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Prepare the Way

December 6, 2020: Resources for Advent II (B)


Color: Blue or Purple
Scriptures: [linked to NRSV at Oremus Bible Browser]

Themes: Preparation, Waiting, Salvation, John the Baptist, Peace


Hymn Suggestions link to, a searchable resource with a wealth of information. The tunes listed here are the ones most commonly associated with the texts, and the biblical/thematic references suggest the hymn’s association with the morning’s scriptures or themes.

Baptized In Water (BUNESSAN) — Mark
Comfort, Comfort Now My People (GENEVAN 42 aka FREU DICH SEHR) — Isaiah, Mark
Dona Nobis Pacem (Canon) (DONA NOBIS PACEM) — Psalms
Go, Tell It on the Mountain (GO TELL IT) — Isaiah
Heaven Shall Not Wait (HEAVEN SHALL NOT WAIT) — 2 Peter
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light (HOUSTON) — 2 Peter, Mark
Lift Up Your Heads (TRURO) — Isaiah, 2 Peter
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (BEECHER; HYFRYDOL) — 2 Peter
Now the Heavens Start to Whisper (JEFFERSON; SUO GAN) — Isaiah, Mark
O Zion, Haste (TIDINGS) — Isaiah, 2 Peter
On Jordan’s Banks the Baptist’s Cry (PUER NOBIS NASCITUR; WINCHESTER NEW) — Isaiah, Mark
People Look East (BESANÇON) — Isaiah, Mark
Prepare the Royal Highway (BEREDEN VÄG FÖR HERRAN) — Isaiah, Mark
Songs of Praise the Angels Sang (MONKLAND) — 2 Peter
Watchman, Tell Us of the Night (ABERYSTWYTH) — Isaiah, 2 Peter



E = Easy, M = Moderate, MD = Moderately Difficult

Abide With Us, Emmanuel – ME – Psalms
Marty Haugen, © 2015, GIA Publications, G-9010
SATB, Solo, Keyboard, opt. Guitar, C-Instrument

And the Glory of the Lord – MD – Isaiah
G. F. Handel, from Messiah, Various publishers
SATB, Keyboard

Blest Be the God of Israel – M – Isaiah, Mark
Michael Burkhardt, arr., © 1997, MorningStar Music, MSM-60-0002
SATB/or Unison, Organ

Climb to the Top of the Highest Mountain – M – Isaiah
Carolyn Jennings, © 1981, Kjos Music, C8118
SATB, opt. Children’s Choir, Keyboard

Come, O Precious Ransom – MD – 2 Peter
Mark Shepperd, © 2006, MorningStar Music, MSM-50-0041
SATB, Handbells (5 bells)

Comfort, Comfort – M – Isaiah
Matthew Culloton, arr., © 2017, Galaxy Music Corp., 1.3489
SSAA, Flute, Drum

Comfort, Comfort – E – Isaiah
J.S. Bach, arr., © 1987, GIA Publications, G-3112
Unison or SATB, Keyboard, Strings

Love and Mercy – E – Psalms
Walter Pelz, © 2006, Augsburg Fortress, 9780800638696
SATB, Keyboard, opt. C-Instrument

Mercy and Truth Are Met – MD – Psalms
Ned Rorem © 1988, Boosey & Hawkes, 6101
SATB, Keyboard

Prepare the Way, O Zion – M – Isaiah, Mark
Kenneth Dake, arr., © 2012, MorningStar Music, MSM-50-0425
SATB, Violin, Organ

We Are Waiting – ME – 2 Peter
William Paxson, © 2004, Augsburg Fortress, 9780800676643
SATB, a cappella

Wonderful Peace – ME – Peace
Gustaf Nordqvist/Dan Davison, arr. © 2008, Walton, WW1408
SATB, Piano, Strings (opt. a cappella)


He Shall Feed His Flock – E – Isaiah, Mark
G. F. Handel, from Messiah/ M. Burkhardt, arr. © 1991, MorningStar, MSM-50-9404
Unison, Keyboard, opt. 2 C-Instruments

Prepare Ye – E – Isaiah, Psalms
Stephen Schwartz from Godspell © 1971, Valendano Music, i4033a
SATB, Keyboard, opt. Guitar, Drums





“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”

— JOSEPH CAMPBELL, The Power of Myth, 1988


“You can see that there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere,
and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death
again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires.”

— NELSON MANDELA, “No Easy Walk to Freedom,” 1953


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(from Isaiah 40:1-5)

Comfort, O Comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to them and offer my peace.
Speak, O Lord, for we long to hear a word from you.

In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and we shall all see it together.

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Friends, let us worship God, who builds highways of hope,
provides maps for travel, and brings exiles home.
Reveal your glory, Lord, and open our hearts
to receive your Spirit. AMEN.

— contributed by F. Timothy Moore*



God of hope, as we gather in advent, we expectantly wait for you
to break through the darkness that overshadows these days.
Where fear paralyzes us, grant us a love that casts out fear.
Where despair sees only obstacles,
provide hope that imagines a way to make the rough places a plain.
Where mistrust builds barriers between people,
deliver a faith in us where we love our neighbors as ourselves.
Reveal to us the glory of the Lord. In Jesus Christ,
who is still being born into this world, we pray. AMEN.



[Using a soloist sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”]

O Lord, we confess that, like the early Christians, we are tired of waiting.
It may be that “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years are like a day,” but our days are irreplaceable.
It has felt like a thousand days since the beginning of March, and we are tired of waiting.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.

While we wait for you to break us free from this pandemic,
this recession, and the racial injustice that has plagued us too long,
we hear your call to prepare the way.
Empower us to be about your work for the living of these days.
Enable us to walk by faith, not by sight.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.

Emmanuel. God with us.
The prophet Isaiah said they shall name him, Emmanuel,
which means God is with us.
With us through whatever challenges we face.
With us when we step forward into uncertain days.
Emmanuel be born in us anew.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Rejoice? Yes, rejoice. For we wait, not just for a vaccine,
or economic recovery, but for God’s reign of justice and peace.
We wait not with idle hands, but actively, living into the promises of God.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

In this Advent hope we wait.
In the name of Jesus, who came to give us life, we pray. AMEN.


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“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime;
therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful
or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous,
can be accomplished alone. Therefore we are saved by love.”

— REINHOLD NIEBUHR, Irony of American History, 1952


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God of wonder, who entered this world as crying baby born among barn animals,
we wonder how you will come to us now. It feels like we are living between times.
We are tired of masks and remote learning and social distancing. While we wonder
when will this end, we hear the Baptist yelling, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
Help us to prepare, to actively live into your hope.

We pray for doctors and nurses
as they care for the sick and dying;
give them resilience for the days ahead.
For researchers who are testing vaccines;
provide the insights needed
to develop safe and effective treatments.
We ask for wisdom for political leaders,
as newly elected administrations and representatives
and local officials prepare to take office;
grant them the capacity to prepare ways
to bring our nation together.
For all those struggling with depression and weary
from the extra work this pandemic demands;
enable them to draw strength from your enduring presence.

This is our Advent task: to be busy preparing
for what you will do next in this world.
Give us the eyes to see that the future is as bright
as the promises of God.
In this hope we trust and pray in your name. AMEN.

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Friends, a voice has cried out,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
So, as you go back into the world,
Rejoice and encourage the downhearted,
Pray without ceasing,
Live into hope.
And may the Lord bless you and keep you
every step of the way. AMEN.


* Thanks to Rev. Dr. F. Timothy Moore, for contributing this week’s prayers & liturgies. Tim is Writer-in-Residence and former pastor, Sardis Baptist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, and the author of Practicing Midrash: Reading the Bible’s Arguments as an Invitation to Conversation (Wipf & Stock).


Prepare the Way

You can find this and other curated collections of quality worship resources based upon the Revised Common Lectionary at Faithelement Resources for Worship.