Sunday, December 25, 2016

Holy Name of Jesus - ABC

Texts: Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 8; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 2:15-21

Call to Worship
We come, in need of blessings;
we come, seeking closeness with God.
Let us go, to find our God.
We come, from the shadows of our lives,
seeking light and hope.
Hurry, let us go to find the One we have heard about.
We come to God, seeking peace
for our lives, for our world.
Come, let us go, believing the Word we have seen.
Prayer of the Day
Majestic God,
we cannot begin to imagine you,
     yet you have made us in your image;
we wonder why you notice us,
     when we are surrounded by creation's glory;
we have been made stewards of life,
      and you choose to share your own with us.
Name above all names:
you call us 'sister' and 'brother'
     claiming us to share in your work;
exalted above all creation,
     you humbled yourself for our sake;
able to do all things,
     you choose to work through us.
Spirit of Grace:
when we look for majesty,
     you bring us to a manger;
when we yearn for glory,
     you hand us a mop;
when we want to exalt ourselves,
     you point us to the Cross.
God in Community, Holy in One,
we pray to you as Jesus has taught us,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We've been to the stable, and met the Babe.  But tomorrow, when we go back to work, or school - will others know where we have been?  Let us admit to God our reluctance to reflect transformed lives.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
God of Bethlehem:
you bless us richly,
forgive our reluctance to share;
you hold us close to your heart,
forgive us for keeping others at arm's length;
you shine in the shadows of our soul,
forgive us for not sharing the Light;
you lift us from where we have fallen,
forgive us for not offering a helping hand;
you grace us with Joy,
forgive us when we worship fear.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
If we believe the songs of the angels, and have seen the Child in the manger, we must go out and tell others this good news.
We will go: glorifying God, praising the Lord, and confessing to everyone we meet how God has richly blessed us. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we offer our gifts to you, Namer of Jesus, may we empty ourselves in service to all who are lonely, all who are hungry and homeless, all whose names have been forgotten by a world which no longer cares for them.  We pray this in the holy name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to our God.
Sisters and brothers of Christ, give thanks to our God.
We lift our songs of praise to the One who loves us.
We will indeed sing your praises,
God of Blessings,
creator of heaven and earth.
You brought forth all that is good and beautiful,
     so chaos could not keep hold of us.
You lifted up the dust of creation,
shaping it into your likeness,
     breathing your life into our lungs.
When we fell into sin,
you did not turn away from us,
     but kept your promises.
You sent prophets to remind us
of our covenant with you,
     but we continued to bow down
          to death's idols.
Finally, you sent your Beloved,
Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem,
to become one of us,
so we could be made one with you.

So, we join our voices
with the angels in heaven and the beasts in the field,
with those who have gone before us,
and those who will follow,
glorifying you forever:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of blessings.
All creation glorifies and praises you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to redeem us.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are you, Shining God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.
Emptying himself of glory,
     we are filled with grace;
reviled and cursed by coarse humanity,
     he is given the Name above all names;
dying a criminal's death
and cast into death's cold arms,
     he is lifted to your Heart
          to rule over all creation.
As we come to this Table,
we speak of that mystery
we cannot explain:
Christ was obedient to God, even to death;
Christ was exalted by God, raised to new life;
Christ will be proclaimed by all as Lord and Savior.
Come, Spirit of Blessing
upon these gifts of the bread and cup,
and those who come to receive them.
As we bow to receive the Bread of Heaven,
     we would stoop to lift up the fallen;
as we bend to take the Cup,
     we would kneel to comfort your children;
as we worship you,
     we would serve your people.
Then, when all are gathered for your Feast in heaven,
we will sing our glory to you:
God in Community, Holy and One,
now and forever. Amen.
The One who blesses you will keep you close:
we will go,
not keeping the blessing for ourselves, but to share it with others.
The One who is gracious to you, shines the Spirit upon you:
we will go,
to reflect the Light of Christ in gracious words and deeds.
The One who turns towards you gives you peace:
we will go, turning to everyone we meet, saying,
"The peace of God be with you."

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman