First Saturday in Advent

December 2, 2011 — Leave a comment

OPENING

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

O LORD, You are our Father;
we are the clay, and You are our potter;
we are all the work of Your hand.  (Is. 64:8)
My soul yearns for You in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks You.
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9)
Be not so terribly angry, O LORD,
and remember not iniquity forever.
Behold, please look, we are all Your people.  (Is. 64:9)

O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth will declare Your praise.  (Psalm 51:15)
Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
Make haste to help me, O Lord.  (Psalm 70:1)

Glory be to the Father and to the + Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever amen.

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.  (I Thessalonians 3:11-13)

Amen!  Come Lord Jesus, Come!

If you are using an advent wreath, light the first candle now.
Jesus Christ, You are the Light of the world that no darkness can overcome; for darkness is as light with You.  Keep us from sin and straighten our path, so that we may be prepared for Your coming.  Amen.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (Rev. 21:1-2)

MEDITATION

Beyond our reckoning and imagination the Father chose to send His Son to shoulder the weight and consequence of our sin.  To make all things new in the image of His Son and reconcile us before Him.  In the life and work of this Child we see God’s eternal purpose to bless us and not to curse us and His desire for mercy and not sacrifice.  Our heavenly Father gives us all good things through Jesus Christ our Lord, and for His sake, will never abandon nor forsake us.

For a moment, set aside the complexities and anxieties of life.  Clear your mind of the troubles of this past week and heart of the challenges of the week to come; and consider for a moment these words:

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!
(Text: William C Dix, 1837-98)

In silence now, cast your cares and burdens on the Lord.  Entrust your hopes and dreams, even your very being to His care, even as you pray: Come Lord Jesus, come!

SCRIPTURE

O Lord, have mercy on us.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, the twelfth chapter.

Thanks be to God.

In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.  But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him!  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.  And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.  And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”  And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’  And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’  So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”  (Luke 12:1-21)

In many and various ways, God spoke to His people by the prophets.
But now in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son.

PRAYERS

Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

O Lord hear my prayer.
And let my cry come to You.

Lord God of Hosts You have hidden Your face from us.  Lord God of Hosts You have revealed Yourself to us with a face like our own.  Lord Jesus Christ we know that we will not see Your face again among us until You return.  Though You have proclaimed the Father’s judgment and have become the standard of justice on the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord, yet You have not remained silent; for You sent the Holy Spirit to us as You promised at Your ascension so that You now sit enthroned within our hearts and in our midst when we gather in Your name.  Though we are unworthy, You have made us Your light and continued presence in this world; for this we praise and thank You; for as You work in us the lost are yet found, captives set free, the poor fed and sinners sought out.  By Your grace and wisdom and by Your Word may we judge ourselves now.  Lead us continually to repentance and confession even as we are certain You will always extend to us Your absolution.  Father, teach us to trust and live by Your promises forever established by Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

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, the power and the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Holy God, holy and most gracious Father
Have mercy and hear us.  Amen.

CLOSING

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.  Amen.

The Lord Almighty bless us and direct our days and our deeds in peace.

Amen.  Come Lord Jesus, come!

All scripture passages are ESV

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