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January 2, 2005 – 2nd Sunday after Christmas

        Revised Common Lectionary Readings

        Jeremiah 31:7-14 or Sirach 24:1-12

        Psalm 147:12-20 or Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21

        Ephesians 1:3-14

        John 1:(1-9) 10-18

Born to Become Children of God 

*Call to Worship

The child of God is earthed in human life,

making real within the world

the heartbeat of God

with its endless gifts of grace.

 

Jesus Christ, God with us all.

The Word is found among us,

brave truth in liberating kindness

deeper and wider,

yet nearer than we have ever known.

Jesus Christ, God with us all.

We will sing praises to you this day.

We will lift up our souls in faith.

 

*Prayer of Invocation        

Voice of love and center of our lives,

be known to us this day in Spirit and in truth.

Touch the depths of our waiting souls

with your life,

that we may become children of God.

Come, Holy Spirit, come. Amen.

 

*Prayer of Confession       

O God, even as our longing hearts

reach out toward you,

we know that we fall far short

of our own hopes

and your holy hopes for us.

You have trusted us

with the wonder of your life among us,

and we betray that trust in ways

that are too many to name.

Silent reflection.

Be gracious to us, O God.

Remind us of our calling, Jesus Christ,

and forgive us in our human frailty,

we pray.

We grieve the times

when we have not been gracious to others

in the face of your understanding

of our stumbling journeys.

We regret the moments

when we have chosen lesser paths,

even while we have seen

the vision of your way before us.

Silent reflection.

Be gracious to us, O God.

Remind us of our calling, Jesus Christ,

and forgive us in our human frailty,

we pray.

We are sorry when we, as your church,

have failed to bring the witness of your love     

for us and for all people

to a world that waits, struggles,

and loses hope.

Silent reflection.

Be gracious to us, O God.

Remind us of our calling, Jesus Christ,

and forgive us in our human frailty,

we pray. Amen.

*Words of Assurance       

The word to us in Jesus Christ

is never less than grace upon grace.

This is the miracle of the hope

that Christ brings.

We are forgiven.

Thanks be to God.

*Prayer of Thanksgiving   

The angel songs,

singing of the coming of the Christ,

still echo in our hearts, O God.

They ring in joy

down the years and into our time.

They sound in the winds of heaven

and travel like melodies of life

into the center of our questions and doubts.

Thanks be to you, O God.

The light of Christ’s life

shines into the shadows of our loneliness,

opening warm touches of love around us,

and making clear the way for new possibilities.

Thanks be to you, O God.

In the name of Christ, the Word. Amen.

*Stewardship Thought      

It is interesting to reflect on what it would mean to “become” children of God. We usually think of ourselves as being born as children of God – which may well be true. There are many helpful nuances in scripture that give us truths within truths. What would it mean to become children of God? What would we look like and how would we live? What power from this Jesus do we need as a gift? Is the church universal usually perceived as being filled with those who are the true children of God? The Word made flesh is described as being full of truth and grace. We may well confess that often Christians are perceived as those who believe they have the truth for all people but are not necessarily seen as those who offer to others grace upon grace, as Christ did.

*Offertory Sentence                           

Let us bring our offerings to God.

Let us do that with thought and prayer,

for this is a moment of opportunity for good.

*Offertory Prayer                                

We bring our gifts with glad hearts, O God,

inviting you to receive

all that we have given in faith.

Enlarge all that we have offered

with the wonder of your love,

we pray. Amen.

 

*Prayer of Intercession      

Be made flesh within our lives, O Christ.

Be real within us,

that others may see and take heart

in a world that seems to deny hope,

and so often seems overpowered by forces

that tear away at the very fabric of justice.

We pray especially

for these people and situations today.

The people pray.

 

Come, gentle Jesus, come.

Come, brave Christ,

and hold us into your transforming life.

Cry out into the silences of pain, loving God.

Call to us when we walk past

without seeing what you see.

Speak into the wildernesses of hopelessness

with your voice of encouragement and truth.

Come, gentle Jesus, come.

Come, brave Christ,

and hold us into your transforming life.

Then stand among our own lives,

O God, with us.

Show us who we are and who we could be.

Lift up among us your passion for loving

and hold before us the dream

that you have for all the earth.

We pray this in humble faith, O God. Amen.

*Commissioning                                 

Go forth into this day as the children of God.

Carry with you all that Christ brings,

all that Christ promises for the world.

*Benediction                                       

And may Christ’s life be held within our own,

God’s creativity enlarge all that we are,

and the Spirit lift our hearts in joy. Amen.

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