December 10, 2023, Sanctuary Worship, A Service of Advent Lessons and Carols

December 10, 2023
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A Service of Advent Lessons and Carols

a sermon by the Rev. Anna von Winckler

Click HERE to view/download the worship bulletin.


The First Lesson – GAIL RIECKEN Jeremiah 23:5-6

Today’s first lesson comes from the book of Jeremiah:
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

The Second Lesson – BROOKE WHEELER Isaiah 40:1-9

A reading from Isaiah, chapter 40:

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”

The Third Lesson – JAKE KOHLMEYER Isaiah 9:2-7

The third lesson is also from Isaiah, this time in the 9th chapter:
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.

The Fourth Lesson – KRISTEN BURCKHARTT Isaiah 11:1-9

Continuing our lessons from Isaiah, hear these words from chapter 11:
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.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

The Fifth Lesson – RONDA HURT Zechariah 9:9-10

The fifth lesson comes from the book of Zechariah:
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

The Sixth Lesson – TONY AIKEN Luke 1:26-38

Our next lesson comes from Luke, telling the story of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to
Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named
Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her
and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was
greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But
the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You
will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne
of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his
kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a
virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of
the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the
Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age,
and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word
from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word
to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

The Seventh Lesson – ANNA Revelation 7:9-17

Our final lesson today comes from the 7th chapter of Revelation:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could
count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the
throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding
palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four
living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped
God, saying:
“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks
and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes – who are they, and where
did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they
who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made
them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

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