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St. Thomas Community Church


Service for the week following the third Sunday in Advent




Welcome, friends. In order to follow this service, consider all words in bold type to be spoken by the pastor of the St. Thomas Community Church, the Reverend J. Wright. All words in italic type should be spoken aloud by you. You will also need a small glass of wine, grape juice, or water; a small piece of bread or a cracker; and your Bible.




The Peace

Peace to you, friends, and blessings in the name of Christ our Lord.

And also with your spirit.

Collect

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love You, and worthily magnify Your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen


Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ said:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Lord have mercy upon us,
Christ have mercy upon us,
Lord have mercy upon us.

O almighty Lord and everlasting God, we ask You to direct, sanctify, and govern both our hearts and our bodies in the ways of Your laws, and in the works of Your commandments; that through Your most mighty protection both here and ever we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Lord be with you.

And with your spirit.

Let us pray:

Collect for the Week

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm

Psalm 126. In convertendo. "When the Lord turned again..."

The Epistle

1 Thessalonians 5:(12-15)16-28

We appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.

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

May 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. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

Beloved, pray for us.

Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all of them.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

The Gospel

Glory be to You, O Lord

John 3:23-30

John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized -- John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison.

Now a discussion about purification arose between John's disciples and a Jew. They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him." John answered, "No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, `I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.' He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease."

Praise be to You, O Christ.

Statement of Faith

Please join me in reciting the Apostles' Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried. He descended into Hell. On the third day, he rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from where He will return again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.


This Week in Christianity

Thursday is the day of St. Thomas the Apostle, patron saint of carpenters and architects, and the patron saint of our church. Thomas was, according to some traditions, the twin brother of Christ, and was known as "Doubting Thomas" for his refusal to accept Christ's divinity without first obtaining direct hands-on proof (see John 20:25). Saturday is the feast of St. Thorlac, patron saint of Iceland.



The Offertory


For all things come from You, O Lord, and of Your own have we given You.. (I Corintians 29 : 14).

Let us pray for the whole state of Christ's Church:

Almighty and everliving God, who by Your holy Apostle has taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men, we humbly ask you most mercifully to accept our prayers, and to receive these our prayers, which we offer to Your Divine Majesty. We ask You to inspire Your Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord, and grant that all those who do confess Your Holy Name may agree in the truth of Your holy Word, and live in unity and godly love. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our Saviour. Amen.

General Confession

You who do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to live a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in His holy ways, make your humble confession to Almighty God: Almighty God, Father of Heaven, Judge of all men, we confess that we have sinned against You, in words, thoughts, and actions, in the things we have done, and those which we have failed to do, and we are truly sorry for these misdeeds. Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father, forgive us all that is past and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please You in the newness of life, to the honour and glory of your Name, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

May the Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who in His great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with true faith turn to Him, have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life. Amen.


Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ said to all who truly turn to Him:

Come to me, all you who travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.

So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to our Lord God.

It is right to give Him praise and thanks/I>.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of Your glory: Glory be to You, O Lord Most High. Amen.

The Authorization

At this time, as an ordained minister of the Christian Church, I hereby authorize you to act in my place in the blessing of the Bread and Blood of the Communion, through Christ the Lord, who with the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns in heaven with God the Father Almighty. Amen.

All glory to You, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that You, in Your tender mercy, did give Your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption, who made there a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world, and did institute, and in His holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that His precious death and sacrifice, until His Second Coming:

For in the night in which he was betrayed, (hold your bread or cracker in your hand), he took bread, and when he had given thanks, (break the bread in half), he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying "Take, eat," (lay your hands on all the bread), "this is my Body, which is given for you, Do this in remembrance of me." Likewise, after supper, (pick up your glass of wine or other liquid), he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying "Drink you all of this, for this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins. Do this as often as you shall drink it, in remembrance of me."

The Oblation

Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of Your dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we, Your humble servants, do celebrate and make here before Your Divine Majesty, with these Your holy gifts, which we now offer to You, the memorial Your Son has commanded us to make, having in remembrance His blessed passion and precious death, His mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, rendering to You most hearty thanks for the innumberable benefits given to us by the same.

The Invocation

And we most humbly beseech You, O merciful Father, to hear us, and in Your almighty goodness to bless and sanctify, with Your Word and Holy Spirit, these Your gifts and creatures of blood and wine, that we, receiving them according to Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of His death and passion, may be partakers of His most blessed Body and Blood.

And we earnestly desire Your fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly asking You to grant that, by the merits of Your Son Jesus Christ, and that through faith in His blood, we, and all Your whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of His passion. And here we offer and present to You, O Lord, our selves, our souls and our bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice to You, humbly asking You that we may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of Your Son Jesus Christ, be filled with Your grace and heavenly blessing. We ask this of You, through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns with You in heaven, world everlasting. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Let us pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.Amen.

The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, preserve your body and soul to everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on Him in your heart by faith, with thanksgiving.

(Take and eat the bread).

The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your body and soul to everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ's Blood was shed for you, and be thankful.

(Take and drink the wine or wine-substitute).

Let us pray:

Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank You, for that You have given to feed us who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and do assure us thereby of Your favour and goodness toward us, and we humbly ask You, O heavenly Father, to assist us with Your grace so that we may continue in holiness and do all such good works as You have prepared for us to walk in, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who, with the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns with You in honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace and goodwill to men. We praise You and give You thanks for Your great glory, O Lord, King of Heaven, God the Father Almighty.

O Jesus, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, receive this our prayer.


The Peace of God be with you, and all blessings of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you always. Amen.





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