God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God chooses people as instruments to perform wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness. God loves the lost, the neglected, the weak and the broken.
Adapted from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, p 22
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Arise, shine, for your light has come
and the glory of God shines upon you.
People: Holy One, here I am.
Let your light shine in my heart.
Leader: Those who trust in God will renew their strength.
They will rise up on wings like eagles.
People: Holy One, here I am.
Help me to run and not tire, to walk and not faint.
Leader: Jesus calls us to follow him,
saying, Come and see!
All: Holy One, here I am.
Make me an instrument to perform your wonders.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
SONG TO SEND THE CHILDREN TO CLASS
Jesus loves us as we grow,
meets us on the paths we go,
keeps us safe and keeps us free,
helps us learn who we should be.
Yes Jesus loves us,
Yes Jesus helps us,
Yes Jesus shows us,
the best way we can go.
Leader: Holy One, you summon us to love
all who are lost, neglected, weak, and broken.
People: We remain self-centered,
afraid of losing what we have.
Leader: You invite us to arise and shine, for our light has come;
People: Overwhelmed by bad news,
we want to hide under the covers.
Leader: We forget that we are loved just as we are.
People: God, forgive us for feeling ashamed of our humanity.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The Holy One forgives us
and will use us in ways we cannot imagine.
THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE
INTERCESSION AND PETITION
All: O Holy One, we come today
to claim our relationship with you.
We pray for the commitment to grow together,
sharing the gifts you give us with others
here and in the wider world.
Forgive us for the hurt we have inflicted,
and help us forgive those who have hurt us.
Give us strength and discipline
to nurture our relationship with you;
to care for every part of your creation;
to foster justice and be in solidarity with those in need;
to work to end all war, and violence, and discord;
and to respond joyfully when you call,
freely giving our selves as you have shown the way.
We open our hearts to you and your creation
in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ. Amen.
Leader 1: This is the table of the Heavenly Feast,
the joyful celebration of the people of God.
Leader 2: We gather now as one body, joined around the table.
Here we celebrate God’s presence among us
united in Christ’s spirit, broken and whole all at once;
All: Nourished and hungry, loved and loving,
sinner and forgiven; we make one circle of knowing,
believing, rejoicing, being,
as God lights and rests among us.
Leader 1: Holy Lover of the lost and neglected,
we thank you for the compassion that flows from you.
People: We thank you for Jesus as he lived and served,
and for his presence with us as the living Christ.
Leader 2: We thank you for your Holy Spirit
setting us free to bear our lowliness.
People: We thank you for your Holy Church,
a channel of your healing grace in our broken world.
BLESSING THE ELEMENTS
Leader 1: Christ invites everyone to eat the bread of life,
to drink the cup of the new covenant.
Leader 2: Jesus said, I am the bread of life.
You who come to me shall never hunger,
You who believe in me shall never thirst.
Leader 1: On the night he gave himself up, Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said,
This is my body,
broken for the healing of the world.
Whenever you eat it, do so remembering me.
Leader 2: After supper, Jesus took the cup and said,
This is the cup of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for all.
Whenever you drink it, do so remembering me.
All: O Holy One, send down your Spirit
that these gifts of bread and cup
may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Unite us with Christ forever
and bring us with the whole creation
to your eternal realm.
SHARE THE ELEMENTS
If you do not wish to receive the elements today you are welcome to join the circle and allow them to pass, or remain in your seat. We serve grape juice in our cups. The crackers are gluten-free.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AND DEDICATION
All: God of abundance and mercy,
we give joyful thanks
for your eternal love and healing presence
in our celebration of bread and cup.
Bless this body of Christ
that we may attend faithfully
to our call to be your servants,
with each other and throughout the world. Amen.
Leader: We have seen a great light.
Let us now go out and live by that light,
spreading it wherever we go,
as God’s instruments.
Let us perform wonders where we least expect them.
In the name of the One God –
Eternal Creator and Sustainer of all,
Light who comes as one of us,
and Spirit empowering us to love and serve –
let us greet one another with signs of peace.