Lessons, Carols and Poems: December 30th 2018
Call to Worship/Invocation prayer:
Reader 1: “No Matter Who You Are or Where You Are on Life’s Journey You Are Welcome Here”
Reader 2: “First Coming,” by Madeleine L’Engle
Reader 1: God did not wait till the world was ready, till…the nations were at peace.
Reader 2: God came when the heavens were unsteady, and prisoners cried out for release.
Reader 1: God did not wait for the perfect time. God came when the need was deep and great.
Reader 2: God dined with sinners in all their grime, turned water into wine. God did not wait till hearts were pure.
Reader 1: In joy God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
Reader 2: To a world like ours of anguished shame God came, and God’s light would not go out.
Reader 1: God came to a world which did not mesh, to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
Reader 2: In the mystery of Word made Flesh the Maker of the stars was born.
Reader 1: We cannot wait til the world is sane to raise our songs with joyful voice, for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
Reader 2: God came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Reader 1: Let us pray:
God of Love, This Christmas may our lives bend to your light – may your spirit come near in worship this day – and may the birth of the Christ child create mystery and wonder in our hearts and in our world. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
Reader 3: A Reading from Isaiah Chapter 2:
“God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree. No one will make them afraid.”
Joseph’s other dream by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Joseph huddles with Mary in the cold,
a little unsure, so far from home.
But God has been with them so far….
He gazes at the fragile child,
holy but spurned, adored but hunted.
Mary has told him of her angel,
and he has dreamed of his own.
He has dreamed as well of fleeing,
refugees, dreamed of Herod and his edicts.
He hasn’t spoken of his other dream,
that all would be well,
that peasants and rulers would come in honor.
Maybe he was mistaken.
He has heard the divine chorus, distant,
and seen the heavenly glow
out over the shepherds’ field.
But no one comes.
Why does no one come?
Mary ponders things in her heart,
but Joseph frets:
How will he care for the child?
Will they be separated at the border?
And why does no one come?
Why does no one come?
HYMN SING (3-4 Hymns)
Announcements (Drum Circle & Wider Welcome)
Silence & Pastoral prayer: Caroline
God of Love
You did not come into this world
in a show of power and glory.
You did not shine forth for all of creation to behold.
You came in a tiny spark – a newborn baby,
visible to parents and curious animals.
A host of angels –
away from the populated areas,
singing to migrant workers.
A sparkling star –
guiding foreigners to see what neighbors could not.
Open our hearts this day oh God
to the sparks of your presence in this world.
Open our eyes,
that we might behold your presence in the least likely of places,
and among the least likely of people.
God with us,
kindle your spark within us,
that together we may shine forth your light,
we might banish the shadows of this world,
we might be the continuation of the Christmas miracle:
Emmanuel is in this world,
God is with us, now and evermore.
~ written by Rev. Eliza Buchakjian-Tweedy, Pastor at First Church Congregational in Rochester, NH.
Offering & Christmas Gifts: (Thank Sue Salsberry)
Homily (8-9 minutes)
Reader 5: Christmas Poem,” by Jim Strathdee
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the magi and the shepherds
have found their way home,
The work of Christmas begins
to find the lost and lonely one,
to heal the broken soul with love,
to feed the hungry children
with warmth and good food,
to feel the earth below,
the sky above!
to free the prisoner from all chains,
to make the powerful care,
to rebuild the nations with strength of good will,
to see God’s children everywhere!
to bring hope to every task you do,
to dance at a baby’s new birth,
to make music in an old person’s heart, and sing to the colors of the earth!