CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
In the tempting wilderness of the world, we become lost in sin, self-centeredness, and despair.
Come to us and forgive us, Lord.
In the noisy wilderness of the world, we fail to hear your call to be and act as your people.
Come to us and refine us, Lord.
In the confusing wilderness of the world, we lose our way and wander away from you.
Come to us and guide us, Lord.
In the empty wilderness of the world, we reach for things which do not satisfy.
Come to us and fill us, Lord.
The tender mercy of our God sends the rising sun to us from heaven, to shine on us who live in darkness and in the shadow of death. In God's grace, through Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. May the Spirit strengthen you and guide your feet into the path of peace.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Let us pray. Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming give to all the people of the world knowledge of your salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTING
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, says the Lord of hosts.
The light of hope has awakened our spirits.
[Here relight the first Advent candle.]
A voice cries out in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
Renew in us your covenant, O God, that we may be ready for the dawn of your salvation.
We light a second candle to bring light to every darkness, and to guide us in the way of peace.
[Here light the second Advent candle.]
With gratitude for your light, O God, we will prepare to welcome a new birth of your love.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
THE FIRST LESSON: Malachi 3:1–4
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 fullers' 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. Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
PSALM: Luke 1:68–79
Blessed are you, Lord, the God of Israel, you have come to your people and set them free.
You have raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of your servant David.
Through your holy prophets, you promised of old to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us,
to show mercy to our forebears, and to remember your holy covenant.
This was the oath you swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship you without fear, holy and righteous before you, all the days of our life.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way,
to give God's 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.
THE SECOND LESSON: Philippians 1:3–11
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 all of 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 to 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.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
THE GOSPEL FOR THE DAY: Luke 3:1–6
The holy gospel according to Saint Luke. Glory to you, O Lord.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was 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 God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of 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 Christ.
SERMON “Repent” Pastor Phil Wold
The Sermon will be posted after the service this morning