One of the features of the modern order of the Communion service (that is, since the 1970’s) is that it begins with an “acclamation”, which is a call-and-response Call to Worship. There are a number of seasonal options in our liturgy, most of which are found in the 1979 Prayer Book and a few that are newer than that.
During the season of Advent, the recommended Opening Acclamation is from Revelation 22:20. The verse is “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” And this is adapted liturgically into:
Celebrant Surely the Lord is coming soon,
People Amen. Come Lord Jesus!
This simple versicle captures the essence of the Advent season more succinctly than most other verses can. The Collect for the first Sunday (and traditionally the whole season) is fantastic for summarizing the season in a doctrinal and applicable manner, but here we have what could be said to be the gem at the center of it. Jesus will be back “soon” or “suddenly,” and we look forward to that day!
Is that really a prayer on your lips, “Come, Lord Jesus”? As an Acclamation we literally acclaim God – speak well of him, invite him into our hearts, affirm his holiness, answer his call to be with him. In the season of Advent, we are reminded that “Come, Lord Jesus!” is not just a prayer of judgmental fundamentalists, or crazy cultists, or end-times nutters, but the biblical prayer of all followers of Christ Jesus. With just a week left to go, this season, let’s keep this prayer fresh on our hearts and lips.