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An Advent Mid-Week Service

by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

 

Some churches have a tradition of doing mid-week services during Advent, similar to Lent.  This can be a particular challenge to a pastor whose schedule is already full to the brim in this season of preparation.  I've been blessed in some parishes that I have served to have deacons or retired pastors who can share the additional preaching responsibilities that can come with a mid-week service, especially since it is good for the flock to hear more than one preacher all the time.  With that idea in mind, it occurred to me that doing readings from some great author or theologian were just as good a preaching source as any.  And so I developed the following service format that employs meditations from an Advent devotional of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's writings (God Is In the Manger, Jana Riess, ed., Westminster 2010).  Other authors/readings would also work.


 

CALL TO WORSHIP   Please stand.

P    Blessed is he who comes as king, who comes in the name of the Lord.

C   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

 

P    I will hear what the Lord God has to say—

C   A voice that speaks for peace.

 

P    Peace for all people and for his friends.

C   And those who turn to him in their hearts.

 

P    God’s help is near for those who fear him,

C   And his glory will live in our land.

 

P    Blessed is he who comes as king, who comes in the name of the Lord.

C   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

 

 

ADVENT HYMN OF PRAISE  (ELW #257)

C   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 you, O Israel.

 

 

PRAYER OF THE WEEK

P    The Lord be with you.

C   And also with you.

 

ADVENT 1

P    Let us pray.  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, now and forever.

C   Amen

 

ADVENT 2

P    Let us pray.  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.

C   Amen

 

ADVENT 3

P    Let us pray.  Stir up the wills of all who look to you, Lord God, and open our ears to the words of your prophets, that, anointed by your Spirit, we may testify to your light;  through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C   Amen

 

ADVENT 4

P    Let us pray.  Stir up your power, Lord Jesus, and come.  With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that hinders our faith, that eagerly we may receive your promises, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C   Amen

 

Please be seated.

 

LESSON

      Week 1:  Revelation 3:18-22

      Week 2:  Isaiah 9:6-7

      Week 3:  Matthew 19:16-19

      Week 4:  Galatians 4:4-7

 

      After the reading:

      R    The Word of the Lord.

      C   Thanks be to God.

 

 

PSALM

      Read responsively by all by whole verses.

      Week 1:  Psalm 62                                                                              

      Week 2:  Psalm 77         

      Week 3:  Psalm 90

      Week 4:  Psalm 24         

 

 

MEDITATION:           “God Is in the Manger”                      By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

      Week 1 – Waiting  (Editor's Preface, Day 1 & 2)

      Week 2 – Mystery  (Wk 1 Day 5 & 7, Wk 2 Day 3)

      Week 3 – Redemption  (Day 1, 2 & 4)

      Week 4 – Incarnation  (Day 1, 5 & 3)

 

 

HYMN

      During the hymn, the offering is received.

      Week 1:   Hymn ELW #250  “Blessed Be the God of Israel”

      Week 2:   Hymn ELW #246  "Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding"

      Week 3:   Hymn ELW #244  "Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers"

      Week 4:   Hymn ELW #276  “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly”

 

Please stand for the closing prayers.

 

 

CLOSING PRAYERS

P    Let us pray.  O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us;  through Jesus Christ our Lord.

C   Amen

 

P    O God, from whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works:  give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey your commandments;  and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness;  through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God forever.

C   Amen

 

P    We give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously protected us today.  We ask you to forgive us all our sins, where we have done wrong, and graciously to protect us tonight.  Into your hands we commend ourselves:  our bodies, our souls, and all that is ours.  Let your holy angels be with us, so that the wicked foe may have no power over us.

C   Amen

 

 

OUR FATHER – spoken or sung (ELW p.163)

P    (chanted) And as our Savior taught us, we are bold to say:

C   Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.  Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.  For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.  Amen

 

 

ADVENT BLESSING

P    Let us bless the Lord.

C   Thanks be to God.

 

P    In all your Advent preparations, remain watchful with your eyes on Christ, whose birth in a manger is but a promise of his coming again in glory.  And may the blessing of God, Father, + Son and Holy Spirit be with you now and forever.

C   Amen

 

 

POSTLUDE

 
Please return this service folder to an usher as you leave so that we may use it again next week.