December 10, 2023
2nd Sunday of Advent
John calls people to repent, to clear the decks, to completely reorder their lives so that nothing gets in the way of the Lord’s coming. The reading from Isaiah gives the context for this radical call: the assurance of forgiveness that encourages us to repent; the promise that the coming one will be gentle with the little ones. Isaiah calls us all to be heralds with John, to lift up our voices fearlessly and say, “See, your God is coming!” We say it to one another in worship, in order to say it with our lives in a world in need of justice and peace.


ELW 249 - On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry (vs. 1, 2, 5)



Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
who opens the heavens
and draws near to us with salvation.

God is patient and merciful, desiring all to come to repentance.
Trusting this promise of grace, let us confess our sin.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Everlasting God,
you love justice and you hate wrongdoing.
We confess the fear, greed, and self-centeredness
that make us reluctant to work against oppression.
We are complicit in systems of exploitation.
We choose comfort over courage.
We are careless with creation’s bounty.
Look upon us with mercy.
Turn our hearts again to you.
Make us glad to do your will and to walk in your ways
for the sake of our waiting world.

Hear these words of assurance:
God clothes you with garments of salvation
and covers you with robes of righteousness.
In the tender compassion of ☩ Jesus Christ,
your sins are forgiven.
God’s covenant is eternal,
and God’s blessing rests upon us all.


P: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.


Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming strengthen us to serve you with purified lives; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
 ELW 240 - Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah (vs. 2)

God speaks to us in reading, preaching and song.

Scripture Reading: 

  Isaiah 40:1-11

1Comfort, O comfort my people,
  says your God.
 2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
  and cry to her
 that she has served her term,
  that her penalty is paid,
 that she has received from the Lord’s hand
  double for all her sins.

 3A voice cries out:
 “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
  make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
 4Every valley shall be lifted up,
  and every mountain and hill be made low;
 the uneven ground shall become level,
  and the rough places a plain.
 5Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
  and all people shall see it together,
  for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

 6A voice says, “Cry out!”
  And I said, “What shall I cry?”
 All people are grass,
  their constancy is like the flower of the field.
 7The grass withers, the flower fades,
  when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
  surely the people are grass.
 8The grass withers, the flower fades;
  but the word of our God will stand forever.
 9Get you up to a high mountain,
  O Zion, herald of good tidings;
 lift up your voice with strength,
  O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
  lift it up, do not fear;
 say to the cities of Judah,
  “Here is your God!”
 10See, the Lord God comes with might,
  and his arm rules for him;
 his reward is with him,
  and his recompense before him.
 11He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
  he will gather the lambs in his arms,
 and carry them in his bosom,
  and gently lead the mother sheep.

P: The Word of the Lord. C: Thanks be to God.

PSALM: Psalm 85

Righteousness shall prepare a pathway for God. (Ps. 85:13)

 1You have been gracious to your | land, O Lord;
  you have restored the good for- | tune of Jacob.
2You have forgiven the iniquity | of your people
  and blotted out | all their sins.
 8I will listen to what the Lord | God is saying;
  for you speak peace to your faithful people and to those who turn their | hearts to you.
9Truly, your salvation is very near to | those who fear you,
  that your glory may dwell | in our land. R
 10Steadfast love and faithfulness have | met together;
  righteousness and peace have | kissed each other.
11Faithfulness shall spring up | from the earth,
  and righteousness shall look | down from heaven.
 12The Lord will indeed | grant prosperity,
  and our land will | yield its increase.
13Righteousness shall go be- | fore the Lord
  and shall prepare for | God a pathway. R
Scripture Reading: 

 2 Peter 3:8-15a

8Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
 11Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

 14Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15aand regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

P: The Word of the Lord. C: Thanks be to God.

Gospel Acclamation
ELW Setting 8

Gospel Reading Mark 1:1-8
The gospel is introduced:.
P: The holy gospel according to Mark the 1st Chapter.
C: Glory to you, O Lord

1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
 2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
 “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
  who will prepare your way;
 3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
  make his paths straight,’ ”
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

P: The gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to you, O Christ.
P: Alleluia. Christ is risen.
C: Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Please be seated.

The Sermon      

The Hymn of the Day

  ELW 264 - Prepare the Royal Highway (vs. 1 & 3)


Prayers of Intercession

With hope and expectation, we offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all who await God’s day of restoration.

A brief silence.

Send forth your faithful people with words of promise and forgiveness. Teach your church to be bold in revealing your good news in word and in deed. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Reveal your majesty in mountain peaks, flowing rivers, and blossoming wilderness roads. Heal the earth where it longs for renewal (especially). Bring wholeness to the earth and all its creatures. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Turn the hearts of the nations toward righteousness and peace. Increase cooperation for justice between countries, commonwealths, political parties, and diplomatic leaders. In times of prosperity, direct leaders to be generous for the sake of all. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Comfort your people with tender words of love and healing. Surround all who are grieving, all who know depression or anxiety, or all who feel lonely or forgotten. Be a steadfast presence when all else feels uncertain. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Grant holy patience to all who are waiting this season (especially). Give hope to those seeking employment. Bring reassurance to people awaiting new diagnoses or treatments. Protect expectant parents. Watch with those who keep bedside vigil. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Here other intercessions may be offered.

With you a thousand years is like a day. Bless the memory of the saints from ages past and the anticipation of saints yet to be born. Inspire us to live with faith as we await your new heaven and new earth. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Listen to these and all our prayers, O God of hosts, and restore us with your great and everlasting mercy.

The Passing of Peace

P: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
C: And also with you.

Presentation of the Gifts


Advent Joy (Nancy Gifford)


ELW 257 - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (vs. 1)

God feeds us with the presence of Jesus Christ.

Offertory Prayer

God our provider,
by your merciful hand
abundance springs up from the earth.
Receive and bless these gifts of your own bounty.
Let them be a sign of your steadfast love
and faithfulness for all people,
through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Great Thanksgiving

Proper Preface

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, for the glorious resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, the true Paschal Lamb who gave himself to take away our sin; who in dying has destroyed death, and in rising has brought us to eternal life.

 And so, with Mary Magdalene and Peter and all the witnesses of the resurrection, with earth and sea and all their creatures, and with angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:


Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Thanksgiving at the Table and Words of Institution

Holy God, Breath of life and Fire of love: with a mighty wind you
brought creation into being, and by a pillar of fire you led your
people into freedom.
We praise you for the gift of your Son, who poured out your Spirit
on his disciples of every race and nation.
In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
and gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
Remembering, therefore, his death, resurrection, and the sending
of the holy and life-giving Spirit, we await his coming again to
renew the face of the earth.
Send now your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this meal: anoint us
with your gifts of faith, hope, and love, that, with thankful hearts,
we may be witnesses to your Son.
Through him all glory and honor is yours, Almighty Father,
with the Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and forever.


The Lord’s Prayer

P: Lord, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray.
C: 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.

Invitation to Communion

In this meal, righteousness and peace meet together.
Come, take your place at the table.

Here at St. John’s all who believe in the love of God and in Jesus are welcome to the table. 


ELW Setting 8

Communion Song

ELW 266 - All Earth is Hopeful

ELW 254 - Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

ELW 801 - Change My Heart, O God

Post-Communion Blessing
P: May the body and blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, strengthen you and keep you in God’s grace. 
C: Amen.

Post Communion

ELW 250 - Blessed Be the God of Israel (vs. 3)

Prayer after Communion

Generous God,
in bread and cup you have revealed your glory
for all people to see together.
Nourished by this meal, send us out to proclaim
your good news of liberation and release,
brought to birth in Jesus Christ our Savior.

The Blessing

The God of peace bless you,
the love of Christ sustain you in hope,
and the anointing of the Spirit ☩ remain upon you
now and forever.

Sending Hymn

ELW 239 - Hark, the Glad Sound! (vs. 1, 2, 4)

The Dismissal

Go in peace. Keep awake.
Thanks be to God.

Photo by Erika Giraud on Unsplash