Reader 1: We have just celebrated Thanksgiving with our church, our nation, and our families. There is no more appropriate way for us to the begin Advent. We should enter this season before Christmas with both thanks and expectant awe. This is the first Sunday of Advent, the time of waiting. We wait for God to send the light of hope, love, joy, and peace into a dark world.
Reader 2: Oh that you would
rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence-
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil-
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
Reader 1: We wait as Christ's Church. Yet what we await is Christ himself. Once again we look forward to his Second Coming by remembering his first arrival as an infant in Bethlehem many years ago.
Reader 2: From of old no
one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.
You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
Reader 1 (Reader 2 lights the candle as this section is read.): As we light this first royal, purple candle we wait in the hope that Christ will come soon and say with the Ancient Church: Maranatha! Maranatha!* Come, oh Lord! Our Lord has come!
Reader 2: But now, O Lord,
you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Be not so terribly angry, O Lord,
and remember not iniquity forever.
Behold, please look, we are all your people. Amen.
*Maranatha is pronounced mare un NA thuh