First Sunday of Advent

29 November, 2020

Welcome to All Souls at Home

Hope is the polar opposite of optimism.
Optimism… fails when it is swallowed up in darkness. By contrast, hope is found in something beyond human history, with its cycles of optimism and despair. It is found in an incarnate God.

Fleming Rutledge, “Advent”

"Drive Out The Darkness"

words: Paul Zach, Isaac Wardell, Dan Marotta, John Swinton

music: Paul Zach, Isaac Wardell, Dan Marotta, John Swinton

download sheet music

Come, oh come, be our light
Drive out the darkness
Come, Jesus come

Come, oh come, be our light
Drive out the darkness (2x)

Come, and end all the violence
Come, and do not be silent
Come, we cling to your promise
Come, you’ll break all injustice
Come, Jesus come

Call to Worship:

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!

For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:1-4)

Prayer of Invocation:

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords:

O Shoot of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: come and deliver us and delay no longer.

"O Come O Come Emmanuel"

words: Latin, c. 12th Century; trans. J.M. Neale (1851)

music: VENI EMMANUEL; adapt. Thomas Helmore

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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 to thee, O Israel

O come, o come, great Lord of might
Who, to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times did give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Isaiah 11:1-9 (niv)

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Here is a saying that is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)

Lord of mercy,
always with us, always coming:

We confess that we do not know how to prepare for your Advent.
We have forgotten how to hope in miracles; we have ignored the promise of your
kingdom; we get distracted by all the busyness of this season.

Forgive us.
Grant us the simple wonder of the shepherds,
the intelligent courage of the Magi,
and the patient faith of Mary and Joseph,
that we may journey with them to Bethlehem
and find the good news of a child born for us.

Now, in the quiet of our hearts, we ask you to make us ready for his coming. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

You are invited to acknowledge these things silently before God who hears you, and to draw hope from this promise: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you… and you forgave.” (Psa 32:5).

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Your sin is pardoned. The penalty is paid. (based on Isaiah 40:1-2)

God’s grace abounds for us, even in our weakness.
Let us remember the hope of the gospel: In Christ, we are forgiven.

During the reflection time, children are invited to engage in a special time of reading and song so they can learn and discover the gospel in a language and style more suitable to them. Click here for the video.

R.J. March

Matthew 17:1-13 (niv)

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

We give you thanks, Lord, our rock, our fortress, our deliverer,
for the continual evidence of your mercy in our lives;
for your goodness, for your unyielding grace.
We want to be anchored in your compassionate love.

We thank you for calling us to faith in Christ,
and equipping your sons and daughters

to seek and invest in what would honor you.
Give us hearts that are aligned with yours.
Teach us to love well, and courageously—
purposefully, deliberately.

We thank you for putting your Spirit within us,
for giving us the mind of Christ,
for gathering us into your family, the church.

We thank you for calling us to a life of gratitude—
give us grateful hearts.

We thank you for calling us to enduring hope—
be our hope, Jesus.

We thank you, Lord—
who satisfies the thirsty,
fills the hungry with good things,
and heals the hurting—
for your faithfulness.
We want to celebrate your abundant goodness. Show us how.

We thank you, Lord, that you provide for our needs,
for the food on our tables, for the clothes on our bodies,

for the beds we sleep in, and for the homes that shelter us.

Thanks be to God! Amen.

"Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus"

words: Charles Wesley (1788)

music: HYFRYDOL, Roland H. Pritchard (1830)

download sheet music

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 ev'ry nation
Joy of ev’ry longing heart

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

Finish, then, thy new creation
Pure and spotless, let us be
Let us see thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in thee

Changed from glory into glory
Til in heaven we take our place
Til we cast our crowns before thee
Lost in wonder, love, and praise

Freely you have received; freely give.
(Matthew 10:8)

All we have is given to us by God. Our offerings express this joyful dependence as well as our commitment to join God in his work of renewal. He who met our most dire need through Christ will continue to provide for every need we have— so, whether we have much or little, God calls us to treasure and trust Him above all.

All gifts go toward ministry initiatives of All Souls and relief of those in need.

Click here to give.

“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 people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his own from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. Amen.

Let us go forth and serve our world as those who love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God!

Advent begins!

Today marks the first day of Advent. While we are missing observing this season in-person as a community, we are excited to still celebrate together through the continuation of Advent Daily Worship and weekly activities via Zoom. Check out our new Advent page for updates each day throughout the season, and subscribe to our podcast to receive daily liturgies read by members of our community. Check out Advent at All Souls.

Advent Wreath-Making

As part of this year's Advent series, join us this Wednesday from 7-8p for a live Zoom activity featuring readings, prayers, song, and our very own Alyssa Reeve showing us how to craft gorgeous holiday wreaths. All ages welcome! See our Advent page for event details.

Grace Group: Gender + the Church, POSTPONED

The Grace Group slated to explore Grace and Gender in the context of the church has been postponed until after our denominational vote on Dec. 13. Stay tuned for more info! .

All Souls Kids / Youth

All Souls Youth is looking for at least one male volunteer to help out with our middle schoolers, as well as volunteer gathering spaces for our youth to meet safely in-person through the winter. For more information about this opportunity, or to get connected to All Souls Kids or Youth, drop Suzanne a line. Get in touch.

Pastoral Care

Whether it's the lessening daylight, the prolonged sense of isolation due to COVID-19, physical or mental health concerns, or challenges with work or within the home— this is a difficult season on many fronts. If you are struggling, please know that you do not have to weather this alone. Our pastors, staff and leadership are available to talk or to get you connected. Get in touch.

Birds flying over Westcrest Park