Advent Liturgy


The purpose of this liturgy is to direct the people of God as they are served by their Covenant God who condescends to our weakness in the Incarnation, and who visits us with perfect justice in the Final Judgment. These two advents frame the experience of New Covenant believers: we look back to Christ’s first coming and look forward to His Second. We live by faith based on the First coming, by hope looking forward to the Second, and the fruit of love in the mean time. We receive grace from the Cross, which leads to good works of gratitude for the Bema Seat. We worship the risen Christ, listening to Him through ordained servants because He is ascended, but praying “Marana tha!” because He has promised to come again.

See Lehigh Valley PCA’s Advent Liturgy for another take on how to conduct Covenant Renewal during the advent season.

Divine Service of Worship

Preparation for Worship
Prelude
Welcome & Announcements
Introit
Scripture Reading and Lighting of the Advent Candle[1]
Passing of the Peace

Call to Worship[2]
Call to Worship
Prayer of Invocation
Votum
Hymn of Praise

First Advent
Scripture Reading[3]
Christological Creed[4]
Congregational Prayer[5]

Charter of Faith
Choral Exhortation
Children’s Sermon
Giving in Tithes & Offering
Gloria Patri
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Singing of a Psalm
Pastoral Prayer & Lord’s Prayer

Ministry of the Word
Scripture Reading
Prayer of Illumination
Sermon
Prayer of Application
Hymn

Communion
Exhortation & Excommunication
Words of Institution
Holy Eucharist

Second Advent
Scripture Reading[6]
Congregational Prayer[7]

Commission
Song of Response
Benediction

_______________________________________
[1] The lighting of the Advent candle is not a circumstance of Scripture reading or any other aspect of worship, and is certainly not an element, and therefore does not belong to the service of worship proper. Our tradition is to have different families come forward, with the head of the household reading select Scripture passages highlighting the advent of Christ, while his wife or child lights the appropriate candle.
[2] Our Call, Charter, Word, Communion, and Commission sections of the liturgy follow our common Covenant Renewal liturgy, and so won’t be explained in detail. Some of the order is changed due to the nature of flow in the historia salutis.
[3] These Scripture readings, spoken by a Ruling Elder, will focus on one of the facets of Christ’s first coming. For example, the First Sunday in Advent includes Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 27:1-6, and Luke 10:17-24 to focus on Christ’s destruction of the Evil One.
[4] Jesus asked Peter to confess His identity in Matthew 16:15-16, and just as Christ gave a good confession, so His disciples are to confess His name before men (I Timothy 6:12-13). These corporate confessions of faith will feature the historic Christian and Reformed creeds, confessions and catechisms. Our Advent Sundays will employ the Nicene and Athanasian creeds, the Definition of Chalcedon, the Belgic Confession, and the Heidelberg Catechism.
[5] We pray for Christ’s coming to forgive our sins, transform us, and use us for His glory. A sample prayer is as follows:

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast off the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when He shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen. 

[6] This Scripture reading focuses us on Christ’s Second coming. For example, II Thessalonians 1:7-12 directs us to Christ’s coming in judgment but also salvation.
[7] A concluding, congregational prayer for us to direct our pleas and petitions to our coming King.

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