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Angels, Help Us to Adore Him

An Advent Series from Revelation with Advent Candle Readings

This Advent series highlights the themes of promise, preparation, joy, and hope with a focus on how angels model worship in both the Nativity story and in Revelation.

Each week’s Advent readings were read by two members of our youth group.

The banners were made by a member of our congregation. The first banner represented Christ’s first coming, the first Advent, with the Bethlehem star, a light shining in the darkness. Only a thin ribbon separates the star from the reality of Christ’s second coming, the second Advent, represented by buildings of the new Jerusalem, where there is a constant light with the presence of God. A second banner displayed on the pulpit depicted an alpha and omega with a crown to remind us that Christ reigns already as the King of kings, the beginning and the end.

First Sunday of Advent

Call to Worship

In the last days
      the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
            as the highest of the mountains;
      it will be exalted above the hills,
            and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say,
      “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
             to the temple 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.

      He will judge between the nations
            and will settle disputes for many peoples.
      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.

      Come, descendants of Jacob,
            let us walk in the light of the LORD.

      —Isaiah 2:2–5

Advent Candle Lighting: Angels, Help Us to Adore Him

Reader 1: The first candle on the Advent wreath is called the Prophecy Candle. It opens the period that anticipates Christmas and remembers those who first spoke the promise of the coming Christ Child. As Christians we also anticipate the second coming of our Lord and King Jesus Christ, our Savior. Angels behold him face to face and help us to adore him.

Reader 2: Listen to these words from Hebrews 1:1–4 and 6–9. . . .

[Reader 1 lights the first candle.]

Song: “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” Lyte, LUYH 571 (v. 5), GtG 620, PsH 475

Reader 1: Let us pray: O Lord, we worship you as the one who came as a child to bring light into this dark world. We acknowledge that we needed you to come and rescue us from our sin and our enemies. We give you thanks and praise for dying on the cross and rising again to new life so that we too can be raised to a new life in the fullness of your mercy and love. Help us to embrace you as Lord of our lives and to submit to the leading of your Spirit toward greater obedience and power. We confess that we need you each day to live lives of worship. Lord, teach us to love you more, and help us, with the angels, to long to see you one day face to face, casting our crowns at your feet in reverent adoration. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Songs: “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” Wesley, LUYH 56, GtG 82/83, PsH 329

God’s Word Quickens Our Hearts

Scripture Reading: Revelation 3:1–13

Sermon: “Wake Up!”

Additional Song Suggestions

“Here I Am to Worship” Hughes, LUYH 567
“High in the Heavens, Eternal God” Watts, PfAS 36B
“The Light of the World Is Jesus” Bliss, TH 476
“Light of the World” Tomlin, Redman
“People in Darkness Are Looking for Light” Carlson, Sing With Me 119

Each of the services ended with these words of sending:

Sent to Serve in the Hope of Christ’s Second Coming

We long for that day when Jesus will return as triumphant King,
when the dead will be raised and all people will stand before his judgment.
We face that day without fear, for the Judge is our Savior.
With the whole creation we wait for the purifying fire of judgment,
for then we will see the Lord face to face.
He will heal our hurts, end our wars, and make the crooked straight.
Then we will join in the new song to the Lamb without blemish
who made us a kingdom and priests.
God will be all in all, righteousness and peace will flourish,
everything will be made new, and every eye shall see at last
that our world belongs to God!
Hallelujah! Come, Lord Jesus.

—adapted from Our World Belongs to God, 56–57

Second Sunday of Advent

Call to Worship

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
      from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
      the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
      the Spirit of counsel and of might,
      the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand
as a banner for the peoples;
the nations will rally to him,
and his resting place will be glorious.

—Isaiah 11:1–3, 10

Advent Candle Lighting: Angels, Help Us to Adore Him

Reader 1: Last week we lit the Prophecy Candle, remembering those who spoke of the promise of the coming of the Christ Child and those who spoke of the promise of the Christ-King.

[Light the first candle.]

The second candle on the Advent wreath is called the Bethlehem Candle. It is a symbol of the preparations being made to receive and cradle the Christ Child. Long ago, an angel appeared to Mary and brought the message that she had found favor with God.

Reader 2: Listen to these words from Luke 1:26–32. . . .

Reader 1: As second Advent believers we, too, are preparing for the coming of Jesus, the one who sits on the throne where our worship is perfected.

[Light the second candle.]

Reader 2: Listen to these words from Revelation 7:9–12. . . .

Song: “Salvation Belongs to Our God” Howard, Turner

Reader 1: Let us pray: O Lord, may we be like Mary, a willing servant, giving birth to the Son of the Most High. We too desire to be used by you to bring Jesus to the world in such a way that everyone will know that you alone bring salvation. Help us in our weakness to overcome our fear and distractedness so that our witness to the greatness of your love will prompt many people to give you praise and glory, wisdom and thanks and honor. The angels show us how to worship; help us also to show you our love and passionate devotion, for you are the Most High, the King of kings and Lord of lords. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Song: “Spirit of God, Who Dwells within My Heart” Croly, LUYH 618 (v. 5), PsH 419

God’s Word Quickens Our Hearts

Scripture Reading: Revelation 3:14–22

Sermon: “Lukewarm Christians”

Additional Song Suggestions

“Told of God’s Favor” Leach, LUYH 68
“Savior of the Nations, Come” Ambrose, Luther, LUYH 74
“Build Your Kingdom Here” Rend Collective
“Mighty to Save” Fielding, Morgan
“Magnify the Lord” Polman,Taizé, PsH 622, Songs for Life 13

Third Sunday of Advent

Call to Worship

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
      the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
      it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
      the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
      the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the feeble hands,
      steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
      “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
      he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
      he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
      and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
      and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
      and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
      the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
      grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

And a highway will be there;
      it will be called the Way of Holiness;
      it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
      wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
      nor any ravenous beast;
      they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
      and those the LORD has rescued will return.

They will enter Zion with singing;
      everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
      and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

—Isaiah 35

Advent Candle Lighting: Angels, Help Us to Adore Him

Reader 1: Two weeks ago we lit the Prophecy Candle, remembering those who spoke of the promise of the coming of the Christ Child and those who spoke of the promise of the Christ-King.

[Light the first candle.]

Last week we lit the Bethlehem Candle. We remembered the angel coming to tell Mary that she would give birth to the Son of the Most High and that one day in heaven we, along with all the angels, will give him all the praise and thanks that is due him.

[Light the second candle.]

The third candle on the Advent wreath is called the Shepherds’ Candle. The shepherds were the first in a long line of people who joyfully shared the good news of the Savior’s birth.

Reader 2: Listen to these words from Luke 2: 8–12. . . .

Reader 1: As believers in the second Advent, we too are filled with tremendous joy in the good news that Jesus is our Savior. He is the Lamb who was slain so we can have freedom to live as God intended. We anticipate the day when we will be totally liberated from our sin and worship him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, even as the angels do today.

[Light the candle.]

Reader 2: Listen to these words from Revelation 19:5–7. . . .

[end with “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!”]

Song: “Alleluia/Alabaré” Alonzo and Polman, PsH 234

Reader 1: Let us pray: O Lord, may we, like the shepherds, be in awe of the message of the angels who brought good news of great joy. We worship you as Christ the Lord and ask that you will take away any hindrances in our lives that block the joy of knowing you more and more. Help us to rededicate ourselves with renewed desire to be a living message of joy to those around us. While we await your second coming, may we delight in the gift of yourself and, like the holy angels above, worship you, the giver of good gifts, with dedicated hearts. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Song: “Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come” Watts, LUYH 92, PsH 337, GtG 134/266

God’s Word Quickens Our Hearts

Scripture Reading: Revelation 4

Sermon: “Falling Down in Worship”

Additional Song Suggestions

“He Is King of Kings” Spiritual, LUYH 222, GtG 273
“Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns” Beddome, LUYH 261, PsH 539
“Revelation Song” Riddle
“Even So Come” Tomlin, Ingram, Cates
“Niño Lindo/Child So Lovely” Venezuelan, Songs for Life 140

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Call to Worship

Reader 1: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

All: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Reader 1: At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

Reader 2: “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Reader 1: Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said,

Reader 3: “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Reader 1: Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,

Reader 4: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

Reader 2: “Here am I. Send me!”

Reader 4: “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
      be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused;
      make their ears dull
      and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
      hear with their ears,
      understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

Reader 2: “For how long, Lord?”

Reader 4: “Until the cities lie ruined
      and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
      and the fields ruined and ravaged,
until the LORD has sent everyone far away
      and the land is utterly forsaken.
And though a tenth remains in the land,
      it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
      leave stumps when they are cut down,
      so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”
—Isaiah 6, adapted

Opening Prayer
Holy God, we recognize that, like Isaiah, we are not worthy to stand in your presence. We may have dressed up this morning and put on our game faces and may act as if we have it all together, but we know. We know that we come before you with unclean lips, hearts, and hands. Yet you still invite us to come and worship. And so we come not because we are worthy, but because we are unworthy and in need of your grace. Help us experience that grace today so we may share the good news of your salvation with all we meet. Amen.
—Rev. Joyce Borger

Sung Prayer: “My Soul in Stillness Waits” Haugen, LUYH 63, GtG 89

Advent Candle Lighting: Angels, Help Us to Adore Him

Reader 1: Three weeks ago, we lit the Prophecy Candle, remembering those who spoke of the promise of the coming of the Christ Child and those who spoke of the promise of the Christ-King.

[Light the first candle.]

Two weeks ago, we lit the Bethlehem Candle. We remembered the angel coming to tell Mary that she would give birth to the Son of the Most High and that one day in heaven we, along with all the angels, will give him all the praise and thanks that is due him.

[Light the second candle.]

Last week we lit the Shepherds’ Candle, remembering the first in a long line of people who joyfully shared the good news of the Savior’s birth.

People everywhere still rejoice in Jesus Christ and anticipate one day celebrating together with him face to face.

[Light the candle.]

The fourth candle on the Advent wreath is called the Angels’ Candle. It reminds us of the hope fulfilled in the first coming of our Savior and of our continuing hope as we anticipate his coming again. Hosts of angels heralded the Savior’s birth when they sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). Hosts of angels have been proclaiming God’s praise all through God’s Word.

Reader 2: Listen to these words from Nehemiah 9:6, Daniel 7:9–10, and Hebrews 12:22. . . .

Reader 1: As believers in a second Advent, we too are filled with hope that what the Scriptures have said about Jesus is true and that one day we will witness his coming again. We belong to the one who spoke at creation, the one who saved us from our sins, and we entrust our lives to the one who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

[Light the last candle.]

Reader 2: Listen to these words from Revelation 5:9. . . .

Song: “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus” Dix, LUYH 831 (v. 1), GtG 260, PsH 406

Reader 1: Let us pray: Jesus, strong and mighty God, by the power of the Spirit create in us pure hearts and renew within us steadfast spirits so that the hope fulfilled in Bethlehem may permeate our lives until we share fully in your glory. Help us to trust in your promises and live in the reality of your presence with us. Enliven our hope as we live in expectation of your
coming again. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Song: “The Lion and the Lamb” Brown, Johnson, Mooring

God’s Word Quickens Our Hearts

Scripture Reading: Revelation 5

Sermon: “Who Is Worthy?”

Additional Song Suggestions

“God Reigns! Earth Rejoices (Psalm 97)” Morgan, LUYH 91
“Jesus, Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child” African American traditional, LUYH 99
“Till the Whole Earth Looks Like Heaven” Fielding, Ingram, Helser, Feucht
“Shout to the Lord” Zschech
“Holy, Holy, You Are Holy” Scheer, GtG 68

Christmas Day

Gathered to Worship

Gathering Songs
“Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come” Watts, LUYH 92, PsH 337, GtG 134/266
“Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” Founds, LUYH 610

Welcome

Call to Worship
The people walking in darkness
     have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
     a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
     and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
      as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
      when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
     you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
     the bar across their shoulders,
     the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
     and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
     will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
     to us a son is given,
     and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
     Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
     there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
      and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
      with justice and righteousness
      from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
      will accomplish this.

—Isaiah 9:2–7

Opening Prayer
Our hearts are filled with joy this morning, O Lord. But may the joy we feel about the gifts we have received or hope to receive pale in comparison to the joy we have for you. For today we celebrate the greatest of gifts, your Son, in whom all our hope rests—hope for the day when he returns, when justice and righteousness will fill this earth forever. Our hearts are filled with joy this morning, O Lord, because we know you will accomplish this. Amen.
—Rev. Joyce Borger

God’s Greeting

Songs of Praise
“Angels We Have Heard on High” French, LUYH 82, GtG 113, PsH 347
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (Rejoice, Rejoice) Rend Collective

Advent Candle Lighting: Angels, Help Us to Adore Him

[Light the four candles.]

Reader 1: It’s Christmas Day, and the waiting is over. Along with all the angels, we celebrate the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ as a little baby born in Bethlehem. God’s promise of a Redeemer is fulfilled. Jesus is the Son of the Most High, and he is Immanuel, God with us. We light the Christ Candle with praise to our God, who brings joy to the world. We light the Christ Candle with an eager anticipation for the day when Jesus, our Lord and King, will come again.

[Light the Christ Candle.]

Reader 2: Let us pray: Jesus, your coming brought great joy to the angels, the shepherds, to your parents, to all those who love and follow you, from then until now. The good news the angels brought continues today to bring love and peace to those who will listen to your gospel message and respond with true devotion. We rejoice that we can know you as our Savior in the work of the cross; we are renewed with the ongoing work of your Holy Spirit working in our hearts when you come to take us home to be with you forever. We long for that day to come, and we give thanks to you for making the way open to wonderful fellowship with our heavenly Father. May we be faithful in our witness to you while we wait for the day of your second coming. On this Christmas Day, our hearts are full of praise, glory, and honor to you for all you have done. May your name be glorified in all the earth. In your name we pray, amen.

Song: “O Come, All Ye Faithful” Wade, LUYH 76, GtG 133, PsH 340

The Christmas Story Told

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26–38

Song: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” Wesley, LUYH 80, GtG 119, PsH 345

Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18–25

Song: “O Little Town of Bethlehem” Brooks, LUYH 88, GtG 121, PH 44

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8–20

Sermon: “Good News!”

Prayer

We Respond with Prayers and Gifts

Songs of Response
“Go, Tell It on the Mountain” Spiritual, LUYH 93, GtG 136, PsH 356
“Our God Reigns” Smith, PsH 195

Congregational Prayer

Offering

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Sent to Serve in the Hope of Christ’s Second Coming

Sending: See sidebar (p. 4)

Benediction

Doxology: “Santo, Santo, Santo (Holy, Holy, Holy)” Spanish, LUYH 814