Virtual Worship – Sunday, December 13, 2020

First Presbyterian Church

Delavan, Illinois

Service for the Lord’s Day

13 December 2020

3rd Sunday of Advent

Prelude “Angels We Have Heard On High”

Welcome and Announcements

Good morning everyone. We continue to do a new thing in this time of social distancing. We are still a community of faith, even though we are separated for the safety of ourselves, our families, our congregation, and our communities. We will continue to meet like this for the foreseeable future. 

In this bulletin, you will find links to the hymns which also show the lyrics (or are shown below). If you get an ad (and you likely will) you can skip it by clicking the SKIP AD usually found in the lower right corner of the video. There are also links to the Gospel reading and the sermon.

For inclusion in next week’s service, please email or phone the church or Pastor Jean (who can also receive texts) with any prayer requests.

Please note that we have resumed virtual worship services ONLY.

Lighting The Advent Candles

We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ. Advent means coming. We are preparing ourselves for the days

when the nations shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,

the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom;

like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.

Let us walk in the light of the Lord.

  One Candle Is Lit  vs 3. #128

Come, festively sing while awaiting the birth,

join angels in dancing from heaven to earth.

 Wave banners of good news, lift high thankful praise.

 One candle is lit for the joy of these days.

^Call to Worship

Rejoice in the Lord always;

again, I will say, Rejoice.

Let your gentleness be known to everyone.

The Lord is near.

^Opening Prayer

Almighty God, you have made us and all things to serve you, now prepare the world for your rule. Come quickly to save us, so that wars and violence shall end, and your children may live in peace, honoring one another with justice and love; through Jesus Christ, who lives in power with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

^Hymn     “Come, O Long-Expected Jesus” # 125

Call to Confession

Remember that our Lord Jesus can sympathize with us in our weaknesses, since in every respect he was tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with boldness approach the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Confession of Sin

God of the future,  you are coming in power to bring all nations under your rule.  We confess that we have not expected your kingdom,  for we live casual lives, ignoring your promised judgment.  We accept lies as truth,  exploit neighbors,  abuse the earth,  and refuse your justice and peace.  In your mercy, forgive us.  Grant us wisdom to welcome your way,  and to seek things that will endure when Christ comes to judge the world.

Time of Silent Confession

(Lord, have mercy on us) #300

Assurance of Pardon

Hear the good news! The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might be dead to sin, and alive to all that is good. I declare to you in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. Amen.

^Gloria Patri (Glory be to the Father) #35

^Passing the Peace

Since God has forgiven us in Christ, let us forgive one another. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

And also with you.

We listen to God’s Word

Prayer for Illumination

Gracious God, we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from your mouth. Make us hungry for this heavenly food, that it may nourish us today in the ways of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, the bread of heaven. Amen.

First Reading                 Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11       

(A promise of the Messiah who will deliver all God’s people)

1      The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

      because the LORD has anointed me;

      he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,

      to bind up the brokenhearted,

      to proclaim liberty to the captives,

      and release to the prisoners;

2      to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor,

      and the day of vengeance of our God;

      to comfort all who mourn;

3      to provide for those who mourn in Zion—

      to give them a garland instead of ashes,

      the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

      the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.

      They will be called oaks of righteousness,

      the planting of the LORD, to display his glory.

4      They shall build up the ancient ruins,

      they shall raise up the former devastations;

      they shall repair the ruined cities,

      the devastations of many generations.

8      For I the LORD love justice,

      I hate robbery and wrongdoing;

      I will faithfully give them their recompense,

      and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

9      Their descendants shall be known among the nations,

      and their offspring among the peoples;

      all who see them shall acknowledge

     that they are a people whom the LORD has blessed.

10      I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,

      my whole being shall exult in my God;

      for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,

      he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

      as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,

      and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11      For as the earth brings forth its shoots,

      and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,

      so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise

      to spring up before all the nations.

The Word of The LORD.  Thanks be to God.

Psalm 126 (A hymn of rejoicing) Responsive

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,  we were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”

The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb.

May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.

Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

Second Reading            1 Thessalonians 5:16-24        

(Always do these things — rejoice, pray and give thanks)

16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets, 21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

23May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

The Word of The LORD.  Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading           John 1:6-8, 19-28

(The witness of John the Baptist to the coming Messiah)

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 

19This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said,

      “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,

      ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’”

as the prophet Isaiah said.

24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

The Word of The LORD.  Thanks be to God.

Sermon Be Ready — The Messiah Is Coming!

^Affirmation of Faith  Apostle’s Creed 

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.

^Hymn     “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er The Sun” #95

Prayers of the People 

Gracious God because we are not strong enough to pray as we should, you provide Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit to intercede for us in power. In this confidence we ask you to accept our prayers. God of mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us pray for the church. Faithful God, you formed your church from the despised of the earth and showed them mercy, that they might proclaim your salvation to all. Strengthen those whom you choose today, that they may faithfully endure all trials by which you conform your church to the cross of Christ. God of mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us pray for creation. Creator of all, you entrusted the earth to the human race, yet we disrupt its peace with violence and corrupt its purity with our greed. Prevent your people from ravaging creation, that coming generations may inherit lands brimming with life. God of mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us pray for the world. Sovereign God, you hold both the history of nations and the humble life of villages in your care. Preserve the people of every nation from tyrants, heal them of disease, and protect them in time of upheaval and disaster, that all may enter the kingdom that cannot be shaken. God of mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us pray for peace. Judge of the nations, you created humanity for salvation, not destruction, and sent your Son to guide us into the way of peace. Enable people of every race and nation to accept each other as sisters and brothers, your children, on whom you lavish honor and favor. God of mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us pray for those who govern us. God Most High, in Jesus of Nazareth you show us the authority that pleases you: for he rules not by power or might, but serves in obedience to your will. We pray for all in authority over us: for our President, Donald, for Congress, for our Governor, J.B.., and our state legislature, and our county and town officials. Deliver them from vain ambitions that they may govern in wisdom and justice. God of mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us pray for this community. Merciful God, since Jesus longed to protect Jerusalem as a hen gathers her young under her wings, we ask you to guard and strengthen all who live and work here. Deliver your people from jealousy and contempt that they may show mercy to all their neighbors. God of mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us pray for all families and those who live alone. Holy God, from whom every family on earth takes its name: Strengthen parents to be responsible and loving that their children may know security and joy. Lead children to honor parents by compassion and forgiveness. May all people discover your parental care by the respect and love given them by others. God of mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us pray for all who suffer any sorrow or trial. Compassionate God, your Son gives rest to those weary with heavy burdens. Heal the sick in body, mind, and spirit. We especially name all who are dealing with the COVID pandemic including those infected, those caring for them, all health care providers, and those working to find treatments, vaccines and cures. Lift up the depressed. Befriend those who grieve. Comfort the anxious. Stand with all victims of abuse and other crime. Awaken those who damage themselves and others through the use of any drug. Fill all people with your Holy Spirit that they may bear each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. God of mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us give thanks for the lives of the departed who now have rest in God. Eternal God, your love is stronger than death, and your passion more fierce than the grave. We rejoice in the lives of those whom you have drawn into your eternal embrace. Keep us in joyful communion with them until we join the saints of every people and nation, gathered before your throne in ceaseless praise. God of glory, you see how all creation groans in labor as it awaits redemption. As we work for and await your new creation, we trust that you will answer our prayers with grace, and fulfill your promise that all things work together for good for those who love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Offering Invitation

It might seem a bit strange to see an invitation to offering in this time of social distancing and virtual worship. Some of you may be financially affected as well. I would like to remind you that offering of ourselves is always a three-part process – our time, our talent and our treasure. So I invite you to offer yourself in whatever way(s) are most appropriate to our heavenly Father.

Offertory “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly”

^Doxology (Praise God from Whom all blessings flow)     #46

^Prayer of Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to offer thanks and praise.

Eternal God, as you led your people in ages past, you direct our journey into the future. We give you thanks that you came to us in Jesus Christ, and we eagerly await his coming again that his rule may be complete and your righteousness reign over all the world. Then we will feast at his royal banquet, and sing his praises with the choirs of heaven. By your Spirit, open our eyes to the generosity of your hand, and nurture our souls in all spiritual gifts. Fill us with gratitude overflowing that we may share life and love in praise to you, God of all the ages, in the gracious name of Jesus Christ, your Son, by the power of your Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

^Lord’s Prayer

We depart to serve Christ in the world

^Hymn “Gather Us In” # 284


Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous and strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Benediction (A word of blessing)

May the God of peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being-spirit, soul, and body-free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia! Amen.

Please remember in your prayers

Marian Allen, Marge Donley, Helen Hopkins (shoulder surgery), Barb Day, Verbie Hoffman (cochlear implants), Susan (Sinn) Funke, Glenn and Loretta (broken shoulder) Holmes, Meryl (Pastor Jean’s cousin) and Dick Place, Diane Schlosser, Joyce Culbertson, Mardelle Neumann (Apostolic Christian Skylines), Donna Diekhoff, Dick Temple, Myrna and Don (blood clots) Brose, Margaret Altine, Fran (Alzheimer’s), Val (cancer diagnosis), Blake Renner (Diane Allen Renner’s son), Joy Heaton, Lyndee Lewis’ niece, Jeremy Warner, Rose Goeken, Richard Hopkins (cancer), Dick Watts, Kyle Diekhoff (second spinal surgery, Rick Woodrow (Crohn’s), Charles Houston (medical issues + Covid)

The family and friends of Dick Dutton

All affected by the Covid-19 virus, those caring for them in any way, and those working to find a cure


Sun., 12/13:  Virtual Worship, 3rd Sunday of Advent, Pastor Jean Sparks preaching,

Weds., 12/16: Session Meeting, 6:30 PM

Sun., 12/20:  Virtual Worship, 4th Sunday of Advent, Pastor Jean Sparks preaching

Thurs., 12/24:  Virtual Worship, Christmas Eve, Lessons and Carols, Pastor Jean Sparks preaching

Sun., 12/27:  Virtual Worship, 1st Sunday of Christmas, Pastor Jean Sparks preaching

Mon., 12/28: NO 4th Monday Meal

An Invitation for a Presbytery-Wide “Longest Night” Service

The Presbytery of Great Rivers invites you to join us on Monday, December 21, 2020, at 7 pm via Zoom for a Presbytery-wide Blue Christmas/Longest Night Service. A Blue Christmas worship service is a service that gives space in the midst of the Christmas season to recognize that Christmas is not always the most joyous time of the year. Especially in 2020, we have all experienced some form of loss as the “normal” way of going about life has changed for us. This service is held on the longest night of the year as a reminder of the grief and heavy burdens we carry. This grief may be a loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, loss of employment, a diagnosis, or anything else that we all have been carrying with us in 2020. We invite you to come just as you are, with whatever you bring.

If you able to register by December 17, you will receive a paper ornament to be used during the service.

Please register by following the registration link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

If you have any questions, please contact Elissa Bailey at

First Presbyterian Church

P.O. Box 602, 201 W. Fourth Street, Delavan, IL 61734

(309) 244-7105


Rev. Jean Sparks, Pastor

Linda Clauser, Organist