It’s the first week of Advent. Let’s roll.
Our series for Advent is called is Echoes of a Voice. We’ll focus on paying attention to our haunted longings as they point us to Jesus for ultimate fulfillment. In our first week, we’ll discuss our innate longing for justice.
As for non-Sunday-morning participation in the season, we’ve created a weekly guide, some giving initiatives, and a new take on our annual Advent Hymn Sing. Learn much more about all of those things by clicking Resources for Advent below.
Now here’s how you can prepare for our first Sunday together in Advent:
1. Read our text, Jeremiah 23:1–8.
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.”
He has put the longing for justice within us. This longing is an echo of His voice; His design. We desire justice because God is just, and He is the only One who can make things right.
When Jesus came, He came to invite us into His Kingdom of justice and mercy. He came to bring us secure hope. Though not always as tangible as we’d like, the echoes of justice we can hear now and our lingering desires for justice remind us of the just character of Jesus.
2. Read, pray, and sing through the service:
Don’t use Spotify? Click the song title below to see song on YouTube.
— Advent Candle One —
CALL TO WORSHIP: Isaiah 40:3–5
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
CONFESSION OF SIN: from The Worship Sourcebook:
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,
both now in the time of this mortal life into which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility,
and that in the last day, when He shall come again in His glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead,
so that 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.
Promises (Alvarado, Barnes, Bowe, Gaines, Marin, Moses)
ASSURANCE OF PARDON: Jeremiah 23:5-6
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which He will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
PASSING THE PEACE
(Click to Read)
When we’ve met as a large group on Sundays, we’ve always had a time of greeting one another after singing. Many churches call this time “passing the peace.” In some church traditions, one person will say to another, “The peace of Christ be with you” to which the other person responds, “And also with you.”
While potentially unfamiliar for some, we felt that “passing the peace” during greeting times at home could be a powerful act in this age marked by very little external peace. In Isaiah 9, Jesus is described as the Prince of Peace. He wants His kingdom to be marked by this very peace! We want to “pass” to one another this peace that only Jesus can give, especially at a time like this.
It might feel a bit cheesy, but we encourage you to actually pray the peace of God over each other during our times. We encourage you to look into each other’s eyes as you say, “The peace of Christ be with you!” and have others respond with, “And also with you.” Be open-hearted to Jesus, asking Him to fill you with His peace.
SERMON & COMMUNION
King Of Kings (Jason Ingram, Brooke Ligertwood, Scott Ligertwood)