Order of Worship
First Sunday after Christmas
December 27, 2020

Organ Prelude
Call to Worship  From Psalm 148
Praise God, angels in heaven; praise God, you creatures of earth!
Praise God, sun and moon; praise God, all you shining stars!
“Celebrate Emmanuel.”
Praise God, rushing waters; praise God, you fish in the sea!
Praise God, fire and hail; praise God, you snow and frost!
“Celebrate Emmanuel.”
Praise God, animals and cattle; praise God, you creeping things and flying birds!
Praise God, young men and women;   praise God, old and young together!
“Celebrate Emmanuel.”

Opening Prayer
We have come to praise you, O God.
Your presence among us
is a long-awaited gift –
for us and all creation.
May the reality of this gift
be greater than our human expectations
as we receive this gift anew today.
Amen.

Sharing of Scripture                                  Luke 2:22–40
Message in Music
Storytelling – The Three Trees                                       Rev. Laura McLeod
Prayer of dedication
Generous Creator, giver of every good gift:
May our offerings keep the life of those gifts circulating.
Accept, we pray, these tokens of our gratitude for all we have received.
May they be of use in extending the work of our community to the world beyond our walls. Amen.

A Time of Prayer
Preparation for Prayer
Silent Prayer
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
God of light and darkness,
our world needs your presence.
We, your people, long to experience you
in all our being, with all our senses.
Shine your light in us, O God,
that we might shine for others.
Help us not to stay focused
on the infant Jesus in the manger or the temple.
Help us instead to hear the message
of the living Christ, who calls us to discipleship.
Shine your light in us, O God,
that we might shine for others.
By your Spirit, guide us to take the message
of unconditional love and to share it
with all the world,
especially those who are in need,
hurting and disillusioned,
who have given up.
Shine your light in us, O God,
that we might shine for others.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray saying, Our Father…Amen.

Bless
The world awaits the gift of love.
We will go forth with the love of God.
The world awaits the gift of grace and forgiveness.
We will go forth with the grace of Christ.
The world awaits the gift of friendship and peace.
We will go forth together in the Spirit.
Go, and know that God’s Spirit has gone before you gifting the people of earth with love, and grace, and peace.
Thanks be to God!

Organ Postlude

Sharing of Scripture                                  Luke 2:22–40
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.

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