First Sunday in Advent

First Sunday in Advent


First Sunday of Advent
November 29, 2020
10:30 am

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
901 East Stroop Rd.
Kettering, OH 45429-4688
(937) 298-0136


Stir up your power, and come! The psalmist’s plea in Psalm 80:2 has become familiar to us in the Advent prayers. Isaiah wants God to rip the heavens open. Both cry out for an apparently distant, angry God to show up, to save, to restore. When we hear Jesus describing the coming of the Son of Man with stars falling from heaven, it can sound dire and horrible, not like anything we would ever hope for. But when we really look at the suffering of people God loves, we can share the hope that God would tear open the heavens and come.
Learn from the Figs
Fig trees mature slowly. They don’t require much maintenance, but they do require plenty of time to grow. Some fig trees take years to start producing fruit. It may be tempting to give up on a fig too soon, but the patient gardener knows to wait and watch for the subtle signs that the fig tree is about to produce.
“From the fig tree learn its lesson,” Jesus says in today’s gospel (Mark 13:28). Just as the gardener watches for indications that a bud is about to unfold, so should believers watch for where God’s presence is emerging in the world.
Jesus’ words in this passage paint a picture of God’s arrival as unsettling and fearsome, with darkening skies and shaking celestial orbs. It is hard to imagine how anyone could miss such an arrival, yet Jesus warns his listeners that those who are not vigilant will be caught unaware. We must watch with care and patience for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man, like the gardener who watches for the ripening fig. If you think such signs can be ignored, you will miss the surprising, gentle cry of the incarnate God come as a tiny, vulnerable baby.
Today, at the beginning of Advent, we enter a season of waiting and watching as we anticipate with hope the coming of Christ’s light into the world. Yet, even as we wait, there are active signs of God’s presence all around us now—in water and word, in bread and wine, in the assembly gathered for worship. These signs remind us of God’s gracious love toward us. At the same time, the lesson of the fig tree reminds us to stay curious and attentive, open to what might surprise us. God is always up to something new.


The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.




All may make the sign of the cross, the sign that is marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Most merciful God, we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. In the name of Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. Almighty God strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit, that Christ may live in your hearts through faith.

GATHERING SONG “Come, Emmanuel” | Chancel Choir

Verse 1
You are Wisdom, from the mouth of God.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.
You are Wisdom, playing before God.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.
You are Wisdom, wondrous Word of God.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.
You are Wisdom, loving friend to God.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.

Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel.
Shall come to you, O Israel.

Verse 2
You are Wisdom, mother to us all.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.
You are Wisdom, truth told to us all.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.
You are Wisdom, promise to us all.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.
You are Wisdom, banquet set for all.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.

Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel.
Shall come to you, O Israel.

Verse 3
You are Wisdom, straight our paths to you.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.
You are Wisdom, hearts on high to you.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.
You are Wisdom, here we watch for you.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.
You are Wisdom, open arms to you.
Come, O come, Emmanuel.

Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel.
Shall come to you, O Israel.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.


Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection awaken us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and keep us blameless until the coming of your new day, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God,n owand forever. Amen.


Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe. You call all nations to walk in your light and to seek your ways of justice and peace, for the night is past, and the dawn of your coming is near. Bless us as we light the first candle of this wreath. Rouse us from sleep, that we may be ready to greet our Lord when he comes and welcome him into our hearts and homes, for he is our light and our salvation. Blessed be God forever. Amen.

Light One Candle

Light one candle to watch for Messiah:
let the light banish darkness.
He shall bring salvation to Israel,
God fulfills the promise.

Christ Be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ be our light.
Shine in your church
gathered today.


God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.

FIRST READING Isaiah 64:1-9

lament comes from a people who have had their hopes shattered. The visions of a rebuilt Jerusalem and a renewed people of God, spoken of in Isaiah 40–55, have not been realized. Instead, the people experience ruin, conflict, and famine. This lament calls God to account—to be the God who has brought deliverance in the past.

A reading from the book of Isaiah.
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 forever. Now consider, we are all your people.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.

SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

As the Christians in Corinth await the advent of Jesus, Paul reminds them how the Lord has already enriched them through spiritual gifts and will continue to strengthen them until the coming day of the Lord.

A reading from the book of 1 Corinthians.
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father oGrace 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.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL Mark 13:24-37

In today’s reading, Jesus encourages his followers to look forward to the day when he returns in power and glory to end all suffering.

The holy gospel according to Mark. Glory to you, O Lord.
[Jesus said:] “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. “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. “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.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.

MESSAGE Pastor Jamie Vannoy

SPECIAL MUSIC “Lost in the Night” (ELW 243) | Chancel Choir


I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.


God of power and might, tear open the heavens and come quickly to this weary world. Hear our prayers for everyone in need.

A brief silence.
Each intercession concludes:
Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

Draw near to us, O God, and receive our prayers for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.



The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right and good that we should everywhere and always offer thanks and praise to you, holy God, mighty and immortal, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who on this day broke the bonds of death, opening to us the way of everlasting life and giving us a foretaste of the feast to come.

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.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
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 tempta- tion, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


Even as we watch and wait, Christ is here. Come, eat and drink.



The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and always keep you in God’s grace.


Gracious and abundant God, you have done great things for us, and we rejoice. In this bread and cup you give us life forever. In your boundless mercy, strengthen us and open our hearts to the world’s needs, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen


God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.


The Creator of the stars bless your Advent waiting, the long-expected Savior fill you with love, the unexpected Spirit guide your journey, now and forever.

SPECIAL MUSIC “People Look East” (ELW 248) | Chancel Choir


Go in peace. Prepare the way of the Lord.
Created, saved and gifted by God; we seek, serve and share Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, thanks be to God!

Make a commitment to not only worship each week but also try to find a way to serve in the congregation and seek out a way to serve our community.



Andrew, Apostle
Monday, November 30, 2020

The first of the disciples to be called by Jesus, Andrew quickly began to bring others to the Savior, including Simon Peter. The Bible also shows him leading some Greeks to meet Jesus, and he brought forward the boy with five loaves and two fish, with which Jesus fed thousands.

Francis Xavier, missionary to Asia, died 1552
Thursday, December 3, 2020

A native of the Basque region of Spain, Xavier became a missionary to India, Southeast Asia, Japan, and the Philippines. He also helped to found the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

John of Damascus, theologian and hymnwriter, died around 749
Friday, December 4, 2020

A monk in an abbey near Jerusalem, John wrote many hymns as well as theological works. One of his works, The Fount of Wisdom, remained influential for centuries.


“Come, Emmanuel”
Words: adapt by Tony Alonso and Gabe Huck
Music: based on VENI, VENI EMMANUEL; arr. by Tony Alonso © 2005 GIA Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. Reprinted under license A-723735.

From Sundays and Copyright 2014 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #22920.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Eblast 11/29