PRELUDE “What Child is This” ELW 296
Gathering The Holy Spirit calls us together as people of God.
CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Most merciful God, we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.
God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. In the name of + Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. Almighty God strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit, that Christ may live in your hearts through faith. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.
HYMN OF PRAISE “Midnight Stars Make Bright the Skies” (stanza 2) ELW 280
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Let us pray.
Almighty God, you have filled all the earth with the light of your incarnate Word. By your grace empower us to reflect your light in all that we do, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Word God speaks to us in scripture, preaching and song.
FIRST READING: Jeremiah 31:7-14
7Thus says the LORD: Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, “Save, O LORD, your people, the remnant of Israel.” See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. 0Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.” 1For the LORD has ransomed Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. 2They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall become like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again. 3Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. 4I will give the priests their fill of fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty, says the LORD.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Psalm: Psalm 147:12-20
Worship the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion. (Ps. 147:12) 2Worship the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, 3who has strengthened the bars of your gates and has blessed your children within you. 4God has established peace on your borders and satisfies you with the finest wheat. 5God sends out a command to the earth, a word that runs very swiftly. R 6God gives snow like wool, scattering frost like ashes. 7God scatters hail like bread crumbs. Who can stand against God’s cold? 8The LORD sends forth the word and melts them; the wind blows, and the waters flow. 9God declares the word to Jacob, statutes and judgments to Israel. 0The LORD has not done so to any other nation; they do not know God’s judgments. Hallelujah! R
SECOND READING: Ephesians 1:3-14
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
GOSPEL: John 1:1-4, 14-18
[1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ ”) 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
The gospel concludes: The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
SERMON The Rev. Dr. Eric J. Trozzo
HYMN OF THE DAY “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” ELW 295
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
Joining our voices with the song of the angels, let us pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
Redeeming God, you gather together your people from the farthest parts of the earth. Protect your church from stumbling. Let it not be overcome by sorrow, division, or despair. Make us radiant with goodness, that we might live always to the praise of your glory. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You bring together heaven and earth. All creation testifies to your splendor. Hold the ecosystems of this earth in delicate balance, from coastlands to farmlands, forests to wetlands, deserts to rainforests. Show us new ways to live in harmony with the world around us. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You overflow with grace upon grace. Expand the imaginations of those who serve in positions of authority. Open their hearts to the needs of their nations and communities. Protect all those in harm’s way and those risking danger for the sake of others. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You bring consolation to those who weep. Embrace those who feel far-off, excluded, or defeated. Accompany those living with chronic and invisible illness. Sustain the weak and weary. Refresh those who labor under the weight of pain or sickness (especially). Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You come to us in the beauty of darkness and of light. Bring justice and reconciliation to communities divided by oppressions and misuse of power. Guide us to speak holy words of advocacy and truth. Help us to honor your image in one another. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You stand with those who are lonely, isolated, or homebound. We pray for all of those who need to sense your presence with them, especially Nancy Beth, Dallas, Marge, Karen, Paul, John, Janet, Avis, Alexis, Dave, Chris, Elise, Patricia and Willie. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
We pray for all members of this congregation. We give thanks for their faithful presence among us and for the gifts that they share. Today we pray especially for (families for the week). Bless them and protect them. Help them to know your continual presence in their lives, and lift them up through the bonds of Christian fellowship through this congregation. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You turn our mourning into joy. We give thanks for those who have died in faith (especially). With all the saints, give us our inheritance in Christ. In the fullness of time, gather us all together in your mercy. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
God of mercy, come quickly to us with grace upon grace as we lift these and all our prayers to you, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
The Peace of Christ be with you always. And also with you.
OFFERING PRAYER Let us pray.
Good and loving God, we rejoice in the birth of Jesus, who came among the poor to bring the riches of your grace. As you have blessed us with your gifts, let them be blessing for others. With the trees of the field, with all earth and heaven, we shout for joy at the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THANKSGIVING AT THE TABLE
Holy One, the beginning and the end, the giver of life: Blessed are you for the birth of creation. Blessed are you in the darkness and in the light. Blessed are you for your promise to your people. Blessed are you in the prophets’ hopes and dreams. Blessed are you for Mary’s openness to your will. Blessed are you for your Son Jesus, the Word made flesh. In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me. Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me. With this bread and cup we remember your Word dwelling among us, full of grace and truth. We remember our new birth in his death and resurrection. We look with hope for his coming. All praise and glory are yours, Holy One of Israel, Word of God incarnate, one God, now and forever. Amen.
LORD’S PRAYER Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass 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 and ever. Amen.
INVITATION TO COMMUNION Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Sending God blesses us and sends us into the world to serve our neighbor.
The God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus. The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The God of all grace + bless you now and forever. Amen.
Go in peace. Christ is with you.Thanks be to God.
POSTLUDE “Go Tell It On the Mountain” ELW 290