Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):
Click on Scripture Lessons below for
Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal
The Oremus Hymnal offers many good choices for the lectionary (although this 2010 version will have incorrect calendar dates). Not all are available in Chalice Hymnal, but some may be helpful in congregations where there is not a Chalice Hymnal available. Visit the Oremus Hymnal.
Any of the hymns listed for Christmas are most appropriate.
More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.
Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:
Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin. Where practical, these may be offered here as well. You may also want to visit http://www.modernpsalter.com/ or
This week: None of the text is directly cited, but hymns #21-22 are both grounded in its understanding.
Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2013, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
On Hebrews 2:10-18
Perfect in suffering, the Lord is like us.
He sanctifies those suffering as he,
those whom he names his brothers, sisters gladly,
we who his congregation form for joy.
In flesh and blood he conquers death’s great power
securing freedom, life and longing here
where we rejoicing follow in his rising
and by his expiation set we free.
22.214.171.124. Suggested tune: Highwood
Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer (by the editor)
The Word made flesh has come to dwell among us, a people who have not been quick to see him or know him. May our eyes be opened to the coming of the Christ, for he is born among us this day, and will dwell in the hearts of all who will make room for him.
Call to Worship (adapted by the editor from Psalm 148)
L: Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
P: Praise God, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
L: Praise God, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
P: Praise God, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
L: Young men and women alike, old and young together! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
P: God has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the LORD!
Prayer of Approach (adapted by the editor)
L: The Lord be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: Let us pray. Reigning God, whose rule extends to the farthest stars, come to rule within us on this glorious day when the Word becomes flesh once more to dwell among us. We open ourselves to the light and long to offer our lives as a dwelling place for your truth. Speak to us again through the Child of Bethlehem. Reach out to the child in each of us, and hold us in the warmth of love’s embrace. For we pray in his name (as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)
Intercessions (adapted by the editor)
Eternal God, whose Spirit whispers in the calm of evening, calls in the quiet dawn, broods over the great deep, and dwells in the hearts of mortals; we rejoice in your self-revealing birth at Bethlehem. Cleanse our eyes to see the Christ, and open our hearts to receive him. Give us grace to bring the best as our heart’s devotion. We would be obedient to the simple teachings of Jesus and responsive to his word. Help us to live in the spirit of this gracious season. Teach us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as you have forgiven us. We would be humble, for we know our weakness. Deliver us from foolish pride and vain conceit. Renew in us the gentle spirit of childhood. And help us to offer to you in all simplicity hearts that are useful as your dwelling-places. Hear us as we ask your blessing for those who bring the good tidings of peace and redemption: teachers and ministers, chaplains and missionaries. Look with favor upon those who practice the arts of good will in business and industry, and in all human relationships. Grant to all your servants satisfaction in their work, and success in their endeavors. Graciously bless those who show the Christmas spirit – who befriend the needy, gladden the hearts of children, and radiate kindness and good cheer. Grant that through their own gentle ministries they may find gladness, comfort, and peace. Let your Spirit descend upon our young people. Open their eyes to beauty, their minds to joy, and their hearts to the whispers of the Christ. Make them strong to meet life’s challenges. Help them to rise to their opportunities. Inspire them with eagerness to serve under the banner of the Prince of Peace. We bring to you those who rejoice in new-found happiness. Sanctify their joy, and enable them to serve you with gladness. We commend ourselves with our hopes, aspirations, and secret prayers to your goodness, O God. Through the year, your love has been our light, and your strength has been our recourse. May we have the assurance of your presence as we go forward. Guide us by the star of your love, enable us to sing with the angels, and grant us the constant companionship of Jesus Christ the Savior, in whose name we pray.
(Bidding Prayers from Common Worship; R=Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.)
To us a child is born, to us a son is given; let us pray for the people he came to save.
Wonderful Counsellor, you order all things with your wisdom: help the Church to reveal the mystery of your love and fill her with the Spirit of truth: R
Mighty God, the government is on your shoulders: guide the leaders of the nations and bring in your kingdom of justice and righteousness: R
Everlasting Father, you call us to live together in unity: protect by your mercy all your children, bless our families and renew our communities: R
Prince of Peace, you bring reconciliation through the cross: by your healing power give to all who suffer your gift of wholeness and peace: R
Let us commend the world, to which Christ came, to the mercy and protection of God.
Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept. The Collect and Lord’s Prayer follow.
Collect of the Day (Book of Common Prayer, 1979)
Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
Collect of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2013, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
So poignantly do we encounter life, O God
within the throes of eagerness to thrive
and angst at the imagination of threat.
Preserve in this piquant mix of anxious dread
the promise and the hope,
the leading edge of your intrusive delight
in Christ Jesus.
Service of Table (adapted by the editor using traditional responses)
We come to this table as a people unprepared. Our world is as unready for the coming of Emmanuel as was the crowded town of Bethlehem. We are as un-attuned to the eternal as the sleeping shepherds in the field. Our expectations are as unclear as those of the travelers from the East. Though we are unprepared, though our lives are unworthy offerings, God has forgiven our sins and offered us newness of life through Jesus Christ. This is the grace of God in which we participate at this table. Come, share the feast. [If the offering has not yet been received, add: “Let us prepare the Table of the Lord with the fruits of our lives and our labors”]
Preface (to the Words of Institution)
L: Holy God, loving Creator, close to us as breath and distant as the farthest star,
P: We thank you for your constant love for all you have made.
L: We thank you for all that sustains life, for all people of faith in every generation who have given themselves to your will.
P: We give thanks especially for Jesus Christ, whom you have sent from your own being to be our Savior.
L: And so we remember that night on which our Lord was betrayed…(continue with the Words of Institution)
Prayer(s) of Thanksgiving
L: The Lord be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: Lift up your hearts.
P: We lift them up to the Lord.
L: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,.
P: It is right and just. [or: “It is right to give God thanks and praise.”]
(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)
1. We praise you, O God, for Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection, and for calling forth your church to continue his mission in the world. Gifted by the presence of your Holy Spirit, we offer ourselves to you as one with the entire family of your faithful people, and give you thanks for this bread. May it be for us the body of Christ, that we may be remade as his body in the world.
2. Come, Holy Spirit, come. Bless this fruit of the vine. Bless all of us in our receiving at this table, that our eyes may be opened, and we may recognize the living Christ in our midst, in each other, and in all for whom Christ died.
Conclusion: Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.
[if not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’”]
RESOURCES from COMMON WORSHIP
who wonderfully created us in your own image
and yet more wonderfully restored us
through your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as he came to share in our humanity,
so we may share the life of his divinity;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
whose blessed Son shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home:
help your Church to live as one family,
united in love and obedience,
and bring us all at last to our home in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God in Trinity,
eternal unity of perfect love:
gather the nations to be one family,
and draw us into your holy life
through the birth of Emmanuel,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.
Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2012. Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2012 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2012; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010. The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992. The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010. http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary
Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails, archived here at the Disciples Center for Faith and Giving Site, for each Sunday’s service.
You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.
Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University.
Liturgies created by Moira Laidlaw (Uniting Church in Australia) as a part of her doctoral dissertation are often helpful. Read more here.
NOTE: We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday. We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary.