THE SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY

Third Sunday of Advent
December 13, 2020

First Presbyterian Church, Fargo
The Session and members of First Presbyterian Church, extend a sincere welcome to you! We welcome all persons regardless of race, nationality, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. This includes an open invitation to membership, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, marriage, funerals, memorial services, and to serve as an officer of the church.

Prelude and Preparation for Worship

Prayer of the Day
We thank you, O God, for all those in Scripture who have pointed to Christ: for your prophets Elijah and Isaiah, for other prophets, and for John. We thank you, too, for those in our lives who have pointed us to Christ: pastors and teachers, strangers and friends. Give us eyes to see him today among those who are oppressed, imprisoned, brokenhearted, or beaten down, and we will give our testimony, too:
how Christ releases and sets free; how he turns ashes into garlands; how he repairs and builds up what was ruined. We, too, will point others to Jesus,
the Light of the world. Amen.

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Family Christmas Photo Submission: https://www.dropbox.com/request/YZf27x6WebKqJWl8Qtkb
Opening Sentences 
We are those who listen and look for a message from God.
We await a message of hope, of friendship, of help.
In this season of Advent, we seek out those who are messengers of the Good News.
We light this candle to illumine the path of the messengers, that they will find their way to us. 
Let us worship God, who send messengers of glad tidings for us and the world.

Response
Hymn — Prepare the Way, O Zion
Singers: Penny Andrist, Kayla Bones, Pam Burns, Tori Hughes, Jack Lawrence, and Erynn Millard.  Accompanist: Sally Harmon
1 Prepare the way, O Zion,
your Christ is drawing near!
Let every hill and valley
a level way appear.
Greet One who comes in glory,
foretold in sacred story.

Refrain:
O blest is Christ who came
in God’s most holy name.

2 He brings God’s rule, O Zion;
he comes from heaven above.
His rule is peace and freedom,
and justice, truth, and love.
Lift high your praise resounding,
for grace and joy abounding. [Refrain]

3 Fling wide your gates, O Zion;
your Savior’s rule embrace,
and tidings of salvation
proclaim in every place.
All lands will bow rejoicing,
their adoration voicing. [Refrain]
Call to Confession
Old habits and new wrongs wear ruts through our lives and relationships. Like water coursing through a desert,
the waters of baptism flow through us, reminding us that we belong to God and are raised to new life.

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, you love justice; why, then, do we persist in wrongdoing and every form of evil? You have given us the gift of your Spirit; why, then, do we quench the Spirit among us? You have given us the words of the prophets
and the Word himself; why, then, do we despise and ignore what we have heard from you? You have sent the light into the world; why, then, have we loved darkness rather than light? Forgive us. Restore us. Till and tend us as your garden until righteousness and praise spring up,
for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Assurance of God’s Forgiveness


Gift of Music

Hearing God’s Word

Children's Message
Prayer for Illumination
Lesson  Luke 1:46a-55
And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
   and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
   Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
   and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
   from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
   he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
   and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
   and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
   in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
   to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Lesson  Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
   because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
   to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
   and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
   and the day of vengeance of our God;
   to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
   to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
   the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
   they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
   the devastations of many generations.
For I the Lord love justice,
   I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
   and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
   and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
   that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
   my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
   he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
   and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
   and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
   to spring up before all the nations.

Sermon                  While We are Waiting...
Hymn — O Come, O come Emmanuel
1 O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

2 O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily:
to us the path of knowledge show;
and teach us in her ways to go.  [Refrain]

3 O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times didst give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.  [Refrain]

4 O come, thou Root of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save
and give them victory o’er the grave.  [Refrain]

Responding to God’s Word

Statement of Faith           Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. 


Prayers of the People and the Lord's Prayer
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. 


Call for the Offering, ending with the Prayer of Dedication

Bearing the Word into the World

Hymn — Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
1 Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king.
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise;
join the triumph of the skies;
with the angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Refrain:
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king!”

2 Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ. the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come,
offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail the incarnate deity,
pleased in flesh with us to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.  [Refrain]

3 Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.  [Refrain]

Charge and Benediction
Postlude
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