WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
December 27, 2020
First, a word on fancy words. In worship we have this phrase we use called liturgy that feels like a formal way of having a worship leader saying stuffy things about God. The word means, “the work of the people” and liturgy is meant to be held, and owned by the worshippers, i.e. you. This service is planned to give you a path, a guide to pray, interact with scripture, wrestle with it – wrestle with God – and in so doing, have a moment of coming face to face with the divine right here, right now.
So, come and lay all the worries of the day aside. Take a deep breath, and we will start with a prayer.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
“Christmas returns, as it always does, with the assurance that life is good.”
- Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations
CALL TO WORSHIP
O Lord, our God, as we celebrate again the festival of Christmas, we ask you to make us humble and loving like Jesus, who did not come to be served but to serve, and who said that it is better to give than to receive, so that in his name we may devote ourselves to the care and service of all who are in need. We ask this through the same name, Jesus our Lord. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
When Jesus was born of Mary, he became like us in all things but sin. May we who have been reborn in him be free from all the ways we trap and impoverish ourselves. Let us now confess our sin to God.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
O God, in the beginning you spoke, and creation was born, the object of your loving care. In the fullness of time you spoke, and the Word became flesh, Jesus, gift of your love. We wonder at the miracle of creation; we stand in awe before the mystery of the incarnation. Forgive us earthbound creatures, feeble in faith, empty of hope, lacking in love. This year let the miracle and mystery of Christmas happen for us again, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
God has caused light to shine in our hearts, the light that is knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Amen.
PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
O Christ, the prophets foretold your coming, the poor longed to see you. The heavens celebrated your birth; the apostles, the martyrs, and the faithful down through the ages repeated the song of the angels. Your church praises you in every human language, for she has seen your salvation. Son of God, you humbled yourself and became a servant, raising us up to share in your glory. We were in darkness and you have given us light and strength, peace and joy. Lead us according to your loving will; make us a people who follow you in holiness. Give us generous hearts to hear your Word, and produce in us abundant fruit, through the power of your Spirit. Amen
1 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wonderful works.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually.
5 Remember the wonderful works he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
6 O offspring of his servant Abraham,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
6 Both we and our ancestors have sinned;
we have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.
7 Our ancestors, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wonderful works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
13 But they soon forgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel.
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Of the Father's Love Begotten
SUNDAY SCHOOL AT HOME
Although we can’t be in the same proximity physically, we can be together in spirit. We are happy to be able to provide to you age appropriate Sunday school lessons each week for you to do with your children. Click the Sunday School button to be directed to our weekly lessons.
STAYING CONNECTED FOR ADULTS
Faith Formation is pleased to announce the following adult learning opportunities that are meeting “virtually” while we “shelter in place”. Anyone is welcome to participate. Contact information and more details can be found by clicking the Adult Opportunities button.
RESPONDING TO THE WORD
Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Alleluia! Shout to the Lord, all the earth. Alleluia! O Christ, splendor of God’s eternal glory, the mighty word, sustaining the universe: renew our lives by your presence.
Lord, have mercy.
O Christ, born into the world in the fullness of time for the liberation of all creation: release all into your promised freedom.
Lord, have mercy.
O Christ, begotten of the Father before all time, born in a stable at Bethlehem: may your church be a sign of hope and joy.
Lord, have mercy.
O Christ, truly God and truly human, born to a people in fulfillment of their expectations: fulfill our desires in you.
Lord, have mercy.
O Christ, born of the virgin Mary, child of wonder and splendor, Mighty God of all ages, Prince of Peace: may the whole world live in peace and justice.
Lord, have mercy.
You are invited to silently lift the names of particular people or situations that weigh heavily on your soul at this time.
We seal these prayers with the one he taught us, saying together:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and power and the glory, Amen.
How can we pray for you?
Click the button to send us your prayer concerns and joys and stay connected.
OFFERING OUR GIFTS
God of wonder, we offer you our gifts, signs of your goodness and mercy. Receive them with our gratitude for the gift of your presence in Christ that through us all people may know the riches of your love in the Word-made-flesh. Amen.
We can join in this work by volunteering to help our neighbors, by joining with our ministries to continue making an impact in the lives of our fellow church members – like helping to teach our children. We can also help by pledging to support this church community financially as we make a bigger and bigger impact in our local, regional, and even international communities.
If you have struggled finding a way to help support the work PCW does in our local and broader community in these days of worshipping remotely, remember, you can send checks to 140 Mountain Avenue, Westfield, NJ 07090, or email Tina Barulli at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have that ability.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one for whom we wait; the love of the Father, who calls us back to abundant life; and the communion of the Holy Spirit, who sustains us still with every breath we take, be with you now and always. Amen.
Go now into this beautiful world. Go in peace. And have courage. Hold fast to what is good and return no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint hearted, support the weak, and care for those who suffer. Love and serve the Lord. And the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you now, and every moment of your precious life.
PASSING THE PEACE
Peace be with you
Please pass the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to your neighbors.
Assorted prayers for this week have been taken and/or adapted from The Worship Sourcebook