Click on name of any Sunday to see the Order of Service.
Past services (which include the audio of the sermon in the service) are found at the bottom of the page.
We Praise God for Sustaining Life in and through His Word
The nation resounds with thanksgiving for the earth’s bountiful harvest, crops of wheat and grains, all beneath the canopy of God’s almighty care. But “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3). The Church is the vessel through which the Word of God penetrates the world with its Law and Gospel. It is this divine Word that proclaims Jesus as the sole source of life, health and wholeness. It is Jesus who heals lepers with His Word: “Go and show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:11–19). Of the 10 cleansed, only one expresses thanksgiving back to Jesus. But true gratitude proceeds from a heart sustained by faith. Jesus bids this one Samaritan to “rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” So also, we are sent from the Divine Service, bolstered in our faith by baptismal and Eucharist blessing to be thankful in our circumstances of plenty and hunger, abundance and need (Phil. 4:6–20).
The Lord Jesus Comes in Meekness and Humility to Save Us
Jesus, the Seed of Jesse’s Tree
Advent means “coming.” As the largest of trees begin with a seed, so it is with God’s promise to save the world from sin and death. Salvation is coming. After the fall, God promised that the fruit of Adam and Eve would one day be wounded, yet He would crush the head of sin and death. From that seed of a promise sprouted numerous signposts of the Coming One: the promise to Abraham and Sarah, the crossing of the Red Sea, the prophets declaring that out of the stump of Jesse would sprout a Savior. The seed of salvation, promised long ago, was born into the world in Jesus, His first advent. And now, during this Advent season, we await with joyful hope His second advent. Jesus, the Seed, has been planted in a tomb and sprouted forth to new life, filling us with hope as we wait, watch, and prepare for Jesus’ second advent.
You Are Prepared through Repentance for the Coming of the Lord
Jesus, the Root of Jesse's Tree
Advent is a time to reflect on Jesus’ coming at Christmas. It is a time to look with hope toward His coming again at the restoration of all creation. It is a time to recognize Jesus’ coming to us now in His Word, Baptism, and Holy Communion. In a world that often feels ungrounded and rootless, we find during Advent deep and abiding hope in Jesus as the root of our life and faith. As the roots of a tree nourish it, keep it grounded, and cause it to grow, so Jesus, the root of Jesse’s tree, nourishes us, grounds us, and causes us to grow in faith. As we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth, we pause midweek to be grounded and rooted in Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.
The Coming of the Christ Brings True Rejoicing in His Forgiveness
Jesus, the Pruner of Jesse's Tree
Advent is a time of preparation for Christ’s coming – just the anticipation of celebrating His first coming at Christmas but also His return at the end of days. In that preparation, we examine our lives against His Word and will, and in repentance, we prune out those things that are contrary. Tonight we trace God’s Family Tree through the time of David the king and then the time of Isaiah the prophet. God’s Family Tree grew for all to see in a superpower of a kingdom under David, but later it had to be cut down, as Isaiah prophesied. God’s Family Tree grew and flourished, and many could rest in its shade, but then it became diseased and had to be cut down. But, as we will see, what looks like a drastic cutting down to us is merely God’s way of pruning His own Family Tree to deliver the Savior He promised for centuries.
The Lord Builds a House for David: Jesus Christ Who Comes in the Flesh
Jesus, the Life of Jesse's Tree
As the celebration of Christ’s birth draws near, it is good to remember that the Advent season is about life. God entered this world, which is marred by death, as a vulnerable baby, brimming with the hope of new life. This Christ Child grew up to be the resurrection and the life, so that in the midst of the darkness of death, we have hope for life now and into eternity. Our Advent calling is to let the life we now have in Christ shine forth into the dark places of our world, so that those who dwell in the land of deep darkness may know the light and life of Jesus.
The Word of the Lord Is Fulfilled in the Flesh of Jesus
The Light of Christ Shines Forth in the Darkness
The Living and Life-Giving Word of God Dwells Among Us in the Flesh
By the Cross of Christ, We Enter the Kingdom of Our God and Father
God's Gift of Forgiveness Engenders Our Forgiveness of Others
The Gospel Prepares Us for Our Heavenly Bridegroom's Coming
Saints Are Blessed in the Eternal Presence of Christ
"A great multitude from all tribes and peoples and languages," cry out "salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne" (Rev. 7:9-17). Faith-filled saints from every place and time with unified voices eternally magnify the Lamb of God. As His beloved children, we too, "shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:1-3). Joined with the throng of angels and a myriad of saints, we shall "serve him day and night in his temple" (Rev. 7:9-17). In our earthly tension vacillating between saint and sinner, faith and doubt, sacred and profane, we earnestly seek Jesus to calm our fears, comfort our spirits, and forgive our sins. The Holy Spirit, through faith in Christ propels us forward, fortifying us in Word and Sacrament, to our eternal home. In the midst of our constant struggle as believers, we need to be blessed. And so we are. The poor in spirit, the meek, the hungry, the thirsty, the merciful, the pure, and the persecuted are all blessed and we will most certainly inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:1-12).
The Son of God Has Set Us Free from Sin and Death by His Grace
The Lord bids us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest (Luke 10:2). The fields look more like deserts, filled with jackals (Isa. 35:6-7), and the Lord sends His laborers out as lambs in the midst of wolves. But Christ's Word of "Peace" heals the sick and brings the very kingdom of God near to those who hear it (Is 35:5; Luke 10:3-9). St. Luke, the beloved physician (Col. 4:14), did the work of an evangelist. He diligently prepared both a Gospel, the history of Christ's work in the flesh before His ascension, and the Acts of the Apostles, the history of His continued work among His Church. Luke and his Scriptures are a gift from this Ascended Lord (Eph. 4:8-12), written for Theophilus and for all who love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:5-8). Tradition suggests that Luke was one of the seventy-two sent out ahead of Jesus, two by two. Luke proved himself to be a faithful companion throughout St. Paul's missionary journeys, through many trials and crosses, and even to Rome, where he alone was with Paul.
Clothed in the Righteousness of Christ, We Partake of His Wedding Feast
The True Vine Redeems the Vineyard of the Lord of Hosts