Worship: December 23, 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Welcoming the Goodness of God

4th Sunday of Advent: Love; Holy Communion

 Visitors: Welcome to our church.  Please sign our guest book!  If you do not have a church home, we pray that you will find one with us.  We have large-print bulletins available, as well as hearing assistance devices.  Please ask an usher if you require either of these.  Restrooms are located in the church school building.  Go through the door next to the choir loft, and straight ahead.  We also have restrooms downstairs in Fellowship Hall.  Again, exit through the door next to the choir loft, turn left down the hall, and go down the steps. 

We Gather In Awe And Wonder



Chime Interlude

*Advent Candle Lighting (Love)

Reader 1:  (As the Love candle is lit). We wait for light, and lo! There is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in gloom.

Reader 2: Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Reader 1: For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples.

Reader 2: But the Lord will arrive upon you, and nations shall come to your light.

Reader 1: The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night.

All:           For the Lord will be your everlasting light and your God will be your glory.  Love has come down to earth from heaven!  (We light the candle of love.)

*Call To Worship

One:         God chose an unexpected village as the birthplace for the Messiah.

All:           Our God is full of surprises!

One:         God called an older woman and a young girl to be prophets.

All:           Our God is full of surprises!

One:         God calls ordinary people – you and me – to work for justice and healing in our land.

All:           Our God is full of surprises!

One:         Come, let us worship our surprising God.

 *Hymn: “Gentle Mary Laid Her Child”…….. ……….……#146


One:         Restore us, O God.

All:           Let your face shine so that we may be saved!

One:         When we are far away,

All:           restore us to your presence.

One:         When we eat the bread of tears,

All:           restore us so that we are filled with good things.

One:         When we are filled with pride and power,

All:           restore us to humble simplicity.

One:         Restore us, O God.

All:           Let your face shine so that we may be saved!  Amen.

We Recognize Our Brokenness

Prayer Of Confession

One:       O God of peace, you surprise us with your unexpected blessings.  In the midst of tears, you offer joy.  In the midst of judgment, you offer mercy.  Forgive us for our begrudging hearts, for all of the times when we chose to stay the same rather than accept your invitation to be transformed into new life. (A time for silent prayers of confession.)

 Assurance Of God’s Forgiveness

One:       Hear the good news.  God’s mercy is from generation to generation.  No matter what choices we have made, still our God is abounding in steadfast love.  In the name of Jesus the Christ, we are forgiven.

All:         In the name of Jesus the Christ, we are forgiven!

Reading Of The Scripture:   Micah 5: 2-5a (O.T., pg. 815)

 Anthem:   “Dance Into the Light”………….…Martin

Reading Of The Gospel:   Luke 1: 39-45, (46-55) (N.T., pg. 53)

We Reflect On New Possibilities

Message For This Day

 *Hymn:   “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice”………………..#132

 Pastoral Prayer And The Lord’s Prayer

 (Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.)

Our Offering: Our financial offering is one way that our members participate in the mission and ministry of this church. We thank you for your financial support.  For those of you who are visiting, please feel no need to participate in the offering.  This worship service is our gift to you.


*Doxology: “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings” …….…….#606

*Prayer Of Dedication

One:       Bless now these gifts, God.  Help them to become instruments of your grace that help us to fill the hungry with good things, to lift up the lowly, to help all your servants show mercy so that we will all remember your promise that this world is about to turn.  Amen.

The Sacrament Of Holy Communion

*Prayer of Thanksgiving

People:  Creator of air, of earth, of water, and of fire, we give thanks for all that lives and breathes, embraced by your imaginative love.  Creator of word, of flesh, of thought, and of sense, we give thanks for all the ways you introduce compassion and connection into our world.  Creator of freedom from storms, from slavery, from sin, we give thanks for the covenant of grace that finds a way out of no way.

Leader:   Redeemer of flesh and bone, of heart and mind, we give thanks for Jesus and the path of love made possible.  Renewer of hope and justice, we give thanks for Christ and a love more powerful than death.  Sustainer of all that has come and is coming, we give thanks for the Spirit whose presence guides us.

People:  To our God of new possibilities: of grace given, of love realized, of justice being delivered, we give thanks for the comfort, the challenge and the calling by your Spirit on this Holy day.

Leader:   Maker of bread and wine, of community and communion, of the already and the not yet, we give thanks for these gifts we share together at the table and for the unique ways we receive them and we remember you.  Amen.

 Words Of Institution

Prayer Of Consecration

Preparation of the Elements

Sharing the Elements (Please note the wine is in the outer ring and the grape juice is in the inner rings.   The round wafers are gluten-free.)  (Please hold each element so we may eat and drink together.) 

Prayer Of Acceptance

All:         Strengthen us, O God, in the power of your Spirit to bring good news to the poor and lift blind eyes to sight, to loose the chains that bind and claim your blessing for all people.  Keep us faithful in your service until Christ comes in final victory and we shall feast with all your saints in the joy of your eternal realm.  Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God, now and forever.  Amen.

We Go Forth To Live Transformed Lives

*Closing Hymn: “Angels We Have Heard on High” …….…….#113


One:       Held by the compassion of God – giver of surprises, lover of justice – held by this remarkable God, we leave this place ready to live in gratitude, ready to reach out in kindness, ready to walk together in peace.  Amen.

 *Choral Benediction: “Love Has Come”…………….………#110 vs 1

*Chime Meditation


*Where noted, please stand if able.      


December’s Proverb:

Do not quarrel with anyone without cause, when no harm has been done to you. Proverbs 3: 29

Our Most Recent Hoss’s Community Night Fundraiser netted $96.61. The next one is scheduled for Monday, March 18, 2019.

The UCC Christmas Fund Offering will be received today. The Christmas Fund is used to aid those who have shepherded the Church and are living on the margins in retirement with income supplementation for basic needs such as food, utilities, and medical expenses.  It also goes directly to help active clergy and lay employees who are facing unexpected financial needs due to a crisis in their lives.  Extra envelopes are on the credenza.

 Stained Glass Artwork Fundraiser. An opportunity exists to purchase chances to win a beautiful stained glass piece of artwork crafted by Chris Parker. $10 donations for each chance will be accepted until the winner is drawn after church today.  All donations from this project will be used toward the general fund.  Please contact Kim or Chris for questions or more information.

We Have All Known The Power And Promise Of Prayers – especially when others pray for us in times of need. It has been decided to send cards to people for whom we are praying; ones who are not Zion members.  So if you are placing someone on the prayer list, if possible have the address ready so it can be communicated via the prayer chain.  Obviously this will not be possible or desirable in every case.  Lois will be sending the cards.

Zion’s Financial Data

Income through November – $162,185.00

Expenses through November – $171,756.93

Deficit – $9,571.49

 Offering Boxes For 2019 are now available at the rear of the sanctuary.  If you cannot locate yours, please contact Laurie.  In addition, 2019 special offering lists are available for those who do not receive offering envelopes.

Homewood Auxiliary – Dues and donations are now being accepted for the Homewood Auxiliary.  $3 single/$5 couple.  Forms and envelope are on clipboard at rear of the church. Questions: contact Angie.  Thank you for your support for Homewood Auxiliary.

 John’s Meals. Please make donation checks for John’s Meals payable to “UACT-John’s Meals,” and they may be mailed to UACT, PO Box 593, Arendtsville, PA 17303 or placed in the offering plates. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

The 2019 Flower Chart is posted in the vestibule.  Please sign up. When Paying For Altar Flowers, please give payment to the altar guild representative for that month. A check payment is preferred. Altar flowers are from The Flower Boutique with a florist’s choice $35 arrangement cost.

 Sign up Sheets For Our Spring Sunday School are now available in the hallway outside the art room and in the sign up book on the credenza. A Creative Cookery Leader for February and an Art/Science and Story/Movie leader for May are needed.  See Jessica with questions.

Greeter And Bulletin Sponsorship Sign-Up Sheets for 2019 are on the credenza.

Greeters are needed for January 13, 20, 27.

(Bulletin Sponsorship is $15 per Sunday. Please place your remittance designated for Bulletins in the offering plate.)

 Coming Up Next Week:

Dec. 24, Christmas Eve service, 7:30 pm

Looking Forward:

Dec. 30, Confirmation, Trinity Lutheran, 6:00 pm

Jan. 2, Choir practice, 7:30 pm

Jan. 8, Book Club, Mustard seed rm, 7:00 pm

Jan. 9, End-of-year reports due

Jan. 13, Worship with communion and consistory installation, 9:00 am

Jan. 13, Church chat, 10:15 am

Jan. 13, “Reaching for God” youth group, Zion, Arendtsville, 5:00 pm

Jan. 14, Ladies’ breakfast, Apple Bin, 9:00 am

Jan. 16, What’s Cookin’, Trinity Lutheran, 6:00 pm

Jan. 28, Consistory mtg, Zion Hse, 7:00 pm