Worship Service: The Strong Shepherd - Micah 5

An Advent Candlelight service outline focused on Micah's prophecy and our anticipation, awaiting a Messiah who will be our "Strong Shepherd," bring deliverance to his people and establish the eternal reign of God. This is part of a series on Micah and the hope that he pronounced.

Micah's Hope

This series of worship services explores the season of Advent through the eyes of the prophet Micah.

Theme of the Service

Because we are in the Advent Season, we continue the theme of anticipation. In this portion of Micah's prophecy we are taught to anticipate the arrival of a Messiah who will serve as a "Strong Shepherd" to bring not only deliverance to God's people, but also to establish the eternal reign of God.

[Note: This service is designed as a candlelight service. You may (1) use it this way, (2) make whatever modifications are necessary to fit your worship schedule, or (3) use this service for a Christmas Eve candlelight service. If your schedule does not include a Candlelight Service, you may want to replace parts of this service with the Service of Renewal in the Liturgy Notes.]

* * *

THE OPENING OF WORSHIP

Prelude: “How Bright Appears the Morning Star”
“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Call to Worship

A voice cries:
"In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
As we worship today,
let us prepare to welcome God's dramatic work in our midst,
in our hearts, in our community, and in all of creation.
Let us worship God. (TWS, D.1.2.2)

Processional: "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
"Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"

*God's Greeting and Congregational Amen!

*Song: “How Bright Appears the Morning Star” PH 69, PsH 357, RL 367, TH 515 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

Lighting the Advent Candles: [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes for an explanation of Advent Candles]

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world;
the one who follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”
We light these candles as a sign of the coming light of Christ.

(Four Advent Candles are lit.)

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
—Isaiah 9:2, NRSV

I will lead the blind
by a road they do not know,
by the paths they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do
and I will not forsake them.
—Isaiah 42:16, NRSV

The LORD says to his servant,
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
—from Isaiah 49:6, NRSV

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
—Isaiah 58:8, NRSV

Come, Lord Jesus, our light and our salvation.
Let us walk in the light of the Lord. (TWS, D.1.4.27)

God's Call to Live in the Light - Ephesians 5:8-10, 15-17
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

*Song: "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light" RN 152:1-3, SNC 77:1-3, TWC 539:1-3, UMH 206:1-3, WOV 649 [see <href="#music" >music notes]


OUR STRONG SHEPHERD…

The Reading of Scripture: Micah 5:1-5
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Message

Prayer

Congregational Songs:
"The People Who in Darkness Walked" PsH 192
"I Am the Lord Your God" PsH 199
(During the singing an offering is received.)


…RULING IN MAJESTY…

Message

Prayer

The Reading of Scripture: Luke 2:1-15
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Anthem: "How Will We Know Him?", Algozin [see <href="#music" >music notes]
Song: "Silent Night! Holy Night!" PH 60, PsH 344, RL 216, TH 210, TWC 164, UMH 239 [see <href="#music" >music notes]
Anthem: "Christmas Processional", Spevacek [see <href="#music" >music notes]
*Song: "Joy to the World" PH 40, PsH 337, RL 198, SFL 137, TH 195, TWC 146, UMH 246 [see <href="#music" >music notes]
Anthem: "And the Glory of the Lord", Handel [see <href="#music" >music notes]


…WITH UNIVERSAL GREATNESS

Message

Prayer

Anthem: "Angels' Carol,” Rutter [see <href="#music" >music notes]

Song of the Angels:
(Each song within this section will flow to the next with a short organ interlude)
"Angels We Have Heard on High" PH 23:1,2; PsH 347:1,2; RL 206:1,2; TH 214:1, 2; TWC 152:1,2;
UMH 238:1,2 [see <href="#music" >music notes]
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" PH31/32:1,2; PsH 345:1,2; RL 196:1,2; TH 203:1,2; TWC 171:1,2;
UMH 240:1,2
"Angels We Have Heard on High" PH 23:3; PsH 347:3; RL 206:3; TH 214:3 TWC 152:3, UMH 238:3

The Lighting of Devotional Candles [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

Anthem: “Christus Paradox”, Fedak
or Duet: "Coronation", Courtney


THE CLOSING OF WORSHIP

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Song of Celebration: "Crown Him with Many Crowns" PH 151, PsH 410, RL 600, RN 56, SFL 181, TH 295, TWC 92, UMH 327

Postlude: "Crown Him with Many Crowns"
or: “Joy to the World!” [see <href="#music" >music notes]

* You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes:

This message looks at Micah 5:4 very closely and contains elements of surprise similar those in Micah 5:2. There are a number of elements in this text that sequentially build on each other. Because of the structure of this service, the sermon takes the form of three shorter messages. Each message examines one element of the text. The text is built on the idea of "shepherd," a concept that was very familiar to Micah’s readers/hearers. They knew what shepherds were. They knew Psalm 23 and Isaiah's words in chapter 40:11. And we like that concept, too, because we know the words of Jesus in John 10, "I am the good shepherd…."

1. One of the surprises here is that "shepherd" is teamed with the word "strength." The first message deals with this. Whereas the focus for shepherds is often on warmth, protection and nurturing, this passage speaks about "strength," more specifically the "strength of the Lord." These words remind us of deity and make it clear that this is no ordinary shepherd, but a shepherd with nurturing care and strong power!

2. Another level of meaning is added when the word "majesty" enters. Shepherds and majesty usually don't go together! Shepherds are rugged outdoors types, not marked by majesty. Yet, this shepherd-king is modeled after the pattern of David. This one is called the "Son of the Most High God" (Luke 1). Angels heralded his arrival! Redemption and even resurrection are a part of his story.

3. And, finally, our text adds another element: "His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth." If we lived in ancient Israelite walled cities, we might be able to feel some security, but we would always wonder if an enemy could breach the walls. With this mighty king, even the ends of the earth come to know his power. His kingdom provides a security that no other kingdom provides. What hope for us! This picture of a strong kingdom builds throughout the ministry of Christ and the church until it results in the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 and 22.

Music Notes:
Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America;
Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Suggestions for prelude based on the hymn tunes PICARDY and WIE SCHÖN LEUCHET can be found in the following resources:

PICARDY [Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence]

Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. Four Hymn Improvisations for Holy Week. Morningstar
MSM-10-318 [1995] (E-M)
Callahan, Charles. Five Improvisations on Communion Hymns. Concordia
97-6126 [1991] (E-M)
Childs, Edwin T. For Manuals Only. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7691-2 [2004] (E)
Kosche, Kenneth T. Four Organ Preludes for Advent. Morningstar MSM-10-020
[2004] (E- M)
Noble, T. Tertius. Choral Prelude on the Tune Picardy. Schmidt [1926] (E-M)
Schack, David. (1980) Augsburg Organ Library – Autumn. Augsburg
ISBN 0-8006-7579-7 [2003] (E-M)
Sowerby, Leo. Meditations on Communion Hymns. (Picardy) H.W.Grey (E-M)
Travis, Albert L. Prelude on Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. Morningstar
MSM-10-821 [1991] (M)
Warner, Richard. Organ Music for the Communion Service. Concordia 97-1395 [1956] (M)

WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTET [How Bright Appears the Morning Star]

Organ:
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 5. AMSI SP-102 [1985] (D)
Cherwien, David. Seasonal Interpretations. Advent/Christmas Summa Productions
SP-110 [1997] (M)
Drischner, Max. Augsburg Organ Library– Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001] (M)
Held, Wilbur. 6 Hymn Settings for Epiphany. Morningstar MSM-10-206 [1999] (E-M)
Hildebrand, Kevin. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 3. Concordia 97-7052 [2004] (E)
Leupold, A.W. An Organ Book. Chantry Music Press [1960] (E-M)
Manz, Paul. Augsburg Organ Library – Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001] (D)
Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (M)
Manz, Paul. How Lovely Shines the Morning Star. Concordia 97-5306 [1975]
(E-M, with oboe)
Manz, Paul. Three For Epiphany. Morningstar MSM-10-203 [1992] (E-M)
Peeters, Flor. 30 Chorale Preludes. Peters 6023 [1950] (M-D)
Pelz, Walter L. O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright. Morningstar MSM-10-201 [1990]
(M-D)
Sedio, Mark. (1996) Augsburg Organ Library – Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073
[2001] (E- M)
Sedio, Mark. Eight Hymn Introductions. Morningstar MSM-10-836 [1991] (E-M)
Sedio, Mark. Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ. Augsburg 11-10718 [1996] (E-M)

Piano:
Carter, John. Still More Carols for Piano. Hope 8175 [2002] (E-M)

The Processional could include a combination of the texts of “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” (PsH 591) and “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” both sung to the tune PICARDY. These selected verses could be sung by sections of a choir, or multiple choirs, or in alternation with the congregation.

Alternative harmonizations for the congregational songs are listed below in the same order as they appear in the service.

WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTET [How Bright Appears the Morning Star]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555
[2001]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

HOUSTON [I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555
[2001]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Sedio, Mark/Cherwien, David.Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-
7580-0 [2003]

STILLE NACHT [Silent Night! Holy Night!]

Choral Resource:

Bock, Fred. Peace, Peace. Fred Bock BG2143 [1989]
(SATB, congregation, accompanied with opt. 3 oct. hand bells and
instrumental obbligato; E)

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. Easy Hymn Settings Christmas. Morningstar MSM-10-115 [1992]
Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ, vol. 2. CPH97-6851 [2000]
Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]
Wood, Dale. New Settings of Twenty Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9292
[1968]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Porter, Rachel Trelstad & Carlson, J. Bert. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045
[2000]

ANTIOCH [Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555
[2001]
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 2. Ludwig O-07 [1983]
Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]

GLORIA [Angels We Have Heard on High]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. Easy Hymn Settings Christmas. Morningstar MSM-10-115 [1992]
Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ, vol. 2. CPH97-6851 [2000]
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 2. Ludwig O-07 [1983]
Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]

MENDELSSOHN [Hark! The Herald Angels Sing]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]
Johnson, David N. Free Harmonizations of Twelve Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9190
[1964]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Farlee, Robert Buckley. Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0
[2003]

DIADEMATA [Crown Him with Many Crowns]

Choral Resource:
Pelz, Walter L. Crown Him With Many Crowns. Augsburg 11-9093 [1963]
(SATB, congregation, organ and trumpets; E-M)

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 1. Ludwig O-05 [1975]
Wood, Dale. New Settings of Twenty Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Augsburg
11-9292 [1968]

The anthems suggested for this service [listed in the same order as in the service] can be found as follows:

Algozin, Charlotte. How Will We Know Him? Choristers Guild CGA 634 [1993] (Unison, E)
Spevacek, Linda. Christmas Processional. Jenson 437-03014 [1980] (SATB
and organ or piano with opt. percussion; could include Children’s choir; E-M)
Handel, G.F. And the Glory. Schirmer 3829 (SATB and piano, M)
Rutter, John. Angels' Carol. Hinshaw HMC-1002 [1988] (SATB with piano or harp;
also available in two part HMC-986; M)
Fedak, Alfred. Christus Paradox. GIA G-5463 [2000] (SATB and organ, M)
Courtney, Craig. Coronation. Beckenhorst BP1273 [1986]
(Two-part mixed Choir, keyboard, opt. horn and chimes or opt. brass quartet;
E-M)

Suggestions for postlude, based on the final hymn of the service can be found in the following resources:

DIADEMATA [Crown Him with Many Crowns]

Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael Five Easter Season Hymn Improvisations. Morningstar MSM-10-403
[1990] (E-M)
Callahan, Charles Partita on Diademata. Morningstar MSM 10-409 [1991] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Hymn Preludes for the Pentecost Season. Concordia 97-5517 [1979] (E-M)

Piano:
Boertje, Barbara. Piano Improvisations for the Church Year. Unity 70/1194U [1998] (E-M)

The alternate suggestion “Joy to the World!” can be found in:

ANTIOCH

Organ:
Behnke, John A. Five Familiar Carols for Christmas. Hope 1749 [1994] (E-M)
Burkhardt, Michael. Five Christmas Hymn Improvisations, set 3. Morningstar
MSM-10-137 [1998] (E-M)
Callahan, Charles. A Christmas Suite. Morningstar MSM-10-109 [1990] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 3. AMSI OR-6 [1983] (E-M)
Haan, Raymond H. Festival Hymn Preludes. SMP KK329 [1985] (E-M)
Haan, Raymond H. Five for Christmas. Morningstar MSM-10-139 [1999] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 4. Concordia 97-7032 [2005] (E-M)
Langlois, Kristina. 5 for the Christmas Season. Morningstar MSM-10-146 [2000] (M)
Schaffner. Five Christmas Carols in Baroque Style. Concordia 97-6194 [1993]
(adaptable for piano, M)

Piano:
Carter, John. Carols for Piano. Hope 232 [1987] (E-M)
Carter, John. Still More Carols for Piano. Hope 8175 [2002] (E-M)

Liturgy Notes:

1. This is designed as a Candlelight Service so its structure varies from the normal service structure. The three major ideas of the text shape the structure of this service, and the sermon takes the form of three messages, each focusing on a different element of the text. Responses in song are associated with each of the three sections.

2. The Service of Advent Candle Lightings builds on the previous weeks. Portions of the readings and the Candle Lightings are the same from week to week. Each week an additional prophetic passage is added. We suggest that you consider including separate readers for each of the passages associated with the Advent Candles.

3. If you are using this service for Christmas Eve, you may want to include this additional reading:

[on the eve of Christmas or on Christmas Day]
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For the darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your dawn.
—Isaiah 6-0:1-3 NRSV

4. If this service is not a Candlelight Service but a usual Sunday morning service, you may want to include the Service of Renewal as on previous Sundays, as follows:

WE ARE RENEWED IN GOD'S GRACE

The Call to Confession:
Prepare the way of the Lord!
Let us make our confessions to God. (TWS D.2.1.1)

Our Prayer of Confession:
While we ask, Lord, for the most meaningful Advent season ever,
we sadly confess having done so little with so much.
Forgive us, Lord,
for not bending the knee,
for not reading your Word,
for not searching our hearts,
for not facing our sins.
Forgive us according to your tender mercies, O God!
Grant that when Christmas morning breaks for us this year,
we may have a fresh sense of your presence
and a renewed resolve to live to the praise of Christ's glory. Amen. (TWS D.2.2.8)

The Assurance of God's Pardon:
“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.
Your sins are pardoned.
The penalty is paid.
Thanks be to God. (based on Isaiah 40:1,2, TWS D.2.4.2)

Sung Response: "Halle, Halle, Hallelujah!" RN 139, SNC 44:3, WOV 612 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

Lighting the Advent Candles follows.

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