St. John's Lutheran Church

In the City for Good!

St. John's Lutheran Church participates in God's mission to bless, save, restore and reconcile the world through meaningful worship and faithful witness in the city of Des Moines and around the world.

St. John's Lutheran Church invites and welcomes all people to experience the Good News of God's grace, forgiveness and unfailing love. The Good News calls and empowers us to share God's love in word and deed throughout our city, nation and world.

Prepare for Worship

Worship Schedule

December 3 – First Sunday of Advent

Readings: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13: 24-37

Our season of Advent begins with the familiar prayer, “Stir up your power, and come!” Throughout the readings for today, we hear the plea of God’s people for restoration. In Isaiah, we hear the lament of a people whose lives have been upset by conflict and famine. Jesus’ words as he describes the coming of the Son of Man is both frightening in its language yet comforting in the sense that God offers the gift of reconciliation and new life. Just as God brought deliverance to God’s people in the past, we place our hope and trust in the strength of God to tear open the heavens and come.

Hymns: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (257); “Unexpected and Mysterious” (258); “The King Shall Come” (260)

Assisting with Worship:

  • Kisasa Musicians: “Psalm 80,” John Horman
  • Cathedral Choir: “Thou Shalt Know Him,” Mark Sirett
  • String Scholars: “Savior of the Nations, Come,” Wilhelm Friedemann Bach; “Meditation,” Jack Jarrett; “Sarabande,” G.F. Handel 

December 10 – Second Sunday of Advent

Readings: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

“Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son,” is our prayer during the second Sunday of Advent. The words of Isaiah are echoed in Mark’s gospel: “Prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3). Secure in the reconciling goodness of God, we are encouraged to repent of our sins and prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord. 

Hymns: “Prepare the Royal Highway” (264); “Unexpected and Mysterious” (258); “Hark, the Glad Sound” (239)

Assisting with Worship:

  • Youth Handbell Choir: “Rejoice, Rejoice!” Cathy Moklebust
  • Cathedral Choir: “And the Glory of the Lord” from The Messiah, G.F. Handel

December 17 – Third Sunday of Advent

Readings: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

“Gaudete” (rejoicing) Sunday, traditionally the third Sunday of Advent, comes with the prayer, “Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God.” Throughout the readings from Isaiah and 1 Thessalonians, God transforms our sorrow into joy. In the gospel text from John, Jesus is described as “the light of the world.” Led by the example of John the Baptist and strengthened in faith through baptism and Holy Communion, we are called to testify to the light of Christ. 

Hymns: “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers” (244); “Unexpected and Mysterious” (258); “People, Look East” (248)

Assisting with Worship:

  • Adult Handbell Choir: “Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People” arr. Kevin McChesney
  • Cathedral Choir: “The Spirit of the Lord,” Philip Stopford

December 24 (Morning) – Fourth Sunday of Advent 

Please note: there will we only one service for the Fourth Sunday of Advent at 10 a.m. – no 5 p.m. or 8 a.m. services.

Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Luke 1:46b-55; Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

“Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.” As we gather to celebrate the fourth and final Sunday of Advent, we are reminded of the strength of God’s promises. God keeps the promise made to David, that his throne will be everlasting. The angel, Gabriel, tells Mary that God will give the throne of David to her son, Jesus. Like Mary, we can confidently trust God’s faithful promises, and offer our resounding “yes” to God’s will. 

Hymns: “Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn” (242); “Unexpected and Mysterious” (258); “My Soul Proclaims Your Greatness, Lord” (251)

December 24 (Evening) – Nativity of Our Lord – Christmas Eve

Worship Services:

  • 5pm Family Service with Kisasa Musicians  
  •  8:30 p.m. Candlelight Service with Holy Communion, Adult Handbell Choir and Brass Ensemble
  • 11 p.m. Candlelight Service with Scripture, Carols, Cathedral Choir, Chamber Orchestra, and Adult Handbell Choir

Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14 [15-20]

We join with the multitude of angels and the host of heaven to sing, “Glory to God in the highest!” at the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  The Christ-child, the promised one, whose name will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father, comes to us with the light of truth, justice, peace, and healing.   

Hymns: “O Come, All Ye Faithful” (283); “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (270); “Silent Night” (281) 

Assisting with Worship:

  • 5 p.m.: Kisasa Musicians
  • 8:30 p.m.: Adult Handbell Choir, Brass Ensemble
  • 11 p.m.: Cathedral Choir, Chamber Orchestra, Adult Handbell Choir

December 25 – Nativity of Our Lord – Christmas Day

Readings: Isaiah 62:6-12; Psalm 97; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:[1-7] 8-20

Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, whose birth among us brings the light of truth into the darkness of sin and death.  Christ, the true light, is our everlasting hope.  We gather as a community around the light of Christ – the incarnate Word – to hear and proclaim the good news of our salvation.

Hymns: “Once in Royal David’s City” (269); “The First Noel” (300); “Joy to the World” (267)

December 31 – First Sunday of Christmas

Readings: Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Psalm 148; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:22-40

The appointed readings for the first Sunday of Christmas take us to Jerusalem, where Mary and Joseph, according to the Law of Moses, take their son, Jesus, to the temple for the ritual of purification. Guided by the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ identity is revealed to a devout and righteous man named Simeon. Known as the “Nunc dimittis,” Simeon’s song of praise to God ascends along with the witness of the 84-year-old Anna, of the tribe of Asher. Like Simeon and Anna, we rejoice in the presence of Jesus – our salvation – promised by God for the healing of the world. 

Hymns: “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice” (288); “O Lord, Now Let Your Servant” (313); “The Bells of Christmas” (298)

 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, Iowa  50309 - 515.243.7691 - a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America