Told of God's favor

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The story of Mary and her immediate faith-response is found in Luke 1:26-38 which records the visit and announcement to her; the magnificat in 1:46-55; and the insight into her “pondering” in 2:19.  On the other hand we see Joseph’s somewhat reluctant response, by comparison, in Matthew 1:18-25.


Told of God's favor

Call to Worship

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
As we enter this season of Advent,
may the love of God the Father, and the grace of Jesus the Son,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with us all.
[Reformed Worship 57:4]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

"Told of God's Favor" to be sung after the reading for the First Sunday of Advent.
Each reading in this resource focuses on a significant Advent theme (contemplation, holiness,
social justice, rejoicing, incarnation).
[First Sunday of Advent]
The Advent wreath is a circle with no beginning and no end.
It is a symbol of God’s unending love and faithfulness.
The prophet Isaiah said, “The Lord himself will give you a sign:
the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and will call him Immanuel.”
The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Greetings you who are highly favored!
The Lord is with you.”
We rejoice that we too have found favor with God.
God’s mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation.
—based on Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:28, NIV
[Second Sunday of Advent]
The Advent wreath is a circle with no beginning and no end.
It is a symbol of God’s unending love and faithfulness.
Its light reminds us of Jesus, the light of the world.
In him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it.

Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light.
Live as children of light.
If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

We are all children of light and children of the day;
we are not of the night or of darkness.
Jesus said, “Everyone who believes in me
should not remain in the darkness.”

—based on John 1:4-5; 12:46; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 John 1:7, NRSV
[Third Sunday of Advent]
The Advent wreath is a circle with no beginning and no end.
It is a symbol of God’s unending love and faithfulness.
Isaiah the prophet calls us to prepare for the coming of Jesus
by making straight all that is crooked.

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Let us prepare for Jesus, the Christ,
who is anointed by God to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.
For as a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.

—based on Isaiah 40:3, 5; 61:1, 11, NRSV
[Fourth Sunday of Advent]
The Advent wreath is a circle with no beginning and no end.
It is a symbol of God’s unending love and faithfulness.
The shepherds were the first to hear
the joyful announcement of Christ’s birth—
the good news of great joy for all the people.

Upon seeing the baby Jesus, the shepherds
spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
and all who heard it were amazed.
We have also heard this wonderful news.
We welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

Though we have not seen Jesus, we love him;
and even though we do not see him now, we believe in him.
And we are filled with an expressible and glorious joy.
—based on Luke 2:10, 17-18; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:8, NIV
[Eve of Christmas or Christmas Day]
The Advent wreath is a circle with no beginning and no end.
It is a symbol of God’s unending love and faithfulness.
Jesus Christ is the brightest revelation of God’s love.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory,
the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,
full of grace and truth.

—based on John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-7; Colossians 1:15, NIV
[Reformed Worship 65:10]

Told of God's favor

Tune Information

D Major



Told of God's favor

Author Information

Richard Leach (b. Bangor, Maine, 1953) is a leading contemporary writer of words for hymns. Using traditional forms, he creates striking new texts with biblical and theological integrity. His work is included in hymnals and hymnal supplements from a wide spectrum of denominations including the Church of Scotland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church, the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA and others; and in many independent hymnals and hymnal supplements. Selah has been publishing collections of his texts since 1995. In addition, dozens of anthem settings of his words have been composed and published by Selah, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, GIA Publishing, Inc., and other publishers. He is a frequent presenter at conferences of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and has been called a master of his craft in the review pages of The Hymn Society journal.
Leach describes his writing in this way: "I often write in response to particular Bible passages. I try to tell familiar stories in new ways, or listen to less familiar passages for what they might say to us. I want my hymns to enliven those who sing, to give singers something new which they can make their own."
Besides hymn and anthem texts, Leach has written three cantatas with music by Curt Oliver: "For the Healing of the Nations" (1999), "The Book of Waters" (2004), and "Blessing Without Borders, A Christmas Celebration" (2005). He has written words for art song by composers Carson Cooman and William Vollinger, and jazz song lyrics. With David Schaap, he has edited The Selah Psalter, Hear the Angels Sing, and And Jesus Said, Hymns on the Parables.
Leach's commissioned works include the cantatas written with Curt Oliver, and hymns for various occasions including the biennial conference of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians in New York City in 2005. Those interested in the possibility of commissioning a hymn text or other work may contact him using the link below.
Leach received a B.A. in religion from Bowdoin College (1974), and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary (1978). He was a United Church of Christ pastor in Connecticut from 1978 to 1999. Since then he has been the business manager of an information systems consulting company, and a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
— Selah Publishing Co. (http://www.selahpub.com/)

Composer Information

Russell Schulz-Widmar (b. Harvard, Illinois, 1944) has been Associate Professor of Church Music, Organist and Choirmaster at The Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, in Austin, Texas, since 1974. He is also Director of Music at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Austin. He has traveled widely as the recipient of numerous grants and has received many honors from universities and sacred music organizations. Schulz-Widmar has written works for organ as well as choral anthems and solos.
He received a B. Mus. from Valparaiso University, S.M.M. from the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in N.Y.C., and a D.M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a past President of The Hymn Society and has served on the editorial boards for several hymnals.
— Selah Publishing Co. (http://www.selahpub.com/)

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