“Sages, leave your contemplations, brighter visions beam afar; seek the great desire of nations; ye have seen his natal star…”
—-James Montgomery, 1816
Preparation for worship
Sit in a relaxed position. Take a slow, deep breath (or 2 or 3 or as many as needed) until you feel your body, mind, and soul begin to relax and rest in the Spirit. Take time to reflect as you move through this time of worship…
Opening Sentences Micah 5:2, 5
A ruler will come from Bethlehem,
and he will be the shepherd of peace.
Prayer Worship Sourcebook, CRC, 2013
O God, whose will is justice for the poor
and peace for the afflicted,
let your herald’s urgent voice
pierce our hardened hearts
and announce the dawn of your kingdom.
Before the Advent of the one who baptizes
with the fire of the Holy Spirit,
let our complacence give way to conversion,
oppression to justice,
and conflict to acceptance of one another in Christ.
We ask this through him whose coming in certain,
whose day draws near:
your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Circle of Love, by Dolly Parton. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Micah 5:2-5a
2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
5 and he shall be the one of peace.
Prayers for self and others
Please pray today for those who are being affected by COVID-19 and by its side effects in our world. Pray for the thousands who are still being diagnosed positive in the U.S. each day, for Denie and her husband Francisco; for Susan Smith’s brother-in-law John, who is still hospitalized with the virus after five weeks, and for Susan’s sister, who can’t visit him; for Delphine Zarsky’s niece’s family; for Becky’s friend Vanessa, whose husband died from the virus; for Gloria Thomas’s granddaughter Lauren and her friend Seth; for Brandon Jantzen and his family; for David Lewallen’s son-in-law; for Debbie Battisse-Kleinman, pastor of the Indian Presbyterian Church in Livingston, and her family; and for Rev. Scott and Debbie Harbison, friends of the Downs family. As we hear of more friends who are directly affected, or who are working in high risk places, we will list them here. Pray today for people who are still traveling for Christmas and New Years, that they would take precautions and be safe. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May the God of glory,
the Word of life,
and the Spirit of truth
bless you all, now and forever. Alleluia!
Becky Downs, pastor of John Knox, started writing daily prayers for the congregation at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, to encourage the congregation in their faith during their time of separation from each other. The daily prayers were posted throughout the year. You might want to choose one a day to read, and modify the specific prayers for self and others to fit your life today.