This Week’s Theme
Let the Peace of Christ Rule
The apostle Paul calls on the Colossian believers to clothe themselves with all the attributes that fit their new identities: “God’s chosen people and dearly beloved” (v. 12), including compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, and patience. They were called to bear with one another, forgiving each other, even as Christ forgave them. On top of all these virtues they are called to put on love, which integrates all of them in perfect unity.
Paul also calls the believers to let the peace of Christ rule in their hearts because they are called to peace as members of one body. The deeper we come in relationship to our Lord Jesus Christ, the more intimate and closer we will become to one another. We are called to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts (i.e., his “peace” should rule [brabeueto, “arbitrate, or “decide every debate.” This word brabeueto is only used here in the entire NT, which is striking.]) As believers, we are to appoint Christ’s peace to be the mayor, the governor, even the president over our emotions and reactions in every upsetting situation. Rather than bitterness and upset, we should be thankful and open. Since Christ has brought his peace to our lives, only a demeanor of gratitude and praise can be an appropriate response, especially when we are tempted to grumble, war, and complain.
During this Christmas season, let us allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts and in our lives!
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O God, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ became man that we might become the sons of God: Grant, we beseech thee, that being made partakers of the divine nature of thy Son, we may be conformed to his likeness; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
~ The Book of English Collects, 1940 (Geffen, p. 73)
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Thursday: Exod. 5-7
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 148
Gospel: Luke 2.41-52
NT: Col. 3.12-17
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
O God, before whose face the seasons change and the years pass; we beseech thee at this time to hear our prayer and let our cry come unto thee. We are weak and mortal men set amid the conditions of a passing world. Our days are as grass which in the morning flourishes and by evening fades and withers. O thou whose years shall have no end, our hope is in thee. Thou art the source of our life and the end of our pilgrimage. Thou art our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. In the world we have tribulation, but with thee there is rest and joy and peace. Continue thou thy mercy toward us, we humbly beseech thee. Forgive us the sins which we have committed in the past, and in thy perfect wisdom and love go with us into the days that are ahead. In the hour of temptation keep our feet from falling and guide them into the way of thy peace. In the day of testing uphold and direct us, that we may not fail nor be afraid. By the might of thy Spirit bring us into thy kingdom more and more; and grant that, working together with thee for the fulfillment of thy purpose of good, we may in thee abide, now in this time of our mortal life and in thy eternal kingdom for ever and ever; through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we ascribe unto thee all honor and praise, world without end. Amen.
~ Earnest Fremont Tittle (Tittle, p. 56)
Affirmation for the Day
The peace of Christ must rule in our hearts, filling us with gratitude.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Holy Father, let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts during this Christmas-tide season!
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Lord Has Visited His People
Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism