New Covenant Community Church


The Heart of The Gospel – 12/20/20

by | Dec 20, 2020 | Sermons


Leader: Against the darkness of despair, the candle of hope shines in our midst.
People: Against the darkness of conflict, the candle of peace illumines a new way.
Leader: Against the darkness of sorrow, the candle of joy is kindled among us.
People: And on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, against the darkness of hatred, we light the candle of love.
Leader: We affirm that just as the LORD spoke to Israel, the LORD also speaks to us – “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).
People: As we worship, may the flame of divine love be kindled in our hearts and lives.

HYMN                                                                     People, Look East                                                      Ken Heischman
People, look east. The time is near Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able, Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the guest, is on the way.
Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare, One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish, That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the rose, is on the way.
Birds, though you long have ceased to build, Guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen God for fledging time has chosen.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the bird, is on the way.
Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather, Bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the star, is on the way.
Angels, announce with shouts of mirth Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the Lord, is on the way.


Merciful God of advent expectation,
because we do not like to wait,
we pray that You would forgive us
for our sin, our intolerance, and our indifference.
Because we often fail to hear the anthems of the angels,
we begin to speak the world’s language of hurt and anger.
As we squint our eyes in our search for the holy family,
we do not see the immigrants or other travelers by the side of the road.
While many of us are blessed with a cup that overflows,
we often ignore the people whose cup is filled with lost dreams.
Forgive us, Lord, and redeem us from our sin.
Rekindle our sense of wonder, and reshape our priorities,
so that in our lives we will reveal the transforming love
of the Child born in Bethlehem,
for it is in His name that we pray.  (Silent)

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS (adapted from 1 Corinthians 1:7-9)
Leader: As we await the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, God will strengthen us to the end, so that we may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
People: God is faithful, and God has called us into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Leader: Friends, believe the good news of the gospel:
People: Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

HYMN                                                                        What Child Is This                                                            Ken Heischman

What Child is this, who, laid to rest, On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ, the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate, Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here The silent Word is pleading.
This, this is Christ, the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh, Come, one and all, to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings; Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
This, this is Christ, the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary!

SCRIPTURE Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s
name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with
you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this
might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with
God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him
Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God
will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob
forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this
be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and
the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy;
he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also
conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing
will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it
be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

MEDITATION “The Heart of the Gospel”

HYMN           Angels We Have Heard on High           Ken Heischman
Angels we have heard on high, Sweetly singing o’er the plain,
And the mountains in reply Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria in excelsis Deo, Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be Which inspire your heavenly song?
Gloria in excelsis Deo, Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Come to Bethlehem and see Him whose birth the angels sing.
Come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
Gloria in excelsis Deo, Gloria in excelsis Deo.

POSTLUDE            Awake, Awake, and Greet the New Morn            Dr. Ruth Draper


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