+ SECOND SUNDAY of ADVENT +
5 December 2021
Welcome to worship! Christ’s love draws all of us together around his throne of grace. May
this morning’s worship assure you of his mercy and all that he has accomplished for your eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Guests and visitors, if you have not already done
so, please honor by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall as you leave. If you have
no church home of your own, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of
your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. After this morning’s worship, join us for a cup
of coffee and let us become better acquainted with you as you get to know us better. Come
to worship with us again and often!
AS WE GATHER Pave the Way
Advent is a season of preparation. God helped prepare the world for the coming—the advent—of his Son by sending a messenger ahead of him. That messenger was John the Baptist. His ministry was like that of one who runs before a king who comes down the road being carried by his servants. The forerunner was to fill in any potholes and to remove any stones in the road that may cause anyone in the entourage to stumble or fall. In the same way, God sends us to proclaim the message of sin and grace, of repentance and forgiveness, that all hearts may be prepared to receive Jesus, the King, by faith.
PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP
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.
+ THE ORDER OF CELEBRATING +
LSB Setting 4
Forerunners and messengers advance the advent of our God. While John the baptizer’s voice in the wilderness may be the principal focus of the day, Malachi’s prophecy could as easily herald the coming Lord Jesus as the Lord of Host. Finally all the baptized are called to participate in the sharing of the gospel. In doing so, we prepare the way for the coming of the Lord and assist everyone in capturing a vision of the “salvation of our God.”
PRELUDE It Came Upon a Midnight Clear—R. S. Willis
Tatsiana Asheichyk, Piano
HYMN Arise, O Christian People LSB 354
ORDER OF CONFESSION
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds.
Every eye will see him, even those who pierced him.
All the nations will be gathered before him.
and he will separate people from one another as a shepherd separates the
sheep from the goats.
Lest that day surprise us unprepared, let us make confession of our sins, imploring our heavenly Father to have mercy on us for the sake of Jesus Christ.
+ A Brief Silence for Reflection & Self-examination +
Most merciful God, we confess that we are unprepared for the coming of
our Lord. With our minds, our lips, and our whole lives we have disobeyed your will. We have ignored the signs of Christ’s return. We beg your forgiveness for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, and seek the power of your Holy Spirit to restore our faith. Amen.
The One who is coming has come, born among us to live our life, die our death, and guarantee our salvation. To those who believe in his Name, he gives power to become the children of God and promises them eternal life. Grant this Lord unto us all. Amen.
THE PASSING OF PEACE
Forgiven and reconciled by God, let us be reconciled with one another and share the peace of the Lord as we greet each other.
[The congregation is encouraged to share the peace of Christ and greet one another with the words: “The Lord’s peace be with you.” The response: “And also with you.”]
LIGHTING of THE ADVENT WREATH
We praise you, O God, for this evergreen crown that marks our days of prepara-
tion for Christ’s advent. As we light the second candle of this wreath, rouse us from
sleep, that we may be ready to greet our Lord when he comes with all the saints
and angels. Enlighten us with your grace and prepare our hearts to welcome him
with joy. Grant this through Christ our Lord, whose coming is certain and whose
day draws near. Amen.
O Jesus Christ, our Advent King, the light that began to shine last week is now
carried over to the wick of the second candle.
Carry out your work in us, O Lord.
John the Baptist, the announcer of salvation, is now preparing to pass the torch on
to you, the bringer of salvation.
Pass on the good news to us, O Lord.
You are coming that all people might share in the love that God is longing to give.
Help us to share the love of God that is showing in your birth, O Lord.
In the light of these two candles,
may our love increase! Amen!
KYRIE LSB pg. 204
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Stir up your power, O Lord, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming give to all people of the world knowledge of your salvation; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
FIRST LESSON Malachi 3:1-4
[The Lord announces a covenant with Israel. A messenger like Malachi (his name means “my messenger”) shall prepare the way for the coming of the Lord by purifying and refining God’s
people, as silver and gold are refined.)
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the LORD whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
PSALM OF THE DAY Luke 1:68-79
In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on
high shall break upon us. Blessed be the Lord, the God
of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the
house of his servant David. In the tender compassion
of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon
Through his holy prophets he promised of old that he would
save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy
This was an oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days
of our life. In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us.
SECOND LESSON Philippians 1:3-11
[The apostle Paul was pastor of many new churches. He writes in this letter about his joy to be in partnership with the Christians of Philippi. Listen to how tender-hearted Paul, sometimes a stern preacher, is with his friends as he encourages them to grow in love and knowledge.]
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
SPECIAL MUSIC Joy to the Word/O Come, All Ye Faithful—Sam Ellson
HOLY GOSPEL Luke 3:1-6
[Luke takes care to place John in secular history. Yet John’s arrival also heralds a new age of salvation. John refers to the words of the prophets, but with a vigorous immediacy: Now is the time to prepare for Christ through a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”]
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was the ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of the God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism to repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Lord.
HYMN OF THE DAY On Jordan’s Bank LSB 344
SERMON Prepare the Way Text: The Gospel
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
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH
As we await the coming of Christ, we pray in hope for The Church, the world, and all of creation.
+ A Brief Silence +
Prepare your Church to share the good news, life-giving God. Put your Word within us and dwell among us. Send us out to proclaim the mercy and salvation that abides in you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Protect your creation, life-giving God. Restore and sustain the rivers, mountains and hills with rain and blankets of snow. Give us wisdom and compassion to care for wilderness areas, forests, and urban ecosystems. Move us to care for your creation in all its forms and richness so that the generations yet to come may enjoy the wonder and blessings of your creation in all its richness. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Purify the hearts of all people, life-giving God. Remove the hate and prejudice that lives within us and among us. Mold us into peacemakers. Raise up leaders in every nation and community who are rooted in the ways of justice and mercy. Give them the humility and wisdom to make just decisions to benefit all. Calm the border tensions between the Ukraine and Russia, Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus, and create safe places for all who are fleeing violence, persecution, or death. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Comfort all who need your touch, life-giving God. Wrap them in your tender care. Remember the forgotten and send us out to share your compassion and care. We pray especially for Cindy (Gary’s wife) recuperating from back issues; Lois (Ted’s wife) who is in rehab following hip replace-ment surgery; together with those who are suffering with cancer, dementia, COVID-19 and its variants who we name in our hearts. (A brief pause) Bless those who are home-bound and unable to worship with us especially Sharon, Dottie, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, and Marguerite, together with those we name before you in our hearts (A brief pause). Join their prayers with ours and unite them with us in the body of Christ. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Bless this congregation, life-giving God. Give strength and joy to worship leaders, musicians, and altar guild as they prepare the way for the celebration of the Christ Child’s coming among us. Continue to inspire generosity in all of us as we consider the challenges of our 2022 Ministry Plan in today’s Voters’ Assembly so that we may carry out the work of serving others in your Name. Bless Pr. Josh, Rebecca, and John as they travel this week from to Logan, Utah, to join us in the Rogue Valley in the new days of ministry that are ahead of us. Bless our brothers and sisters in Christ at Holy Trinity/Logan with your Spirit as they bid farewell to Pr. Josh & Family and enter the call process. Make known to them the name of the pastor you hold in your heart to serve with them in ministry. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of life, we remember the saints who have gone before us with the sign of faith and give us examples of your faithfulness. Empower us by their witness and prepare us for that day when we will join them and see you face-to-face. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of our hope and strength, we bring to you these prayers and those unspoken, in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Offerings Are Brought Forward
Merciful Father, we offer you these gifts as signs of our time and labor.
Receive the offering of our lives, and feed us with your grace, that, even
in the midst of death, all creation might feast on your unending life in
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
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.
When these gifts of bread and wine were consecrated for
this morning’s distribution of The Lord’s Supper, they were
consecrated [set aside] with these words of our Lord …
In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord
Jesus Christ took bread, gave thanks, broke it,
and gave it to his disciples, saying: “Take and
eat; this is my Body, 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 testament in my Blood, shed for you and for
all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this in
remembrance of me.”
With these words we are given assurance of our Lord’s presence
through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the eating of this bread of life
and the drinking of this cup of blessing, we are assured of our
forgiveness and strengthened in faith for service in his love.
As we prepare for this great gift given for us, we are bold to pray …
Our Father who art in heaven;
hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil;
For thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
Please Be Seated
AGNUS DEI O Lamb of God LSB pg. 210
Distribution Music Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gate
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
By Your word and Sacrament, O God, You give us a foretaste of the
new heaven and new earth that will be ours forever. Strengthen us
in this vision that we might draw others to believe in the hope that is
ours; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SONG Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus LSB 338
Go in peace. Serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
+ The Worship Is Over … Let the Service Begin! +
COFFEE CONNECTION … a time for fellowship and catching up with one another … follows this morning’s worship.
We encourage everyone to participate in this very welcome hospitality ministry by signing up
to either host, assist with serving or provide treats. For further details, please speak with
either Pearl, Nan, or Mary.
Next Sunday is the annual Coffee Connection Advent Cookie Crawl. Be sure to bring a plate of your favorite holiday treats or cookies to share.
A VOTERS’ ASSEMBLY will be held following this morning’s Coffee Connection to approve the 2022 Ministry Plan. Be sure to stay and attend this important meeting.
THIS WEEK at GRACE
TODAY: Coffee Connection 11:00 am
VOTERS’ ASSEMBLY 11:15 am
SATURDAY: Tatsiana Student Recital 3:00 pm
NEXT SUNDAY: Worship – 3rd Sunday in Advent 10:00 am
Coffee Connection & Cookie Crawl 11:00 am
Installation Service of 3:00 pm
Pr. Josh Heimbuck
STUDY OPPORTUNITIES at Grace: Women’s Study on Tuesday mornings, beginning at 10:00 am in the Fireside Room. Join us as we continue our study of the Book of Acts. Ashland/Phoenix Small Group study meets bi-monthly at 2:00 pm on the first and third Wednesdays. Next NewMen’s Coffee Study is scheduled for Saturday morning, December 11th, beginning at 8:30 am. Set these times aside now for a good discussion and fellowship.
If you’re the last to leave … PLEASE REMEMBER to check that lights are off, and doors are locked before leaving.