Plumsted Presbyterian Church
December 14, 2020—3rd Sunday of Advent
Welcome and Announcements
Lighting of the Advent Candle
In a world of despair, where depression rates run high, where there has been so much sadness and loss, God, we call upon you to come.
In a world where joy is a distant memory, we call upon you, Great God of Joy, to come.
In this season of Advent, we wait for the coming of Joy into our world. We await the birth of the Anointed One, the Promised Child, who comes into our lives in a new way.
Come, Messiah, Come, and Save Us
Light the pink candle
Dear God, we pray for the joy that is found in Jesus, that those who seek it may truly find it. May we celebrate in the joy found in You. Amen.
* Call to Worship
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
come home with shouts of joy.
* Hymn 28 Good Christian Friends, Rejoice
Confession and Assurance of Forgiveness
Our Advent hope is for the restoration of our world, yet we know that we have contributed to its brokenness. We also know that if we confess our sin we can be restored to a right and just standing before God and others. Let us therefore confess our sin, trusting God’s promised mercy.
O God, you have called us to participate in your salvific work of rebuilding and repairing your creation. Yet we know we have fallen short of that calling. Indeed, we have contributed to the devastation of our world. We confess our sin, O God. Renew us and help us be discerning and ready partners in your cosmic restoration project. Amen.
God’s mercy abounds. God’s Advent grace goes before us, after us, through us—sometimes even unbeknownst to us, restoring us and empowering us for participation in God’s own work in the world. Friends, hear the good news of the gospel: we are forgiven and restored, set on right paths of justice and peace. Thanks be to God!
Prayer for Illumination
O God, send your Spirit to us to open our hearts, so that we may discern your Word in and through the words that we are about to hear Amen.
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
61The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
4They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 8For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
10I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
46And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
John 1:6-8, 19-28
6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
19This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.”22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. 24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
* Affirmation of Faith A Brief Statement of Faith
We trust in Jesus Christ, fully human, fully God.
Jesus proclaimed the reign of God: preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.
Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition, Jesus was crucified, suffering the depths of human pain and giving his life for the sins of the world. God raised this Jesus from the dead, vindicating his sinless life, breaking the power of sin and evil, delivering us from death to life eternal.
With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sharing of Joys and Concerns
Prayers of Intercession
Invitation to the Offering and Dedication
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it. god has given to us many good gifts and calls us to respond. Let us now give in return.
O God, we offer our gifts to you to further the promise of hope, peace, love and justice in our community and in our world. Empower us, O God, to follow these gifts into the world around us so that they, and we, become bearers of your peace, love and justice on the earth. Amen.
* Hymn 411 Arise, Your Light Is Come!
* Charge and Benediction