#ChristmasEve Liturgy, Lessons and Carols

Highlights: Includes Joseph emphasizing Emmanuel, Includes Mary’s Magnificat (recently decided that this should be essential for Christmas Eve as it tells why Jesus is coming), dovetails Myrrh/Communion also, ends with the Shepherds rejoicing/Joy to the World & Mary’s pondering/Silent Night

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USA, California, Los Angeles skyline, sunset

*Highly rec passing out some kind of manger stickers for kids to participate/follow along with during the worship

Prelude                “ O Holy Night”

FIRST LESSON                                                               Luke 1:26-35, 38                                 CAROL                     “It Came Midnight Clear”

WELCOME              

SECOND LESSON                                                   Matthew 1:18-23                                    CAROL “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

Prayer of Confession (Unison) Merciful God, we confess that we find your good news frightening and unsettling, especially when we consider its demands as well as its promises. Forgive us, melt us, mold us, remake us. Give us the courage to lay ourselves open to the wonder and healing of your coming. Be born again into our world, be born again into our hearts and lives. Hear now our silent and personal confessions as we prepare ourselves for your nativity. (Silent Confession)  Amen —–based on a prayer written by Rev. Lee Ann Higgins 

Assurance of Forgiveness: Christ has come, love incarnate, salvation of the world! Know the Good news, Jesus Christ will be born this very night, and it is in him we are each, and every one of us, forgiven Thanks be to God.

THIRD LESSON Luke 1: 46-55                                                                                      Contemplative Music: “Away in the Manger” 

FOURTH LESSON Luke 2:1-7                                                                                                Lighting of the Christ Candle: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love & Christ

 All Children are invited forward to assist with the lighting (Note I let the children light the candles each week, basically youngest to oldest, we have about 12 kids and usually end up impromptu-ly including them all)

Anthem

FIFTH LESSON                                                               Luke 2:8-12                   CAROL                                          “The First Nowell” v. 1-2

SIXTH LESSON             Luke 2:13-14                                                                       CAROL                       “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

Offering                                              

FOURTH LESSON Matthew 2:1-12                                                                                    CAROL “We Three Kings of Orient Are” v. 1-4

Holy Communion

Invitation from Christ

The Lord be with you

And also with you

Lift up your hearts

We lift our hearts to the lord

Give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise….(prayer continues)

….and praying as his son taught us to pray……..The Lord’s Prayer (unison)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by 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 the glory and power forever. Amen.

Bread & Cup: Communion will be taken by intinction, where congregants come forward and dip the bread in the cup. If you need assistance, the pastor will come to serve you individually.]

SIXTH LESSON Luke 2:15-18, 20                                                                     CAROL                                                         “Joy to the World”

SIXTH LESSON Luke 2:19                                                                                     CAROL                                                         “Silent Night”

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Tasting #God

I look over as I raise my glass, the bread has been swallowed individually, because we are all individuals in Christ, and there is Westley, 7 years old and dead serious.

“This is the blood of the New Covenant, Friends, drink ye all of it” I pronounce. Westley holds his cup as steady as he can…and then he drinks it and we drink it.

And Westley tastes God.

Watching my autistic son take communion, being soothed by its ritual, experiencing the taste of the liturgy in community in a way the wordy-words of the sermon and even the half-warbled hymns from his throat doesn’t.

Westley loves church, because he knows he is loved. He knows he is accepted. Working on body language, empathy & instinct, Westley will run from the room if he feels unwanted. He knows. This little boy who doesn’t sit, not even in front of his beloved electronics without fiddling or bouncing or squishing. Sits solemnly throughout service. participating not just with the community, but as a part of it.

But this is his church, this is his space, he is growing up here. And for a little boy who has a lot of trouble speaking and understanding words, the bread and the cup (grape juice) speak to him.

For Westley, Communion is community, its love, its ritual, its sensational in all the right ways. Communion is the taste of God, the one-ness with humanity. Seeing Westley take Communion is holy ground, because we ask God to be present, and miraculously, God is there. God is in the little boy who carefully picks his bread from the platter, and eats it, waiting for the cup to be raised, so we can drink it, as communion.

 

#GoodFriday #Bulletin #Worship #liturgy

Good Friday April 14th, 2016 6:30pm

New Covenant Presbyterian Church Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?

INTRODUCTION TO THE SERVICE

The service tonight is known as the “Service of The Nails”.  It is a series of readings, responses, and silent reflection and prayer designed to help us enter more deeply into the meaning of Good Friday.   Everyone is requested to take a nail to keep it with them for use during the service. For the service, you are asked to remain seated.

 

Call to Worship  (based on Is. 52:13-15)

L  The Lord be with you.

P  And also with you

L  See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.  Just as there were many who were astonished at him–so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals– so he shall startle many nations;  kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.

THE NAIL OF STUMBLING                                           MATTHEW 26:36-45

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.  Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Sung Response Extinguishing the Light

      Were you there when he prayed upon the hill? 

      Were you there when he prayed in upon the hill? 

O Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble;

       Were you there when he prayed upon the hill?…..(silence)

Meditation and Prayer

O God – help us consider how we waver, how we seek to avoid

responsibility and to blame others for our actions.

O God – do not let us deceive ourselves. 

       Our indecision hurts us and creates walls between us and others.

                                

THE NAIL OF BETRAYAL                                       MATTHEW 26:48-56

Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.”  At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.  Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.”  Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.  Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.  Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at  once send me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”  At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit?  Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.  But all this has taken  place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.”  Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

   

Sung Response: Extinguishing the Light

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

      Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

O Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble;

                 Were you there when they crucified my Lord?(silence)

THE NAIL OF CRUELTY                                 MATTHEW 27:27-31, 39-42

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head.  They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.  After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!  If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”  In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.  He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.”

Sung Response Extinguishing the Light

Were you there when left him on the cross?  

      Were you there when they left him on the cross? 

O, Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble;

      Were you there when they left him on the cross? (silence)

Meditation and Prayer

O God – help us consider how we are cruel to others, how we malign

and slander others and add to the evil that comes upon them.

O God – do not let us deceive ourselves.  

       Our cruelty hurts us and creates walls between us and others.

RESPONSIVE READING: THE PROMISE OF MERCY       ISAIAH 53:8-13

They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.

Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.

The righteous one, God’s servant, shall make many righteous, 

   and he shall bear their iniquities. 

Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

THE NAIL OF HATRED                                          LUKE 6:22, 32-33, 44-46 “ Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. When he had said this, he breathed his last..”

Sung Response: Extinguishing the Light

Were you there when the sun refused shine?  

      Were you there when the sun refused shine? 

O, Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble;

                Were you there when the sun refused to shine? (silence)

Meditation and Prayer

L   O God – help us consider how we show hate to others, how we fail to

care for others and make distinctions among them.

O God – do not let us deceive ourselves.

       Our hatred hurts us and creates walls between us and others.

THE RESPONSE

ACT OF CONFESSION                                             ISAIAH 53:4-6

You are invited to have your sins nailed to the cross

Meditation and Prayer

O God – help us consider how we betray others, how we abandon

them in their time of need, how we think of ourselves first

O God – do not let us deceive ourselves.  Our acts of betrayal hurt us and           

      create walls between us and others.

Communion

The Lord be with you

And also with you

Lift up your hearts

We life them up to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise….(Pastoral Prayer & Lord’s Prayer)

Jesus came into the world, not to judge it, but to save it.

We are so grateful for God’s infinite love, and we celebrate with all of creation, the saving work, of our Suffering Saviour. On the night before he was nailed to the merciless cross,

Jesus shared His last meal with His friends. He took the bread, He broke it, and He gave thanks, and then He passed it among them saying,

This is my body which is broken for you. Eat it and remember Me.

He took the wine, and He gave thanks, and then He passed it among them saying,

This is my blood which is shed for you. Drink it and remember Me.

And so, we take, we eat and drink, and we remember:

There is no greater love, than this sacrifice which You, Jesus, made for us

Sung Response: Extinguishing the Light

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

      Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

O Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble;

                 Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (silence)

(Blow out remaining Candles and Leave in silence)

Links of Prayer: Narrative Lectionary for Lent

Links of Prayer Resources for Lent.
A broad number of prayers from a variety of pastors/denominations. All variations of theology and kinds of prayers were accepted to show the vast richness of God’s work.
 These prayers are meant for personal spiritual practice or for congregations who follow the narrative lectionary.
They include a Call to Worship/Opening Prayer, Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Pardon, Communion Prayer, Prayer of Dedication/Offering and Some are Paired Psalm-Prayer Station Guide by Rev. Shea Zellweger
Feel free to use/edit. Credit to the original author (i.e. based on prayer written by XXX) appreciated.
March 1st Ash Wednesday by Rev. Mary Austin
March 5th The Good Samaritan by Rev. Dr. Robyn Provis
March 12th The Lament Over Jerusalem by Rev. Courtney D. Arntzen
March 19th Lost Coin, Lost Sheep, Lost Son by Rev. Mike Williams
March 26th Rich Man and Lazarus by Rev. Tracy Spencer-Brown
Apr 2nd Zacchaeus by Rev. Katy Stenta
Apr 11th Triumphal Entry/Palm Sunday by Rev. Jeanne Gay
Apr 13th Last Supper by Rev. Amy Fetterman
Apr 14th Crucifixion by Rev Lee Ann Higgins
      Good Friday Liturgy of the Nails http://wp.me/p2rhxZ-25W
Apr 16th Resurrection/Easter by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl

#RejectedSermonTitles: Time is Wibbley-Wobbley

Time is nonsense.

Ecc 1:1-11; 3:1-7

Humans have created time, like lines in the sand, to help us to keep track of things. This makes sense because we are namers, our job is to name things, explore them and understand them.

We are human, we compartmentalize. Time is human lines in the sand, just like countries, they are human ways of dealing and understanding the world. Tools that are useful, but do not tell the entire story.

But have you ever tried to make time for something, or to spend time on just one thing? Its difficult to do.

If I were God, I would have made life easier, just one human being going from point A->B no complications. Or perhaps stick to 2 humans, Adam and Eve, only having to concentrate upon one relationship only.

But God is timeless. God has allowed us to have complex feelings and complex relationships. the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. We can be at different places and do different things. We are made into complex beings, because God can step back and free us from time, to be more complicated. We have many relationships at different stages with many different types of people, and we feel complex emotions about all of these relationship and our relationships effect our other relationships.

Timey Wimey Dr Who
Timey Wimey Dr Who

God allows time to be different. Nowhere in the Bible does it have the timeline or steps to being a Christian. Different people come in different ways. Because God frees us from time and cultures and checklists.

Church is one of the few places where you come, wherever you are to experience God.

Again, we may wish that you are baptized before you take communion, but the reality is sometimes you take communion to get baptized. God is timeless, God is beyond time. Working on all the relationships that influence our experience of God, digging deep into the emotions which are so often mixed. Never are we just sad, we are sad with a touch of anger, or depression that comes from feeling bereft. We are happy, but nervous. We are full of joy and yet miss those we love.

Church is where we gather to practice experiencing God together, and wherever we are, we meet together. What’s more, we open our congregation to invite anyone in…

we know that our own experience of God is enriched by the different places that we all come from

Church is not a social club, or a volunteer group or a corporation. Its not a checklist, its a practice of the experience of God together, its a place to find companionship on the spiritual journey. Church is unique.

Because, God is timeless. Experience of time is as mixed and nonsensical as Ecclesiastes says. God experiences happen throughout the week, in fact we practice God’s presence on Sunday to help to interweave worship throughout our time.

We are practicing it here, every week, God’s presence together. Not because time is a constant stream, but because God is timeless, entering into our lives in different and complex ways–supporting us as complex beings.

Christmas Eve Favorites

My favorite parts of this year Christmas eve service are many…but I’d love to name some

1. The children helping to light the advent candle. I did away with pre-planning a family to light candles (who has time to do that? not me, not them) and have been cycling through the children youngest to eldest–without repeating the previous weeks’ lighters, and reviewing the meanings as the Children’s sermons (they remembered ALL of it!!!!). Christmas Eve I invited all the children up…I believe there were about 10, to come and help to light the candles. Siblings shared holding the stick, and we did not set the church on fire….then I got to explain why we were lighting the Christ Candle and how we were going to share the light. It was awesome.

2. My children were totally distracted, my eldest belted out the carols and my middle child (who has communicative difficulties i.e. words are hard for him) answered back to every single Bible reading I made, plust there was the whining and rustling and near-escapes…but it reminded me of why we were there. Its why *my* family sings “the little Lord Jesus lotsa crying he makes” for Away in the Manger.

3. Communion, where we got to hear the choir sing plus some young adults sang the Christmas Alleluia which is the cool new Christian song (YAY). We took it by intinction (where we dip the bread), which means I got to pass to every single person, it was amazing.

4. Candles at the end, and raising the lights for the last verse of Silent Night

5. Being able to wish EVERY single person there a MERRY CHRISTMAS

🙂

#Beauty #life #church more #calvin&hobbes #worship #toughweekweareopenonSunday

images Life is connectional,

For me, Church is a great way to make connections….

The more the church can welcome the stuffed tigers and the rambunctious children, the better we are doing our job. After all, these messy people are the ones who remind us just how beautiful life is….When I was young I used to go to church with Eli. Eli was….a pistol, he always knew how he wanted things done and he threw himself into doing them, running from one end of the church to the other, yelling his announcements at the top of his lungs, jumping up and down in the pew. Calvin-and-Hobbes-hugging-calvin-and-hobbes-1395524-1024-768

He was that child in church.

Two important things about Eli

1. He loved church, he especially loved the “Amens” sung at the end, and would freeze whatever he was doing to listen carefully–what a holy moment

2. He loved church so much, he told everyone, EVERYONE about it, he invited his friends, who brought their parents. This child single-handedly brought more people to the church than anyone else in the entire congregation.

What a testimony to life, connections and worship that can be experienced through the eyes of just one child!

The burning que…

The burning question I have for General Assembly….wouldn’t it be cool to have the Order of Worship online? (or am I missing it), I think it would be so cool to pray what they are praying while I’m many miles away…and maybe even bring those prayers to my congregation as I try to educate them about GA?

Burning Question

Ash Weds: Narrative Lectionary Here’s what we’re doin’ tonight!

 

 

sheep

Ash Wednesday March 5, 2014

Psalm 23: King James Version

Call to Worship

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Repentance: Confession and Creation of the Ashes (writing and burning of our sins)

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Silent Contemplation

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Communion

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

The Lord be with You

And Also with you

Lift Up Your Hearts

We Lift Our Hearts to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise

Epliclesis Prayer &  The Lord’s Prayer

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, 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 the glory and the power forever.

Bread  & Cup: Intinction

(please dip the bread in the cup, taking care to keep your fingers from touching the liquid)

Ashes

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Benediction
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

Prayers and Liturgy by Pastor Katy Stenta who is the solo pastor at a bigger on the inside church in Albany, NY and enjoys reading fantasy, soaking up sunshine, playing with her three sons and visiting her husband at his work, the library.