Liturgy / Dec 31, 2017

CALL TO WORSHIP

God, who is Mighty, and Holy, and King over everything, bids you come to him!
How can we approach this God? For we are sinners, and lost in utter darkness!

Our mighty King has humbled himself. He has come after you, and has even crawled into the darkness with you. 
No mighty work compares to this! Our God is for us, we need not be afraid!

God invites you to his own table, as his own guest. He offers you his friendship. He offers you himself.
We will come and enjoy this feast! For we who are sinners have been honored as guests of our Lord Jesus!

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PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Father, thank you for Advent and the gift of your son Jesus.

We pray for those in the world who are suffering; God of all mercy… hear our prayer. 

We pray for the many people in our city longing for hope; God of all mercy... hear our prayer. 

We thank you that Emmanuel has made all things new; God of all mercy… hear our prayer. 

We pray for families as they travel and gather together; God of all mercy… hear our prayer. 

Would you prepare our spirits for worship this morning; God of all mercy… hear our prayer. 

Father, we trust that your mercy was made known in Jesus. We love you. Amen.


And now brothers, I will ask you a terrible question, and God knows I ask it also of myself. Is the truth beyond all truths, beyond the stars, just this: that to live without him is the real death, that to die with him the only life?
— Frederick Buechner

The way forward with Christ is often an issue of time and time spent with Christ. So here’s to another year with Christ and everything that got us to this point. We are free and Christ is more free. And the life we live we live by the faithfulness of the Son of God. So receive God’s love in Christ. Return to God’s love in Christ. Mature in God’s love in Christ. Life with Christ will always mean life with each other. Christ and the Church cannot be separated. So love one another.


PRAYER OF CONFESSION

You step into our mundane every-day, reminding us that our lives and deaths are your life and death.
We squirm to escape slow solitude and hard community. 
Oh God, forgive us. 

You offer us yourself in dear friends who would see and know us and walk alongside us.
We often live in silence and in self-induced solitude, refusing your gracious self-offering for a lack of trust. 
Oh God, forgive us. 

You welcome us, the unfaithful and wayward into scandalous intimacy: indeed you allow us close enough to leave scars.
We keep our distance from those different than us, not trusting your faithfulness beyond our own shallow experience. 
Oh God, forgive us.

We had only believed what we had seen with our eyes.
But now before our eyes you have offered yourself, a tiny baby, a broken body. Your life is the truth about us.
All glory be to you, oh God.