Blue Christmas

The fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20, 2020

You will find our live stream on our homepage, on Facebook (where you can interact with others watching with comments), and on Youtube.

The congregation is invited to say the words together in bold. Please sing along with us! To prepare for worship, you may want to place your advent wreath, or three candles, to light during the opening prayer.

Prelude

“O Come All Ye Faithful” arr. Mark Hayes
Matt Chapman, pianist

Welcome

The ushers and the rector welcome the congregation. If you are new to us, consider filling out our “get connected” form, let us get to know you better.


Advent Bidding Prayer:

You may add your prayer requests in the comments at any time. Know people will pray for you. The response to the prayer is the ancient Advent Hymn “O Come O Come Emmanuel”

Comfort, comfort, Lord, your Holy people. Comfort those who sit in darkness, mourning ‘neath our sorrow’s load. Speak to us of the peace that awaits us, of the balm of healing for our weary souls. Help us to know, even in the midst of this season where many are joyful, many are bright, that you hear the cries of your people. You come down to deliver them.

Let us know this day that we do not grieve, we do not sorrow alone. But let us pray for the needs of the whole world, for peace and justice on earth, for leaders of nations and communities, especially for those preparing to assume elected office. For our partners at Cristosal working on behalf of human rights in Central America, and all those who work for justice and peace.

For the mission and unity of the church, for bishops, priests, deacons, and all who minister in Christ’s name. In this Missouri Diocese we pray this week for St. John’s Church, Tower Grove, in the city of St. Louis.

And because Christ particularly loves them, let us remember in his name the poor and helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed, the sick and those who mourn, the lonely and unloved, the aged and little children. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we remember all those who are suffering with the disease, and all of the nurses, doctors, and first responders caring for them. We remember family members who are unable to visit, especially as infections increase. You are invited to add your own prayers, even to write your prayer request in the comments as you watch.

Finally, let us remember all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom, in Jesus, we are one for evermore. Amen.


Opening Sentences

The Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd,
   and will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’. –Revelation 7:17

O God, open thou our lips.
And our mouths shall show forth thy praise.
Glory to God, Source of all being, Incarnate Word, and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.


The Collect of the Day

The Presider reads ancient prayers that signify our longing for Christ’s
coming, and the coming of God’s reign as we light an additional candle each week during Advent. You are invited to light your wreath with us (or any candle).

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Opening Hymn

My Lord, What a Morning Traditional, arranged by Gene Dobbs Bradford and Steve Johnston


The Readings

We hear the stories of the experience of God from our spiritual ancestors. Following an ancient pattern originally from Jewish synagogue worship, readings follow a set calendar for what will be read when.

THE FIRST READING:

A Reading from the book of Romans (Romans 16:25-27)

May the glory be to God who can strengthen you with my good news and the message that I preach about Jesus Christ. He can strengthen you with the announcement of the secret that was kept quiet for a long time. Now that secret is revealed through what the prophets wrote. It is made known to the Gentiles in order to lead to their faithful obedience based on the command of the eternal God. May the glory be to God, who alone is wise! May the glory be to him through Jesus Christ forever! Amen.

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


THE PSALM (Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26)

Saint Helena Psalter

Your love, O God, for ever will I sing;
from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.

For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever;
you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn an oath to David my servant:

‘I will establish your line for ever,
and preserve your throne for all generations.’ ”

You spoke once in a vision and said to your faithful people:
“I have set the crown upon a warrior
and have exalted one chosen out of the people.

I have found David my servant;
with my holy oil have I anointed him.

My hand will hold him fast
and my arm will make him strong.

No enemy shall deceive him,
nor any adversary bring him down.

I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.

My faithfulness and love shall be with him,
and he shall be victorious through my Name.

I shall make his dominion extend
from the Great Sea to the River.

He will say to me, ‘You are my Creator,
my God and the rock of my salvation.’

Glory to God, Source of all being, Incarnate Word, and Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.


THE GOSPEL READING

The Holy Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ according to Luke (Luke 1:26-38)
Glory to You, Lord Christ.

When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God.”

Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Christ.


The Sermon: The Rev. Mike Angell


Anthem: 

Waiting by Joel Raney

Waiting, we are waiting for the coming King.
Waiting, we are waiting for the bells of heaven to ring.
When the valleys rise up and the mountains lie down,
Savior’s gonna come to claim his heavenly crown.
Waiting, we are waiting for the coming King.

Waiting, we are waiting for the sun to rise.
Waiting, we are waiting till the clouds don’t cover the skies.
For the fighting to stop, for the quarrels to cease,
Savior’s gonna come and bring us heavenly peace.
Waiting, we are waiting for the coming King.  

O come, o come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come thee, o Israel.

Waiting, we are waiting for the coming King.  
Waiting, we are waiting for the angel chorus to sing.
When the valleys rise up and the mountains lie down,
Savior’s gonna come to claim his heavenly crown.
Waiting, we are waiting for the coming King.  


Prayer for Stewardship

Holy Communion’s annual campaign for giving is ongoing. You can read more about the campaign “Making a Needed Difference” at holycommunion.net/pledge

Gracious and everlasting God, the giver of all good gifts, you have blessed us and our parish abundantly. Grant us the hope to dream and the courage to live into our possibilities. Make us faithful stewards, both for the provision of our necessities and for the relief of those who are in need. Bless the efforts of our Annual Giving this year to extend the work of spiritual renewal in our church and community of faith. Through Jesus Christ, who gave all of himself, we offer this prayer. Amen.


Announcements:

Announcements are shared


The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray in the way Christ taught us, and in the language of our hearts.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day 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, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


Hymn:

Sweet Sweet Spirit Traditional, arranged by Gene Dobbs Bradford and Steve Johnston

Concluding Prayers

A prayer specific to each Sunday of Advent follows the ancient prayer of Saint Chrysostom.

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

With love and compassion,
come, Lord Jesus.

With judgement and mercy,
come, Lord Jesus.

In power and glory,
come, Lord Jesus.

In wisdom and truth,
come, Lord Jesus.

Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you, scatter the darkness from before your path, and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory; and may the Blessing of the Triune God be with us all this day and to the ages of ages.

Amen.

The Peace

The Peace is then exchanged.
The peace of Christ be always with you.
And also with you.

The Peace is then exchangedConsider sending a text, a message on Facebook, or even writing a letter or email to someone who could use some peace.


Concluding Hymn:

Amazing Grace Traditional, arranged by Gene Dobbs Bradford and Steve Johnston


The Deacon dismisses the congregation:

Let us Bless the Lord
Thanks be to God.

Postlude:

This Little Light of Mine Traditional, arranged by Gene Dobbs Bradford and Steve Johnston


Service Leaders
Preacher: The Rev. Marc Smith
Presider: The Rev. Mike Angell
Deacon: The Rev. Chester Hines
Seminarian: Emilee Walker-Cornetta
Guest Musicians: Gene Dobbs Bradford and Steve Johnston
Ushers: Joe Adams, the MacGregor Family
Intercessors: Alisa Williams, Jillian Smith, Peter Tchoukaleff
Lectors: Ellis Anderson, Fran Caradonna
The Lord’s Prayer: Janice Nihill
Prelude: Matt Chapman
Director of Music: Mary Chapman
Streaming Producer: Tyler Schwartz

Music reprinted and broadcast with permission by OneLicense # A-704988

The Psalms and Collect of the Day are copyright of the Order of Saint Helena. The Scripture Translation is the Common English Bible. All are used by permission.

The Advent Bidding Prayer was adapted by our rector from the service of Lessons and Carols from King’s college.

The first closing prayer is adapted from An Anglican Prayer Book, of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.