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Message from Our Pastor

 Advent 1

St. Mark Pastor Cheryl Hoffman sermon excerpts, November 15, 2020. Relevent texts: Zechariah 9:9-10, Matthew 21:1-9.

First, let me explain why you heard texts normally read on Palm Sunday on this first Sunday of Advent. It was the custom in the Lutheran state church of Sweden to use these texts on the first Sunday of Advent as a way to mark Christ’s triumphal entry into the church and remind us that while we wait for a babe, we prepare to receive a king. 

It seems a little strange, I know, but hey, it is 2020. And it isn’t really any stranger than the actual assigned lessons for today, which are pretty much last week’s texts, only this time taken from Mark’s gospel. So I decided to take the liberty to follow an old tradition and use its texts.

Now that I have clarified this mystery, let me clarify another. That is the mystery of my sermon. Under normal circumstances, I believe in giving Advent the full four weeks it is due. But again, these are not normal circumstances. 

There have been a number of news reports highlighting households that put up Christmas decorations weeks, even months earlier than usual this year. Christmas is a magical time of the year, and we can certainly use some magic, joy, and holly-jolly ho-ho-hos. So, Christmas trees and carols at Halloween it is. 

While I don’t like to be rushed and pushed through Advent, here in 2020, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” 

So, here it is, the good news of preparing for the coming king. 

"Once, long, long ago in royal David’s city, in the hopeless time of sin, when shadows deep had fallen; all the world lay under death, and eyes were closed in sleeping; and all seemed lost in night.  

"There came a heavenly chorus harking forth the song of gladness: 'The savior comes, the savior, promised long; let every heart prepare a throne and every voice a song. Glory to the newborn king!  Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners now reconciled!' ”

“O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant; o come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem,” they sang.

“Joyful all you nations rise; join the triumph of the skies. Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation, sing, all ye citizens of heaven above, ‘Glory to God in the highest.’ Let all together praise our God before the highest throne. Today God opens heaven again and sends the only son, and sends the only son.”

“What, what child is this, who lay to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping; whom angels greet with anthem sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping? Why lies he in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding?  

“This, this is Christ the king whom shepherds guard and angels sing. Christ by highest heaven adored. Christ the everlasting lord—offspring of a virgin’s womb veiled in flesh the godhead see.  Hail the incarnate deity pleased as man with us to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.  Haste, haste to bring him laud the babe the son of Mary.”  

“O come let us adore him, o come let us adore him, Christ the lord.”

“Now all earth is hopeful the savior comes at last.  He rules the world with truth and grace. He shows the Father none has ever seen in flesh and blood. He is the star as bright as day that will never lead astray with his message so appealing, the word of God revealing, Christ the way the truth the life.  Christ the way the truth the life.”

“Truly he taught us to love one another his law is love and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother and in his name all oppression shall cease.”

“God, Christian fear, for sinners here the silent Word is pleading. Nails, spear shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me, for you.”

“We hail you as our savior lord our refuge and our great reward; without your grace, we waste away like flowers that wither and decay. Stretch forth your hand, our health restore and make us rise to fall no more.  Oh, let your face upon us shine, and fill the world with love divine.”

“Be near us lord Jesus; we ask you to stay close by us forever and love us, we pray.  Bless all the dear children in your tender care, and fit us for heaven to live with you there.”

“Then you beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow; look now for glad and golden hours, come swiftly on the wing, oh rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing: ‘Joy to the world, the lord is come. Let earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.’ “ 

“God’s people see him coming, your own eternal king.  Palm branches strew before him, spread garments shout and sing.  God’s promise will not fail you, no more shall doubt assail you; hosanna to the lord for he fulfills God’s word.” 

“Good Christian friends rejoice with heart and soul and voice; now ye hear of endless bliss, Jesus Christ was born for this.  Mild he lay his glory by; born that man no more may die; born to raise the sons of earth; born to give them second birth. He has opened heaven’s door and we are blessed for every more. Christ was born for this; Christ was born for this.”  

“Hail the son of righteousness, hail the heaven born prince of peace.  And with all creation we will join in praising God the Father, Spirit, Son, ever more our voices raising to the eternal three in one.” 

“And every nation its tribute too may bring.  All lands will bow before him, their voices join in singing hosanna to the lord, for he fulfills God’s word.  O come let us adore him, O come let us worship him, Christ the King of Kings.”



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