December 6, 2020: “On the Road to Repentance”

Preparing for Worship

Today we continue our Advent journey. Advent is the beginning of the church year, when we place ourselves in the story of those faithful Israelites who were waiting in hope for their Messiah and the coming of God’s reign on earth. We, too, are waiting. We’re waiting for liberation from a pandemic, waiting for peace in a violent world, waiting for many deliverances in our lives, both big and small. We are still waiting for God’s reign to come in its fullness.

In preparation for this service, you may wish to set out an Advent wreath with five candles, if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can create a set of Advent candles simply by placing four candles around a fifth candle in the centre. You can light one of the outside candles before beginning the service. These candles symbolize our waiting for the Christ child, just as ancient Israel waited for their Messiah. Each week we will light another candle, culminating in the lighting of the central Christ candle on Christmas day.

Parents with young children, you’ll note that there is an Advent colouring page available for your child. Feel free to print it off for use during the service or later.

Pre-Service Carols

The tradition continues online! Over the past several years we have “cheated” during Advent by singing a couple of Christmas carols before each Advent service. Sing along to HWB 215 What Child Is This, combined with STS 26 Helpless and Hungry, accompanied by Dianne H. and Michael P. Since the lyrics alternate between the two songs, you’ll find it best to follow the lyrics below.

What Child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping,
whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.
Haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe, the son of Mary!

Helpless and hungry, lowly, afraid, wrapped in the chill of midwinter;
comes now among us, born into poverty’s embrace, new life for the world.
Who is this who lives with the lowly, sharing their sorrows, knowing their hunger?
This is Christ, revealed to the world in the eyes of a child, a child of the poor.

Why lies he in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear, for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word-made-flesh, the babe, the son of Mary!

Who is the stranger here in our midst, looking for shelter among us?
Who is the outcast? Who do we see amid the poor, the children of God?
Who is this who lives with the lowly, sharing their sorrows, knowing their hunger?
This is Christ, revealed to the world in the eyes of a child, a child of the poor.

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh, come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings, let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high; the virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born, the babe, the son of Mary!

Our second pre-service Christmas carol is HWB 201 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies,
with th’angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come, offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the God-head see, hail th’Incarnate Deity;
pleased with us in flesh to dwell; Jesus, our Immanuel!
“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of peace! Hail, the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.
“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Welcome & Call to Worship

Lawrence and Carrie S. welcome us and call us to worship. Please follow along to the Call to Worship below.

Leader: Listen! A voice cries out in the wilderness:

All: Prepare the way of the Lord!

Leader: Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low.

All: Prepare the way of the Lord!

Leader: Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together.

All: Prepare the way of the Lord!

Advent Candle Lighting

If you have an Advent wreath or a set of candles ready, you will want to light a second outer candle as the second Advent candle is lit among us in the video below. The reading this Sunday is done by Carl, Carolyn, Lexi, and Teddy F. Feel free to sing along to STS 15 Hope Is a Candle vv. 1,2,5, accompanied by Irene S. and Adalynne, Larissa, Matthew, and Michael P. You can use the song book or follow the lyrics below the video.

Hope is a candle, once lit by the prophets,
never consumed, though it burns through the years;
dim in the daylight of power and privilege –
when they are gone, hope will shine on.

Peace is a candle to show us a pathway,
threatened by gusts from our rage and our greed.
Friend, feel no envy for those in the shadows –
violence and force their dead-end course.

Christ is the light that the prophets awaited,
Christ is the lion, the lamb, and the child.
Christ is the love and the myst’ry and laughter –
candles, make way! Christ is the day.

Songs of Peace

Our first Advent song of peace is HWB 176 Comfort, Comfort, O My People, accompanied by Erin and Joel K. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Comfort, comfort, O my people, speak of peace, now says our God.
Comfort those who sit in darkness, mourning ‘neath their sorrows’ load.
Speak unto Jerusalem of the peace that waits for them.
Tell of all the sins I cover, and that warfare now is over.

Hark, the voice of one who’s crying in the desert far and near,
bidding all to full repentance since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way.
Let the valleys rise to meet him and the hills bow down to greet him.

O make straight what long was crooked, make the rougher places plain.
Let your hearts be true and humble, as befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord now o’er earth is shed abroad.
And all flesh shall see the token that his word is never broken.

Our second Advent song of peace is HWB 211 Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming, accompanied by Erin and Joel K. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem has sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming as saints of old have sung.
It came, a flow’ret bright, amid the cold of winter,
when half-spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind.
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
hen half-spent was the night.

Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
dispel in glorious splendor the darkness ev’rywhere.
True man, yet very God, from sin and death he saves us,
and lightens ev’ry load.


Thank you for your faithful giving even during a difficult year! Please continue this act of worship in support of the church’s ongoing ministries. You can send a cheque to the church office by mail, or you can give through an Access Credit Union branch or their online banking services (see the information here).

Community Life & Prayer

For announcements related to our church community, please see the eBulletin emailed to those on the weekly email list. You can also stay updated by checking the church Facebook page and this website. This week in our prayers we especially remember:

  • We give thanks for novel coronavirus vaccines that are being developed, and that plans are being made to begin distributing one of these early in the new year. While this will still take many months, we give thanks to God for this important step, for the expertise of medical researchers and the commitment of leaders to get to this step.
  • Ben P., who has agreed to serve as our Interim Lead Pastor beginning in January. Thanks to Church Council for their leadership in this process. Pray for Ben as he prepares to step into this role, and pray for Michael as he prepares things for Ben’s arrival and transitions into his new role with Mennonite Church Manitoba.
  • Those among us facing difficult challenges, and those among us celebrating good things. May each one know the presence and peace of Christ, and may we show the empathy and compassion of Christ as we “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).
  • Us as a church on this Second Sunday of Advent: “May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus… The God of peace will be with us” (Phil 4:7, 9).

Lawrence S. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing STJ 59 Come and Fill Our Hearts, accompanied by Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Come and fill our hearts with your peace.
You alone, O Lord, are holy.
Come and fill our hearts with your peace,

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Lawrence S. reads Isaiah 40:1-11 and Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 for us today. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church.

Children’s Story

If you have young children in your household, gather them around for this lesson by our friend Douglas, selected for us by Kristy L. H. You might also wish to print off this Advent colouring page for your child. If they would like to share their artwork with the church, we’d love to see it. Just take a picture and send it to Pastor Michael.


Michael P. shares a meditation for us based on our Scripture reading above.

In Michael’s sermon he mentions Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg’s steps of repentance. They are adapted as: 1) “the accounting of the soul”; 2) confession (before God and, if necessary, others); 3) beginning the work of change; 4) making amends; 5) apologizing; and 6) making different choices going forward.

Confession & Assurance

In response to hearing God’s word to us through Scripture and its interpretation, we turn to God in confession, awaiting God’s assurance. Lawrence and Carrie S. lead us in this. Please follow along below.

Leader: We hear John the Baptist’s cry in the desert and are called to repentance.

All: We will hear what God the Lord will say:

Leader: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, but is patient, not wanting any one to perish.

All: Revive us again, that we may rejoice in you. Show us your unfailing love, and grant us your salvation.

Leader: Salvation is near to those who fear God.

All: We receive this gift. Help us to walk in your way.

Song of Response

Let’s respond to God’s word of peace to us by singing STJ 56 Make Me A Channel of Your Peace, accompanied by Loretta T. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord;
and where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, only light,
and where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Oh, Master, grant that I may never seek
so much to be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love, with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
in giving of ourselves that we receive,
and in dying that we’re born to eternal life.


Lawrence S. offers this benediction for us as we leave this time of Advent worship together.

Sending Song

Let’s go from our worship together with this song on our lips and in our hearts: VT 841 As You Go Out from Here, accompanied by Joel, Erin, Milo, and Jude K.  You can follow the lyrics below. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

As you go out from here, may the Lord go with you
The face of God shine on you ev’ry day.
We are sent by God wherever we are living,
salt and light as people of the Way.

In the Week Ahead

Check the church website and church Facebook page regularly for resources for staying connected and for spiritual growth during this time. Grace and peace to you this week!

Songs: What Child Is This (Text: William C. Dix, The Manger Throne, ca. 1865; Music: traditional English melody); Helpless and Hungry (Text and music: Scott Soper;© 1994 Scott Soper); Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Text: Charley Wesley and others, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, alt.; Music: Felix Mendelssohn, 1840; adapted by William H. Cummings, 1855, Congregational Hymn and Tune Book, 1857); Hope Is a Candle (Richard Leach, 1994, © 1995 Selah Publishing Co., Inc.; Music: Scottish folk melody); Comfort, Comfort, O My People (Text: based on Isaiah 40, Johannes Olearius, “Trostet, trostet, meine Lieben,” Geistliche Singe-kinst, 1671; tr. Catherine Winkworth, Chorale Book for England, 1863, alt. Music: Louis Bourgeois, Genevan Psalter, 1551; harmonization adapted from Claude Goudimel, Les Pseaumes…, 1565); Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming (Text: anonymous, Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Sts. 1-2), Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengeseng, 1599, Friedrich Layritz (st. 3), Liederschatz, 1832; tr. Theodore Baker (Sts. 1-2), 1894, Harriet K. Spaeth (St. 3), 1875, The Hymnal 1940, alt. Music: Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengeseng, 1599; harmonized by Michael Praetorius, Musae Sionae, VI, 1609); Come and Fill Our Hearts (Text & Music: Jacques Berthier; copyright © 1978, 1980, 1981 GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive agent. Make Me A Channel of Your Peace (Text: Prayer of St. Francis; adapted by Sebastian Temple. Music: Sebastian Temple; arranged by Felipe Blycker J. Text and Music copyright © 1976, 1975, 1980 OCP Publications, 5536 NE Hassalo, Portland, OR 97213. Arrangement copyright © 1968 OCP Publications. All rights reserved. Used with permission. As You Go Out from Here (Music & Text: Bryan Moyer Suderman; Public:
CCLI 491687 / One License A-714686
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1 Response to December 6, 2020: “On the Road to Repentance”

  1. Another amazing blog from Michael. All you have shared in this article are useful that I can’t wait to apply these in real life.
    “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32). Notice the good news; God will have mercy on all people. Mercy is compassion, pity, forgiveness, sympathy and kindness.
    You may also check my blog about Repent
    Hope this will also help. Thank you.


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