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First Sunday in Advent

More Services for the Advent Wreath
For Lectionary Cycle B
(Distribute this sheet to the readers.)

Date: _________________________

Reader A: ________________________________

Reader B: __________________________________

Introit
(As the introit is being sung, Readers A and B come forward and stand by the Advent wreath until the music is finished.)

Litany
Reader A: Please turn to the Advent litany in your bulletins.
(Pause as they do so.)
What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
What prospects, that I should be patient?
... those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles ...

Scripture
Reader B: With hope, listen to the words of Mark as he predicts the coming of the Lord:
Reader A: "But in those days, following that distress, 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'

"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back -- whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' "

Lighting Of The First Advent Candle
Reader B: The first candle we light this Advent season is the candle of hope.

Our hope is in God who is merciful and gracious.

(While Reader B is reading, Reader A uses the small candle at the back of the wreath to take the light from the altar candle and transfer it to the front candle. Extinguish the small candle and return it to the back of the wreath.)

Prayer
Reader B: Let us pray:
Almighty God, as we eagerly wait for your return, our hope is that you not only establish your kingdom in our hearts, but in the hearts of all people. Amen.

Introit
(As the introit is being sung again, the readers may be seated.)

New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
Dean Feldmeyer
Ron Love
George Reed
The final Sunday of the church year -- known as Christ the King Sunday -- celebrates the Reign of Christ in the world and our station as his loyal subjects and sheep. But as team member Mary Austin points out in the next installment of The Immediate Word, that imagery seems rather quaint in a modern world that has little experience with either kings or shepherds.

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Peter Andrew Smith
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Contents
"I Was A Prisoner" by Peter Andrew Smith
"Thanksgiving and Advent" by John Fitzgerald


I Was A Prisoner
by Peter Andrew Smith
Matthew 25:31-46

The prison door slammed shut behind Gary. His heart raced as he stepped forward to the guard standing behind the security glass.

“You have your papers and identification?” the guard asked.

Gary slid them forward and watched the guard looked them over carefully and check his identification against the computer.

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Arley K. Fadness
“...come you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you...” (v. 34b)

Good morning girls and boys,

It's so good to see you this morning. I hope you are fine. Let's see a great big smile. (children smile broadly) Now let's give God a big smile. (motion towards the cross and so on)

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Frank Ramirez
Bonnie Bates
Bob Ove
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Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
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Reign of Christ or Christ the King Sunday lends itself to the narration of stories as to how people experience God and God’s kingdom breaking into our world. Karen D. Scheib’s book titled Pastoral Care: Telling Stories of our Lives (Abingdon Press, 2016) makes some practical sense. “Narrative identity provides a means to hold together our various beliefs, hopes, dreams, and roles in a coherent way.

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
I used to know a man who claimed to be able to make himself invisible. I regarded his claim as complete nonsense, until I saw him in the bank several weeks later. Or rather, almost failed to see him! I was impatiently waiting in a queue to be served, but he stood at the counter so quietly and so still that he almost melted into the background. If I hadn't known him, I don't think I would have noticed him.

SermonStudio

James L. Killen, Jr.
The church calendar says that this is the day on which we celebrate the festival of Christ the King. That makes this a very important day. The idea of the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Christ, is one of the most important biblical and theological explanations of the meaning of the Christian faith. It probably represents the very heart of Jesus' own teachings.

Special Occasion