Leaving Bethlehem

Link to Sermon

Order of Worship

Let us be as open vessels that God’s spirit may enter.

The Community Gathers:  Experience God’s presence in the assembly. Please greet one another with joy and welcome new friends into our community of love.

      You are welcome here…come and worship!

Welcome:  The overwhelming message of the Christmas story is the assurance that we, too, are children of the Holy One. In this, our very presence is a gift if we will only allow the Spirit to move in and through us. Every day of our ordinary lives, we can show up — be present — and proclaim the assurance of hope, peace, joy, and love to those who need it most.    Rev. Shirley Bowen

Gathering Music:  What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise [One], I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him: I will give my heart.

Reader: We come giving thanks that the gifts we’ve been given are the gifts we can give.                            -Patricia Mulholland

People: We open our hearts, readying them for the gift of a new year!

Reader: The promises of Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, and Light are the Divine Gifts we receive.

People: We will use them to reassure those who need to know that they are the recipients of these gifts as well.

Reader: The gift of hope is an essential survival tool because it reminds us that the hard times do not have the last word.  The gift of Christ’s peace reminds us that we can have peace even in the midst of non-peaceful situations. 

The gift of joy is not the equivalent of happiness, but rather the deep call to delight in the small things.
The gift of love is the clarion call to us as Jesus’ disciples.
The more love we put into the world, the better the world will be.
The gift of Christ’s light is the reassurance that we are never alone.

People: We light these candles as a sign that we will be

Present with Assurance in the world.

Opening Prayer:  Holy Living Light of God, you are our Reassuring Presence. Let this assurance grow in our lives each day, so we can be a Present of Assurance to others. Unwrap and open our hearts.  May it be so. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Opening Hymn:  It Came Upon the Midnight Clear   #123  vs. 1-3

Scripture: Isaiah 62: 1-3 and Galatians 4: 4-7 -Patricia Mulholland

Gospel and Sermon:  Luke 2:22-40           Rev. Shirley Bowen

Music:  Meditative Instrumental~ (by Michelle Currie)    -Michelle Currie

Musical call to Prayer: (two times)  Hush now in quiet peace, be still your mind at ease. The spirit brings release, so wait upon the Lord.  

Prayers of the People: 

Offertory: Mary Did You Know  (by Mark Lowry/Buddy Greene)

Doxology:  Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise God all creatures here below. Praise God above ye heavenly hosts. Creator, Christ and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Closing Music: O Come, All Ye Faithful   #133    vs. 1 & 2

Blessing:  As we have focused on the gift of being present in this season, we have “discovered God’s presence with us in the middle of our messy lives and messy world.

We alone cannot heal our lives or heal the world, but, if mindful, we can participate in what God is doing and where God is leading.”

                    [adapted from Amy Oden, Right Here, Right Now]

So now go and be truly present so you may be a gift of presence for others. That’s all that is expected —that the gift that is YOU is the best gift you can give. In the name of the Holy Presence, the Divine Gift, and the Spirit of Assurance that is just waiting for us to unwrap abundant life. Amen.

Postlude:  We Need a Silent Night In Here

Our thanks to Rev. Shirley Bowen for joining us today. 

Wishing you many blessings in the New Year!