Monday, December 3, 2018

Advent '18 Week 1 | Magnify Jesus, Our Immanuel, God with Us + Saturday, December 1




Welcome! Bienvenido! Akwaaba! Mirë se vjen! خوش آمدید Bem-vindos! 歡迎光臨! Céad míle fáilte! We invite you to listen with us to the Advent message that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, the Messiah and Prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior. Wonder with us what this might mean personally for you, as well as in our city, as we consider this history-altering, world-restoring, life-transforming Good News that Jesus is coming to be with us again.

Homily Scriptures | Isaiah 7:14; Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 21:1-6, 22-24, 27, 22:16-17

Homily Story of God | Immanuel in Creation, Crisis, Covenant, Christ, Church, and New Creation

Homily Reading | Advent Begins in the Dark: Review of Fleming Rutledge's Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ

'18 Advent Prayer | Immanuel, Magnify Your Presence and Great Salvation!

Immanuel, reveal You are with us now. Don't hold back. Magnify Your presence and Your great salvation for us! Disrupt our way of life without You. If in the darkness of Mary's womb, the holy child grew, You can grow in us. If in the darkness of the world's pain, Your blessed light came and overcame, You can overcome the darkness in us and ignite Your light and love in us.

In our own doubting of You, and of ourselves, cause us to be born again to a living hope that begins to grow like a lump in the throat: the holy hope that You came and still come to us truly, that You will be born again in our midst. We need You, Jesus, our Messiah, the Prince of Peace in a world at war. You are our hope. We need You to ransom us and our beloved neighbors, friends, and enemies in the city of Worcester from the darkness of everything that we are selling ourselves short for.

Lord Jesus, our Savior, open our mouths and our hearts to sing like Your mother, Mary, did, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on me, His humble servant! ... " When people in the 1980s in Guatemala began to sing Mary's song, the government outlawed this first Advent hymn about God's preferential love for the humble, poor, and needy. It was deemed too dangerous and revolutionary because men, women, and children began to believe that freedom and change were indeed possible, and that following the way of Jesus would interrupt the flow of civilization as they knew it.

Holy Spirit of God, make us dangerous to believe the way of Jesus transforms our lives like that today. Make us believe the Magnificat's words (i.e. Luke 1:46-55) are true, that You look on us and intend to bring dynamic change in us and through us, Your poor and humble servants in Worcester, to bring Your resurrection power and life to people in our city. We pray all these things in confidence because we are praying in Jesus' mighty name. Amen.


+ Adapted from "Come and See" by Frederich Buechner & "A Divine Disruption" by Christiana Rice


O Come, O Come Immanuel
Monk hymn translated by J.M. Neale, 800s A.D., 1800s A.D.

O come, O come, Immanuel
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny,
From depths of Hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o'er the grave. (Chorus)

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight. (Chorus)

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery. (Chorus)

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In One the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace. (Chorus)

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
M. Papa, M. Boswell, & M. Bleecker, 2013 A.D.

Come behold the wondrous mystery
In the dawning of the King.
He the theme of heaven’s praises,
Robed in frail humanity.
In our longing, in our darkness,
Now the light of life has come!
Look to Christ, who condescended,
Took on flesh to ransom us.

Come behold the wondrous mystery
He the perfect Son of Man.
In His living, in His suffering,
Never trace nor stain of sin.
See the true and better Adam
Come to save the hell-bound man!
Christ the great and sure fulfillment

Of the law; in Him we stand.

Come behold the wondrous mystery
Christ the Lord upon the tree,
In the stead of ruined sinners
Hangs the Lamb in victory.
See the price of our redemption!
See the Father’s plan unfold!
Bringing many sons to glory,
Grace unmeasured, love untold!

Come behold the wondrous mystery
Slain by death the God of life.
But no grave could e’er restrain Him.
Praise the Lord; He is alive!
What a foretaste of deliverance!
How unwavering our hope!
Christ in power resurrected

As we will be when He comes!

May Your Power Rest on Me
Isaac Watts adapted by Sojourn Music, Early 1700s A.D.; 2009 A.D.

Let me hear my Savior say
“Your strength shall return.”
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on Your grace, as I lean on Your grace.

May Your power rest on me.
You are strong when I am weak.
I can bear all things when temptation springs
For You sustain me all my days.


Let me know my Savior’s face.
Let my hope be secure.
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on Your grace, as I lean on Your grace.
(Chorus)

Once from the Lord withdrawn
I thought that I could live my life alone.
Leaving the solid ground,
I sank beneath His wisdom.
The harder I tried to climb the closer I was to find
How great is my weakness.
(Chorus)

Though the trial still goes on,
Your grace will be my song!
For I can bear all things when temptation springs
For You sustain me all my days.

Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me
City Alight, 2018 A.D.

What gift of grace is Jesus my Redeemer!
There is no more for heaven now to give.
He is my joy, my righteousness, and freedom,
My steadfast love, my deep and boundless peace.
To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus,
For my life is wholly bound to His.
Oh how strange and divine, I can sing: all is mine!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

The night is dark but I am not forsaken
For by my side, the Savior He will stay.
I labor on in weakness and rejoicing
For in my need, His power is displayed.
To this I hold, my Shepherd will defend me,
Through the deepest valley He will lead.
Oh the night has been won, and I shall overcome!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

No fate I dread, I know I am forgiven.
The future sure, the price it has been paid.
For Jesus bled and suffered for my pardon
And He was raised to overthrow the grave.
To this I hold, my sin has been defeated,
Jesus now and ever is my plea!
Oh the chains are released, I can sing: I am free!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

With every breath I long to follow Jesus
For He has said that He will bring me home;
And day by day I know He will renew me
Until I stand with joy before the throne.
To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus,
All the glory evermore to Him!
When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat:
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

All Creatures of Our God and King
St. Francis of Assisi adapted by West Coast Revival, Early 1200s A.D.

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
“O praise Him! Allelujah!”
Thou, burning sun with golden beam,
Thou, silver moon with softer gleam.
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah!

Let all things their Creator bless
And worship Him in humbleness.
O praise Him! Allelujah!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son
And praise the Spirit, Three-in-One.
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah!

All the redeemed washed by His blood
Come and rejoice in His great love.
O praise Him! Allelujah!
Christ has defeated every sin.
Cast all your burdens now on Him.
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah!

He shall return in power to reign
Heaven and earth will join to say
O praise Him! Allelujah!
Then who shall fall on bended knee?
All creatures of our God and King
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah!


Corporate Prayer of Confession and Assurance
Is. 6:5-8Dan. 9:4-19Neh. 1:5-10Lk. 23:34

Call: Thank You, God, for always wanting to
be with us and making the way in Jesus.

Response: Jesus, our Immanuel, we
want to see and know You are here.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Spirit, help us to believe.

Silent Personal Reflection and Confession

Call: Thank You, Jesus, for being with us to the end
by Your Word and Spirit. Thank You that You
continue to open the eyes of the blind and
set the captives free. Do this among us.
Come, Lord Jesus, come. We pray in anticipation:

Response: Our Father who art 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,
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 and the power and the glory
now and forever. Amen.


Prayers of Preparation for Eucharist
Matthew 26:26-291 Corinthians 11:23-26

Prayer seeking more from Jesus
Jesus, You claim to be the Way,
the Truth and the Life.
If what You claim is true,
please reveal to me who You are.
Give me an understanding of You
that is clear and convincing. Amen.

Prayer for Communion with Jesus
Jesus, grant that we may be filled
by You, the true Bread and Vine.
Be present with us, strengthen us,
and empower us to be Your witnesses
together as we seek first Your Kingdom
until You return and make all things new. Amen.

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

Benediction Based on 
John 14:27 & Matthew 28:20

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end."


Next sermon audio and liturgy post: Advent '18 Week 2 | Magnify Jesus, Our Messiah, Prince of Peace

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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