St James and St John United Church
December 27 2020
CALL TO WORSHIP
We celebrate God’s gift to us, not only on Christmas Day, but every day.
Let us continue to celebrate the mystery of God’s love.
(Rev. Alice lights the Christ Candle)
God is at our beginnings and our endings.
Four days and we will say “Goodbye” to 2020 and “Hello” to 2021.
May we follow Jesus, allowing God’s love to work in and through us in this new year.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION AND PARDON
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as God’s children. Sisters and Brothers, your sins are forgiven; be at peace.
HYMN “Angels We Have Heard on High”
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Un-stop our ears, O God,
that we may hear your Word proclaimed this day.
Open our minds and hearts to be changed.
Free us from the unclean spirits of worry, fear,
destruction, and pride.
Teach us, Lord, that we may follow you more faithfully.
SCRIPTURE Psalm 37 Selected Verses Galatians 4:4-7
PRAYER OF THE PEOPLE/LORD’S PRAYER
We long for the time
when the meek shall inherit the earth
and all who hunger and thirst after justice
shall be satisfied,
and we believe that, despite the persistence of evil,
now is always the time
when more good can be done
and we can make a difference.
May it be so, through the offering of these gifts
and the offering of our lives. Amen.
BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
Depart now in peace, for your eyes have seen the salvation which God has prepared for all people.
Grow in strength and wisdom and bring forth a harvest of righteousness and praise.
And may God smile upon you and make you strong and wise;
May Christ Jesus share his inheritance with you freely;
And may the Holy Spirit open your eyes to the
presence of God’s Messiah.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.
CLOSING HYMN “God Rest Ye Gentlemen”
A Prayer for the New Year
Dear God, thank you for helping us to make it through this difficult year. Thank you that you’ve carried us through the uncertainty of deep waters, through the flames of trials, and through the pain of hard losses. We are constantly aware of how much we need you, your grace, your strength, your power working through even the toughest days.
Help us to keep our focus first on you this season. Please forgive us for giving too much time and attention to other things, for looking to other people before coming to you first. Help us to reflect again, on what Christmas is really all about. Thank you that you came to give new life, peace, hope, and joy. Thank you that your power is made perfect in our weakness.
Help us to remember that the gift of Christ, Immanuel, is our greatest treasure, not just at Christmas, but for the whole year through. Fill us with your joy and the peace of your Spirit. Direct our hearts and minds towards you. Thank you for your reminder that both in seasons of celebration and in seasons of brokenness, you’re still with us. For you never leave us. Thank you for your daily powerful Presence in our lives, that we can be assured your heart is towards us, your eyes are over us, and your ears are open to our prayers. Thank you that you surround us with favor as with a shield, and we are safe in your care.
We choose to press in close to you today, and keep you first in our hearts and lives. Without you we would surely fail, but with you, there is great hope. Thank you for your healing power, thank you for bringing us into this new season up ahead. We look forward to all that You still have in store. In Jesus’ name, Amen.