Virtual Worship – Sunday, December 6, 2020

First Presbyterian Church

Delavan, Illinois


Service for the Lord’s Day, 6 December 2020

2nd Sunday of Advent


We do not presume to come to Your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own goodness, but in Your all-embracing love and mercy.  We are not worthy even to gather up the crumbs under Your table, but it is Your nature always to have mercy.  So feed us with the body and blood of Jesus Christ, Your Son, that we may forever live in Him and He in us.  Amen.

Prelude “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”

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.

We have included virtual communion in today’s service. Please have a small glass of grape juice and a piece of bread or cracker at hand. The communion liturgy is both recorded and in the service below.

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.

We offer praise and prayer to God

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.

Let us walk in the light of the Lord.

  One Candle Is Lit  vs 2. #128

Come quickly, shalom, teach us how to prepare

for a gift that compels us with justice to care.

Our spirits are restless till sin and war cease.

One candle is lit for the reign of God’s peace.

^Call to Worship

A voice cries: In the wilderness 

prepare the way of the Lord,

make straight in the desert 

a highway for our God.


God of all peoples, your servant John came baptizing and calling for repentance. Help us to hear his voice of judgment, that we may also rejoice in his word of promise, and be found pure and blameless in that glorious Day when Christ comes to rule the earth as Prince of Peace. Amen.

^Hymn     “O God, Our Help In Ages Past” #  67

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

Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,

grant us peace.

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 40:1-11   

(God’s people are comforted)

1      Comfort, O comfort my people,

      says your God.

2      Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,

      and cry to her

      that she has served her term,

      that her penalty is paid,

      that she has received from the LORD’S hand

      double for all her sins.

3      A voice cries out:

      “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,

      make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

4      Every valley shall be lifted up,

      and every mountain and hill be made low;

      the uneven ground shall become level,

      and the rough places a plain.

5      Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,

      and all people shall see it together,

      for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

6      A voice says, “Cry out!”

      And I said, “What shall I cry?”

      All people are grass,

      their constancy is like the flower of the field.

7      The grass withers, the flower fades,

      when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;

      surely the people are grass.

8      The grass withers, the flower fades;

      but the word of our God will stand forever.

9      Get you up to a high mountain,

      O Zion, herald of good tidings;

      lift up your voice with strength,

      O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,

      lift it up, do not fear;

      say to the cities of Judah,

      “Here is your God!”

10      See, the Lord GOD comes with might,

      and his arm rules for him;

      his reward is with him,

      and his recompense before him.

11      He will feed his flock like a shepherd;

      he will gather the lambs in his arms,

      and carry them in his bosom,

      and gently lead the mother sheep.

The Word of The LORD.  Thanks be to God.

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 (A prayer for restoration) Responsive

LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.

You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin.

Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people,  to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.

Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.

The LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.

Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.

Second Reading 2 Peter 3:8-15a

(The promise of the Lord’s return)

8But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

11Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

14Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

The Word of The LORD.  Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading  Mark 1:1-8

(The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ)

1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

      “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, 

      who will prepare your way;

3      the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

      ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

      make his paths straight,’”

4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Word of The LORD.  Thanks be to God.

Sermon Prepare, The Lord Is Coming!”

^Affirmation of Faith  Nicene Creed (325/381 A.D.)

I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen;

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father; God from God; Light from Light; true God from true God; begotten, not made; of one being with the Father, through Him all things were made.  For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.  For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.  He suffered death and was buried.  On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom shall have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, The Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.  I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.  I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.  I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

^Hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”  # 119

Holy Communion

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    “Lo, How A Rose E’re Blooming”

^Doxology #46

Blessed are You, God of all creation; through Your goodness we have these gifts to share.  Accept and use our offerings for Your glory and for the service of Your kingdom.

Blessed be God forever.

Great Thanksgiving

Invitation to the Lord’s Table

Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God! They will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. According to Luke, when our risen Lord was at table with his disciples, he took the bread, and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him. This is the Lord’s table. Our Savior invites those who trust him to share the feast which he has prepared.

Great Thanksgiving

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 truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise, O Lord our God, creator and ruler of the universe. You formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life. You set us in this world to love and serve you, and to live in peace with all that you have made. When we turned from you, you did not turn from us. When we were captives in slavery, you delivered us to freedom, and made covenant to be our sovereign God. When we were stubborn and stiff-necked, you spoke to us through prophets who looked for that day when justice shall triumph and peace shall reign over all the earth. Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with the celestial choirs and with all the faithful of every time and place, who forever sing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of Your glory.  Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

You are holy, O God of majesty, and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. You sent him into this world to satisfy the longings of your people for a Savior, to bring freedom to the captives of sin, and to establish justice for the oppressed. He came among us as one of us, taking the lot of the poor, sharing human suffering. We rejoice that in his death and rising again, you set before us the sure promise of new life, the certain hope of a heavenly home where we will sit at table with Christ our host. Remembering your gracious acts in Jesus Christ, we take from your creation this bread and this wine and joyfully celebrate his dying and rising, as we await the day of his coming. With thanksgiving we offer our very selves to you to be a living and holy sacrifice, dedicated to your service. Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts of bread and wine, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, that we may be one with all who share this feast, united in ministry in every place.


Remember your church. . . . Unite it in the truth of your Word and empower it in ministry to the world. Remember the world of nations. We especially name racial discrimination and violence against the innocent . . . By your Spirit renew the face of the earth; let peace and justice prevail. Remember our family and friends. . . . Bless them and watch over them; be gracious to them and give them peace. Remember the sick and the suffering, the aged and the dying. . . . Encourage them and give them hope. Rejoicing in the communion of saints, we remember with thanksgiving all your faithful servants, and those dear to us, whom you have called from this life. . . . We are grateful that for them death is no more, nor is there sorrow, crying, or pain, for the former things have passed away.

As this bread is Christ’s body for us, send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

Strengthen us, O God, in the power of your Spirit to bring good news to the poor and lift blind eyes to sight, to loose the chains that bind and claim your blessing for all people. Keep us faithful in your service until Christ comes in final victory, and we shall feast with all your saints in the joy of your eternal realm. 

Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God, forever and ever. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Breaking of the Bread

The Lord Jesus, on the night before he died, took bread, and after giving thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way he took the cup, saying: This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.

Communion of the People

Prayer after Communion

Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

^Hymn “Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates”   # 129


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) and Rick Woodrow (Crohn’s)

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., 12/6:  Virtual Worship, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Communion, Pastor Jean Sparks preaching

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

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

First Presbyterian Church

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

(309) 244-7105


Rev. Jean Sparks, Pastor

Linda Clauser, Organist