First Sunday in Advent
November 29, 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
Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Psalm 25: 4-5  

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Hymn — Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
Singers: Penny Andrist, Kayla Bones, Pam Burns, Marty Hoag, Jack Lawrence, and Erynn Millard.  Accompanist: Sally Harmon
1 Come, Thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

2 Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a king,
Born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit, rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all sufficient merit raise us to thy glorious throne.
Holy One, you have promised us that the day of our salvation is near. Keep us faithful in love and watchful in prayer, so that we may stand with confidence and joy at the coming of Christ, our redeemer and Lord. Amen.

Call to Confession
Testify with honesty the condition of your souls. Give defense not for yourself but only the Lord’s grace, which will save you in your time of trial. With confidence in God’s mercy, let us confess our sin.

Prayer of Confession
Lord, have mercy on us. We are not ready for your coming. We live in sin, as though there were no justice. We live in fear, as though there were no grace. Forgive us, Lord. Show us your mercy and steadfast love. Lead us in your truth, and teach us your paths, For you are the God of our salvation. Amen.

Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

Anthem           Comfort, Comfort
“Comfort, comfort now my people; Tell of peace!” So says our God. 
Comfort those who sit in darkness mourning under sorrow's load. 
To God’s people now proclaim that God’s pardon waits for them! 
Tell them that their war is over; God will rein in peace forever! 
For the herald’s voice is crying in the desert far and near, 
Calling us to true repentance, since the Kingdom now is here. 
Oh, that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way! 
Let the valleys rise to meet him, and the hills bow down to greet him! 
Straight shall be what long was crooked, and the rougher places plain! 
Let your hearts be true and humble, as befits his holy reign! 
For the glory of the Lord now on earth is shed abroad, 
And all flesh shall see the token that God’s word is never broken.

Advent: Listening, Watching, Waiting

Advent Wreath Lighting
We wait for a sign; we wait for a cure; we wait for peace.
In this season of Advent, we wait for God to come to us again.
We light this candle in our waiting, to give us light, to warm us, to be a sign of welcome to the One who is coming to us again.
Let us continue worshipping God whose advent we await.

ResponseLight One Candle to Watch for Messiah
Light one candle to watch for Messiah.
Let the light banish darkness. 
He shall bring salvation to Israel, 
God fulfills the promise.

Evergreen Tree
Hymn — I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
1 I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world. The star of my life is Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
Nativity Scene
Hymn — Angels We Have Heard on High
Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply echoing their joyous strains.
Glo - - - ria in excelsis Deo! Glo - - - ria in excelsis Deo!
Hymn — Now the Heavens Start to Whisper
1 Now the heaven’s start to whisper, as the veil is growing thin.
Earth from slumber wakes to listen to the stirring faint within:
Seed of promise, deeply planted, child to spring from Jesse’s stem!
Like the soil beneath the frost line, hearts grow soft to welcome him.
2 Christ, eternal Son of justice, Christ the rose of wisdom's seed,
Come to bless with fire and fragrance hours of yearning, hurt, and need.
In the lonely, in the stranger, in the outcast, hid from view:
Child who comes to grace the manger, teach our hearts to welcome you.

Responding to God’s Word

Statement of Faith           Brief Statement of Faith

In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve.

We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life. The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith, sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor, and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the Church. The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles rules our faith and   

life in Christ through Scripture, engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism, feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and calls women and men to all ministries of the Church. In a broken and fearful world, the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long  silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace. 

In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayers of the People, ending with 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 — People, Look East
1 People, look east. The time is near of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able; Trim the hearth and set the table.
People look east and sing today:  Love, the Guest, is on the way.

4 Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim, one more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty frosty weather, bright as sun and moon together.
People look east and sing today: Love, the star is on the way.
5 Angels, announce with shouts of mirth, Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming with the word, the Lord is coming.
People look east and sing today:  Love, the Lord, is on the way.

Charge and Benediction
Join us for Zoom Coffee Hour on Sunday at 11:30 am! Click here for the information.