The First Sunday in Advent

Holy Communion (The First Sunday in Advent)

The Holy Communion may begin with a time of worship in song to the Lord.

The pastor or leader reads the Opening Psalm (Psalm 25:1-7)

1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
2  in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
4  Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
5  guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
6  Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
7  Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.

The pastor or leader and all those gathered say

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The pastor or leader will greet the people

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

All those gathered stand and everyone says Lord’s Prayer and the Collect for Purity

Our Father, in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. AMEN.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love You, and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

All those gathered may be seated, the pastor or leader reads the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17); and in response the people ask God’s mercy for their transgressions against the Law, and for grace to keep God’s laws in the future

1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
Lord, have mercy on us, and give us grace to help us in our time of need.

4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
6 but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Lord, have mercy on us, and give us grace to help us in our time of need.

7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Lord, have mercy on us, and give us grace to help us in our time of need.

8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Lord, have mercy on us, and give us grace to help us in our time of need.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Lord, have mercy on us, and give us grace to help us in our time of need.

13 “You shall not murder.
Lord, have mercy on us, and give us grace to help us in our time of need.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.
Lord, have mercy on us, and give us grace to help us in our time of need.

15 “You shall not steal.
Lord, have mercy on us, and give us grace to help us in our time of need.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Lord, have mercy on us, and give us grace to help us in our time of need.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Lord, have mercy on us, and write these Your laws in our hearts.

The pastor or leader reads Jesus summary of the Law (Matthew 22:37-40); and in response the people ask God’s mercy for their transgressions against the Law, and for grace to keep God’s laws in the future

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Lord, have mercy on us, and write these Your laws in our hearts.

The pastor or leader says

Let us pray.

The pastor or leader then says the Collect of the Day.

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the deeds of darkness and to put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came among us in great humility; that on the last day, when He will come again in His glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through Him who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN.

The Old Testament lesson is read (Micah 4:1-7). The reading is introduced by saying,

The 4th verse of the 7th chapter of the Book of Micah.

1  In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.
2  Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3  He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
4  Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken.
5  All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
6  “In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief.
7  I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever.

At the end of the reading, the reader says

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The Epistle is read (Romans 13:8-14). The reading is introduced by saying,

The 8th verse of the 13th chapter of the Book of Romans.

8  Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
9  The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
10  Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
11  And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
12  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
13  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
14  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

At the end of the reading, the reader says

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The pastor or leader reads the Gradual Psalm (Psalm 85:4-7)

4  Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.
5  Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6  Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7  Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.

The pastor or leader and all those gathered say

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The people stand for the Gospel reading (Matthew 21:1-13), which is introduced by saying,

The holy Gospel is written in the 1st verse of the 21st chapter of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew.

The people respond
Glory to You, Lord Christ.

1  As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,
2  saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.
3  If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
4  This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5  “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
6  The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.
7  They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.
8  A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9  The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
10  When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11  The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
12  Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
13  “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’”

After the Gospel, the reader says

This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to You, Lord Christ.

The Nicene Creed is said by all who remain standing

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, God from God, Light of Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through Him all things were made. For us and for our salvation, He came down from heaven, and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried. On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, universal, and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.

All those gathered may be seated and the Sermon is preached.

After the sermon, the pastor or leader begins the Offertory, saying the following (2 Corinthians 9:6-8),

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

While these verses are being read, the offerings of the people are collected and brought to the pastor or leader, who reverently presents and places them on the holy table.

The pastor or leader places on the holy Table sufficient bread and wine/grape juice for the communion.

A song may also be sung during the collection.

Then the pastor, leader, or person or persons appointed begin the Prayer of Intercession

Let us pray for the Church and the world, and let us thank God for His goodness.

All those gathered stand and in response to each intercession ask the Lord’s mercy for each request

Almighty and ever-living God, we are taught by Your holy Word to offer prayers and petitions, and to give thanks for all people. We humbly ask You to receive our prayers, which we offer to Your divine majesty, asking You to inspire continually the universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity and harmony, and to grant that all who confess Your holy Name may agree in the truth of Your holy Word, and live in unity and godly love.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that You will lead the nations of the world into the ways of righteousness and peace and guide their leaders in wisdom and justice to act for the good of all people. Bless, especially we ask, the President of the United States of America, the members of the Cabinet, the members of Congress and the Supreme Court, and the Governor of this State. Grant that they may impartially administer justice, restrain wickedness and vice, maintain true religion, and uphold integrity and truth.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Give grace, heavenly Father, to all pastors and other ministers, that, by their life and teaching they may set forth Your true, life-giving Word, and rightly and duly administer Your holy sacraments.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Guide and prosper, we pray, those who are laboring for the spread of the gospel among the nations, and enlighten with Your Spirit all places of education and learning; that the whole world may be filled with the knowledge of Your truth.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

And to all Your people give Your heavenly grace; that we may receive Your holy Word with reverent and obedient hearts, and serve you in holiness and righteousness, living each day by trying to do the next right thing.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant this, Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. AMEN.

All those gathered may be seated and the pastor or leader reads this Exhortation

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is appropriate that we consider how the Apostle Paul, in writing to the church in Corinth, urges Christians to examine themselves, before they presume to eat of the bread, and drink of the cup of the Lord’s Supper. If we receive the holy sacrament with truly penitent and sincere hearts, then, we spiritually eat the body of Christ and drink His blood. In this way, we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us. However, if we receive the sacrament unworthily, then we are guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Therefore, examine yourselves carefully, brothers and sisters, that you will not be judged by the Lord. Sincerely repent for your sins; have a lively and steadfast faith in Christ our Savior; amend your lives, and be in perfect love with all people; so you will be worthy partakers of these holy mysteries. And above all things you must give humble and hearty thanks to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for the redemption of the world by the death of our Savior Christ, who being fully God and man, humbled Himself, even to death on the cross, for us broken sinners, who were in darkness and the shadow of death; that He might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life. And in order that we should always remember the exceeding great love of our Master, and only Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for us, and the innumerable benefits which He has, by the shedding of His precious blood, obtained for us, He has instituted and ordained holy mysteries, as pledges of His love, and for a continual remembrance of His death, to our great and endless support and comfort. To Him, therefore, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, let us give continual thanks; submitting ourselves to His holy will and pleasure, and seeking to serve Him in true holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.

A pause for self-examination should be observed.

Then the pastor or leader says

You who truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are reconciled and at peace with your neighbors, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, walking in His holy ways, and living by trying to do the next right thing, prepare to draw near with faith, and take this holy sacrament to strengthen and comfort you. But first, let us make a humble confession of our sins to Almighty God.

All those gathered stand and say this General Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, maker of all things, judge of all people, we acknowledge and lament our many sins and the wickedness we have committed time after time, by thought, word and deed against Your divine majesty. We earnestly repent, and are deeply sorry for these our wrongdoings; the memory of them weighs us down, the burden of them is too great for us to bear. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father. For Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that from this time forward we may always serve and please You in newness of life, to the honor and glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

The pastor or leader pronounces this Absolution

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who in His great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all who with sincere repentance and true faith turn to Him: have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Then the pastor or leader says

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is indeed right, and our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to You, holy Father, heavenly King, almighty and eternal God.

Because You sent Your beloved Son Jesus Christ to redeem us from sin and death and to make us heirs in Him in everlasting life; that when He shall come again in power and great triumph to judge the world, we may with joy behold His appearing, and in confidence stand before Him. Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we proclaim Your great and glorious name, for ever praising You and singing

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of power and might

Heaven and earth are filled with Your Glory (2x)

Hosanna, Hosanna, in the Highest (2x)

Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Then the pastor or leader and all those gathered join in this prayer

We do not presume to come to this Your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in Your abundant and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Your table. But You are the same Lord, who delights in showing mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink His blood, that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us. AMEN.

All those gathered may be seated. When the pastor or leader has so arranged the bread and wine/grape juice, that he may conveniently and appropriately break the bread before the people and take the cup into his hand, he says this Prayer of Consecration

All glory to You, almighty God, our heavenly Father, for in Your tender mercy You gave Your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; and who instituted, and in His holy gospel commanded us to continue, a perpetual memory of His precious death, until His coming again:

Hear us, merciful Father, and grant that we who receive these gifts of Your creation, this bread and this wine, according to Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of His death and passion, may be partakers of His most blessed body and blood; who on the night He was betrayed, (Here the pastor or leader is to take the bread) took bread; and, when He had given thanks, (And here to break the bread) He broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying: Take, eat; (And here to lay a hand on all the bread) this is My body which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of Me. In the same manner, after supper He (Here the pastor or leader is to take the cup) took the cup; and, when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: Drink this all of you, (And here to lay a hand on the vessels in which is wine/grape juice to be consecrated) this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

All answer AMEN.

The pastor or leader receives the communion in both kinds himself, and then distributes it similarly to the other communicants; first to any pastors or leaders who are present, and then to the other communicants.

When the pastor or leader delivers the bread, he says

Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on Him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.

When the pastor or leader delivers the cup, he says

Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you, and be thankful.

When occasion requires, the pastor or leader may say the Words of Administration once to each row of communicants, or to a convenient number within each row, instead of saying them to each communicant separately.

During the Communion songs may be sung.

After all have been served, the pastor or leader says

Let us pray.

All those gathered stand and everyone says the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. AMEN.

Then all say the following prayer

Gracious Lord and heavenly Father, we Your humble servants ask that in Your fatherly goodness You will mercifully accept this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Grant that by the merits and death of Your Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in His blood, we and Your whole Church may receive forgiveness of our sins and all other benefits of His passion. And we offer and present to You, ourselves, our souls and our bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice; and we pray that all who are partakers of this holy communion may be filled with Your grace and heavenly blessing. Although we are unworthy, through our many sins, to offer You any sacrifice, we pray that You will accept this the duty and service we owe, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offenses, through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory are yours, almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.

This Hymn of Praise is said

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to His people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly king,
almighty God and Father,
we worship You, we give You thanks,
we praise You for Your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
You take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
You are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For You alone are the Holy One,
You alone are the Lord,
You alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. AMEN.

The pastor or leader may begin a time of ministry. The ministry time provides an opportunity for all to be freshly filled with the Spirit’s presence, to pray for one another in His power, and to experience all the blessings of the passion of Jesus. We invite the Holy Spirit to come and minister to us spontaneously with words of knowledge, words of wisdom and other spiritual gifts.

The pastor or leader begins the ministry time by saying

Come, Holy Spirit

After the ministry time, the pastor or leader dismisses with this blessing

May the Lord bless and keep you, may His face shine upon you, may He be gracious to you and give you peace. Go today in the peace, the power, and the love of God.

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