At the end of his apocalyptic vision on the isle of Patmos, John saw a new heaven and new earth. He also saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And he heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” The one who was seated on the throne in his vision also said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” John was told to write this vision down, for the words he heard were trustworthy and true. Amazingly, at the consummation of Christ’s work, the dwelling place of God will be with humankind, and his people, the entire communion of saints, will dwell with God, be his people, and he will be their God.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O God, the Father Everlasting, who in thy wondrous grace, standest within all shadows, keeping watch over thine own: grant that in every peril and perplexity, in our groping and weariness, we may know the comfort of thy besetting Presence; and may so feel thy hand upon us, that when our day grows dark, we may not fear; but protected by thy power, may pass through every trouble into peace, through temptation into strength, through sorrow into compassion, through the Cross of Sacrifices into closer communion with the Crucified, thy Son, our most glorious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
~ John Hunter [adapted]. In James Ferguson and Charles L. Wallis, eds. Prayers for Public Worship: A Service Book of Morning and Evening Prayers Following the Course of the Christian Year. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958. p. 5.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
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.
Chronological Reading for the Day
An annual reading through the Bible in the order in which the events took place
Sunday: Exod. 13-15
Lectionary Readings for First Sunday after Christmas
Psalm: Ps. 148
OT: Isa. 63.7-9
Gospel: Matt. 2.13-23
NT: Heb. 2.10-18
(Click here for all readings)
Lectionary Readings for Holy Name of Jesus
Psalm: Ps. 8
OT: Num. 6.22-27
Gospel: Luke 2.15-21
NT: Phil. 2.5-11
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Lectionary Readings for New Year’s Day
Psalm: Ps. 8
OT: Eccles. 3.1-13
Gospel: Matt. 25.31-46
NT: Rev. 21.1-6a
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Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
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.
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. In Roger Geffen. The Handbook of Public Prayer. New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 1963. p. 73.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Praise Your holy name, O God, for through Christ we will always dwell in your presence in the Kingdom to come.
“The decisive manifestation of God’s glory and power to Israel was at Mount Sinai, after his mighty act of redeeming them from Egypt. The exodus had to take place before the promises made to their forefathers could be fulfilled and further revelation could be given. In drawing the people to that mountain, God was drawing them to himself (Ex. 19:4). At ‘the mountain of God’ (3:1; 4:27; 18:5; 24:13), Israel was enabled to approach God and acknowledge him as rescuer and lord. Here the terms of the relationship were set out in great detail and the pattern for acceptable worship was laid down by God.”
~ David G. Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992. p. 26.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Christ the Savior Is Born, Luke 2.8-20
Peterson, Engaging with God
Special Church Year Service
The Epiphany of the Lord: Friday, January 6, 2023