and worried. Turn us to listen to you as you come to us in Word and Sacrament, assuring us of that peace which passes all understanding; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


St. John the Baptist, the Advent prophet, stands by the waters of baptism and calls The Church to see that “our God is here.” In Baptism God has made us brothers and sisters

of the Lord Jesus. God has clothed us with the Holy Spirit, a fire to warm what is cold

within us and to kindle our hearts with love. Fed by Word and Sacrament, we go forth ourselves to prepare the way of the Lord by proclaiming the good news that Christ is

coming again.

PRELUDE Advent Prayer—Anthony Giamanco

Tatsiana Asheichyk, Piano




In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The time of Christ’s coming is at hand; the day is drawing near.

A voice cries in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord!”

Lest that Day surprise us unprepared, let us confess our sins to God our Father, imploring him in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us his promised forgiveness.

He who is coming has come! His birth among us brings us light; his death for our transgressions brings us life. For his sake, your sins are forgiven in the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Surely, he is coming soon!

    Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!


May the One who was, and who is, and who is to come, be with you in grace

and peace.

    And also with you.


Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down.

    As a fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil,

come down and make your Name known.

Let us pray: We praise you, O God for this circle of light that marks our days of preparation from Christ’s advent. As we light the candles on this wreath, kindle

within us the fire of your Spirit, that we may be light shining in darkness. Enlighten

us with your grace that we may welcome others as you have welcomed us. Grant

this through Christ our Lord, who’s coming is certain and

whose day draws near. Amen.

As the second candle burns with expectant light, we await your coming with

faithful repentance.

Come down with comfort to our burning hearts.

SONG             Light the Candle

Light the candle of LOVE today, the Giver of love is here!

Welcome the love we live and die for, but only Christ can give.

Flicker and flame and glow with love, light up the world around you.

Flicker and flame and glow with love, light up the world around you.

Light the candle of Peace today, the Giver of peace is here!

Welcome the peace we fight and cry for, but only Christ can give.

Flicker and flame and glow with peace, light up the world around you.

Flicker and flame and glow with peace, light up the world around you.


Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming strengthen us to serve you with purified lives; through Jesus Christ, our Savior

and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

FIRST LESSON Isaiah 40:1-11

[In grand, flowing, poetic lines, the prophet announces the exile of God’s people in Babylon is over.

God will deliver Israel and care for her as a shepherd cares for the sheep. This word can be trusted, because the only enduring reality in life is the Word of God.]

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and say to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for 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.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

SECOND LESSON                2 Peter 3:8-15a

[This short letter to The Early Church deals with pressing concerns regarding the final advent of

Jesus, especially concerns that could arise over its apparent delay. The author reminds the readers

that the certainty of God’s promise is more important than the timing.]

Do 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. The 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.

But 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.

Since 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, waiting 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? But in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new

earth, where righteousness is at home.

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!

SPECIAL MUSIC For the Fruit of All Creation—Zach Unke

GOSPEL        Mark 1:1-8

[The gospel of Mark does not begin with a story of Jesus’ birth but with the voice of one crying out in

the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord.]

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the

prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;

the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths


John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judea countryside and all the people of

Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing

their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and

he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming

after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Gospel of our Lord

Praise to you, O Christ.

GRACE CHOIR The Coming of The Lord—Pepper Choplin

HOMILY                   The God of Comfort                       

Text: The First Lesson Pr. Jim

Isaiah 40:1-11; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8


+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

The coda “Tidings of comfort and joy” … from the carol God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen … echoes the words of today’s First Lesson in these difficult and exasperating days of COVID spikes and continuing mandates of isolation and social distancing.

Comfort, comfort my people. I’m sure that each of us can identify with those words … words that meet a need deep down inside each and everyone of us. All of us need the comfort that comes from others … but most especially, we need the comfort that comes from above us and beyond us. We need the comfort that comes from knowing that our life is not a wind-blown leaf … tossed to and fro … but a life firmly anchored in the grace and mercy of God.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to

Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her in-

iquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand

double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:1-2

God, spoke those words of comfort and joy through his prophet Isaiah during the agonizing days of Israel’s exile in Babylon. In the midst of those times … that were as baffling as our own … came this word of God’s will to comfort them … to speak tenderly … to tell of the end of battling and the pardoning of sins.

Believing that word of promise was and is the key to receiving the comfort God offers. And that means believing the promise that help is on the way … in spite of circumstances that look so hopeless.

The good news of today’s text is that even though everything is transitory … “all flesh is grass and its beauty like the flower of the field” [Isaiah 40:6] … yet there is a constant: God feeds His flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in His arms, carries them in his bosom, and gently leads the mother sheep [Isaiah 40:11].

On this Second Sunday in Advent, the power of those words are not be missed or overlooked. They are not only words for those who are searching for meaning in life … but words that give comfort and hope when we are up against things in life that we cannot master or overcome—let alone figure out. They are words, which speak of relationship and tender love. We have a loving Father to whom we can turn. In the face of unfulfilled hopes and dreams … illness and death … fear and sorrow … sin and guilt … we have a Father who loves us in Christ. Believing His word to us is our comfort, hope and strength … the word that He loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to suffer and die for us on the tree of the Cross and rise again.

You see, the deepest comfort for us all lies in the forgiveness of our sins. The power of that comfort is God’s own power for us. It lifts our drooping spirits and heals our breaking hearts. By faith, our Savior’s outstretched arms on the Cross reach around us to hold us and keep us in His love.

Comfort … cum fortis in Latin … with strength. It takes God’s strength to lift away our guilt. It takes God’s strength to calm our fears. And it takes God’s strength to dispel our disillusionment with life gone wrong or out of control. That strength, which God offers to all in Christ, comes by the power of the Spirit … not only through Word and Sacra-ment, but also through the loving ministry and service of those who speak and live by the Spirit.

The story of God’s comfort, you see, comes in varied ways through each and every one of us. It happens in ways that sometimes mean speaking words of comfort and some-times just being present without words … but always being there for someone in a faithful spirit of genuine care and concern.

In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, the blessed Apostle Paul reminds us of the important part we have to play in the ongoing work of the comfort God means for others. The key sentence in the first chapter tells us that God brings us comfort so that we might be able to comfort others.

The best healers, you see, are those who have themselves been wounded, healed, and comforted with God’s love in Christ … people like you and me.

Come, then, all you who have been comforted. Take the best of God’s gifts … His unfailing mercy and love in Christ. Level out the uneven ground and make the rough places plain. In the bread and wine of today’s Eucharist, receive Him and let Him be your Healer and Comforter. Let Him strengthen you again in body and spirit, so that you can strengthen others.

+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +


I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth.

And 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 into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From thence He will come 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.


With longing and hopeful expectation, let us pray for The Church, the world, and all those in need.

Faithful God, your tender voice of love reaches all who sit in deepest gloom. Speak to all people throughout the world, lifting those who live in dark valleys of division and despair.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Loving God, you set the stars in the sky and breathe life into the earth. Renew the face of creation where it is in need of your healing touch. Mend the wounds of environmental damage due polluted waters, fires, floods, and long-lasting droughts; restore balance to ecosystems so that all creation can declare your praise. … Strengthen and comfort those who were displaced and grieve the loss of their homes, memorabilia, and heirlooms in the Almeda Fire especially: Pat & Penny, Lyle & Sandra, Richard & Doris, Norm & Marilyn, Pam, Sharon, and Linda (Vernia’s caregiver), together with those we name in our hearts. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Steadfast God, you never tire of seeking justice. Where people suffer discrimination, judgment, and injustice, speak words of truth and comfort. Kindle hearts eager to understand our common needs and seek our common good. Bless our land with the necessary healing and change that only you can give. Grant that all world leaders seek your wisdom and guidance for the good and welfare of all people so that divided nations and communities may be restored with your reconciling truth. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Tender God, you know sorrow and joy alike. We pray for all people who care for others in our community and around the world, especially the doctors, nurses, and technicians who care for those suffering from COVID-19. Gather all who are sick or struggling with health issues: Marguerite (MaryAnn’s mother), Tim (Bob’s brother), Rusty (under hospice care), and Shari. Together with Pam, we give thanks for Tammy and Dillon’s recovery from COVID-19. Raise the spirits of those who are home-bound in our parish, especially Sharon, Joyce, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, and Elma that they may be assured of your presence through our prayers and acts of service and love. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Healing God, look down from heaven upon your servant Kristel who undergoes surgery for an aneurysm on Wednesday. Inspire the minds and guide the hands of her surgeon, nurses, and technicians that in all things your saving health may be made manifest and your healing power made known. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Leading God, your voice of assurance gives hope in the midst of the changes and chances of life. Guide us as we speak words of faith in our communities and serve as the signs of your grace. Guide our Call Committee by your Holy Spirit as they consider the candidates for pastoral leadership and ministry among us and prepare for the interview process. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer. 

Eternal God, we give you thanks for all the saints who have prepared your way in the wilderness and taught us to continue their faithful work. Make their generous lives an example for all to live in the joy of your endless light. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer. 

Receive our prayers in the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior, until that day when you gather all creation around your throne where you will reign forever and ever. Amen.

Offertory Prayer

Gracious God, we bring before you the precious fruits of your creation, and

with them our very lives. Teach us patience and hope as we care for all those

in need until the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.


The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.

In the night in which he was betrayed,

our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:

Take and eat; this is my + body which is given

for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

And gave it for all to drink, saying:

This cup is the new covenant in my + blood

shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness

of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.


Our Father who art in heaven; and lead us not into temptation,

hallowed be Thy Name, but deliver us from evil.

Thy kingdom come, For Thine is the kingdom

Thy will be done and the power and the glory

on earth as it is in heaven. forever and ever. Amen.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those

who trespass against us;

Distribution music: What Feast of Love WOV 701


O God, in this meal we have been given a foretaste of the feast that is to come.

Help us always to be alert to your gifts in our midst; through Jesus Christ our

Lord. Amen.


POST-SERVICE MUSIC The King Shall Come LSB 348

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