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Epiphany 3B

Jan. 24

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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):

Jonah 3:1-5, 10

Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Mark 1:14-20

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

7 – When in Our Music God Is Glorified

66-Imortal, invisible God only wise

272-The Church’s one foundation

342-Lord, you have come to the lakeshore

594-Dear Lord, and Father of Mankind/Dear God, embracing humankind

595-Be thou my vision

391-These I lay down

395 – Seed, Scattered and Sown

393 – One bread, one body

400-When you do this, remember me

453 – Called as Partners in Christ’s Service

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 (© 2021, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Mark 1:14-20

               The time is now fulfilled for us;

               God’s kingdom is at hand: rejoice!

               Repent, we hear, and so we bear

               life’s open faith in gospel churn.

               Fulfilled for us, the call impends,

               to pry our day in Jesus’ way,

               to lead our passion to his care

               and satisfy God’s urgency.

               To Peter, Andrew, James and John

               the Lord said Follow me this day.

               Within that live command they rose

               and left their nets behind their heels.

               Immediate, at once, arise

               for Jesus speaks unto our lives.

               We hear the gospel ring in truth

               in Jesus whom we follow dear.

LM    Suggested tune: Bow Brickhill

OR

On 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

               So soon, the waited hour will come

               and, in our readiness, we’ll stand.

               The extras that surround our feet

               we will transcend in eager hope.

               Anticipation lures our hope

               and zeal leads us to God’s design

               that, in refreshment, we observe

               the new form at creation’s crest.

               Intent upon the promises,

               the kingdom hopes at God’s right hand,

               we focus now anew in life

               begun in sheer salvation’s cure.

               So soon anticipation brings

               the future of our God to sing

               a fare of wonder, flare of awe

               as unto Christ we guide our all.

LM    Suggested tune: Eisenach

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:  Psalm 62: see Call to Worship below  

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   

from Psalm 62

L: For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.

P: God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

L: On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

P: Trust in God at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

OR

L: Come, let us worship the Lord our God,

P: That we might discern the will of our Maker.

L: Come, let us worship the Lord our God,

P: That we might recall the bondage from which God has delivered us.

L: Come, let us worship the Lord our God,

P: That we might become the people God is calling us to be.

OR

L: The God of all creation makes us one in the flesh.

P: Let us join hearts and voices in praise.

L: In Jesus Christ, we are made one in the Spirit.

P: Let us be united in truth through the same one Spirit.

L: We practice our faith in many different ways.

P: Yet we confess one Lord Jesus Christ.

L: We render different forms of ministry.

P: Yet our calling is one because Christ is undivided.

L: Rejoice, people of God: The Risen Christ is among us, calling us together at his one Table.

P: Praise the Lord!  

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

God whose very nature is wholeness and life, we give you thanks that in this holy assembly today you have called together people from different places, of many gifts, and with a multitude of ways of serving and loving. Make us one, Lord, even as you and your Christ are one, as we hear his clarion call to gather in the one body to feast on the word and receive from your hand the blessed gifts of bread and cup. Make us ready, Lord – ready to listen, ready to hear, ready to go and do your will, that we all may be one in essence, in intent, and in constitution, so that the world may know you in and among us. This we pray in the strong name of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Eternal God, you have called us to be members of one body. Join us with those who in all times and places have praised your name; that with one heart and mind, we may show the unity of your church, and bring honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Gracious God, we gather this morning in this house of worship which, thanks to your love, is our home away from home. We come to add our human voices to the chorus of praise raised by your creation! We come as we are – distracted and weary, hopeful and open – know that you accept us and are ever mindful of our cares and joys. Still in us now the many voices that clamor for attention, that we might center ourselves upon you. Speak to us in word and melody and quiet, that we may be renewed in our faith and strengthened for your service. This we pray through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Loving God, you have gathered your people from the east and west, the north and south, to sit together at a feast of unity and love. As we bring our differing lives and varied gifts together in your Church, help us to see beyond ourselves to the unique community you are shaping us to be, and to the mission for which you are equipping us through the work of your Holy Spirit who makes us one in Christ Jesus our Lord, for we pray in his name.

Prayers for Christian Unity

O Lord Jesus Christ, you prayed for your disciples that they might be one.  Look in pity upon the many divisions among those who profess your name, and heal the many wounds which the passions and pride of mortals have inflicted upon your church.  Shed abroad in the hearts of your people the spirit of love, which will break down the walls of separation.  Help us to realize that, as there is in heaven only one holy company abiding in love, so on earth there may be only one holy fellowship of your people abiding in the unity of love and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We give you thanks, O Lord, for the life and ministry of Jesus, your Child, and for the life and ministry you have opened to us through him.  As this broken bread was scattered on the mountain, but was brought together and became one, so let your church be gathered together into one, that your reign may be known throughout the earth.

Great God, you are One, and you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken.  Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth, that we may become one family of your children.  Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit, that we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend.

MORE:  See the World Council of Churches page

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

See Intercession for Unity: https://lifeinliturgy.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/epiphany-2b-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity/

OR

In these quieter times, God of peace, as in the busyness of our hectic days, you hear the true prayers of not just what we say, but also what we do and who we are. Hear us as we join our hearts in unity to pray for your church. May we be united in your truth, committed in your love, and sanctified by your grace, that with one heart and one voice we might proclaim your gospel., in word and deed, praising you for your abiding presence in our midst as a community of faith.

We pray for our fellow creatures, this world which you lovingly made, and the people of earth with all their diversity and commonality. We lift to you those in our world who weep, and those who cause their weeping; those without food, clothing, shelter or a means of sustaining life with the dignity of one whom you have created. We pray for those who distort the good news of the gospel, who make gods out of things, out of themselves, out of their systems, institutions or structures…and who find it all so hollow and empty.

We pray for those who live without meaning and hope, who live as objects of the whims of others, and those who live in broken families, broken communities, and a broken world. Lead your church, we pray, toward a new vision of our mission to them in Christ—the vision of shalom—both those who are afar off in other lands, but also here, where each of us may encounter them personally.

Tender and compassionate friend, give us the assurance that you are here among your people, and the gifts of quiet and rest in this celebration of your word and table. Enable us with your guidance to be your church and to do your will in our common life together. Pour out your Spirit on those who are suffering, especially as we lift to you our own needs and the needs of those whose lives are closely linked with our own:__________, and those we name in the silence of our hearts.

Bless us to follow in the paths of those saints who have gone before us in faith, whose steps were taken in the sure and certain comfort of your presence, that we may faithfully glorify you now, in your church and your world, forever. For these prayers we offer in the name and spirit of Jesus, your Christ, our Lord.

OR

How vast and deep is your love O God, for us and for all the world. As we give you thanks for the beauty of creation and for the gift of life, we turn to you for strength and guidance to help those of our world in need of care and healing.

We pray for our community, our nation and world that peace and justice might be made known. We pray for our families and friends, especially those who are hurting, sick, grieving or alone. We pray for our own burdens and needs, both spoken and unspoken…

We yield our lives to you as we offer our prayers in the strong and saving name of Jesus.

OR

Gracious and loving God, we come to you with hearts that need to be opened to your word and your love. There is so much around us that tears at us and causes us to tremble. Keep us ever mindful of your presence and the hope that you have given us in your Son Jesus Christ.

Guide us, we pray, as your church, struggling to spread the good news. Keep us focused on the mission and ministry to which you have called us and lead us forward. We know, Lord, that there will often be bumps and holes in the road along the way. Save us from dwelling on them and make us secure in the goals you have placed before us.

Hear our prayers for all who need your tender touch of healing in their lives—those we name before you each day, and those who are known only to you in the depths of our hearts. Be with those who mourn. May we all remember the love and grace that your faithful people have brought to our world.

We pray for all your creation, always at odds with one another. Guide our leaders and those of other nations that this world might truly be as you created it to be—a world of peace, hope and love.

These are our prayers, together with those that lie on the hearts of all your faithful people, which we offer to you in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ who said “not my will, but thine be done.” Amen.

OR

God of all grace and mercy, you have made an amazing and beautiful world – diverse and teeming with the bounty and beauty of your artful hand. You have made us mortals in your own image, and given us such a marvelous variety of gifts by which to praise and serve you, and to serve the common good. Hear our varied expressions of thanksgiving, as we look to you for care and guidance to use every skill and art with which you’ve blessed us for the blessing of humanity.

We seek new ways, O Lord, to reach into the lives of others who are searching for meaning in their lives and to discover their own giftedness, and to give them encouragement, love, and peace on that journey. We look to you to guide us as partners with Christ as we minister to those who are hurting, lonely, sick, grieving, or in any danger. May our openness to your Spirit at work within us as your people be a sign of your ministries at work within us, your church. Make of this community a home of peace and empowerment for those who are struggling to find their future, and a place of compassion and justice for those who need it most.

Hear our prayers, O God, for those whose lives are closely linked with our own, whose names cross our hearts and our lips so often, and whose needs are many. Help us to entrust them to your care, as we offer up our own needs and our hearts’ desires to you in silence…

As Jesus prayed that all who follow him might be one, reshape us as your faithful disciples, and knit us tightly with all those who profess Christ into his one body. May our unity and our diversity proclaim his name to all the world, as we glorify you together, offering our varied gifts for your use. For we pray in his name and in his spirit (as he taught us to pray, Our Father…)

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Almighty God,

whose Son revealed in signs and miracles

the wonder of your saving presence:

renew your people with your heavenly grace,

and in all our weakness

sustain us by your mighty power;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Almighty Father,

whose Son our Saviour Jesus Christ is the light of the world:

may your people,

illumined by your word and sacraments,

shine with the radiance of his glory,

that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed

   to the ends of the earth;

for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

Additional Collect

God of all mercy,

your Son proclaimed good news to the poor,

release to the captives,

and freedom to the oppressed:

anoint us with your Holy Spirit

and set all your people free

to praise you in Christ our Lord.

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our

Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News

of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive

the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2021, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Matthew 23:1-12

            Emergent at the change of age, O God,

                        your Christ appears, announces Gospel

                        that here your kingdom has drawn near,

                                    that in your word the call is clear

                                    and we take up your utter joy

                                                to follow Jesus all the way

                                                unto your kingdom’s grace.

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

The wonderful works of God surround us. How will we show our gratitude? The generosity of God exceeds all our limits. How will our manner of life reflect the abundance of God’s mercy? Surely our offerings are one measure of our response. Let us prepare the Table of the Lord with the fruits of our lives and our labors.

OR

Giving is not a casual act—it relates God’s work to our work. Peter writes: “as each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” Let us give as people whose work is inextricably linked to God’s great works of creation, redemption and empowerment.

OR

The apostle writes: “My sisters and brothers, I implore you by God’s mercy to offer your very selves to God; a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for God’s acceptance, the worship offered by mind and heart.  Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world, but let your minds be remade and your whole nature be transformed.  Then you will be able to discern the will of God, and know what is good, acceptable and perfect.

Offertory Prayer

O God, we thank you for your great generosity. All that we are and all that we have is a gift from you. Help us to serve one another and so reflect your spirit and goodness. Accept these offerings and grant that the cause to which they are devoted may prosper under your guidance.

OR

Almighty God, giver of every good and perfect gift, teach us to give to you all that we have and all that we are, that we may praise you not with our words only, but with our whole lives.

Invitation to the Table

Friends, God prepares a feast for you and for all people; a feast of good things, a feast of peace. Come and taste. Eat and be filled. Drink deep and never thirst again.

OR

At this table, the church remembers and celebrates the love of God.  The act of sharing bread and wine is a statement of faith and an expression of assurance.  Communion happens in many different ways in different churches throughout the world, and in each place brings a new meaning of life in the Spirit of God that is right for that community.

But above all, here believers join themselves to the Lord of life.  Death, which shows itself in sins, injustice, oppression and despair, yields to concrete demonstrations of life which produce peace, justice, hope, liberation and salvation.

This meal is an act of expectation.  We, in the midst of our daily lives, proclaim the imminent manifestation of the kingdom of God.  Hope replaces sorrow; joy surpasses tears; the power of life triumphs over the reign of death.  As an act of faith surpassing the limits of time and place, we sing along with John in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ: “Now God’s home is with mortals!  He will live with them and they shall be his people.  God will personally be with them, and will be their God.  God will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there will be an end to death.  There will be no more grief nor crying nor pain, for the old order has passed away.”

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)

  1. Lord, as your servant Jesus took notice of those fishermen long ago, and called to them to follow, we who gather at your table today hear his voice again.  Give us, we pray, a heart of thankfulness for this bread which you have given for that journey, and as we receive it, give us strength to journey on with him into the tomorrows which lie ahead.
  2. Bless, O God, this cup, which is for us the wine of salvation.  Pour forth your Spirit upon it, and upon us as we receive it, that we might be empowered to live faithfully as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

OR

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.

OR

Eternal One, who cares for each one of us as if you had no one else to care for, and who cares for all of us even as you care for each, we come here because you have invited us. We recognize at the deepest levels of our beings that it is at this table that we are affirmed and made whole. Enable us to know now the presence of the Christ, the one who calls us to be family, the one in whose presence no other can be called a stranger. Forgive us that we have been hard of heart, that we have failed to acknowledge others as brothers and sisters. Enable us now to accept the fact that we are members of one another, that we are family with all of your creation, and that we are all loved by you. We pray these things in the name of the Christ who has called us to you. 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.

Eucharist for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (from William Flewelling)

Lord God,

that one Bread of Heaven was broken

and scattered to feed the multitudes

upon the earth.

As we come to partake the One Holy Loaf,

feed us and draw us to unity of heart

in Jesus Christ.

Create in us the oneness which embraces

your people in full measured Christian love

and weeps

over our proud division,

stopping us from calling anyone

our brother, our sister.

Feed us and make of us your people, Lord God,

gathered in the bread Jesus took for us

and blessed, broke, gave to us:

This is my body.

Refresh us and make to flow in our veins

your peace,

as we are set together in the one cup

Jesus gave to us:

This is my blood of the new covenant.

By the grace of the Holy Spirit,

fill our lives with the passion of Christ,

a longing to include in our communion

all the peoples loving you,

that our joy may be complete

in Jesus Christ our one Lord.

Amen.

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…’

MORE…

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 2020.  Calendar for 2021

 CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2020-21. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2020. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2020 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2020 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2020.

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.

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Epiphany 2B

Jan. 17

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Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.   This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

280-God is here

2-Joyful, joyful, we adore thee

86-Great is thy faithfulness

565-If you will trust in God to guide you

426- The Voice of Jesus Calls His People

622-Guide me, O thou great Jehovah

344 – I have decided to follow Jesus

439 – God, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing

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 (© 2021, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

               Though often we do relish more

               the lawful than the good,

               we hear afresh and learn anon

               the helpful owns the day.

               For though the lawful satisfies,

               enslavement burdens life.

               And what resounds with God’s desire

               enlivens us for good.

               A temple of the Spirit now,

               we stand in witness toward

               the care of holiness and grace,

               intent upon our God.

               In this immediate approach,

               we are your own, O Lord;

               bought with a price to glorify

               our God in body’s range.

               We live by lift, your raising touch,

               thy buoyant gift through Christ.

               We think to stand and wait your gift,

               the rising in our Lord

               the while we float on grace alone,

               aroused within your joy.

               O God, provide our hapless care

               the joy you dare to yield.

DCM       Suggested tune: Third Mode Melody

OR

On 1 Samuel 3:1-10

               The calling of the Lord appears

               upon those unaccustomed ears.

               He hears the Lord, the holy voice

               and answers to the guiding choice.

               I did not call he hears him say;

               return, lie down, for it is night.

               Again, again, he hears his name,

               a call that urges him to rise.

               Again, again, he hears reply:

               I did not call; go back to bed.

               But then, the old man notes the chance

               and bids the child to give God’s due.

               And once again, the name is called

               and, as the old man bid him do,

               he answers: Speak! Your servant hears!

               in barely tutored readiness.

               And, as the calling of the Lord

               invites our answer, so we rise.

8.8.8.8.8.8.      Suggested tune: Colchester

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:  Psalm 139:1-12 is on page 765  

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: Come with me on a journey in faith.  Bring your hopes and visions of a new possibility, for God’s work among us is just beginning.

P: We are called into a future yet unnamed.  We hear the call of Jesus and venture forward, leaving behind our comfort zones and certainties.

L: But as we travel light, in the spirit of faith and expectation, we are led by the One who brings to light God’s dreams for us and for the world.

P: May we be witnesses to God’s new tomorrow, and go with confidence, knowing that we never travel alone.

OR

L: Sisters and brothers, we are called to follow Jesus.

P: What a challenge! What an opportunity!

L: Called to move, as he did, among the people, to feel with them, to care with them, to touch them and be touched by them.

P: Called to discern those gifts of life which God has hidden deep within each of us, and to share freely those gifts of our hearts, our hands, our whole selves.

L: Called to place our gifts into God’s holy hands, and to follow with hope.

P: We will hear the call to follow Jesus and listen for his voice to lead us, calling us God’s children, calling us each by name.

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

God whose very nature is wholeness and life, we give you thanks that in this holy assembly today you have called together people from different places, of many gifts, and with a multitude of ways of serving and loving. Make us one, Lord, even as you and your Christ are one, as we hear his clarion call to gather in the one body to feast on the word and receive from your hand the blessed gifts of bread and cup. Make us ready, Lord – ready to listen, ready to hear, ready to go and do your will, that we all may be one in essence, in intent, and in constitution, so that the world may know you in and among us. This we pray in the strong name of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

O God, source of all beauty and goodness, your grace comes fresh every morning. In each new day you give us light. We praise your for your never‑failing love that satisfies our needs and shows us the way to follow. We rejoice in your constant care, for you are faithful in love for all people, offering the world salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

Loving God, you know us better than we know ourselves. Our prayers are in your heart even before they are on our lips. And yet we must utter our prayers. We must proclaim our praise of you and all your wondrous creation. Your love surrounds us and you have promised to be with us always. You know our hearts’ desire to serve you. We pray that you will keep us true to that desire. And so we utter our prayer, in Jesus’ name (who taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father..”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

In these quieter times, God of peace, as in the busyness of our hectic days, you hear the true prayers of not just what we say, but also what we do and who we are. Hear us as we join our hearts in unity to pray for your church. May we be united in your truth, committed in your love, and sanctified by your grace, that with one heart and one voice we might proclaim your gospel., in word and deed, praising you for your abiding presence in our midst as a community of faith.

We pray for our fellow creatures, this world which you lovingly made, and the people of earth with all their diversity and commonality. We lift to you those in our world who weep, and those who cause their weeping; those without food, clothing, shelter or a means of sustaining life with the dignity of one whom you have created. We pray for those who distort the good news of the gospel, who make gods out of things, out of themselves, out of their systems, institutions or structures…and who find it all so hollow and empty.

We pray for those who live without meaning and hope, who live as objects of the whims of others, and those who live in broken families, broken communities, and a broken world. Lead your church, we pray, toward a new vision of our mission to them in Christ—the vision of shalom—both those who are afar off in other lands, but also here, where each of us may encounter them personally.

Tender and compassionate friend, give us the assurance that you are here among your people, and the gifts of quiet and rest in this celebration of your word and table. Enable us with your guidance to be your church and to do your will in our common life together. Pour out your Spirit on those who are suffering, especially as we lift to you our own needs and the needs of those whose lives are closely linked with our own:__________, and those we name in the silence of our hearts.

Bless us to follow in the paths of those saints who have gone before us in faith, whose steps were taken in the sure and certain comfort of your presence, that we may faithfully glorify you now, in your church and your world, forever. For these prayers we offer in the name and spirit of Jesus, your Christ, our Lord.

OR

Almighty God, maker of all, with joy we give thanks for all your goodness. We praise you for the love which has created and sustained us to this day, and for the gift of your Christ who brings us into covenant with you and with all your people of faith. Help us to treasure your gifts and to show our thankfulness by lives wholly given to your service.

We pray for your church whom you have redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus. Give it pastors and ministers filled with your spirit, and strength to serve by the guidance of your word. Perfect it in love and in compassion, and establish it in the faith of your saints. Unite all your people that one holy church may bear witness to you and your glory.

We pray that you would move our nation toward the justice of your peace. Bless our national, state and local leaders to serve all people with integrity. Purge from us all hatred and prejudice, and build within us your love, that even in our dealings with the other nations of earth we may be servants of peace, truth and justice.

Bless our homes with the joy of your presence. Strengthen our covenants of family and of faith, that our children may grow into fullness of faith, that together we may show forth your praise in our world through deeds and words of love and compassion—especially with those who are alone and lonely.

Let your grace be seen in seed-time and harvest, in labor and business, in leisure and rest, in arts and culture of our people. May all who do work find fulfillment of their vocations, and all who are in need of work find the relief of new endeavors.

Comfort those who sorrow and are in need, sickness or adversity. Have mercy on those to whom death draws near. Bring consolation to those in mourning, and to all give your peace, for these and all our prayers we bring to you in the name of Jesus our Christ. Amen.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Almighty God,

in Christ you make all things new:

transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,

and in the renewal of our lives

make known your heavenly glory;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

God of glory,

you nourish us with your Word

who is the bread of life:

fill us with your Holy Spirit

that through us the light of your glory

may shine in all the world.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

Eternal Lord,

our beginning and our end:

bring us with the whole creation

to your glory, hidden through past ages

and made known

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light

of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word

and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s

glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the

ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with

you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and

for ever.  Amen.

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2021, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

John 1:43-51

            O God, as Jesus calls, we know

                        that we hear the promised Lord.

                        We come to seek;

                                    we find ourselves the sought,

                                                as Israelites indeed.

                        Grant us, O God, to see as heavens open

                                    and we are at your heaven’s gate

                                    as Jesus has prepared for us;

                                                for we have come upon his call.

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

God, who has given us food in due season, calls us to share our bread with the hungry. In the name of the one who lived God’s truth among us, we commit ourselves anew to bearing witness. The Holy Spirit, whose winds restore our breath, sends us forth as life-givers. Celebrate this opportunity to give.

OR

Our offerings take us into the mainstream of God’s work through the church. Jesus said that whatever we do to the least of his brothers and sisters we do to him. May our offerings bring him comfort, relief and joy.

OR

Every good and perfect gift comes from God, the Lord and Giver of all.  How we manage the gifts we have been given, however, is a matter of the choices we make.  We have been given the good sense to use God’s provisions for the purposes God has called us to.  And in Christ, we are given the Spirit’s guidance to make those choices well.  May we bring forth the best we can offer, the best we can choose, for the blessing of the world, and for the carrying forth of Christ’s mission.

Offertory Prayer

With hearts of praise, O Lord, we dedicate to you these gifts as tokens of our lives and work. Use them, as you use us, to the fulfilling of your purposes for creation, that we might give glory to you not only in the hearing, but in the doing of your word.

OR

We give thanks to you, God of love, for the abundance of life in your presence.  As we offer to you our tithes and gifts, may we also offer the very best of ourselves.  Bless and use them and use us for your purposes in the world, so that Christ may be known and heard and followed by others whose lives we touch.

OR

As we gather at your table, O God, may we also be more aware of the opportunity that is ours to share with others the many blessings you have given us. May this be a time of joy as we give of our resources. Grant us wisdom to use these gifts in the fulfillment of your mission in the world, through Christ our Lord.

Invitation to the Table

The Holy One says: “Why spend money on that which does not satisfy?  Why spend your wages and still be hungry?  Listen to me, and do what I say, and you will enjoy the best food of all.  Listen now my people, and come to me; come to me and you will live.”  Christ invites to this table all who confess him as Lord and seek to follow in his way.  Come to this sacred table, not because you must, but because you may.  Come not because you are fulfilled, but because in your emptiness you stand in need of God’s mercy and assurance.  Come not to express an opinion, but to seek a presence and to pray for a spirit.  Come, then, sisters and brothers, as you are.  Partake and share.  It is spread for you and me that we might again know that God has come to us, shared our common lot, and invited us to join the people of God’s new age.

OR

At this table, the church remembers and celebrates the love of God. The act of sharing bread and wine is a statement of faith and an expression of assurance. Communion happens in many different ways in different churches throughout the world, and in each place brings a new meaning of life in the Spirit of God that is right for that community.

But above all, here believers join themselves to the Lord of life. Death, which shows itself in sins, injustice, oppression and despair, yields to concrete demonstrations of life which produce peace, justice, hope, liberation and salvation.

This meal is an act of expectation. We, in the midst of our daily lives, proclaim the imminent manifestation of the kingdom of God. Hope replaces sorrow; joy surpasses tears; the power of life triumphs over the reign of death.

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)

O God, you make of many and diverse people one holy Church, through the grace of your Son Jesus Christ. Send now the power of your Holy Spirit upon us to make us anew into his body, and upon these gifts of bread and wine, which we receive as his body and blood. Make us one with you, one with Christ, and one in fellowship and service around the world.

OR

  1. O God, your very nearness to us makes us at once uneasy and filled with great comfort.  In the breaking of this bread, we pray that you will bring confidence where we would waver, and that you will stir us when complacency would keep us from living fully the life of mission to which Christ has called us.
  2. Pour out your Spirit upon us, O God, and upon this bread and cup.  May we know in the receiving of it the lifegiving presence of the resurrected Christ, and be empowered to live as your people in this and every day.

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…’

MORE…

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 2020.  Calendar for 2021

 CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2020-21. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2020. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2020 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2020 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2020.

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.

Read Full Post »

Baptism of Jesus B

Jan. 10

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Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.   This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

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:

Genesis 1:1-5
Psalm 29
Acts 19:1-7
Mark 1:4-11

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

280-God is here

2-Joyful, joyful, we adore thee

86-Great is thy faithfulness

177-What was your vow and vision

176-Sing of God made manifest

104-Of the Father’s love begotten

651-God who stretched the spangled heavens

183-We meet you, O Christ

365-Wash, O God, your sons and daughters

357-We call ourselves disciples

565-If you will trust in God to guide you

426- The Voice of Jesus Calls His People

411-For the bread, which you have broken

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 (© 2021, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Genesis 1:1-5

               You spoke, O God, when all was waste

               and all the Deep lay void.

               You spoke and Spirit hovered low

               and blew across Deep’s face.

               You spoke of light when darkness reigned

               to signal order there.

               You spoke: Let there be light to shine

               and split the darkness fair.

               We find the light directs us now,

               the Deep resounds with grace.

               And over all the Spirit breathes

               to catapult delight.

               Upon the Deep, where waters steep,

               you breathe to bless and cure.

               You ready now the bathing Deep

               to welcome life to shine.

               Into the waters do we lie

               and from the Deep we rise.

               Your blessing by the Spirit’s breath

               speaks life upon this face.

CM       Suggested tune: Horsley

OR

On Mark 1:4-11

               Into the wilderness, to John,

               our Savior goes alone.

               Unto repentance preached he comes,

               the One more worthy yet.

               The water of the Jordan waits

               to part for his descent,

               to welcome in the hastened tide

               the Lord of all in love.

               Unworthy to let loose a shoe,

               John baptizes in turn,

               prepares the One who brings to us

               the Holy Spirit fire.

               Fresh from the water Jesus hears:

               Beloved Son you are,

               my pleasure in your coming soars

               as heaven lifts its joy.

               Austere and chiseled by the sun,

               John stands in river’s flow

               to welcome in forgiveness’ grace

               the fine, redeeming face.

CM    Suggested tune: Albano

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:  Psalm 29 is on p. 737

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   

In the waters of baptism, we die to ourselves and are recreated through the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. Water can be threatening (a flood or a powerful current), refreshing (a cool drink on a hot summer day), or invigorating (a morning shower or a swim in cool water).  How do we receive the gift of our baptism, in the light of the baptism of Jesus?  And what are the gifts that are ours because of it?

OR (adapted by the editor from Psalm 29)

L: Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

P:  Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy splendor.

L: The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters.

P:  The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.

L: May the LORD give strength to his people!

P:  May the LORD bless his people with peace!

OR adapted from MinistryMatters.com

L: Darkness is gone. New Hope has arisen for each of us.
P: We are forgiven and blessed.
L: We are marked by God as disciples
P: God has entrusted us with God’s own message of hope.
L: Come, Spirit of God, and rest upon us.
P: Enable us to be people of hope and peace.

OR adapted from ministrymatters.com

L: Creator God, Holy One,
P: you have made us in your image, and we are precious in your sight.
L: Jesus Christ, Son of God,
P: we stand at the river, ready to share in your baptism.
L: Holy Spirit, Dove of Peace,
P: set us on fire with the power of your love.

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: From the waters of Creation, the earth sprang forth.
P: From the waters of a womb, God’s blessed Son was given to us.
L: From the waters of a river, people were baptized and marked as God’s Children
P: Praise be to God, whose loving gifts and presence have called us together.
L: Let us shout our love to God for God’s abundant love
P: Amen.

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

Mighty God, as your Spirit moving over the waters brought life from chaos in creation, the coming of Jesus Christ to this world has brought life to all who believe.  Receive the praise and love of we who seek to live as his disciples, following him into the waters of new life.  Give us now a fresh awareness of your presence here among us and in every place where Jesus walks today, for we pray in his name  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR adapted from ministrymatters.com

Lord of Hope and Light, in the midst of darkness you offered light to people who lived in fear. Today that light comes to us as we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. Open our hearts this day and remind us that you have marked us as people of hope and light. Prepare us to serve you by serving your world (in the spirit of Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father…”)

OR adapted from ministrymatters.com

Holy God of glory and majesty, you have called us by name. We pray in this moment for the courage and the strength to answer your call. As we open our ears to hear the story of your Son’s baptism, open our hearts also, that we may experience again the renewing power of rebirth in the Holy Spirit. Inspire us in this time of worship, that we may claim our own identity as your beloved children. We pray in the name of our brother, Jesus Christ (who taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

Almighty God, parent of all who call upon your name, in the waters of baptism you have transformed us, marking us as your children, and recreating us through the work of your Son and the power of the Holy Spirit. Shower us once more with your grace that we might be renewed in your spirit, through Jesus Christ, our Savior (who taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

O gracious and loving God, we come to you recognizing the wonders of life that you have given us. As winter falls around us, we pray that you will warm our hearts to your will and guidance in all of life, that we may truly live as your baptized people, continually working for the reign of your kingdom on earth.

Hear our prayers, O God, this day for all who are absent from us. Hear our concerns and hopes for them and all your people. Touch their lives with your grace that they may find healing, and peace, and love. May your Spirit touch us to ever reach out to them and to those around us that all may feel your generous love in their lives.

Hear our prayers for your world. May we see the beauty of creation and work for your peace throughout the world. These and all our prayers we lift to you in the name and Spirit of our life-giving Lord, Jesus Christ.

OR  (from Oremus.org)

Lover of souls, you seal us by your Holy Spirit in baptism and claim us as your own forever: May our offering of beautiful worship be acceptable in your sight.

Lord, give strength to your people; bless us with peace.

Lover of souls, you sit enthroned as King for evermore: May the leaders of the nations do justice and govern with mercy.

Lord, give strength to your people; bless us with peace.

Lover of souls, you created the heavens and the earth: We praise you that you make holy such basic things of earth—water for baptism, grapes and grain to sustain our souls.

Lord, give strength to your people; bless us with peace.

Lover of souls, you forgive the sins of the penitent and care for the injured: Be with all victims of gun violence; heal and convert the hearts of the violent. May our city know peace.

Lord, give strength to your people; bless us with peace.

Lover of souls, your voice is a voice of splendor: speak healing and comfort to all the heartbroken and needy.

Lord, give strength to your people; bless us with peace.

Lover of souls, you called the light into being: Let light perpetual shine on those who have died. May we all rest in the hope of life eternal.

Lord, give strength to your people; bless us with peace.

God, your voice moves over the waters.  Immerse us in your grace, mark us with your image, and raise us to live our baptismal vows empowered by the Holy Spirit and the example of Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.

OR from ministrymatters.com

Creator God, when everything first began, water became a symbol of refreshing, of washing away, of renewing. Through the waters of creation you brought forth abundant life. We have gathered this day to remember Jesus’ baptism, how when he came up out of the water your Spirit proclaimed that He was your beloved Son in whom you were very well pleased. Our spirits resound with that proclamation. In His baptism, Jesus’ ministry was initiated. He dedicated his life to you completely and without reservation. Help us to dedicate our lives to you, to offer our best for you, to be of service to you by serving in your world. As we have lifted before you the names of people near and dear to us who need your healing touch and your tender mercies, we have also lifted ourselves up as people in need of your grace. Our world is in the midst of strife; wars, oppression, famine, hunger, alienation, situations in which we have abused the world and each other. Heal us and this world, Lord. Renew us with your life-giving waters and re-affirm our baptisms as your children. Let us go forth to be people of peace and mercy. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

O God,

who by the leading of a star

manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:

mercifully grant that we,

who know you now by faith,

may at last behold your glory face to face;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Lord God,

the bright splendour whom the nations seek:

may we who with the wise men have been drawn by your light

discern the glory of your presence in your Son,

the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

Creator of the heavens,

who led the Magi by a star

to worship the Christ-child:

guide and sustain us,

that we may find our journey’s end

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River

Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him

with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his

Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly

confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy

Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2021, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Mark 1:4-11

            Unto the Baptist’s hands you come, Lord Jesus;

                        unto his hands you do submit in baptism.

                        As you arise, you hear the word:

                                    A son, well pleasing to our God.

                        Confirm in us the coming to our God

                                    that as we do submit, we find

                                    your pleasure in our offered hearts, our lives.

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

We hear again the story of Jesus giving himself more deeply into our lives through baptism, and the opening of heaven’s blessing upon him as he offered his life to God in prayer. Together, we who have heard the call to follow him in baptism, are also offering ourselves to the world, and opening ourselves to God’s blessing, every time we give of ourselves more deeply to others. Through our tithes and offerings, as we approach the Table of Christ’s self-giving, we renew our baptismal vows, and affirm God’s reign in our own lives as stewards of God’s gifts. Come, let us bring our lives before God in the gifts we bring today.

Offertory Prayer

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.

Invitation to the Table

God, who is the Lord and giver and all of life, draws us back toward a moment that marks all of our moments in baptismal faith. We come to the Table of Christ, we renew our covenant with God, who is always reaching to give to us all the gifts of earth and heaven. Here, we find in the bread his body, and in the cup his blood, all given that we might truly live as his body in the world, empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow him faithfully from the water and into the world. Let us come to the Table with open hearts, ready to receive from God’s hands the nourishment to move at God’s direction.

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)

Gracious, life-giving God, as we who follow Jesus remember his baptism long ago, may our lives be renewed and our baptisms confirmed afresh. And as we gather at his Table, may we receive from your hands the gifts of earth and heaven. May this bread be for us his Body, and this cup his Blood, so that we who seek to live as his body in this world might be empowered by your Holy Spirit to follow him faithfully – from the water and into the world.

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…’

MORE…

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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.

Read Full Post »

Epiphany Sunday

Jan. 3

Visit, follow, and share our Facebook Page!

Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.   This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Isaiah 60:1-6

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

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://lectionarypsalms.org/   

This week:  Hymn 140, Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, makes reference to it generally.

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   

(adapted by the editor from the Psalm)

L: Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel;

P:  For God alone does wondrous things.

L: Blessed be God’s glorious name forever!

P:  May God’s glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen.

OR  (adapted from ministrymatters.com)

L: Arise; shine, for your light has come!
P: We are called out of our darkness into light.
L: Lift up your eyes and look around.
P: We rejoice in the gift of light.
L: Come let us worship the God of light and joy and peace.
P: We come to kneel before the Christ Child, the light incarnate.

OR (from ministrymatters.com)

L: O Come, Let us Adore Him, Christ the Lord!
P: The Star in the dark sky heralded His Coming.
L: Led by the light of the Star, the Wise Ones came to pay homage.
P: We, too, come to the stable, seeking the infant King.
L: Come, Arise! Shine! The Light has come.
P: God’s Light of love is shining upon us.

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

from ministrymatters.com

Loving God, who breaks through the darkness of doubt and despair, be with us this day as we hear of the visit of the Wise Ones, who risked everything to follow a Star. Let us open our hearts and be willing to risk receiving the gift of gracious Love that you have to offer us in the form of our Savior, Jesus Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

O Lord of all things bright and beautiful, may we begin this day in your name.  Light of all light, our dayspring of hope, may we find warm reflections of your countenance in the face of each brother, sister, stranger and friend.  As we work for your world this day, may our hunger be for justice and our thirst for peace.  Feed us with your presence.  Strengthen our hearts and steady our hands for the business of loving your creation.  As children of the light, may we walk in your radiance this day. (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Eternal and Almighty God, we praise you that you cause the sun to rise to bring us the light of this new day and that you raised Christ form the dead to bring us new life. May our lives always face his brightness so we may go wherever he leads, serving in gladness and peace (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR (from ministrymatters.com)

God of promise and light, open our eyes this morning, that we may see your light in the darkness.  Open our hearts, that we may perceive your promises of justice and righteousness fulfilled in the babe of Bethlehem. May we, like the Magi, have a star to guide us on our journey quest to find the one who will truly set us free. May this time of worship bring us closer to you, that the good news of the birth of light and love will transform our lives. (this we pray as he taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Eternal God, you have shown your glory to the nations in the coming of Christ. Guide the church that you have gathered on earth, preserve it in faith, that it may grow in witness and service to the world. Strengthen and uphold our pastors and leaders that they may faithfully strengthen and uphold the church, and help us all to faithfully join in partnership with you to do your work according to your will and example in Jesus.

Increase our faithfulness to you and bless us with new friends in our midst to share in the joy of discipleship. Increase the faith and understanding of those whose faith in you is new. Give to all in baptism a new birth as your children, and give us grace to nurture them in faith and in the communion of your saints.

Lord, you created humanity with a longing to know you, to be in fellowship with you and to have peace in you. Grant that, in spite of hurtful things that stand in their way, they may find in the unity of fellowship in Christ the tokens of your love and mercy, and grow to acknowledge you as God and Savior.

You, O Lord, are the champion of the poor, the oppressed, the lost and the lonely. Guide those in leadership toward the commonwealth of your justice, that in peace and freedom all may share in the goodness of your creation, and work with you in caring for it and for your creatures. You are the one who gives strength to the weary and new courage to the disheartened. Hear the prayers of all who call on you that they may have joy in finding you ever present to help…

Hear the prayers of your people, O God, for we lift them all to you in the name and Spirit of your Christ.

OR

O gracious and loving God, we come to you recognizing the wonders of life that you have given us. As winter falls around us, we pray that you will warm our hearts to your will and guidance in all of life, that we may truly live as your baptized people, continually working for the reign of your kingdom on earth.

Hear our prayers, O God, this day for all who are absent from us. Hear our concerns and hopes for them and all your people. Touch their lives with your grace that they may find healing, and peace, and love. May your Spirit touch us to ever reach out to them and to those around us that all may feel your generous love in their lives.

Hear our prayers for your world. May we see the beauty of creation and work for your peace throughout the world. These and all our prayers we lift to you in the name and Spirit of our life-giving Lord, Jesus Christ.

OR (from ministrymatters.com)

Savior of all peoples, who took on our flesh in a stable and slept in a box made for animal feed; sages followed a star to find you, paid you homage, and went home by another way. Be present among us. Encounter us in word, in bread, in song, in prayer. Touch us. Change us. Send us out to walk in new paths, telling your story, proclaiming good news to the nations. Light of the World, shine upon us. Shine your light of hope in the corners of gloom in our lives and throughout the streets of our cities and towns. Shine upon those who are lost to show them a new path home. Shine upon those who are ill to give them strength to decide how they shall live whole lives. Shine upon those in despair who need to make a way out of no way. Shine upon those whose homes, families, and bodies that war has torn apart; reveal a path to peace. Shine upon your creation, the earth and its creatures, things seen and unseen. Burn away the mist and let us see you face-to-face so that you can wipe away our tears and make death to be no more. Light of the World, we praise your name. Amen.  (written by Scott Haldeman)

OR (for the New Year):

Merciful and loving God, for the year that has passed with its sorrows and joys, we give you thanks; for in every moment of it, you remained faithful to us, rejoicing and struggling with us, though often we were slow to recognize you there. And with thanks for (year), we now release it. May its treasures inspire us, but never bind us in nostalgia; and may its troubles teach us, but never hold us captive. For you who have created are still creating…making all things new, including this day.

As we enjoy the blessings of life in this community, we give thanks to you for bringing together the many gifts which make your church more able to do its mission. We thank you for those who have given much of themselves to allow this day to come to pass. We thank you for those who realize the long road which lies ahead, and who trust you for strength to walk on, day by day.   And we recognize that there are many in our world who do not experience the love of a church family, the comfort and joy of a faith community. May our witness to your love increase itself in hospitality to them. Nudge us on to greater acts of faithfulness, as we learn to trust you more and more.

We ache at the news of brokenness in our world–broken lives and broken relationships between persons and families, communities and nations. Our hopes are turned toward peace in your presence, and we pray that you would help us to be makers of peace in our day to day lives.

Loving lord, we lift to you our own needs and those whose lives are closely linked with our own [……..] (and others we name silently in our hearts.)

As the light of a star brought the simple and the wise into the presence of the young Christ, guide us to you by the light of your word as we hear it read and proclaimed. God of all faithfulness, receive these prayers which we offer to you in the name and spirit of Jesus the Christ.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

O God,

who by the leading of a star

manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:

mercifully grant that we,

who know you now by faith,

may at last behold your glory face to face;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Lord God,

the bright splendour whom the nations seek:

may we who with the wise men have been drawn by your light

discern the glory of your presence in your Son,

the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

Creator of the heavens,

who led the Magi by a star

to worship the Christ-child:

guide and sustain us,

that we may find our journey’s end

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son

to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by

faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to

face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

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

The giving and receiving of gifts at Christmas time is born of the ancient Church’s celebration of this very day.  At Epiphany, the story is told again of those who come before the young Christchild, seeking to give, eager to present the very best to this young king.  In the process, they proclaimed what the religious world could not conceive:  that this one Child, of humble birth and stature, has come to bring God’s saving love to all.  May we consider well how our giving proclaims God’s love for all as the Table of the Lord is made ready.

OR (from ministrymatters.com)

We have seen the light of the world. We have been called to follow the star of promise. Like the Magi, let us bring our gifts to honor the babe of Bethlehem and bring the light to all the dark places in our community and our world.

Offertory Prayer

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)

God of light and promise, we bring our gifts to further your work in a dark world. May they bring your light to those overwhelmed by darkness, pain, and loneliness. Accept these gifts of money and time, indeed, the gift of our very selves.  Let them shine for all to see, and be brought into the sphere of your love and righteousness.  Amen.

Invitation to the Table

Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit at the table in the kingdom of God. This is the Lord’s table. Jesus invites all who seek to trust him to share in the feast which he has prepared. Let us come to his table now with hope and confidence as God’s children.

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)

  1. 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 this bread, that in sharing it we may discern your presence which becomes our life.  May it be for us the bread of life.
  2. We thank you, Lord,  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, even as we bring our own, asking that you would bless this cup that it would be for us his blood, as we rejoice in your presence, loving God, now and always.

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…’

MORE…

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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.

Read Full Post »

Christmas 1B

Dec. 27

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Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.   This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

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

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

151-The First Noel

149-Angels from the Realms of Glory

144-O Little Town of Bethlehem

167-Go, Tell it on the Mountain

Any of the Christmas Hymns are appropriate for the day.

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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Galatians 4:4-7

                             Born of a woman now,

                             God’s son is sent to stand

                             redeeming all to rise

                             before the Holy One.

                             He comes that we

                             adopted be

                             each child of God

                             and thereby heir.

                             Into the sultry world

                             of old appearances,

                             the born of woman comes

                             to lead us free at last.

                             As free we come,

                             redeemed we stand

                             to nurture life

                             in God’s new land.

                             Upon this lovely birth

                             we clamor to your worth,

                             O Lord in majesty

                             whose coming we abide.

                             Begin afresh

                             by lithe caress

                             as we cry out:

                             Abba, Father!

6.6.6.6.4.4.4.4.                  Suggested tune: Love Unknown

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:  Psalm 148: 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   

(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!

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!

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

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. (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Loving God, creator of all that is, and lover of all that you have created; we gather us as a new people this day.  Fill us with thankfulness for the year which has passed, and with encouragement as we enter a new one.  As Christ’s glory was made manifest so long ago as child who drew the honor of nations, let the fullness of his glory be seen in us, his body, the church.  May the new covenants we make in your name be blessed and made fruitful through the days of ministry which lie before us as your people of faith.  And may this time of worship empower us to live in communion with you, now and always.  This we pray in the name of Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray saying,… “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

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.

OR

In peace with God and with one another, let us offer to God our hearts desires and our concerns for our world and ourselves.  Let us pray.

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, [even as he taught us…]

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Almighty God,

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.

Post Communion

Heavenly Father,

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.

Additional Collect

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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Luke 2:22-40

            In our Father’s house we listen, question, quest

                        the certainties of honor to your hour, O God.

                        For in this coming to attend

                                    we wait with Jesus in intent

                                    that at the moment of your grace

                                                we may be found your own

                                                to bear the graces of your love.

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.

Offertory Prayer

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.

Invitation to the Table

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.

OR

The same Christ who came to us 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)

Loving God, giver of life and bringer of peace, as we gather at the table Christ has spread for us, we pray that you would make your presence known anew in our lives. Send your Spirit now, we pray, that as we break the bread and drink from his cup, we might know afresh the joy of life eternal in your family, as we offer ourselves to you in praise and thanksgiving. All praise and glory be to you, O God, now and forever, in Christ’s name. Amen.

OR

  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…’

MORE…

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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.

Read Full Post »

Christmas Eve/Day ABC

Dec. 24-25

Christmas Celebrations

In this year of limited gathering in most of our world, I am encouraging the use of traditional liturgical material as a pastoral practice, delivering it by whatever means is safe and operable for you and your congregation.  Owing to a lack of preparation time for creative increase to what had previously been offered, I refer you to this link for materials added to date for Christmas Eve/Day worship.  You are all in my prayers in this and every season.

ADVENT RESOURCES

The prior Advent entries on this page may be helpful.  You will find candle lighting, music, and other resources available by using the search engine.  Much of it is available in this article:  Preparing for the Great Preparation  We welcome you to this new year of Life in Liturgy!

David T. Chafin, Curator

Visit, follow, and share our Facebook Page!

Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.   This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2021 to you and those you love!

Read Full Post »

Advent 4B

Advent 4

Dec. 20

ADVENT RESOURCES

The prior Advent entries on this page may be helpful.  You will find candle lighting, music, and other resources available by using the search engine.  Much of it is available in this article:  Preparing for the Great Preparation  We welcome you to this new year of Life in Liturgy!

David T. Chafin, Curator

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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):

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Luke 1:47-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16:25-27

Luke 1:26-38

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

142-People, look east

138-Awake, awake, and greet the new morn

130 – My soul gives glory to my God

386-We come as guests invited

124 – Let all mortal flesh keep silence

171 God’s Love Made Visible

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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

               O holy Lord, your kingdom come,

               prepared to stand for evermore

               in peace established by your hand

               before the One Eternal Throne.

               A house, thought David, for the Lord.

               But no, the word of God arrives:

               not now, not yet, but when a place

               is well prepared to prosper peace.

               A house for David, thought the Lord,

               preparing for that lasting throne

               whereon the Chosen, David’s heir,

               will come to reign, redeeming all.

               In your own time, O holy Lord,

               and at your will, our saving God,

               the house in which our hope is stored

               stands in the heaven’s evermore.

LM         Suggested tune: Nurnberg

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:  The Magnificat should be considered the primary Psalm of the day (see #131 or 130 for a metrical version).  

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   

God’s love is coming fully into the world.  Revealed in the life of Jesus, raised in a loving home and offering himself to the world which finds in his fellowship true home, we see love made in human flesh.  Are we ready to receive him?  Are we ready for such a perfect love?

OR

L: Christ our Lord united his followers together in Christian love.

P: His presence makes our fellowship a happy experience.

L: When Christ is our life, our fellowship takes on the nature of Christ, we experience unity, love and humility toward one another.

P: May Christ live in us, that we may love like him.

OR

L: Long ago the people were given a sign of God’s presence.

P: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”

L: God’s promise to us remains sure and true:  God’s anointed Son will soon walk among us, to lighten our darkness, to restore the joy of our salvation, to save us from sin.

P:  God—the God of all love—is with us.  Praise the Lord!

OR from MinistryMatters.com

L: The time is very near! How quickly it has come upon us!
P: We are breathless. Still so much to be done.
L: Calm your spirits. Take time to hear the wondrous news.
P: Open our ears to hear Holy Story
L: Believe in the good news!
P: We believe and rejoice! God’s love is here with us!

OR from MinistryMatters.com

L: Light the lamps, prepare the room, God is coming to us!

P: Make our hearts and spirits ready to receive God’s most gracious gift, God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

L: Push the darkness away. The light is truly coming!

P: May God’s light shine on us, in us and through us that God’s glory may be seen.

OR from MinistryMatters.com

L: Welcome this day to worship.

P: The light of this season has beckoned us forward.

L: Come and rejoice, for God’s light is coming to us.

P: Praise be to God who pours light into our lives.

L: Open your hearts and spirits and receive the blessings of God.

P: May we always be ready to respond in joyful ways to God’s love.

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

God of all love, our hearts await your coming.  Make your way within us, we pray, as we offer to you our prayers and songs and promises.  Draw us to your divine banquet, and feed us with your true food.  We offer ourselves to you in hope and expectation through Jesus Christ our Lord  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

O God, source of all beauty and goodness, your grace comes fresh every morning. In each new day you love us supremely and give us light. We praise you for that never-failing love that satisfies our needs and shows us the way to follow. We rejoice in your constant care, for you are faithful in love for all people, offering the world salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

We come, O God, with adoration and praise, as well as thanksgiving, to you.  Our anticipation grows as we come nearer to the day of great celebration of the birth of your Christ.  Open our hearts that we may truly receive the gift of your Son, and know that the joy of life with you.  This we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

God of all love, our hearts are moved by your gracious promises fulfilled for us in Jesus Christ.  Give us the grace we need to live lovingly in all of life, and empower us to make your love known through the deeds of our lives; for we gather and offer ourselves to you in his name (praying as he taught us, saying, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

(from Common Worship)

Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer.

That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy, let us pray to the Lord: R

That God may establish among the nations his sceptre of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord: R

That we may seek Christ in the scriptures and recognize him in the breaking of the bread, let us pray to the Lord: R

That God may bind up the brokenhearted, restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen, let us pray to the Lord: R

That the light of God’s coming may dawn on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death, let us pray to the Lord: R

That, with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights for the world, let us pray to the Lord: R

Let us commend the world, which Christ will judge, to the mercy and protection of God.

Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept. The Collect and Lord’s Prayer follow.

Prayers from Common Worship*

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Advent 4B

December 11, 2017 by WV-PAdisciples | Edit

Advent 4B

Dec. 24 – Morning

This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 Luke 1:47-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 Romans 16:25-27

Luke 1:26-38

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

142-People, look east

138-Awake, awake, and greet the new morn

130 – My soul gives glory to my God

386-We come as guests invited

124 – Let all mortal flesh keep silence

171 God’s Love Made Visible

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 (© 2017, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Surely now is time to savor,

plan the things that we might do,

order up the new construction,

building majesty for God.

Ah, the answer echoes boldly:

God moves freely in the world.

Always in a tent God wandered,

close among the people’s sway.

Find in mercy how to honor,

how to rectify desire.

In the commonplace of worship

gather into God’s embrace.

So begun in adoration,

in the will to fulfill love,

find the hand impelling ever

from this hour the house of grace.

8.7.8.7.      Suggested tune: Halton Holgate

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:  The Magnificat should be considered the primary Psalm of the day (see #131 or 130 for a metrical version).

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.

Words of Welcome

God’s love is coming fully into the world.  Revealed in the life of Jesus, raised in a loving home and offering himself to the world which finds in his fellowship true home, we see love made in human flesh.  Are we ready to receive him?  Are we ready for such a perfect love?

Call to Worship 

L: Christ our Lord united his followers together in Christian love.

P: His presence makes our fellowship a happy experience.

L: When Christ is our life, our fellowship takes on the nature of Christ, we experience unity, love and humility toward one another.

P: May Christ live in us, that we may love like him.

OR

L: Long ago the people were given a sign of God’s presence.

P: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”

L: God’s promise to us remains sure and true:  God’s anointed Son will soon walk among us, to lighten our darkness, to restore the joy of our salvation, to save us from sin.

P:  God—the God of all love—is with us.  Praise the Lord!

Invocation or Prayer of Approach 

God of all love, our hearts await your coming.  Make your way within us, we pray, as we offer to you our prayers and songs and promises.  Draw us to your divine banquet, and feed us with your true food.  We offer ourselves to you in hope and expectation through Jesus Christ our Lord  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

O God, source of all beauty and goodness, your grace comes fresh every morning. In each new day you love us supremely and give us light. We praise you for that never-failing love that satisfies our needs and shows us the way to follow. We rejoice in your constant care, for you are faithful in love for all people, offering the world salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

We come, O God, with adoration and praise, as well as thanksgiving, to you.  Our anticipation grows as we come nearer to the day of great celebration of the birth of your Christ.  Open our hearts that we may truly receive the gift of your Son, and know that the joy of life with you.  This we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

God of all love, our hearts are moved by your gracious promises fulfilled for us in Jesus Christ.  Give us the grace we need to live lovingly in all of life, and empower us to make your love known through the deeds of our lives; for we gather and offer ourselves to you in his name (praying as he taught us, saying, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

(from Common Worship)

Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer.

That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy, let us pray to the Lord: R

That God may establish among the nations his sceptre of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord: R

That we may seek Christ in the scriptures and recognize him in the breaking of the bread, let us pray to the Lord: R

That God may bind up the brokenhearted, restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen, let us pray to the Lord: R

That the light of God’s coming may dawn on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death, let us pray to the Lord: R

That, with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights for the world, let us pray to the Lord: R

Let us commend the world, which Christ will judge, to the mercy and protection of God.

Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept. The Collect and Lord’s Prayer follow.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

God our redeemer,

who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary

to be the mother of your Son:

grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour,

so we may be ready to greet him

when he comes again as our judge;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Heavenly Father,

who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary

to be the mother of the promised saviour:

fill us your servants with your grace,

that in all things we may embrace your holy will

and with her rejoice in your salvation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

Eternal God,

as Mary waited for the birth of your Son,

so we wait for his coming in glory;

bring us through the birth pangs of this present age

to see, with her, our great salvation

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation,

that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a

mansion prepared for himself; 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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Luke 1:26-38

            Your servants are we; we listen and adore

                        as you invite us to your witness

                                    and your gifts for evermore.

                        Begin to quest our hearing, O God

                                    and announce your bidding

                                    that we, your servants might attest

                                                acceptance of your particular grace.

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

Christ our Lord has shown the greatest love of all, in offering himself to us in the flesh, and providing us with a meal which celebrates his eternally abiding love with us.  He invites you to meet him here, to receive his gifts, and to give of yourself.

Offertory Prayer

We celebrate your love, God of life, in these gifts and in the daily lives we lead that allows us to bring them.  We would give you all, indeed, and ask that you bless these tokens of our very selves, so that the world may receive your ultimate gift of love in Jesus Christ, our coming Lord. Amen.

Invitation to the Table

God, the Creator of love and the Lover of all creation, has revealed ultimate love in the coming of Jesus Christ to our world.  In the bread that we break at Christ’s invitation, and in the drinking of the cup of salvation, we are remade as his body in our day, the incarnate love of God, a living sacrament of love in this world.  May we draw near in faith to the One who love us, who is closer to us than the very air we breathe, and be renewed in our love for God and for one another.

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)

O God, you love all of your creation, and we gather at your Table in expectation of the ultimate expression of your love made known to us in Jesus Christ. As we feast upon the broken bread and wine poured out for us, may we be remade as his body – a living sacrament of love in this world – ready to heal the brokenhearted, eager to open our lives to those who are alone, ready to move at the bidding of your Spirit which you freely pour out upon us in this meal. Accept our sacrifice of praise, we pray, in the name of him who is all love, Jesus Christ our Lord.

OR

  1. Almighty God, creator of love and lover of all whom you have made, we offer to you this bread.  Bless it now, even as you bless us with the will to receive it, and the power to share it with all who hunger for you.
  2. O God of Love, you are ever closer than the air we breathe.   Send now your Spirit into our midst to bless this cup which we offer in thanksgiving for Christ’s offering for us.  May we who drink of it be enlivened with your love and readied to do your will made known to us in Jesus Christ.

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…’

MORE…

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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.

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