King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Using texts from Handel's Messiah in an Advent communion service


The Opening

The Lord whom you seek shall suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight; behold, he is coming, rejoice greatly, shout in triumph.

Our king is coming. He is the righteous Savior, He shall speak peace unto the nations.
(Malachi 3:1; Zech. 9:9-10)

The morning sun from heaven shall
rise upon us, to shine on those who
live in darkness under the shadow of
to guide our feet into the way of


And now as our Lord gives to us his peace, so let us pass the peace to each other.

(Here the minister initiates the passing of the peace with the words "The peace of the Lord be with you," and each person responds "and also with you .")

Hymn: O Come, O Come, Immanuel
[stanza 1 plus one or two different stanzas are sung for each of the four Sundays of Advent.] (HB 147, PsH 328, RL 184, TH 147

(At this point the the Advent candles are lit.)

Act of Penitence

The Bidding

Come to him, all you that labor and are
heavy laden,
and he loill give you rest.
Take his yoke upon you, and learn of him;
for he is meek and lowly of heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
(Matthew 11:28-29)

Draw near with faith,
and make your humble confession to
almighty God,
that you may be reconciled to God
anew through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Confession

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own
and you have laid on him the
iniquity of us all.

(Isaiah 53:6)

We have followed too often the
devices and desires of our own
We have offended against your holy
We have left undone those things
which we ought to have done;
and we have done those things that
we ought not to have done.
There is no health in us.

Hymn: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus [stanza 1 only] (HB 151, PsH 329, RL 183, THUS)

Declaration of Pardon

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs in his arms.
(Isaiah 53:4-5)

Hymn Response:'All Glory Be To God on High" (PsH 247, RL 620, TH 145)


Every valley shall be exalted,
every mountain and hill be made loio, the
crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough places plain.
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and
all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth
of the Lord has spoken.
(Isaiah 40:5)

Old Testament Reading

(Concluding with "Here ends the Old Testament reading.")

Thanks be to you, O God.

Psalm [to be sung]

New Testament Reading

(Concluding with "Here ends the New Testament reading.")

Glory be to you, O Lord.



The Response

Prayer for Blessing upon the Word

The Creed

Let us together confess the faith of the church at all times and in all places:

I know that my redeemer lives,
and that he shall stand at the latter
day upon the earth.
And though worms destroy this
yet in my flesh shall I see God;

(Job 19:25-26)

for now is Christ risen from the dead,
the firstfruits of those that sleep.
Since by man came death,
by man came also the resurrection of
the dead.
For as in Adam all die,
even so in Christ shall all be made

(1 Corinthians 15: 20-22)

Hallelujah, the Lord God omnipotent
The kingdom of this world is become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his
and he shall reign for ever and ever.
King of kings and Lord of lords.

(Revelation 11:15)

Intercessory Prayer

(Prayers led by someone from the congregation, and including either room for free prayer or requests mentioned in advance.)

The Lord's Supper

The Offertory

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the gospels tell us that on the first day of the week, the same day on which our Lord rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples in the place where they were gathered and was made known to them in the breaking of bread. Come then to the joyful feast of the Lord. Let us prepare the table with the offerings of our life and labor.

(At this point a representative of each family comes forward and places their offering in the collection baskets on the communion table. After this, a family brings the bread and wine for the communion forward.)

Hymn; "Now Thank We All Our God" (st. 1 only) (HB 9, PsH 454, RL 61, TH 86)

The Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is fitting for us to give thanks.
It is right and fitting,
our joy and our salvation,
that we should at all times
and in all places
give thanks to you,
O Lord, Holy Father,
Almighty, everlasting God,
through Christ our Lord:

For he is the Savior, whom in your mercy and faithfulness you promised to humanity after the fall, that his truth might come to instruct the ignorant, his holiness to purify sinners, his strength to sustain the weak.

Since the time is at hand when the one you send shall come, since the day of our deliverance has begun to dawn, full of confidence in your promises we live in joy.

Therefore with the whole company of saints in heaven and on earth we worship and glorify you, God most holy, and we sing with joy:

Hymn: "On Jordan's Bank" [stanza 5 only] (PsH 327, RL 187)

The Institution

We give thanks to God the Father that our Savior Jesus Christ, before he suffered, gave us this memorial of his sacrifice, until his coming again. For on the night of his arrest he took bread and, after giving thanks to God, broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, he took the cup after supper and said, "This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me."

The Memorial

His death, O God, we proclaim.
His resurrection we declare.
His coming we await.
Glory be to you, O Lord.

Prayer of Consecration

Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit upon us, that in eating the bread we may share in the body of Christ, and that in drinking from the cup we may share in his blood. Grant that being joined together in him we may become united in faith, and in all things become mature in Christ who is our head. Now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be…

The Breaking of Bread

(as the minister breaks the bread and pours the wine)

The bread which we break— is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

Indeed, for we who are many are one body, and we all share the same loaf.

The cup for which we give thanks— is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?

The wine which we all drink is indeed our fellowship in the blood of Christ.

The Invitation

Congregation in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord has prepared his table for all who love him and trust in him for their salvation. All who are truly sorry for their sins, who sincerely believe in the Lord Jesus as their Savior, and who desire to live in obedience to him, are now invited to come with gladness to the table of the Lord.

The Dedication

I am not worthy that you should come under my roof; but speak one word only, Lord, and I shall be healed.

Blessed are they who come in the name of the Lord.

I shall receive the bread of heaven, I shall drink the wine of salvation.

The gifts of God for the people of God.

The Communion

(Throughout, hymns are sung.)

The Thanksgiving

Congregation in Christ, since the Lord has fed us at his table, let us praise his holy name with thanksgiving.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
and has redeemed us to God by his
to receive power and riches and
and strength and honor and glory
and blessing.
Blessing and honor,
glory and power,
be unto him who sits upon the
throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever
and ever. Amen.

(Revelation 5: 12-13)

Hymn: "Joy to the World" (st. 1) (AB 161; PsH 337; RL 198; TH 149)

The Dismissal

May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who has shown us such love, and in his grace has given us such unfailing encouragement and bright hope, fortify us in every good word and deed.

Lord, let your servant now depart in
peace, according to your word.
For my eyes have seen your salvation
which you prepared before the face
of all people,
to be a light for the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.

(Luke 2:29-32)

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.

Hymn: "Joy to the World" (st. 2-3)

The words of this Advent liturgy are in large part taken from the text to Handel's Messiah. The service was adapted from bulletins RW received from the Church of the Servant, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Hymns in this service were selected from the following hymnals:
The Hymnbook (HB), Psalter Hymnal (PsH), Rejoice in the Lord (RL), Trinity Hymnal (TH).

Reformed Worship 17 © September 1990, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.