Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sunday Worship - December 13, 2020, 10:30 am: The Third Sunday of Advent

The livestream may be found here.

December 13, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

The Third Sunday in Advent

‘…to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and release to the prisoners…’

Isaiah 61:1

OPENING MUSIC                                      On Jordan’s Banks the Baptist Cry

I.                 John Eggert

II.               David Cherwien


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played:


1              On Jordan’s banks the Baptist’s cry

               announces that the Lord is nigh;

               awake and hearken, for he brings

               glad tidings of the King of kings!


2             Then cleansed be ev’ry life from sin;

               make straight the way for God within,

               and let us all our hearts prepare

               for Christ to come and enter there.


3             We hail you as our Savior, Lord,

               our refuge and our great reward;

               without your grace we waste away

               like flow’rs that wither and decay.


4             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.


5             All praise to you, eternal Son,

               whose advent has our freedom won,

               whom with the Father we adore,

               and Holy Spirit, evermore.


Text: Charles Coffin, 1676-1749; tr. composite






In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.



As the earth brings forth its shoots,

as a garden causes what is sown to spring up,

so God will cause righteousness and praise

to spring up before all nations.

Let us pray to God with confidence, confessing our sins.

                                                  Isaiah 61:11

Silence for reflection and self-examination.


God for whom we wait,

  we confess to you our sin in thought, word, and deed,

  in what we have done and in what we have left undone.

  We have not loved you with our whole heart;

  we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

  For the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ,

  forgive us, renew us, and lead us;          

  restore our fortunes;

  fill our mouths with laughter

  and our tongues with shouts of joy. Amen


Rejoice in the Lord, exult in our God:

for he clothes his people with the garments of salvation,

and covers them with the robe of righteousness.                             Isaiah 61:10

As a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ,

and by his authority,

I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins,

in the name of the Father, and of the X Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.







The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

  And also with you.




In peace, let us pray to the Lord.                                             Lord, have mercy.

For the peace from above,

and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.                      Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the whole world,

for the well-being of the Church of God,

and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.                   Lord, have mercy.

For this holy house,

and for all who offer here their worship and praise,

let us pray to the Lord.                                                              Lord, have mercy.

Help, save, comfort and defend us, gracious Lord.                      Amen



Third Sunday in Advent


We praise you, O God, for this victory wreath

that marks our days of preparation for Christ’s advent.

  As we light the third candle on this wreath,

  strengthen our hearts as we await the Lord’s coming in glory.

  Enlighten us with your grace,

  that we may serve our neighbors in need.

Grant this through Christ our Lord,

whose coming is certain and whose day draws near.





The Lord be with you.                                  And also with you.


Almighty God, you once called John the Baptist to give witness to the coming of your Son and to prepare his way.

  Grant us, your people, the wisdom to see your purpose today and

  the openness to hear your will, that we may witness to Christ’s

  coming and so prepare his way;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.



John the Baptist came as a witness to testify to the light,

that all might believe through him.                                                           John 1:7

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.                    



First READING                                                                  Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11


1The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
  because the Lord has anointed me;
 he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
  to bind up the brokenhearted,
 to proclaim liberty to the captives,
  and release to the prisoners;
2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
  and the day of vengeance of our God;
  to comfort all who mourn;
3to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
  to give them a garland instead of ashes,
 the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
  the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
 They will be called oaks of righteousness,
  the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. 

4They shall build up the ancient ruins,
  they shall raise up the former devastations;
 they shall repair the ruined cities,
  the devastations of many generations.
8For I the Lord love justice,
  I hate robbery and wrongdoing;

I will faithfully give them their recompense,
  and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
  and their offspring among the peoples;
 all who see them shall acknowledge
  that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
10I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
  my whole being shall exult in my God;
 for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
  he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
 as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
  and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
  and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
 so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
  to spring up before all the nations.


The Word of the Lord.                                                                                              

  Thanks be to God.




The psalm is read responsively between the pastor and the people.


The Lord has done great things for us.


1 When the Lord restored the for- | tunes of Zion,*

               then were we like | those who dream.

2 Then was our mouth | filled with laughter,*

               and our tongue with | shouts of joy.

3 Then they said a- | mong the nations,*

               "The Lord has done great | things for them."

4 The Lord has done great | things for us,*

               and we are | glad indeed.

5 Restore our for- | tunes, O Lord,*

               like the watercourses | of the Negev.

6 Those who | sowed with tears*

               will reap with | songs of joy.

7 Those who go out weeping, carry- | ing the seed,*

               will come again with joy, shoulder- | ing their sheaves.


The Lord has done great things for us.



SECOND READING                                              1 Thessalonians 5:16-24


16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets, 21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.
23May 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. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.


The Word of the Lord.                                              

  Thanks be to God.




Alleluia. Behold, I send my messenger before your face,

  who shall prepare your way before you. Alleluia.

                                                            Matthew 11:10


Gospel                                                                                   John 1:6-8, 19-28


The Holy Gospel according to St. John.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
19This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said,
 “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
 ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’

as the prophet Isaiah said.
24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.


The Gospel of the Lord.                              

  Praise to you, O Christ.





HYMN OF THE DAY                                              Hail to the Lord’s Annointed


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.



1              Hail to the Lord’s anointed,

               great David’s greater Son!

               Hail, in the time appointed,

               his reign on earth begun!

               He comes to break oppression,

               to set the captive free,

               to take away transgression

               and rule in equity.


2             He comes with rescue speedy

               to those who suffer wrong,

               to help the poor and needy,

               and bid the weak be strong;

               to give them songs for sighing,

               their darkness turn to light,

               whose souls, condemned and dying,

               were precious in his sight.


3             He shall come down like showers

               upon the fruitful earth;

               and love, joy, hope, like flowers,

               spring in his path to birth.

               Before him on the mountains

               shall peace, the herald, go;

               and righteousness in fountains

               from hill to valley flow.

4             Kings shall fall down before him,

               and gold and incense bring;

               all nations shall adore him,

               his praise all people sing.

               To him shall prayer unceasing

               and daily vows ascend;

               his kingdom still increasing,

               a kingdom without end.


Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854





The pastor and people confess the faith of the Church in the words of the Nicene 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,

               of one Being with the Father.

               Through him all things were made.

               For us and for our salvation

                              he came down from heaven;

                              by the power of the Holy Spirit

                                             he became incarnate from the virgin Mary,                                                       and was made man.

               For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

                              he suffered death and was buried.

               On the third day he rose again

                              in accordance with 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. Amen




Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.


A brief silence is kept.


We rejoice in the Church, for our Lord comes into our midst and brings us the good news which saves, heals, and strengthens us. Restore the fortunes of your Church, and fill our mouths with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We rejoice in the Word that brings us hope and peace. Give all ministers the tongues of teachers, to restore the weary and to bear witness to the One who is coming. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We rejoice in the faith family gathered here and for all who cannot be with us this day. Stir up in us the Holy Spirit, that we may be sanctified in spirit, soul and body, living the life of rejoicing, prayer, and thanksgiving. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We pray without ceasing that you would make signs of your righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. Especially we ask on behalf of our leaders, that you would give them a spirit to exercise their offices rightly and responsibly; for you love justice and hate robbery and wrongdoing. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.


We pray without ceasing that you would continue to bring good news to the oppressed, that you would bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives; to provide for all who mourn. Give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. We lift up all for whom we have been asked to pray:


The People may offer silent or spoken intercessions and thanksgivings.


Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We give thanks for all those who have died trusting in your promises. Cause righteousness and praise to spring up in us, that we may also be sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Into your hands, Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your steadfast love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 




The peace of the Lord be with you always.

  And also with you.


The people exchange a sign of peace with the simple words, Peace be with you.



The Lord’s Table is prepared.





As the grain once scattered in the fields

and the grapes once dispersed on the hillside

are reunited on this table in bread and wine,

so, Lord, may your whole Church soon be gathered together

from the corners of the earth into your kingdom.




The Great Thanksgiving begins with the Preface, leading into the Sanctus:


The Lord be with you.                                 

  And also with you.                      

Lift up your hearts.                                      

  We lift them to the Lord.                        

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.                                             

  It is right to give him thanks and praise.


 It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places offer thanks and praise to you, O Lord, holy Father, almighty and ever-living God.

  You prepared the way of your Son Jesus Christ by the preaching of your servant John the Baptist, who proclaimed him as the Lamb of God, our Savior, in whom we rejoice with an everlasting joy.

  And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:


Holy, holy, holy LORD, God of power and might!

Heaven and earth are full of your glory;

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

Hosanna in the highest!                                    (Isaiah 6:3, Matthew 21:9)


The pastor leads the people in praying the Eucharistic canon:


 Blessed are you, O Adonai, Most High and Holy God,

               for the wonder of your goodness

which creates, establishes, and permeates

               the heavens and the earth.


We praise you for the promises you made to the Patriarchs,

               as you led your chosen people out of slavery

into the land of promise,

               giving them your Law on Sinai’s heights.              


You promised, through the prophets,

               that the Messiah would come,

               the very branch of Jesse –

               before whom all nations would keep silent.


Then, at the appointed time,

               you sent your beloved Son, Jesus our Emmanuel,

               the key of David born of Mary by the power of the Spirit. 


He came to rescue the uprooted,             

               to bring life to the lifeless

and voice to those who were without hope;

               on Calvary’s heights gave His life

               to draw all people to Himself

and to your promise of mercy.


In the night in which He was betrayed

our Lord Jesus took bread and gave thanks,

broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying:

Take and eat; this is my Body, given for you. 

               Do this for the remembrance of me.


Again, after supper, He took the cup, gave thanks,

and gave it for all to drink, saying:

This cup is the new covenant in my Blood,

               shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. 

               Do this for the remembrance of me.


Together, let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

               O Christ, you are the splendor of life everlasting:

We laud your death and resurrection,

and await your return in glory.


Blessed are you, O Adonai, Lord of might. 

               You fulfilled your promises

in the death, resurrection and ascension of your Son,

               the King of all nations. 

We praise you for embracing us

               as the people who now dwell in the brightness of His glory.


Send now your holy and life-giving Spirit

               upon this Bread of Life and this Cup of Salvation,

               that we, in this holy communion,

               may be united to Him who is our cornerstone,

               the One who gives us His very body and blood

               to sustain us in His forgiving love.


With all the people of your promises,

               we await our Lord’s final coming

               when we will share in that feast which shall never end.

               Amen.  Come, O precious Ransom, come!

In the presence of Christ, we pray to his Father using the words he gave us.


Christ is in our midst.

               By the power of the Spirit,

               we pray to his Father, saying:



Our Father, who art in heaven,

               hallowed be thy name,

               thy kingdom come,

               thy 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 lead us not into temptation,

                              but deliver us from evil.

               For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

                              forever and ever. Amen                               (Matthew 6:9-15)




The body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord

is good news for the oppressed;

binding up for the brokenhearted;

liberty for the captive;

release for the prisoners;

the favor of God for his people.

  Thanks be to God.

                Isaiah 61:1-2a


We adore Christ with the words of the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).


Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;           

   have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;

  have mercy on us.         

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;

  Grant us peace.                                                          (John 1:29, see also Luke 17:13)



Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized.


They may receive the Lord’s Body and Blood who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, who commune in their home churches, and who believe that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is truly present in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.


The communicants will be invited forward one family unit at a time. Please do not come forward until the pastor directs you to come forward, do not approach all the way to the table until the pastor has retreated,  and please do not remove your mask until you have reached the table with the elements on it.


 When the pastor says ‘The body of Christ, given for you,’ eat the bread. When the pastor says, ‘The blood of Christ, shed for you,’ drink the wine.  Please take the plate and the glass(es) and place them on the table that is indicated. Please put your mask on before returning to your seat.



Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.



Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding!


1              Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding!

               “Christ is near,” we hear the cry.

               “Cast away the works of darkness,

               all you children of the day!”


2             Startled at the solemn warning,

               let the earthbound soul arise;

               Christ, its sun, all sloth dispelling,

               shines upon the morning skies.


3             See the Lamb, so long expected,

               comes with pardon down from heav’n.

               Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,

               one and all, to be forgiv’n;


4             So, when next he comes in glory

               and the world is wrapped in fear,

               he will shield us with his mercy

               and with words of love draw near.


5             Honor, glory, might, dominion

               to the Father and the Son

               with the everliving Spirit

               while eternal ages run!


Text: Latin hymn, 1632; tr. Edward Caswall, 1814-1878, alt.


When all have received, the congregation stands at the direction of the pastor.


The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.     Amen


Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

A light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning, is now,

and will be forever. Amen                                       Song of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)


O God, in this meal

we have been given a foretaste

of the feast that is to come.

Help us always to be alert

to your gifts in our midst;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.




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.                                 1 Thessalonians 5:23


Almighty God, Father, +Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.




Go in peace. Serve the Lord.         

Thanks be to God!


CLOSING MUSIC                                                     O Come, O Come Emmanuel


Please maintain social distance and remain masked while exiting the building. Please sanitize your hands before leaving the building.




Last Weekend’s Attendance:     9 + 14 = 23


Offering: 12/6/2020

               Towards Budget:                                $             1,877.00

Itemized Non Budget:

                       Food Bank:                               $        70.00

               Gifts from Afar:                               $        20.00

               Water Mission:                               $        10.00


                                Total:                        $          1,977.00


The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God

by James Haas in memory of his wife, Barbara.




Linda Armento, at home

Matthew Armento, at home

Mary Jo Bondi, at home

Ruth Duessel, at Concordia, Rebecca

The Rev. Carl Hendrickson, at home

Elsie Kemmler and Bill Roth at Concordia, South Hills

David Noel, at Kane Rehab, Scott Township

Geneva Schrag, at Consulate Health Care, Canonsburg

William Wetzel at Concordia, Cabot





·        If you wish to attend worship, you will need to pre-register every week by either calling the office or sending an email.

·        Registration ends Saturday at 12 noon.

·        Masks are required to be worn while in the building.

·        Upon entering and leaving the church, you must sanitize your hands or wash them with soap and water.

·        Everyone must sign in when entering the church. This way we can keep track of who was in the church and when.


WORSHIP SERVICES are held every Saturday evening at 6:30 PM and Sunday morning at 10:30 AM. Pastor Frontz also livestreams Compline (Prayer at the Close of the Day) on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. and Vespers (Evening Prayer) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. These can be accessed on the church’s Facebook page (

CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICES: Please register by calling the church office or emailing Please let us know the number who will be attending and which service you prefer; also, whether you are able and willing to attend the other service if necessary. If more register than there are slots available, we will hold another service earlier on Christmas Eve. Registrations must be made by Monday, December 21.

Please note that we will also be streaming the services on Facebook Live.

 THERE WILL BE NO in-person mid-week Advent Vespers this year; however, please join in with Evening Prayer every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live:

ALTAR POINSETTIAS Thank you to everyone who signed up for Christmas poinsettias this year.  As a reminder, the cost per pot is $7 You may take your flowers home after Christmas Day worship.


KINDLY REMEMBER TO PAY FOR THE FLOWERS you ordered for the weekend Altar and for the special occasions.  Altar flowers are $20/vase. Checks can be made out to St. Stephen Lutheran Church with a notation “flowers” and placed in the offering plate.


ALTAR FLOWERS FOR 2021: Please see the sign-up sheet available in the Narthex for altar flowers. If you are unable to sign-up in person, you may call or email the office to make a request for a date(s). We will assign date(s) in the order in which the requests are received. The process will repeat until the slots are filled. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding. The cost per arrangement will be $20.


GIFTS FROM AFAR: Each year we remember the Magi’s gift-giving to the Christ-child by making offerings to the anonymous in need. There will be a sign-up sheet in the Narthex to purchase gifts of children’s clothing and toys for families in need.  Please also consider making a monetary donation so that St. Andrew Lutheran Church in East Carnegie may administer it for those in crisis throughout next year. All children’s gifts should be brought in by Sunday, Dec. 20; monetary donations can be made until further notice.

THE OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED from Thursday, December 24, 2020 until Monday, January 4, 2021.  If you have a pastoral emergency during that time, please contact Pastor Frontz at (570) 447-8758.


PLEASE NOTE that the deadline for any 2020 contributions is Thursday, December 31, 2020, New Year’s Eve. Thank you.


OFFERING ENVELOPES FOR 2021 are now available in the Narthex.

Please consider picking up the envelopes of any family members who are unable to attend worship. As a reminder, if you cannot pick up your envelopes at the church, we ask that you simply write your envelope number on your weekly check so that it can be credited to your contribution statement. Many of you are doing it this way anyhow. We are so thankful for your faithfulness in supporting the mission of the church. Please contact Pr. Frontz or Carrie with any questions.


DAILY DEVOTIONS, including THE WORD IN SEASON, PORTALS OF PRAYER AND CHRIST IN OUR HOME (January, February, and March 2021) are available on the table in the Narthex. Take one or more to share with family and friends. If you are able, a donation would be welcomed to help defray the cost to the congregation for these resources. Thank you!


2021 ‘DAILY TEXTS’ are available in the Narthex. A donation of

$10 per book would be appreciated to help cover the cost of the books. Thank you.


ST STEPHEN COUNSELING CENTER: A site of Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute/PPI). For marriage, family, teen and individual counseling – for first appointment call PPI at 412-661-1239. St. Stephen Center is

412-279-5452. Counseling opens doors to hope. Counselor: Caroline Graham-McGuire.


Sun/Dec 13	WORSHIP 10:30 AM
		Prayer at the Close of the Day (livestream) 9:30 PM
Wed/ Dec 16	Evening Prayer (livestream) 7:00 PM 
Sat/Dec 19	NA Meeting 11:00 AM
Sun/Dec 20	WORSHIP 10:30 AM
		Decorate the church 6:30 PM
		Prayer at the Close of the Day (livestream) 9:30 PM




From Sundays and Copyright 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #20540.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included here, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2006 and published by Church House Publishing.

Eucharistic Prayer reprinted by permission from A Little Book of Canons by Rod L. Ronneberg, STS, 1997 and 2010.

Gogh, Vincent van, 1853-1890. Prisoners Exercising, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved December 7, 2020]. Original source:

Agnus Day appears with the permission of