Worship Order for
"Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing.
Come adore on bended knee Christ, the Lord, the newborn
then congregation sings the refrain
("Gloria in excelsis Deo") to:
"Angels we have heard on
(note: those lighting the Advent candles this week are newcomers
among us - three women from Brazil and Chile. They will come
forward during the first verse of "O
little town of Bethlehem" to light as we sing. One of them may -
depending on if it can be arranged last minute - begin the service
from the back of the sanctuary by speaking the above words from
the third verse of
"Angels we have heard on
high" in her native tongue, immediately followed by the worship leader
repeating them in English.)
"Oh, venid pronto a Belén para contemplar
A Jesús, Autor del bien, al recién nacido Rey."
One: 0 God, ten days out from Christmas
and this is where we are:
All: We rejoice on occasion,
but it has to be something really impressive.
We pray when the mood strikes us,
but many of us would be ashamed
if others in the church knew
how infrequently that was.
We give thanks when things are going well,
but we often shake our fist at heaven.
One: 0 God, we're almost to the manger
and this is where we d like to be:
All: So aware of your blessings and grace
that we rejoice always;
so convinced of the power of your presence
that we pray without ceasing;
so focused on your kingdom that is coming
that we give thanks in all circumstances.
One: Yes, this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
by Dan Petry, pastor
Middlebury, IN Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word
"Anointed to proclaim"
(based upon Isaiah
Jesus was born
where, according to the Bible? Bethlehem. Was that where he grew
up? Yes? No. Where was his home town? Nazareth. That why he was
sometimes called "Jesus of Nazareth." He was raised
there. Were you listening to the scripture reading just now? Does
anybody recognize it? Yes, it’s from the prophet Isaiah, but
those words pop up in the story of Jesus. Do you know where?
you a hint, they are somehow connected to the town in which he
grew up - not Bethlehem, but Nazareth. Jesus read those very
words. It says so in the Bible. Not when he was a baby, of course.
Babies can’t read, can they? Like you, he learned how to read.
An important part of growing up in his congregation was learning
how to read the Bible. Like other boys, he prepared to one day
read God’s Word out loud in front of his congregation.
Now, the Bible
doesn’t tell about his bar mitzvah, when he probably read
in public for the first time. That would have been when he was
about your age, (choose & name a child age
12-13). No, but the Bible does tell about another time
when, as an adult, after he called his disciples, he came home to
Nazareth and was asked to read out loud (Luke
4:16-30). I wonder if he was nervous when he read
in front of all these people who had watched him grow up. I wonder
if his Mom was nervous, too, even as she was probably very proud.
Now, I’m not
going to talk about the rest of that story. I am going to tell you
that learning how to read the Bible is still important. A few of
you have already read the Bible in front of this congregation,
bringing us some good news. I hope some day you all will take a
turn. But, you know what? Right now most of you are preparing to
do something very special. On Christmas Eve, those of you in the
Alleluia Choir will lead us in worship. You’ll sing. Some of you
may read. Some may act out something. You will be holding up the
light of Christ. I want you to know that God is sending you to
bring some good news to us. I’d like to pray for you right now,
to help prepare you for this important mission. Let’s pray.
your Spirit be upon these children as they prepare. Help them to
bring good news. May what they sing, what they say, and what they
do, bind up someone us is brokenhearted, release someone who is
held captive, comfort someone who is mourning. May their
leadership lift up gladness in the place of sadness, and make bold
the praise of those whose spirit may be growing faint. Anoint them
to proclaim that Christ the Lord is born, and new life has begun.
with our Tithes and Offerings
"When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we
were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with
laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was
said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great
things for them.’ The LORD has done great things
for us, and we rejoiced. Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the streams in the desert. May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing
the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves." (Psalm
You may not at
this moment be "sowing in tears," but someone
else may. We’ve mentioned the
tears of southern Africa, and the appeal to help them in the
middle of their drought. Closer to home, we think of those in the
midst of grief or other trouble, for whom holidays are a mixed
blessing. As you return your offering, see it as part of the seed
with which God plants the good news in the world. Pray for "shouts
Will the ushers come forward to serve.
gifts we sow, O God, the good news which you have already planted
in our lives. May they grow, even in places where the ground has
become parched from lack of rain, and sprout and provide for those
who need your joy. Indeed, Lord, "may those who sow in
tears reap with shouts of joy." This we pray in the name
of your and our greatest joy - Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.