First Sunday of Advent


“But as for me, I would seek God,
And to God I would commit my cause—

He sets on high those who are lowly,
And those who mourn are lifted to safety.

So the poor have hope,
And injustice shuts her mouth.

—Job 5:8, 11, 16 (NKJV)

Scripture Readings:

Isaiah 64:1–9

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
 so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
 and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
 so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
 you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard,
 no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
 who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who gladly do right,
 those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
 because you hid yourself we transgressed.
We have all become like one who is unclean,
 and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
 and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name,
 or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
 and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
 we are the clay, and you are our potter;
 we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
 and do not remember iniquity for ever.
Now consider, we are all your people.


Thematic Prayer

God of justice and peace,
from the heavens you rain down mercy and kindness,
that all on earth may stand in awe and wonder
before your marvelous deeds.
Raise our heads in expectation,
that we may yearn for the coming day of the Lord
and stand without blame before your Son, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Intercessory Prayer

We seek the mighty God
in the most unlikely places
as a child in a stable,
and in an empty tomb.
May God hear these prayers,
which come from the unlikely corners of our lives.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

Give us ears to hear, O God,
and eyes to watch,
that we may know your presence in our midst
during this holy season of joy
as we anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Scripture Prayer

Creator of the world, 
you are the potter, we are the clay, 
and you form us in your image. 
Shape our spirits 
by Christ's transforming power, 
that as one people 
we may live out your compassion and justice, 
whole and sound in the realm of your peace. Amen.

Psalm 80:1–7, 17–19

Prayer for Israel’s Restoration

To the leader: on Lilies, a Covenant. Of Asaph. A Psalm.

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
 you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
 and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
 how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
 and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbours;
 our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
 the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you;
 give us life, and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

I Corinthians 1:3–9

An Urgent Appeal

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

St. Mark 13:24–37

The Coming of the Son of Man

‘But in those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,
 and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
 and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

The Necessity for Watchfulness

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

A Story for the Day

When her mother suddenly left to be with another man, the house fell silent. Three-year-old Divena and her older brother never saw their mother again. Read how Divena's life was changed.

Source for Collects: The Collects are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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