Worship Connection: January 1, 2017

December 5th, 2016

First Sunday after Christmas

Color: White 
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2: 13-23

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: Let your praise of God sound to the heavens!
P: We shout the good news of God’s mighty love!
L: Let all the stars, the sun, the moon sing praise to God!
P: The Universe that God created sings its praise!
L: Praise the Lord!
P: Hallelujah! AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: How magnificent is all creation!
P: God’s love is poured throughout all God has created.
L: God’s love is poured out upon us each day.
P: Praise be to God!
L: Let your souls and spirits rejoice at the goodness of God.
P: Let all the people praise God! AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2011 “We Sing of Your Glory,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]

L: The heavens are bursting forth with God’s glory!
P: God’s mighty acts of power and love are sung by God’s angels!

Choir: singing verse 1 of “We Sing of Your Glory”

L: From the darkness of our night, God has brought us salvation!
P: We have not been forgotten!

Choir: singing verse 4 of “We Sing of Your Glory”

L: Thanks be to God who, in a little child, has again reminded us of God’s love.
P: Praise be to God who comes to save and lead us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:
L: Shout to the Lord your praises!
P: Sing to the Lord the joy of this day!
L: For God’s might and power are established in the universe!
P: God’s transforming love beckons us.
L: Come, let us worship God whose Light bursts forth into our darkness!
P: Let us praise the God of salvation who brings us home. AMEN.


PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer
God of hope and light, your good news has been emblazoned across the skies, the great starry night of Jesus’ birth, sung by angels, celebrated by shepherds, witnessed by animals. You have given to us a new chance, a reminder of your continual love for us. Be with us in this worship, we pray. Guide our thoughts, our lives, our spirits. Heal and restore us. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
We come to you this day, gracious Lord, exhausted from all the activities of the season. It seems that we spend so much energy, time, and resources in preparation, and then when it is over, we collapse. We wonder what happened to all the enthusiasm we had. Lord, forgive us for placing our energies in getting and gathering. Give us peace and strength to renew our commitment to you. Remind us again to look around at the many ways in which we can be of service to you by serving others. Help us move forward in our compassion and not collapse in our witness. Heal us, merciful Lord, for we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
Though the world swirls around you and exhaustion threatens to overtake you, rest your spirits in the great God of all creation who is with you now and forever! God will give you strength and restore your spirits. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer:
Blessed Lord, into our darkness you have brought the Light of your love. You have given to us a reminder of the many ways in which you care for us and guide us. This has been a hectic time for so many of us. We have invested ourselves, our energies, and our resources in a flurry of activities; and now we are coming to the end of this calendar year, with a new year in view, and we wonder how we are going to have the energy that the new year will demand. Help us place our trust and our lives in your care. As Joseph listened to the angel telling him to follow, help us follow you in all our ways. Give us strength and courage for the times ahead. Let love be the foundation from which all our actions spring. Bless and keep us in your care, for we ask this in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Reading

Reader 1:
Whew! This year is almost over! What a relief!

Reader 2:
I never thought I would get through it all. For some reason there seemed to be more demands on me and on my time than ever before.

Reader 1:
I know what you mean! Now we are looking at a new year. I don’t know if I’m ready.

Reader 2:
I don’t think we are ever ready for what’s coming.

Reader 1:
I have to admit it, I am not exactly looking forward to starting another year. I didn’t get done all the things I should have gotten done during the last year.

Reader 2:
Well, you can’t go back and retrieve that stuff, you know.

Reader 1:
I wonder what will be different this coming year.

Reader 2:
I wonder if I will be different this coming year. I wonder if I will be more prepared to do all that I have to do.

Voice:
Quiet your spirits. God is with you. You do not have to finish this year by rushing headlong into a new year. Give yourself some quiet time. Be at peace. God is with you.

Reader 1:
I know. I’ve got to let go of slavery to a schedule and take some time just to be quiet, calm--just to be.

Reader 2:
I’ve got to take a better look at the things that are important, not spend so much time plotting and planning.

Voice:
Come to me, you who are weary and find your burdens heavy. I will give you rest.

Benediction
May the God of light, love, and mercy be in your hearts and spirits this day. Go in peace and God’s peace will go with you. AMEN.



ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this day is WHITE.

Theme: Light

Note: Some churches leave their Christmas decorations up for this Sunday. This is good and can be a reminder of the rush into the season that all of us experience. If you are going to change the worship center, I suggest that you focus on light, using lots of candles.

SURFACE:
Place a 6” tall riser in the center back of the worship center. You may place other lower risers on the worship center and in front of the worship center.

FABRIC:
Cover the worship center in white fabric, so that all risers are covered and the fabric drapes to the floor.

CANDLES:
Using taper candles, votives, pillar candles, all in white, group your candles on the risers, in groups of three or five candles.

FLOWERS/PLANTS:
If you have poinsettias remaining from the Christmas services, you may place them beside the worship center, framing the worship center. Some smaller poinsettias may be placed on the top of the worship center on either side of the 6” tall riser.

ROCKS/WOOD:
Not necessary in this setting.

OTHER:
Place a brass cross on the 6” riser in the center of the worship table.

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