“…dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.”
—-Charles Wesley, 1744
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 Psalm 85:10-11
Love and faithfulness will meet;
justice and peace will embrace.
Faithfulness will spring from the earth
and justice will look down from heaven.
Prayer Bible Claret, Liturgy Alive, 2020
Our saving God,
long ago you sent your Son Jesus among us,
but we have been little aware of his presence
and we hide him even from others.
Wake us up, make us recognize him,
that he may be the light of our lives
and that eagerly we may lead people to him.
May he build up among us and with us
a world and a kingdom of peace and love
where we serve you in one another,
as we move forward in hope
to your home of endless joy and rest.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Do You Hear What I Hear, sung by the Roches. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Philippians 1:3-11
3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
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 Becky’s sister’s coworker Denie and her husband; for Cindy and Eddye Stelchek; for Susan Smith’s brother-in-law John, who is still hospitalized with the virus after four weeks, and for Susan’s sister, who can’t visit him; for Delphine Zarsky's niece's family; for the Meyers family, six of whom are positive with one in the hospital; for a colleague in the Presbytery. 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 COVID patients in other hard hit countries— Belize, Serbia, and Croatia. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May starlight guide your steps towards this place of wonder
May angels sing their news as you travel to the manger
May promise fill these days as we watch at the edge of birth
and may faith tell you, Emmanuel will be with us soon, in human skin. Amen.
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.