Worship: December 27, 2020

ZION UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

22 Gettysburg Street  Box 538

Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

First Sunday after Christmas

December 27, 2020

9:00 am

Welcome to Zion and a special welcome to our visitors in these days of adjusting to a new normal in worship.  Because of the rising concerns for the spread of the covid-19 virus, we have chosen to live stream our worship services, suspending in person worship until we gain a clearer picture of how to gather together in the sanctuary to worship safely.  These are difficult times and even with the hope for a vaccine in the near future, it will be some time before enough people have the vaccine in order to effectively control covid-19.  We ask for your patience and understanding and your faithful support of the church in these days of a new normal for all of us.  Let us continue to pray and to remain faithful, knowing that our God continues to reach out and to embrace us.  We sometimes need to be reminded that our God promises to be near to us in the most difficult days as well as the days when life seems easy for us.

As you follow along in the bulletin during live stream worship, please participate quietly when you come to the bold print.

PRELUDE

“Go Tell It on the Mountain”, arr. Hugh S. Livingston, Jr., ©1992, The Lorenz Publishing Company, The Church Pianist

TIME OF SHARING

CALL TO WORSHIP

We who used to be at a distance have been brought together by Jesus,

who has broken down the barriers that once kept us apart.

Christ has erased the hostility among us

and has brought us the good news of peace

 

PRAYER OF INVOCATION

What a wonderful gift it is, O God,

to have the opportunity to worship, to celebrate the gift of Jesus,

to share as your people in a community of faith

even though we be separated from one another in these days.

May we continue to grow together, to support one another,

and to carry our faith to the ends of the earth.

 

GATHERING HYMN “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice”

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;

Give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today,

Ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now.

Christ is born today!  Christ is born today!

 

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;

Now ye hear of endless bliss: Jesus Christ was born for this.

He has opened heaven’s door, and we are blest forevermore.

Christ was born for this!  Christ was born for this!

 

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;

Now ye need not fear the grave: Jesus Christ was born to save.

Calls you one and call you all to gain the everlasting hall.

Christ was born to save!  Christ was born to save!

 

TIME OF CONFESSION

If God were dependent on our communication

to know where we are or who we are, would God know us?

We expect of God evidence and signs of caring.

Does not God, who gave us life,

have the right to expect to hear from us daily in prayer?

How have we cut ourselves off from God?

Heavenly Parent, we have wandered away to pursue our own agenda. 

We have laid aside your expectation that

we will forbear one another and forgive. 

We harbor grudges against people.

 There are some we neglect and some we disdain. 

We have viewed them neither as your beloved nor as our sisters and brothers. 

The peace of Christ does not rule in our hearts. 

Your trust is not what flows from our lips or finds expression in our actions. 

O God, turn us around, that what we do may be a genuine expression of your love, for we ask it in the Name of Jesus. 

 

And now let us confess in silence those fears that keep us from loving as Christ has loved us.

 

CONFESSION MEDITATION

“Rejoice, Rejoice, Believer”, Welsh Folk Melody, L. Laurenti/S. Findlater, ©2013 Westminster/John Knox Press, Glory to God Hymnal

 

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

God has already forgiven us.

God offers healing for our brokenness.

The scars of resentment against others are taken away

so we can forgive them.

The love of God enables us to love.

Praise God from the earth.

Draw near to the eternal and exalt the Name of the One

who rules all time and space.

Thanks be to God for this magnificent gift of love.

 

THE GIVING OF OURSELVES AND OUR OFFERINGS

Everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required;

and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

 

(For the time being we would ask you to mail your offering Zion United Church of Christ, PO Box 538, Arendtsville, Pennsylvania 17303, or to use the Electronic Funds Transfer option which is available by contacting the church office.  Your ongoing support of the church is deeply appreciated in these days.)

 

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Sometimes, Lord, as we struggle to pay our bills,

and as we seek to make a good impression on others,

our values become skewed.

As we look to the year ahead,

we commit ourselves to seeking first the kingdom of God.

 

VOCAL SOLO

“I Wonder as I Wander”, Traditional American Carol, ©1934, Hope Publishing Company, The Worshiping Church Hymnal

 

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON FOR THE MORNING

Isaiah 61:10 to 62:3

61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
61:11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
62:1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch.
62:2 The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give.
62:3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

 

EPISTLE LESSON FOR THE MORNING

Galatians 4: 4-7

4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
4:5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
4:6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

 

GOSPEL READING FOR THE MORNING

St. Luke  2:22-40

2:22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
2:23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”),
2:24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
2:26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
2:27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law,
2:28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
2:29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;
2:30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
2:31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
2:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
2:33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.
2:34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed
2:35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed–and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
2:36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
2:37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.
2:38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
2:39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
2:40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

 

SILENT PRAYER AND PREPARATION

“Rise Up Shepherds and Follow”, African American spiritual, ©2013 Westminster/John Knox Press

 

THE MESSAGE FOR THE MORNING

 

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, forever.  Amen.

 

CLOSING HYMN  “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king.

Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations raise; join the triumph of the skies;

With angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king.”

 

Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord,

Late in time behold him come, offspring of the virgin’s womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate deity.

Pleased in flesh with us to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.

Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king.”

 

Hail the heavenborn Prince of Peace! Hail the sun of righteousness.

Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die;

Born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.

Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king.”

 

*COMMISSION AND BENEDICTION

Forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead,

press on toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

CHIME MEDITATION

“O Holy Night”, ©2012 The Lorenz Publishing Company, The Organist

 

POSTLUDE

“Postlude on ‘Antioch’”, G. Peterson, G. F. Handel, ©2012 The Lorenz Publishing Company, The Organist

 

The Altar Flowers are presented to the glory of God and with prayers to keep Zion’s members in good health by the Zion Altar Guild.

During this virus situation, the Office Manager will often be working from home.  Please call the office before stopping by.

Coming Up This Week:

December 27                   Live stream Worship                                       9:00 a.m.

No Sunday School – winter vacation

Looking Forward:

January 3                         Live Stream Worship – Epiphany                    9:00 a.m.

With Communion

No Sunday School – winter vacation

 

Pastoral Care:  If you would like a visit from George, please contact him and let him know a convenient time.

 

UACT Update:  UACT-John’s Meals would like to thank all donors and supporters of the 2020 Adams County Community Foundation Giving

Spree.  Through all the donations and the stretch pool, John’s Meals was able to collect $10,279.37.  During these difficult times, John’s Meals continues to feed hungry students and their siblings of the Upper Adams School District.  Thank you again for your continued support for John’s Meals.

 

Prayer Requests:  Don’t forget to send your prayer requests via email to the church office by Friday evening to have them included in the Sunday service.

To participate in the prayer chain, contact Angie.

 

Search Committee Update:  The Search Committee has been meeting on a regular basis and has been receiving pastoral profiles from Penn Central Conference. The Committee has begun to have conversations and preliminary interviews with at least 2 candidates who have expressed interest in serving as pastor of Zion. It is a slow process, but the members of the Search Committee are optimistic because there appears to be a good response to Zion’s profile. The members of the Committee have developed a good rapport working together.

 

John’s Meals Mac & Cheese:  Don’t forget!  Your mac & cheese donations for John’s Meals can be placed in the labeled bin in the storage closet on the back porch of Zion House at a time convenient to you.