The return of Christ is imminent, meaning that, from reading the signs, it may be possible to detect the crisis and situation before he arrives (cf. Mark 13.28-29). Still, of the precise time, the “day or hour” when our Lord will arrive to consummate his work is undetectable and without discovery. Only the Father knows – not even the angels nor the incarnate Son (and certainly not us, the saints!) know. Because of this, the Lord advises us to be on guard, to keep awake, to stay alert “For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13.33).
Jesus compared the situation to a man going on a journey, who leaves home, places his affairs in the hands of his servant, commanding the doorkeeper to stay awake. We ought to, therefore, stay awake, for we have no idea when the master will return home – evening, midnight, or morning. Not being mindful, you may relax, fall asleep, and his coming catch you unawares. Jesus summarized the significance of his illustration: “And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake” (Mark 13.37).
The most appropriate response to John’s stirring message of the return of Christ is to stay awake, to be alert, to be on guard. Everything is at stake in the coming of our Lord, and we ought to respond as if we know how important it is. Above all, stay awake for he is coming soon!
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God our Father, thank you for the gracious description of your Son’s return given so vividly in the book of Revelation. We are convinced by your Word that he is soon to return, and his reward is with him. Grant us the stamina and wisdom to stay awake, ever alert to the possibility of your Son’s return, and the consummation of our soon salvation. Through Christ our Lord, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, Is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen, amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
--Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Affirmation from the Psalms
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!  Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!  With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!  Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!  Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together  before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
~ Psalm 98.4-9
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Cause my heart to stay alert, to be on guard for your soon return, O Christ, my God.