Entrance Psalm or Hymn
As the ministers go in procession to the entrance of the sanctuary, the congregation stands and sings either the following Psalm (A) or Hymn (B):
(A) Zechariah’s Song of Praise Luke 1:68-79
Blessed be the Lord of Israel
for he has looked favorably on
his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David.
As he spoke through the mouth of
his holy prophets from of old.
That we would be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy
promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant.
The oath that he sore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we might serve him without fear.
In holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High.
For you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.
To give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us.
To give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.
(B) An Appropriate Hymn
Cel: I have entered your house, O Lord, and have worshiped before your throne. O King of heaven, forgive all my sins.
Cong: O King of heaven, forgive all our sins.
Cel: Pray to the Lord for me.
Cong: May the Lord accept your offering and have mercy on us through your prayer.
Cel: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.
Cel: O Lord our God, on this day the hills of Judea ring out with the joyful news of a marvelous and mystical birth. On this day Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, in their old age announce the birth of a son. His name shall be John for “God is gracious” to his people. He is not the long-awaited One, but he has come to announce the birth of the One whom prophets and apostles longed to see.
On this day we sing out with the hills of Judea, and we are taken up with the cry that resounds throughout the earth: “Make straight the way of the Lord!”
Make us worthy to join our voices in a single holy hymn of praise to you, O Christ, and to your Father, and your Holy Spirit, who today sends his messenger before him. Glory be to the one God, for ever.
Cel: Peace be with the Church and her children
Hymn of the Angels
Cong: Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth and good will to all.
PRAYER OF FORGIVENESS (HOOSOYO)
Cel: To the praise and glory of the Most Holy Trinity.
Cel: May we be worthy to praise, confess and extol the Son, the eternal Word. His Father has sent us the messenger of his coming to prepare the way for his birth in the flesh. Let us magnify the Godhead whose divine and imponderable plan is announced this day by the birth of John the baptizer. Glory and worship to the good One, for today infinity breaks the barrier of our world and fills it with the news of an astounding birth. Let us magnify Christ, now and for ever.
Cel: We listen attentively to your announcement, O Baptizer. We gather at the banks of the river of mercy and impatiently await the One of whom you speak. O John, child of wonder, you came to your parents in their old age, and your miraculous birth is your first sign to us. For One is coming whose birth will make the heavens shake and whose appearance will make the earth tremble. Therefore, we cry out and say: O voice preaching in the wilderness, fill the wilderness of our poor lives with your happy announcement. O forerunner of the Word of God, hurry to us who stand like bewildered and lost children in the hope of being found. O John, child of wonder, infant of grace, bless us with the message for which our souls long: the Savior is coming soon. He will not delay!
And now, O Lord, let the right hand of your mercy and compassion rest upon us, for we are shaken like reeds in the desert of life. We are overcome with fear as the sands of sin and the winds of discontent encroach on our feeble lives. Make us worthy to approach the birth of your Son like people waiting for a new dawn, like a ship whose watchman has seen the land. Delight us, once again, with your fatherly embrace, for the announcement of the birth of the baptizer is sure hope for the salvation you have promised from the beginning. We praise your, unfaltering Father, we joyfully await you, O Divine Son, and we look to be filled by you, O Holy Spirit, now and for ever.
The congregation sits and hymn (A) or (B) is then sung.
Cong: The house of Zechariah, priest and prophet, resounded in praise and thanksgiving. the old woman, the sterile one, rejoiced and celebrated. And the father kept mute all the while, but on the day of John’s birth opened his mouth and spoke.
Glory to the One who revealed to Zechariah the proclamation of the news.
Cong: With the birth of John the baptizer, all people take new hope. A seed takes root in the wilderness, and all the earth fills with anticipation. And the rush of the Spirit fills the plains!
Hear his voice, O wanderers over the earth. Pay heed to his announcement. The One who was promised from the beginning of time is coming soon. And the rush of the Spirit fills the plains!
Awake, O weary Adam. Did you question God’s plan? He is coming in the flesh to rouse you from your sleep. And the rush of the Spirit fills the plains!
The word spoken in the wilderness prepares the way for the Word spoken by God from eternity. As relentless and sure as the tide is the approach of our God. And the rush of the Spirit fills the plains.
Cel: O Lord, extend your holy right hand over your faithful people, and bless the sheep of your flock. Accept this incense we offered to you on the memorial of the birth of your forerunner. Make us worthy to praise and glorify you, your Father, and your Holy Spirit, now and for ever.
The congregation stands and the Trisagion is then sung three times.
Cel: Holy are you, O God. Holy are you, O Strong One. Holy are you, O Immortal One.
Cong: Have mercy on us.
Cel: O holy and immortal Lord, sanctify our minds and purify our consciences, that we praise you with pure hearts and listen to your Holy Scriptures. To you be glory, for ever.
SERVICE OF THE WORD
Psalm of the Readings
All sit for the psalm of the readings.
Cong: The revelation spoken to Zechariah within the Lords’ sanctuary is fulfilled today with the birth of John.
Cel: The word spoken in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord,” is, today, fulfilled with the birth of John. “I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal.”
Cong: Zechariah and the barren Elizabeth exulted, the hill country of Judea rejoiced with them, and the Church sings glory for the birth of the herald of the truth.
Reader: A reading from the ...
The reader then asks for the celebrant’s blessing:
Reader: Father, give your blessing.
The celebrant blesses the reader. The reader then continues:
Reader: Brothers and sisters ...
The reader concludes the reading by singing or saying:
Reader: Praise be to God always!
Meanwhile, the congregation stands and sings:
Cong: Alleluia! Alleluia!
Cantor: “And you child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.” (Luke 1:76)
Deacon: Before the good news of our Savior, announcing life to us all, let us offer this incense. O Lord, we ask for your mercy.
The celebrant burns incense while two subdeacons (servers) hold lighted candles on each side of the Book of Gospels.
Cel: Peace be with you.
Cong: And also with you.
Cel: Let us be attentive to the gospel of life and salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded by the (evangelist Mark/Luke) (apostle Matthew/John).
The celebrant incenses the Book of Gospels three times. Meanwhile, the deacon proclaims:
Deacon: Remain silent, O Listeners, for the holy gospel is about to be announced to you. Listen and give glory and thanks to the living Word of God.
The celebrant begins the gospel using one of the following:
A. When the words of the Lord begin the reading: The Lord Jesus said...
B. When the gospel is from Mark or Luke: The Evangelist said...
C. When the gospel is from Matthew or John: The Apostles said...
At the conclusion of the gospel, he sings or says:
Cel: This is the truth. Peace be with you.
Cong: Praise and blessings to Jesus Christ for his living word to us.
The congregation sits. The celebrant then gives a homily based on the readings and the liturgy of the day.
At the conclusion of the homily, the congregation stands and sings or says the Creed.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.
We 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, one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and ware buried.
On the third day he rose again
in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
with the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified,
He has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
The liturgy continues with the Pre-Anaphora