For Sunday, December 27, 2015
Year C, First Sunday in Christmas
First Sunday in Christmas :: White ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 148
L: Praise the LORD!
P: Praise the LORD from the heavens and in the heights!
L: Praise the LORD, all the angels and heavenly host!
P: Praise the LORD, rulers of nations throughout the earth!
L: Young men and women alike,
P: Old and young together,
L: Praise the LORD, for God’s name alone is exalted,
P: PRAISE THE LORD!
Almighty, loving, and wonderful God, we come together this day in your Holy Presence. We come having trod through the wrappings and trappings; we come overwhelmed with leftovers and memories; we come wearing instead of bearing our gifts before you. Most importantly, we come. As we celebrate the journey of the Christmas season, we ask your blessing. Draw us near to you, and speak to our hearts. Guide us in wisdom and truth. Accept our worship and praise, and make it a blessing to you and to all the world.
The Apostle Paul encourages us through the letter to the Colossians to claim a community as “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.” He encourages us to “Bear one another . . . forgive each other . . . and clothe ourselves with love . . . And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” What we do now, bringing our tithes and offerings, returning a portion of the many rich blessings God has given us, is one of the ways we give thanks to God. For when we return that portion in the Name of the Lord Jesus, we are truly giving thanks. We will now receive our signs of thanks in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.
Everlasting Lord, we bring before you our tithes and offerings. Recognizing that all we have and all we are comes from you, we give you thanks. This token we return is an acknowledgement of your many blessings, and a sign of our thankfulness. Use these gifts, we pray, to further your reign on earth, as it is in heaven. We offer them in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
As Samuel grew up in the care of Eli, scripture tells us he grew “in stature and in favor with the LORD and with the people. As Jesus grew up in the care of Mary and Joseph, scripture tells us he “increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.” Do you hear the similarities? I sure do. One of the questions I often ask is “what does this mean for us at this church, today?” I think it means that we are all called to grow in stature with God and one another. One of the ways we grow is in being willing to be honest with God and ourselves about our failures and our opportunities. As Disciples of Christ, we do that here; at the table of our Lord. As you come to the table today, as you eat this bread and drink this cup, I encourage you to use it as a time to grow in favor with the divine LORD, and with each other.
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