Sunday December 31, 2017
Year B, First Sunday of Christmas
First Sunday after Christmas :: White ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 148
L: Praise the LORD!
P: Praise the LORD from the heavens,
L: Praise the LORD, all you Heavenly Host;
P: Praise the LORD from all the earth.
L: Praise the LORD , whose glory is above heaven and earth;
P: Praise the LORD!.
Invocation: (From Isaiah)
We have come O God, in this time of new beginnings to rejoice in you. You have clothed us with the garments of salvation, and covered us in robes of righteousness. As the earth brings forth shoots , and a garden springs up, cause righteousness and praise to spring up in us today. Receive our praise this day, O God, and draw us near to you.
It is easy to look at the story of Simeon and Anna, and focus on the call to look for the Christ child. But the beginning of the story says “. . . They brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord.” Giving an offering to the Lord requires a sacrifice. True, in Biblical times, that meant a sacrifice offering of two turtle doves; but in today’s understanding there is still a message to be shared. When we truly and deeply give, sacrificially, we please the Lord. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which express our thanksgiving for the gift of Jesus, the Christ.
Oh God of endings and beginnings, we come still basking in the glow of Christmas, and bring our gifts. Accept them as sacrifices for the hope of your kingdom. Guide and direct the use of these gifts that your church may grow strong in wisdom and your favor may be upon it. Amen.
Galatians 4:6-7 remind us that because we are children of God, God has sent the Spirit into our hearts, crying “Abba, Father!” So we are no longer slaves, but children of God, and heirs of God. We come to Christ’s table as ones who have been fully adopted into God’s family. Come to the table, eat drink and remember the one who made your place at the table.
All material copyright 2017 The Jubilee Fund, Inc. Permission granted to reproduce and use any of the above for Churches and Congregations to the glory of God without requirement of compensation or notification.
Scripture Quotations from the New Revised Standard Version. Online Scripture links a service of the Jean and Alexander Heard Divinity Library, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. Check out all of the awesome resources there at http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu