Service for December 13, 2020 – Third Sunday of Advent

Featured art is Saint John the Baptist, by Lippo Memmi (1325).

Download a PDF of this service’s bulletin here or follow along below.

Call to Worship

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

Psalm 126

Welcome and Announcements

Invocation for Peace

The Lighting of the Third Advent Candle – The Candle of Joy


The Peace of Christ

May God grant us courage to change the things need changing,
the peace to accept the things we cannot change,
and wisdom to know the difference.

Scripture Lesson 1

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

  1. The 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;
  2. to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
  3. to 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.
  4. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
  1. For 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.
  2. Their 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.
  3. I 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.
  4. For 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.

Scripture Lesson 2

Luke 1:46b-55 – Selected and read by Deacon LeRoy Potts

  1. b. “My soul magnifies the Lord,
  2. and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
  3. for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
  4. for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
  5. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
  6. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
  7. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
  8. he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
  9. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
  10. according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Pastoral Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

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
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.

Sermon Lesson

John 1:6-8, 19-28

  1. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
  2. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
  3. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
  1. This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
  2. He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.”
  3. And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.”
  4. Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
  5. He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,'” as the prophet Isaiah said.
  6. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
  7. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
  8. John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know,
  9. the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.”
  10. This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.


New Radicals – Rev. Nicolas Mumejian


In the Life of the Church

Welcome to Riverside Baptist Church, where our one law is love of God and neighbor. Justice and peace matter to us. So we celebrate racial diversity, gender equality, and inclusion of all persons no matter their sexual orientation. We draw the circle of God’s love large here. You’re included. Christ is the center here. No one more and nothing less.

With the continued recommendation from the CDC and local authorities Riverside’s building will remain closed until further notice. While the building is closed, we gather online to worship. We will keep you updated through the newsletter and the website on the status of the building. Please do not hesitate to contact our staff should you need anything.

Visitors – please go here to let us know that you were online with us today.

Every Sunday at 11:00 am we gather online via Zoom to fellowship and pray. Information is available on the website. This Sunday we will share communion at the end of the meeting. Bring your elements to your table that we may all join around Christ’s table. Please join us!

Bible Study and Safe Space Chat is on break until January.

Today is the third Sunday of Advent!

Toys for Tots –Thank you to all who donated to help neighborhood families with the Toys for Tots distribution at Westminster Presbyterian Church yesterday.

Our choral Christmas program will be presented Sunday, December 20 during the Sunday service. Join us online as the choir makes a joyful noise!

On Christmas Eve at 7:00 pm, we will have a live service of lessons and carols via Zoom.

We extend our deepest Christian sympathy to Ambassador Mattie Sharpless in the passing of her mother, Lecola Sharpless.

Pray For: Danielle Ford’s aunt, Connie Jasper; Danielle Ford and Laurel Eierman; Derek Ford and his sister, Misha Reed; Annie Abbott; Brenda Rozier-Clark and the family of Rev. Paul Clark; Anthony Maimer’s sister, Davi Stuhlsatz; Denise Bennett’s sister, Dyanne Smith; Tanya Bethel’s mother, Ruby McCrary; Pamela Maimer’s sister, Monica Thomas and mother, Clara Jefferson; Bob Nelson; Laurel Eierman’s mother, Marcia Tringali; Tanya Bethel; Gale Miller’s mother, Marian Miller; Karl Maxwell; Edith Booker; Emma Wright’s sister Sallie Williams; Lillie Ransom’s sister Teriea and her husband, Jerry; Sheba Greene’s daughter Donna; Dr. Bledsoe’s mother, Peggy Bledsoe