A More Light Congregation

Bethany Presbyterian Church

This Week in Worship

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November 22, 2015

Christ the King Sunday

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"An Unexpected King"

Prayer of Preparation

Come in bringing all of who you are.  Calm your hurried pace.  For this hour, let the cares, the fretfulness and worry, be set aside. Know that you are not alone.  There is strength and caring support for you here. So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.


Call to Worship

One: We come, for God gathers us here, with that community called faith:

All: where the hungry are served first, where the thirsty drink life’s water.

One: We come, for God welcomes us here into that home called grace:

All: where the naked are clothed in robes of hope; where the stranger is embraced as the long-lost prodigal.

One: We come, for God reunites us here, sisters and brothers in that family called love:

All: where the imprisoned model justice, where the sick are cradled in God’s peace.


Prayer of Adoration

O God,  in Jesus Christ, we celebrate your power at work.  You raised Jesus from the dead  to rule with you forever more.  Enlighten the eyes of our hearts,  that we may see the hope to which Christ calls us,  that we may be the hope  for the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, and the needy,  and that we may enter your realm of eternal peace. Amen.

Hymns

#260 “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus”

#268 “Crown Him with Many Crowns”

#267 “Come, Christians, Join to Sing”

November 29, 2015

First Sunday in Advent

Sermon by Peter Stiehler

“Living in the Imminence of the Apocalypse”

Prayer of Preparation

O God, to you alone we lift our souls; in you alone we place our trust; for you alone we wait all day long. For you are the God of our salvation, abounding in mercy and steadfast love. Help us to be watchful for the coming of your promised one -- the one who comes with power and glory, the one drawing near to bring our salvation, the one who comes as a servant wrapped in the clothes of humility. Amen.


Advent Candle Lighting - The Henry Family

As our days grow shorter and our nights longer, we who are people fo faith turn to symbols such as candles, evergreens, and wreaths to proclaim our belief in the unquenchable light.  In hopeful anticipation, we prepare for the coming of the Reign of God.  


Two quotations on the theme of Hope:

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”  ~ Barbara Kingsolver, from “Animal Dreams”


“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don't wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” ~ Barack Obama


Let us pray:

O God, who comes among us and who is still yet to come, as the days grow ever shorter and the nights ever longer, we cling to the promise of the light that is coming into the world. Help us to trust your promises. Let every heart here prepare a room for you. Here we are, your servants. Let it be with us according to your word. Amen.


Prayer of Invocation

Come, Lord Jesus, come. Come into our midst. Come into our hearts. Come into our homes and our community, into our Come, Lord Jesus, come. Come into our midst. Come into our hearts. Come into our homes and our community, into our chools and workplaces. May we welcome you everywhere, making room for you, preparing for you, anticipating your arrival with joy and reverence. We commit this season of Advent to becoming ready. Shine your light in those nooks and crannies we keep in the shadows. Sweep the cobwebs from our long-hidden doubt and fear. Repair our torn and wounded places. We long for your arrival. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Amen.

Hymns

#106 “Prepare the Way, O Zion”

#82 “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”

#105 “People, Look East”

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December 6, 2015

Second Sunday of Advent

and celebration of Holy Communion

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"The Unbelievable Promise"

Prayer of Preparation

God of the darkened night, God of the morning light, come to us again. Come to us in the breaking of the bread and the harmony of our songs. Come in the sound of silence and the laughter of friends. Come in our faithful waiting and hopeful watching. Come to us in the cry for peace and the smile of forgiveness. God of the darkened night, God of the morning light, come to us; be with us.  Amen.


Advent Candle Lighting - the Rozmus Family

Advent calls us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.  All around us, people prepare for parties, dinners, and presents.  These events could distract us from the real reason for our anticipation.  On the other hand, they also could prepare us; they could be the voice crying in a wilderness of materialism: Prepare the way for the coming of what is really important.


Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5


Reflections on the word Peace and the lighting of the candle

Standing outside Santa Rita Prison in December 1967, Martin Luther King addressed a crowd of protesters who were staging a vigil for members of the Peace Movement who had been imprisoned for their protests against the Vietnam War.  He said, “There can be no justice without peace, and there can be no peace without justice.”


Jesus came to bring peace, and He manifests that through people.  We can be messengers of the Peace of Christ.  One way we can do that is by working for justice.  In major cities throughout our country this past year, protesters have chanted “No justice, no peace.” They have raised their voices; they have made noise.  Some might say they have disturbed the peace. I believe they are working for justice. Let us also work for justice to manifest the Peace of Christ in our community and in our world.


Let us pray:

Gracious God, out of the darkness you send a light; out of a lifeless stump you call forth a new shoot; out of the discord of our lives you proclaim a vision of peace.  May your Spirit rest upon us, that the hope that you inspire will be lived out in our lives.  We pray this in the name of the One whose birth we prepare to celebrate, Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  Amen.


Prayer of Confession

Holy and loving God, we have dwelt in darkness and preferred it to the light; we have been proud of our accomplishments and despaired over our shortcomings. Smooth down the mountains of our pride, and lift up the valleys of our doubts. Open a path in the wilderness of our lives that we might find our way to you again. Refine us and prepare us once again for life in your kingdom. Hear our prayer, O Lord. Amen.

Hymns

#93 “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates”

#89 “For You, O Lord, My Soul in Stillness Waits”

#96 “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”


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December 13, 2015

Third Sunday of Advent

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"It's the Happiest Time of Year!"

Prayer of Preparation

Come, Lord Jesus, come. Come into our midst. Come into our hearts. Come into our homes and our community, into our schools and workplaces. May we welcome you everywhere, making room for you, preparing for you, anticipating your arrival with joy and reverence. We commit this season of Advent to becoming ready. Shine your light in those nooks and crannies we keep in the shadows. Sweep the cobwebs from our long-hidden doubt and fear. Repair our torn and wounded places. We long for your arrival. Come, Lord Jesus, come.


Advent Candle Lighting - the Jones Family

We have lit the first two candles, one for hope and one for peace.  Today we light the third candle, the candle of joy.  This should be the easy one, because joy is all around us - in the children, the lights, the music, the gathering together.  But how often do we let our preparations - or our memories - push joy aside?  Joy is like an underground spring that wells up within us, but joy is also a choice, an attitude.  Like a muscle, it needs to be exercised.  So today we open ourselves to joy, trusting that God has already planted it in us.  All we need to do is give it care and offer it to share.


Scripture Reading: Isaiah 35:1-4


Reflections on the word Joy and the lighting of the third candle:

I feel blessed in my job, teaching kindergarteners, because Joy is all around me. I get to experience it by watching what my kids do and how they positively impact those around them. Here are a few examples of how I feel Joy being around my kids:

-when making a card to cheer up someone, a single heart won't do, a child decides to draw a giant rainbow and fill all the remaining space with dozens of little hearts.

- seeing several kids beam with pride as they finish working together to build a creation with blocks and they enthusiastically ask me 'Can we take a picture of it?'

-watching my most difficult child whose father is in a high security prison bring a music box for sharing that is covered in fur and plays a sweet Christmas Carol.

-watching the same child who often smashes things in frustration, tenderly console another child whose feelings have been hurt.

-witnessing countless times how quickly a difficult altercation for adults is so quickly forgiven and forgotten by children.

-seeing how enthusiastically children volunteer to do and carry out menial tasks like cleaning up.

-watching the faces in the audience while our kids sing Christmas Carols for them.

Let us pray:

God, in the height of our Advent walk, grant us the courage to experience joy. Joy in the face of apathy, Joy in the face of sorrow, Joy in the face of uncertainty. Amen.


Advent Prayer

O God, who comes among us and who is still yet to come, as the days grow ever shorter and the nights ever longer, we cling to the promise of the light that is coming into the world. Help us to trust your promises. Let every heart here prepare a room for you. Here we are, your servants. Let it be with us according to your word. Amen.

Hymns

#97 “Watchman, Tell Us of the Night”

#94 “Now the Heavens Start to Whisper”

#92 “While We are Waiting Come”

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December 20, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Christmas Pageant

Prayer of Preparation

God of manger and star, let us enter your story once again and find ourselves kneeling with the shepherds, singing with the angels and worshiping with the Magi. Touch our hearts with the wonder of birth and the depths of your love. Speak to us in word and song and lift us to the realms of glory.  Amen.


Advent Candle Lighting - the DeLand & DeLander family

On this Sunday we light the candle of love. We marvel at her faith in and her love for God, herself a single, teenaged mother, herself poor and powerless. But she understood that the baby she would call Jesus was sent, not just to her, but also to the world... to the hungry, to the weak, to the very young and the very old, to those who suffer or are in pain.

Scripture reading: Luke 1:26-35

Reflections on the word Love and the lighting of the 4th candle

Let us pray:

And the messenger of the Lord came to Mary and Joseph, and the words said were not easy. The requirements that message made upon them were not simple. The word of God brought about a life that neither of them imagined. Today we pray that our hearts and minds will be open to hear God's message for us: a message of hope and grace even amid great stress and anxiety. For unto us a child has been born, unto us the Son of the Most High has come to dwell within our midst. Amen.


Prayer of Invocation

Surprising God, your word sets wonder in motion. Like Mary, we are filled with amazement that you have found favor with us and that you choose to be present to the world through us. We join Mary in giving birth to hope, to love, to peace for all creation, in all corners of the world. We praise you for the gift of your Son, whom we follow. Surprising God, bless us again and open us to the wonder of your love flowing in us and through us. Amen.


Christmas Pageant

"Christmas by The Book" a skit by Sharon Kay Chatwell, with the children of Bethany.


Hymns

#95 “Prepare the Way of the Lord”

#87 “Comfort, Comfort Now My People”

#88 “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

#119 “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”


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December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

Candlelight Service

Christ Candle Lighting - the Hughes/Lynch family

On this Christmas Eve, we light the Christ candle, for the child-King, the infant-Redeemer, the lowly-Lord. We light the candle for the One who brings light to our world. He is born and nothing will ever be the same!


Scripture: John 1: 1-4


Reflections on the word Light and the lighting of the Christ Candle


Let us pray:

God of love, God of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh.  Make us a people of this light.  Make us faithful to your Word that we may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Prayer of Adoration

Loving God, deep in the night, when all the world had locked the doors on love and closed the shutters on hope, you pierced the darkness with Light and a baby’s cry. Never again shall we be alone. No more shall we sit in fear. For Christ, the Light of the World and of our lives, is born. God of angels and babies, open us once again to this miracle, this wonder that you became one with us. Let the angels sings for us; let the star shine for us; let the child smile at us – here and now on this holy night. Amen.


Christmas Eve Candle Lighting

One: We who dwelled in darkness have seen a great light;

All: And on us this night a great light shines.

One: A Child has been born for us.

All: And he is named Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel.

Hymns

#133 “O Come, All Ye Faithful”

#113 “Angels We Have Heard on High”

#158 “Born in the Night, Mary’s Child”

#134 “Joy to the World”

#122 “Silent Night, Holy Night”

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December 27, 2015

A Festival of Lessons and Carols

Prayer of Invocation

Wondrous God, open our hearts and minds so we may hear once again the angels’ song, and know that Christ is born for us and for all. Touch the world with joy this holy day, and fill us with peace and childlike wonder.   Surprise us and bless us with the simple miracle of the birth of the Christ  child. Amen.

Carols

#133 “O Come, All Ye Faithful”


#140 “Once in Royal David’s City”


#20 “All Things Bright and Beautiful”


#130 “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light”


#145 “What Child Is This”


#98 “To A Maid Whose Name Was Mary”


#102 “Savior of the Nations, Come”


#113 “Angels We Have Heard Are High


#151 “We Three Kings of Orient Are”


#119 “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”


#134 “Joy to the World”

Readings

#1 The Church Year

From Kneeling in Bethlehem by Ann Weems


#2 The Creation James Weldon Johnson


#3  Isaiah 9:2-7


#4 Yesterday’s Pain

The Coming of God

The Child is Born Again

From Kneeling in Bethlehem by Ann Weems


#5 Luke 1:26-38


#6 Matthew 1:18-25


#7 Luke 2:8-20


#8 Journey of the Magi by T.S. Elliot


#9 John 1: 1-4

Christmas Prayer

God of star and night, you delighted to place a star in our darkened skies and you found ways to invite us to celebrate your Son's birth. We rejoice that, as you cradled him in the simplicity of a manger, you cradle us in our ordinary moments, you hold us in our weakness, you carry us in your heart, you lift us up in our hurt and shame.   We give you thanks.   God of power and light, lead us into a new year, filled with surprises and wonder. Let the bells of freedom ring in all lands  for all oppressed by lack of food or work,   for all imprisoned for their beliefs,  for all scarred by wars and rumors of war.   God of truth and right let the winds of renewal touch our hearts. Stir us to tell others about the love of God and to listen to the whispers and nudges of your Spirit. Amen.

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January 3, 2016

Celebration of Holy Communion

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall"

Prayer of Preparation

On this first Lord's Day of the new year, Creator God, we are mindful that we do not know what the future holds, but we do know that you will be with us as we navigate through it. Therefore, we come to acknowledge your love and leadership, your grace and your power - all of which are available to us - whatever the times ahead may bring.  Amen.


Call to Worship

For so long we have walked only in darkness, unable to see. But, behold a light, yes, a light has come! Not even the deepest darkness can keep out the dawn. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Peace is here, upon us, with us, around us. It will never end. Celebrate the King of light, power and peace. He has come.


Prayer of Confession

Lord God of Christmas, we stand on the threshold of another year. We thank you for giving us another year of life. You have given us many gifts during the last year; and yet we realize that we have often failed to use those gifts or our lives as creatively and constructively as we might. Now give us the care to shape the moments of this next year into tender, gentle expressions of concern. May the year be fulfilled with achievements: wrongs corrected, friendships deepened, the disheartened encouraged. Help us to energize your love, even as you became love to us. For we ask these things in his name.  Amen.  


Assurance of Forgiveness

As Mary, Joseph and Jesus settled in Nazareth, help us, God, to let you take up residence in each one of our hearts. Forgive us our fears and our doubts. In the name of the babe of Bethlehem, the Prince of Peace, we are now made new and whole. Amen.

Scripture  

John 1:1-18

Hymns

#132 “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice”

#135 “There’s A Star in the East”

#136 “Go Tell it on the Mountain”

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Archive - Advent & Christmas 2015