Welcome and Opening Prayer
Call to Worship (from Isaiah 25:8-9)
(silent reflection & prayer)
Our God will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears
from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is
the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
We light this candle as a sign of hope. Though we grieve now, as we live in a world
that is subject to death and decay, we do not despair. For the Lord Jesus has come
into the world to give life, and we wait for him to come again to make all things
Our King is coming!
Come, Lord Jesus!
Opening Song - "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"
Confession of Faith
(From the Apostles Creed and Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 29)
Christian, what do you believe about the Son of God?
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and born of the virgin Mary.
He 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 is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Q. Why is the Son of God called “Jesus,” meaning “savior”?
A. Because he saves us from our sins, and because salvation should not be
sought and cannot be found in anyone else.
Prayers of the People
Unexpected God, your advent alarms us. Wake us from drowsy worship, from the
sleep that neglects love, and the sedative of misdirected frenzy. In this season as
we remember your first coming and anticipate when you will come again, awaken
us to this certain hope. As we wait for you to bring redemption and renewal to this
world and all who belong to you, as we behold the depth of the darkness, the many
miseries and sorrows of this life, may we do so with fierce confidence in you, our
good and gracious King.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and
prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake
our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Give
us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts that gladly receive all that you are and
all you say to us in your word that our hearts may be well prepared and heartily
welcoming of our Savior when he comes in His glory.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the
armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ
came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again
in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to life
immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
With the churches throughout the world,
we pray as your son has taught us, praying together,
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.
Scripture Reading - Matthew 11:2-24
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written,
“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’
11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, 14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,
17 “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
Sermon - "When the King Comes"
Your Son is our truest hope,
worthy of our undivided faith.
He is the source of our deepest joy,
and in him alone do we have peace.
Yet we confess that we so often look elsewhere for these things.
We place our hope in the promises of this world,
and we trust the things we feel we can control.
We fail to savor and rejoice in the good gifts we have in Christ.
We confess to you our sinful ingratitude and pride.
Unfulfilled by our choices and humbled, we ask for your forgiveness.
By your Spirit, turn our hearts toward Jesus.
Help us to look to him for all that we need,
that we might serve him faithfully and joyfully, to the glory of your name.
Good News of the Gospel (from Isaiah 53)
The prophet Isaiah speaks of the Shepherd King who was to come into the world:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”
Brothers and sisters, in Christ your sins are forgiven,
and you are at peace with God.
Thanks be to God!
Song - "What Child Is This?"
What Child is this who, laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
Why lies He in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here, the silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, the cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh, come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings, let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high, the virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born, the Babe, the Son of Mary.