The Celebration of the Gospel
December 31, 2017 —Sunday after Christmas
They brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to God.
________We Gather as the Body of Christ______
PRELUDE What Child Is This? 16th Century Carol, arr: Mark Hayes
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of God has risen upon you.
All: We shall see and be radiant;
our heart shall thrill and rejoice.
We worship in reverence and joy.
SONG Joy to the World Blue hymnal # 246 v. 1,4
__________ We Attend to the Word________
THE WORD IN SONG
Mary, Did You Know? Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene, arr. Jack Schrader
God, you have come among us as a child. Give us grace to attend. Give us hearts to see and to wonder. Give us courage to follow. Speak to us, who long for the coming of your desire. Amen.
NEW TESTAMENT Galatians 4.4-7
[When the time was right God sent a child, born as our human sibling, so that together we could be children of God, and inherit God’s Spirit.]
When the fullness of time had come, God sent the Beloved, born of a woman, born with human frailties, in order to redeem those with human frailties, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of the Beloved into our hearts, crying, “Abba!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
GOSPEL Luke 2.22-40
[When Jesus is eight days old Mary and Joseph bring him to the temple to be circumcised. There are two people, Simeon and the prophet Anna, who are deeply mindful of God’s promises, and who are waiting for the Messiah. They both see in the child the presence of God’s powerful action in our lives.]
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
SONG Anna and Simeon’s Song Steve G-H
Today I held in my trembling hands such a child so pure:
a gift of grace, God’s human face, love so tenderly given.
Wonder! Wonder! How God’s promise is sure!
Fears cease in hope and peace: earth has now become heaven.
Today I saw with my wondering eyes such a child divine!
My heart sang out for all about shone the light of the Near One.
Wonder! Wonder! That this joy could be mine.
Jesus has come to us, the Beloved, the Dear one.
Today you’ll meet in a simply way such a Presence, a Friend:
the Gentle One refuses none with God’s tender salvation.
Wonder! Wonder! Miracle without end!
Praise, pray and everyday bow in deep adoration.
THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
Brayden and Violet Long
Pastor: Beloved in Christ:
through the sacrament of baptism
God brings us into Christ’s holy church,
makes us part of the salvation of the world,
and gives us new birth through water and the Spirit.
Sponsor: We come to this water
to baptize Violet and Brayden
and to bathe them in your love for them.
All: We come to this water
to renew our love as siblings in Christ,
and to renew our baptism
in the death and resurrection of Christ.
The Baptismal Vows…
Do you, as Christ’s Body, the church, reaffirm your rejection of sin
and your commitment to Christ?
Congregation: We do.
Will you be living witnesses to the gospel,
individually and together, wherever you are, and in all that you do?
We will live as faithful members of the Body of Christ
and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world.
Will you nurture one another in living the faith through the church
and include these young people in your care?
With God’s help we will embody the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We will surround Brayden and Violet with faith, hope and love
that they may grow in grace and faith
and learn to trust God and live in loving service in the world.
We will pray for them and walk with them
on their journey of discipleship among us.
Profession of Faith (The Apostles’ Creed)
Let us join in professing our faith.
Do you trust in God the Father and Mother?
All:: I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
Do you follow Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Begotten, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Do you live by the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Thanksgiving over the Water
The Spirit of God is among us.
The blessing of the Beloved is upon us!
Let us pray. Loving, life-giving God, we give you thanks,
for in the beginning your Spirit brooded over the waters
and you brought forth Creation.
You brought us to freedom through the waters of the Red Sea.
You gave us new birth through baptism into Christ,
and gave us life that cannot die.
The river of God is full of water,
the river of the water of life,
bright as crystal, flowing from the heart of God.
We who are baptized into Christ Jesus
are baptized into his life,
born in the water of a womb;
we are baptized into his ministry,
giving water to the thirsty,
washing the feet and sharing the tears of all who suffer;
and we are baptized into his death,
so that just as Christ was raised by the glory of God,
we too might walk in newness of life.
Born of water and the Spirit,
may we enter into the Realm of God
as children of God,
born not of human will, but of God.
Pour out your Holy Spirit in this water
and bless the ones who receives it,
that claimed by your Word, nourished in your grace,
washed from all sin and borne by your Spirit,
they may live in freedom, trust and courage,
sharing in the eternal life of Christ.
Violet and Brayden, you are God’s Beloved,
in whom God is well pleased.
All reverence and delight is yours,
infinite and loving God, now and forever.
All praise to you, Eternal Father and Mother,
Son and Holy Spirit,
in the present moment and in eternity. Amen!
… Baptism …
Let us welcome our new siblings in Christ.
Brayden and Violet, Children of God,
claimed by water and the Spirit,
you are joined to God’s new creation.
We are one in Christ Jesus,
sharing in Christ’s royal priesthood.
With joy and thanksgiving
we welcome you as a member of Christ’s church.
God bless you now and in eternal life. Amen.
The God of all grace, who has called us to eternal glory in Christ,
establish you and strengthen you by the power of the Holy Spirit,
that you may live in grace and peace.
BLESSING Isaiah 61.10-62.3
[It is as if God has dressed us up for something special like a wedding. As God causes things to grow out of the ground, God’s goodness grows out of human history. God’s people will be light for the world.]
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for God has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
God has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation like a burning torch.
The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
And you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
SONG Rock-A-Bye, My Dear Little Boy Blue hymnal #235
THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
______ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____
OFFERING OUR GIFTS Let There Be Peace On Earth Sy Miller & Jill Jackson
* OFFERING SONG Love Came Down at Christmas Blue hymnal #242
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Send us into the new year as new people, people of hope, your children for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.
THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD
* SONG Go, Tell It on the Mountain Blue hymnal #251
* THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
RESPONSE We stand and sing to our neighbors:
(Tune: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear)
Now go in peace, my dearest friends. God will be with you all.
And let the Spirit guide you forth wherever God may call.
Beloved, you are a child of God, whom angels sing above.
So go into the new year now with hope and joy and love.
POSTLUDE Go, Tell It On The Mountain Traditional, arr: Mark Hayes
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]