“Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art…”
—-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 Luke 1:68-69
Blessed is the Holy One our God,
who has sent a mighty Savior to redeem us.
Prayer Book of Common Worship, PC(USA), 2018
God of all wisdom,
our hearts yearn for the warmth of your love,
and our minds search for the light of your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Savior,
and strengthen us to grow in love,
that at the dawn of his coming
we may rejoice in his presence
and welcome the light of his truth.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Go Tell it on the Mountain, sung by the Sensational Nightingales. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day 2 Peter 3: 8-13
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
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 small business owners, that their businesses would thrive during this holiday season. 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.
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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.