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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 study links and resources:
ALT: New Year’s Day:
Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal
Any Christmas Hymns are appropriate, especially:
149-Angels from the Realms of Glory
144-O Little Town of Bethlehem
167-Go, Tell it on the Mountain
More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.
Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2018, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
On Colossians 3:12-17
Into this wondering year we have come,
come ever attentive to hope and to joy.
Chosen by your calling, O God we aspire:
holy and beloved, your mercy we wait.
O God our hope, let compassion arise
as you have brought mercy, bring mercy from us.
Compassionate, kindly, meek, lowly of heart:
let us be at home thus in your gentle care.
Peace of Christ plant in our hearts, O our God!
Let this peace be vision in honor and love.
Bring of your wisdom to our hearts delight,
all we may well harbor of thankful desire.
10.11.11.11. Suggested tune: Slane
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://lectionarypsalms.org/
This week: Hymns #21 & 22 are both appropriate
Concerning the Following Items: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor. If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention. No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.
Call to Worship
L: Thank the Lord with all your heart, in the gathered assembly of God’s people.
P: Mighty are the deeds of the Lord; great are the God’s works,
studied by all who have pleasure in them.
L: Holy and awesome is God’s name!
To worship the Lord is the highest wisdom; those who do so know all that is good.
P: God’s praises will last forever.
L: Like Joseph and Mary, we want to protect the child Jesus.
P: We want him to be safe and sound.
L: And when something unexpected happens, we are frightened.
P: We wonder what we should have done differently.
L: Lord, help us to remember that you are always with us.
P: Let us place our trust in your loving presence as we grow in our own faith.
OR (based on Isa. 63) from Ministry Matters
L: Make a list of God’s gracious dealings, all the things God has done that need praising:
P: The generous bounties of God, and God’s great goodness to all the families of the earth! Compassion lavished, love extravagant.
L: The most wondrous thing God ever did was to come to us, to help us in person. Out of God’s own love, God redeemed us.
P: God rescued us and carried us for a longtime. Let us worship and praise our Redeemer this Christmas time!
OR (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!
Invocation or Prayer of Approach
God, who walks with each one of us, help us place our trust in your guiding care. We gather to worship our Savior and learn how to live in peaceful community. Help us share your amazing love with the world and guide us as we hold our newborn Savior (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)
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…”)
Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions
To you, O giver of joy, we praise you that in the fullness of time you came to be with us and to give us hope, peace and the joy of eternal life. We thank you that in Mary you found one who would willingly give over control of her life, trusting in you, for the sake of your love of us. We rejoice that we have received grace upon grace in the giving of your Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior. Forgive us for our frequent unwillingness to let your joy spring to life in our midst, and the self-centeredness that has kept us from revealing in the fullness of your joy. Refashion us that we might recognize the greatness of your gift, and to release the joy that you have planted deeply within us in creation and in our baptism.
Because you have made us for joy, Lord, we are burdened to see a world that is limp and joyless. As trouble, oppression, grief and sorrow pervades our world, the joy of life seems to fade from our sight. Yet, we have been called by you to entrust our world’s needs, and our own, to your safekeeping, trusting that you, in your right time, will bring to fruition your promise of redemption. Inspire us to trust you more, and to joyfully bring to our world the news of your presence in our midst.
We pray for all your children in their need. To those who are fearful and oppressed, give freedom; to those who are hungry and homeless, give help; to those who are lonely and grieving, give your peace; and to those who are sick, give healing and hope. As we give thanks for the life of _________, and for all your saints who rest in peace with you, we offer to you our lives afresh. Make us to walk in your paths of righteousness and peace, and fill us with joy, as we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
O God, who comes to us in Jesus Christ of Bethlehem, in these wonderfully busy days, may we not crowd you out of our minds, as he was crowded out of the inn on that first Christmas. Forbid that we should spend all for passing pleasures and fail to find the deeper, richer joys that do not pass away with the close of the day. Even as the tinsel and lights of the season begin to fade, time and again we pray that you would draw us back to his manger-bed. Rekindle our sense of wonder and worship, and grant that, as we find you in the likeness of a little child, we may experience a new reverence for childhood, and a more sincere longing for those qualities of the heart which childhood incarnates.
Forgive our cynicism and pride, banish our doubts, and restore our faith in the things we cannot see or hear: the star that shines in human souls, and the song of peace that lingers over a world so troubled with war. Like the shepherds, may we return to our humble lives knowing that heaven is not some distant place, but is ever near because of the coming of the Christ Child, and that in him you have revealed yourself here, among even people like us. Hear our prayers for those in need today, for healing and peace, reconciliation and joy. We pray especially for __________________ and others we name in our hearts.
Bless us, O God, one and all as this Christmas season continues. We lift our hearts in praise, and would seek to serve you as a follower of your beloved Son, assured that in following him is perfect freedom and peace.
OR (New Year)
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.
Prayers 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.
This provision is not used on weekdays after 5 January.
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.
Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of
your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our
hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2018, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
As necessary, O God, we find
the waiting, longing, satisfying hope
of your employ
become the fierce necessity that fires
our latent instinct to arrive
within the quality
of your imposing delight.
Service of Table
While all of our congregations navigate the Sacred Board in a different way, it seems, there are common elements in most, which are provided here. We would love to hear if your congregation has variations to these elements which we might address in the future.
Offertory / Invitation to Give
By the goodness of God, we are called into the family of the church. By God’s grace, we rejoice to share in the church’s life of mission and ministry. Let us offer our tithes and gifts to God’s glory as a token of the offering of our very lives.
OR from Christmas Eve
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, bringing your gifts, and prepare the way for the world to receive God’s great Good News.
O God, through the offering of these gifts, we become a more open people—open-minded in hearing your word and wisdom, open-hearted in healing a broken world, open-handed in heeding your call to charity and enacted love. With thanks for all good gifts, we present a portion of our substance and the whole of ourselves. Amen.
OR from Christmas Eve
Thank you, God of Love, for the promise of this season. We are grateful for the generosity aroused in us by Christ’s coming into the world. May these gifts represent a new spirit of joyous sharing among us, for the sake of all your children everywhere. Amen.
OR from MinistryMatters.com
Blessed Lord, you have given us your greatest gift—your very Word come to earth, to live with us and through us; you have filled us with your grace and truth—your holy child sent to free us from our bonds.
How can we repay such divine generosity? Receive our thanks and praise. As you have given to us, so now we share your gifts and your grace with a world in need. May this offering help bring your light and love to those who still wander in darkness. Amen.
Invitation to the Table
The same Christ presented in the Temple as an infant is the one who would be called into the life of Israel as a doorway into God’s presence for the non-Jewish world. In him, all of God’s children are called to gather at a feast of equity, justice, love, and common heritage. Let us receive from the hand of God who gives life to the whole world the bread and wine of Christ, the hope of our redemption, the light to lighten the nations, and the glory of God’s people Israel.
Prayer of Thanksgiving (Prayers for Bread and Cup)
(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)
Holy One, you speak to us in silence, yet all languages interpret you. Because you call us into this community, we are able to become a gift to one another. We pray for your Holy Spirit to descend upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that in sharing them we may discern your presence which becomes our life. We thank you for your anointed one, Jesus, who through his life, crucifixion, death and resurrection lived fully the promise of redemptive wholeness that is available to all who would obey your creating will. We celebrate his gifts, we rejoice in your presence, loving God, now and always.
- 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.
- 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 the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service. Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.
Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.
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.
Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2018. Calendar for 2019
Sun 2 Dec 2018. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2018-19. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2018. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2018 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries
using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2018 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2018.
Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.
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. Send your comments or content here.