God of All — Advent 2023

GOD OF ALL HOPE

Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

God of all hope,

Because of sin, we left Your embrace.

Because of iniquity, we could no longer see your face.

Because of transgression, You delivered us into our choosing.

But Your anger was not forever. Instead of our just due, you heard our cries, 

“Consider Your people, O Lord.”

“Restore us and let Your face shine.”

 “Stir up Your might, and come to save us.”

While still in our sin, You came to us. Your only Son entered our hopeless and helpless estate and became the Light and Life to our world. You did marvelous deeds we did not expect. No ear had heard; no mind had perceived; no eye had seen such a glorious salvation.

In Christ, sin’s penalty was conquered, and grace’s gift was given. 

Yours is the power.

In Christ, we can again see the Living God’s face. 

Yours is the honor.

In Christ, we return to the arms of our Father. 

Yours is the glory.

Because of your first advent, Your people now declare,

“Your ways are beyond comprehension and expectation.”

“Your word endures throughout the ages.”

“Your promises are found faithful in Your Son and our Redeemer.”

And with confident hope, we await Your Second Coming.

We wait as clay surrendered to the masterful hand of the Potter.

We wait as sheep, trusting the provision and protection of the Good Shepherd.

We wait as sons and daughters of the Most High God for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

GOD OF ALL PEACE

Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

God of all peace,

Your people proclaim the good news, “(Our) God is coming in power and brings His reward.”

Is there anyone who can silence You?

“The grass withers, the flower fades beneath the breath of the LORD.”

Is there anyone who can rush Your patience or delay Your will?

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”

You declared Your determined love, “Comfort, O comfort my people.”

You heard our desperate cry from sin’s chaos.

You saw our futile battle against the Adversary’s army.

You knew our anxiety from fears within and without.

A voice cried out of One bringing Your Salvation, “Prepare the way of our LORD.”

Deserts, make straight your highways

Valleys, be lifted up

Mountains and hills, be made low

Uneven ground, be made level

Rough places, be made smooth

Your Peace has come, and His name is Jesus.

In Him, Your good gift is received.

In Him, Your mighty hand has saved.

In Him, Your comfort is realized.

Your people wait for Your promised return.

How long, O Lord, how long before Your Day comes?

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, but is patient toward you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.”

How, then, do we wait for and hasten the day of our God where righteousness dwells?

“In holiness and godliness, we will be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.”

GOD OF ALL JOY

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; Luke 1:46b-55; 1 Thessalonians 5:15-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

God of all joy,

As Your righteousness stands before the nations, my testimony will forever be,

“Your spirit is upon me.”

“Your covenant is with me.”

“Your mercy is toward me.”

From generation to generation, Your heart, O LORD, has been near to

the oppressed crying out for good news

the brokenhearted longing for healing

the captives yearning for freedom

and the prisoners desperate for their pardon

You have not rejected or ignored our tears. We are the sons and daughters of the Most High God. You have looked with favor on your lowly servants. You have planted us as oaks of righteousness to display Your glory. You have restored laughter to our mouths and joy to our tongues.

From heaven to earth, Your Son came to bless all who believe with

a garland instead of ashes

the oil of gladness instead of mourning

a mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit

a harvest with shouts of joy

Until Your return, my whole being will rejoice always in my God

Through Christ, my body will remain blameless

Because of Christ, my soul will magnify the Lord

In Christ, my spirit will be kept sound

GOD OF ALL LOVE

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Luke 1:46-55; Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

God of all love,

I will sing of the unfailing love of the LORD forever. I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations.

The first time Your Love called me by name, my heart was perplexed and asked,

“Who am I that You would be mindful of me?”

The first time You commanded my heart, “Do not be afraid,” my soul was blessed and said,

“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to Your word.”

Like the shepherd boy, David, your Love found me. You called me Your own and have promised Your hand upon me. Like King David, Your faithfulness and steadfast love will be with me throughout all my days. Yet David, and even I, are mere heralds to the mighty One who is both the Good Shepherd and Eternal King. You have exalted the name of Jesus, Your Beloved Son, above every other name. You have set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. Your covenant has been made, and no enemy will ever outwit Him, nor will the wicked humble Him. Your Beloved is forever the Rock of Salvation.

To the babe in the manger, You declared,

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.

To our returning King, Your word has been firmly established,

“(My Son) will reign forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

O LORD, Your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. My song will forever be of Your steadfast love.

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