A More Light Congregation

Bethany Presbyterian Church

This Week in Worship

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Archive - Advent/Christmas 2016


Prayer of Preparation

This is the season for holy waiting. We wait for the day when swords are transformed into plowshares. We watch for the day when the ways of war are exchanged for the ways of peace. We wait in the shadows for the Light of the world to appear.  Amen.

Advent Candle Lighting - The Buildings and Grounds Committee

One: As the season of Advent begins we celebrate hope.

All: We know that through the birth of a tiny and helpless child,  God is coming to save the world.

One: While we watch and wait for Jesus to arrive,  we join in God’s mission by bringing grace and mercy to those who need it most.

All: We engage the poor and the poor in spirit, letting Christ’s light shine through us.

One: We speak words of comfort and love  to a world in need of healing  as we share our stories of God’s transforming Spirit.

All: Together, we are a sign of God’s hope for the world.

Lighting the Candle of Hope

All: God of surprising grace,  when we least expect it  you bring fresh new life;  and where we feel that all is lost, you bring redemption. Give us courage as we share all you have done,  all you are doing,  and all you will accomplish through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Invocation

Gracious God, whose coming fulfills the promise of ages, we confess that we may not be prepared to receive you when you come. We may look for a majestic arrival, while you want us to find you in some ordinary manger. We think the signs of your coming will be clear, but you may enter our world in the darkness of midnight. We may think we have no need of you now, but you know our needs before we understand them. Lord; come to us, even though we may not be ready for you. Awaken us to your presence, and to the surprising ways that you will come to us. Amen.


Isaiah 40: 27-31

Romans 13: 8-14


#105 “People Look East”

#82 “Come, Thou Long –Expected Jesus”

#100 “My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout”

November 27, 2016  

First Sunday of Advent

Sermon by Reverend Robin Crawford

"Forget Your Life"

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 Deacons

One: In this season of Advent, we celebrate God’s peace.

All: Jesus Christ, whose birth we await, calls our community to justice  and leads us in the way of peace.

One: Our community is forgiving.  We call one another to honesty and humility,  and respond to each other with abundant grace.

All: Our community values relationships.  We live in harmony with one another even when we disagree, and strive to glorify God in everything we do.

One: Our community longs for unity.  We work together with other churches and organizations, and live out God’s reconciling love for all the world to see.

All: Together, we are a sign of God’s peace in the world.

Lighting the Candle of Peace

All: God of all people and all nations, you break through the cynicism of our world  and offer a vision of the lion and lamb lying down together. Open our eyes to see the signs of your coming kingdom  and inspire us to participate  in all you are doing in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

God of hope, we come to you in the midst of a world fraught with troubles. Although the darkness is powerful, open our eyes, Lord, to the light of your presence. Give us faith to stand against the voices of division and violence. Through your Spirit, remake us into hope-filled disciples, discovering lives attuned to your wonder, and sparking in others a desire to know you more. In the name of the One who comes to us, we pray, Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

One: Friends, know and believe, that as we wait for the birth of the baby Jesus — and the return of our Savior — we are already forgiven.

All: Thanks be to God! Amen.


Isaiah 11: 1-10

Matthew 3:1-12



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

#509 “All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly”

#106 “Prepare the Way, O Zion”

December 4, 2016  

Second Sunday of Advent

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"A Reason to Hope"

Prayer of Preparation

Life-giving God, we are a blessed people. In this moment of worship we pray that you might bless us anew. Give us ears to hear the melodies of praise that fill the world around us. And as we hear the songs, teach us to sing, to dance with abandon, to rejoice in the wonders of your grace. Forgive us when we have passed by signs of your mercy. From this moment forward, open our eyes to the places where joy is springing up from parched ground. Lead us by your Spirit in the pathways of your overflowing peace, hope, and love.  Amen.

Advent Candle Lighting - the Bethany Quartet

One: In this season of Advent, we celebrate God’s love.

All: Soon we will welcome  the beautiful and radical love of God as Jesus Christ comes to live among us.

One: We embrace our identity as beloved children and let this truth guide our decisions and relationships.

All: In our homes and in our church  we offer warm hospitality  by welcoming those we don’t know, those who are in need, and those who are different from us.

One: We demonstrate our care for creation  in real and tangible ways through the products we buy, the food we eat, and the way we live every day.

All: Together, we are a sign of God’s love for the world.

Lighting the Candle of Love

All: God of extravagant generosity, in Jesus we discover  the depth of your care  and the lengths you will go to save us. Forgive us when we ignore the needy, trample your creation and refuse to share a  ll that we receive from you. Teach us to love our neighbors, caring for each other  in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Invocation

O God, we come today echoing John the Baptist's question to your Beloved Child: "Are you the one who is to come?" Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the answer for ourselves: In the work of justice: Christ! In the practice of mercy: Christ! In good news for the poor: Christ! In the vision of peace: Christ! Make us ready, with open hearts and joyful spirits, to follow in Christ's Way. Amen.


Isaiah 35:1-10

Matthew 11:2-11



#97 “Watchman, Tell us of the Night”

#347 "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"

#87 “Comfort, Comfort Now My People”

December 11, 2016  

Third Sunday of Advent

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"A Word That Cannot Wait"

Prayer of Preparation

Lord of all life and all seasons, help us to open our hearts to hear the words of promise and love that you send to us. Like Joseph, may we trust in your abiding love and power. Prepare us to receive your gift of grace and peace.

Advent Candle Lighting - The Weinshilboum/Warfield Family

One: In this season of Advent, we celebrate God’s joy.

All: Knowing that Christ is coming,  to bring healing and wholeness to the world, is a source of genuine delight!

One: When we gather for worship it is a celebration, an opportunity to rejoice in all that God is doing among us and beyond us.

All: Our lives are marked by laughter and friendship,  as we love our neighbors with wide smiles and open arms.

One: Even when we face difficulty and trouble we sing a song of faith,  confident that Jesus is able  to redeem our suffering world.

All: Together, we are a sign of God’s joy for the world.

Lighting the Candle of Joy

All: God of transformation,  we rejoice that you lift up the lowly and fill the hungry with good things. We marvel at your power to  change hearts and lives.  Fill us with your Spirit this season  so that our voices declare  your goodness  and our lives proclaim your mercy  in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Invocation

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus! (Henri Nowen)


Matthew 1:18-25



#107 “Awake! Awake, & Greet the New Morn”

#158 “Born in the Night, Mary’s Child

#119 “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

December 18, 2016  

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"It’s a Great Story! Spread the Word!"



Isaiah 9:2-7

Luke 2:1-20


#133 “O Come, All Ye Faithful”

#119 “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

#113 “Angels We Have Heard on High”

#134 “Joy to the World”

December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship

Meditation by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

Lighting the Christ Candle - the Jones Family

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being  in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  (John 1:1-4)

Lighting the Candle of Light

Holy God, we rejoice in your steadfast presence in our lives,  and in your unique presence in the life of Jesus of Nazareth— born of Mary, growing through childhood into an adult ministry,  in all his life manifesting the peace, love, and justice of God;  his voice undimmed by the centuries;  his call and his promise as clear to us as it was to his disciples so long ago.  Come to us, Lord Jesus,  be born in us this night, in our hearts, our minds, our lives.  May the light of your life be kindled in us,  and lead us to the shining truth,  of God with us, God for us, God in us. 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.

January 1, 2017

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.


#145 “What Child Is This”

#113 “Angels We Have Heard Are High

#132 "Good Christian Friends, Rejoice

#121 "O Little Town of Bethlehem

#147 "The First Noel"

#151 “We Three Kings of Orient Are”

#134 “Joy to the World”


#1  Isaiah 9:2-7

#2 Toward the Light

From Kneeling in Bethlehem by Ann Weems

#3 Luke 1:26-38

#4 “People of Ceaseless Hope”

by Walter Burghardt

#5 Matthew 1:18-25

#6 First Coming by Madeline L'Engle

#7 Luke 2:1-7

#8 The Christmas Spirit by Ann Weems

#9 Luke 2:8-20

#10 Christmas Comes by Ann Weems

#11 Matthew 2:1-12

#12 Unto Us a Son Was Given

#13 Che Jesus