“O Lord, how shall I meet You, how welcome You aright?”
—-Paul Gerhardt, 1653
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 1:46-47
My soul magnifies the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Prayer Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274)
Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart,
which no unworthy affection may drag downward;
give me an unconquered heart,
which no tribulation can wear out;
give me an upright heart,
which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.
Bestow on me also, O Lord my God,
understanding to know you,
diligence to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Christmas Canon. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Isaiah 61:1-4
1 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion--
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
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; 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; and for Becky’s friend Vanessa, whose husband died from the virus. 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 the Alabama Coushatta Reservation, and for the Presbyterian church there; the community has been especially hard hit, including the church’s pastor and her daughter and her daughter’s whole family. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May the God of peace make you holy
and the power of the Spirit sustain you
until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 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.