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Worship

Sunday 27 December 2020

This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use whilst we are unable to use Methodist Church premises.  We invite you to spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you.

 

Opening Prayer

Gentle, nurturing God,
Breathe your still calm voice
into this time and this space.
Enfold me in your loving embrace
as we share in this,
your holy fellowship.
In the name of Jesus, born amongst us, I pray.
Amen.

Hymn: Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus (169 StF)

Sing/Read/Pray/Proclaim the words or listen to it here: https://youtu.be/JEEd0uWnDGs

 

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,

born to set thy people free,

from our fears and sins release us,

let us find our rest in thee.

 

Israel's strength and consolation,

hope of all the earth thou art,

dear desire of every nation,

joy of every longing heart.

 

Born thy people to deliver,

born a child and yet a king,

born to reign in us for ever,

now thy gracious kingdom bring.

 

By thine own eternal Spirit

rule in all our hearts alone;

by thine all-sufficient merit

raise us to thy glorious throne.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Let us pray together

God of life and light
who came and lived amongst us,
Christ made man, son of Mary.
who grew from child of hope to Man of God
I praise your holy name.

 

God of forgiveness and grace,

I ask your healing forgiveness for all that does not honour and serve your love,
and trust in your unchanging promise:
I give thanks that you forgive my sins.

 

God of time and patience
whose eternal spirit reaches out to us
and brings time to pause, to wait,
for your still small voice of calm
Holy Spirit, our great companion.
move amongst us
and reveal your kingdom
in this time and this place.

In the name of God, our creator, redeemer, and sustainer I pray. Amen.

 

Reading: Isaiah 61:10–62:3     Luke 2:22–40

Time to Reflect

Stop, take a deep breath if you want, pause for a moment. It is barely a moment since Christmas was upon us. This Sunday, between Christmas and Epiphany, gives us space to slow down and to reflect. As we have watched and waited over the weeks of advent, we have recalled God’s work over thousands of years as we awaited the arrival of the Son of God amongst us. And now, just two days after Christmas, we mark the months and years of Jesus’s infancy. Time has slowed to give us the opportunity to take in the majesty, the hope, the transformation that the birth of one miraculous child brings. We can stand back in awe and wonder!

We see that awe and wonder in the accounts of Simeon and Anna. Each has waited a long, long time in the promise of Messiah, and now encounter the infant Jesus. Like us, they have watched and waited in anticipation. As Luke tells us, their hope has not been in vain, but this is not the powerful speaker, or charismatic leader they encounter. The Jesus they see, and in whom they recognise God’s presence, is just a child. The long-prophesied acts of the scriptures and those that Anna foretold are yet to come to be. This infant cannot undertake the world-altering ministry that will come… yet…

So we find ourselves once again waiting, watching, hoping, praying… We know what is to come. We live in the light and hope of the transformation Jesus’s ministry and life, death and resurrection made possible for all of us. That light and hope is powerful as it shows us that even while we are waiting, we can still trust in God’s life-giving spirit amongst us. And while we continue to wait with anticipation we can, like Simeon, take a moment to pause and give thanks for God amongst us here and now.

Take a time to sit quietly

During this season the Methodist Church is proclaiming “God is with us”. God is with us is more than a statement. It’s a reminder that God is always with us. We are encouraged to share our story (and other people's stories) of walking with God in this extraordinary year. How might you share how God has been with you this week?  Find out more here https://www.methodist.org.uk/christmas/

A time of prayer

Enduring, eternal God, of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Joseph,
who left all behind them to follow you.
We ask for your strength and guidance to follow in their footsteps.

 

Powerful, transforming God, of Isaiah and Ezekiel, Micah and Amos,
who spoke of you in their time and their place,
we ask for your powerful words and actions in places of need today.

 

Creating, unsettling God, of John the Baptist,
who prepared the way for your arrival,
help us to continue to prepare your way
and equip us in your service.

 

Parenting, nurturing, God. of Mary and Joseph,

we think of our families,

those we choose and those chosen for us,

We call them to mind:
bring us into your warm embrace
so that no matter how near or far
we know your love reaches out to us all.

 

Patient, hope-filled God, of Simeon and Anna
we give thanks for those whose testimony,
and fellowship to you crosses generations.
We pray for your church,
trusting that as we watch and wait,
work and pray,
we can bear witness to
the love of God,
the light of Christ
and the wisdom of the Spirit.
Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn: Sing/Read/Pray/Reflect on the words to Mary and Joseph Came to the Temple (229 StF)
https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/hymns/mary-and-joseph-came-to-the-temple-stf-229/

Mary and Joseph

came to the Temple,

brought the boy Jesus,

offered him there.

People were waiting

wanting to greet him,

long had they sought him,

solace for care.

 

Anna had prayed there,

widowed, long waiting;

worshipping God by

day and by night.

Now she is praising,

filled with elation;

here is God's promise,

Christ is her light.

 

Simeon sings now

God offers blessing,

brilliantly gilding

dawn of his day;

light in the darkness,

never extinguished,

light of all nations,

light up our way.

Andrew Pratt (b. 1948)

 

A prayer of blessing

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

From Common Worship Reproduced from Singing the Faith, 794
Original Materials by Jo Henderson-Merrygold All Hymns reproduced under CCLi 1144191. 

 

The Big Church Sing Christmas Special was broadcast live on the Methodist Church's YouTube channel on Sunday 29 November. Have you seen it yet? If you have access to the internet go to 


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