A More Light Congregation

Bethany Presbyterian Church

This Week in Worship

Centering Prayer

Righteous one, 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 remain alert and watchful for the coming of your promised one – the one who comes with power and glory, the one drawing near to bring our salvation. Amen.


Lighting of the First Candle of Advent: Hope

ONE: Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. Hope is like peace. It is a gift only we can give one another. Friends, as we enter this Advent season, we come to this space, familiar with the darkness and hungry for hope. So today we light the candle of hope as a prayer, a protest, and a reminder that darkness will not win. Gun violence will not win. Death will not win. Bigotry will not win. Racism will not win. Terrorism will not win.

ALL: Love will win.

ONE:  “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

Let us pray: Loving God, we constantly find ourselves in darkness, shoulder deep in violence, grief, and a million reasons to give up hope. Yet every time we are there, you breathe life and light into our bones, refusing to give up on us. So please, God, draw close to us once more. Kindle that fire within us— the deep hope that not only believes in better days, but insists on them. And then grant us the strength to live that way. Gratefully, we pray, Amen.


Response Hymn - Hymn #89




Advent Prayer

God of all time and seasons, how quickly the year spins by, and we are caught unprepared for your Advent. We are still recovering from Thanksgiving or the latest crisis or the long list of things to do. The demands on our time seem unending, the tasks seem overwhelming, and our energy is draining.  Holy God, sing to us in the stillness of this moment; speak to us in the depths of our hearts. Let there be a space for you in the midst of all the hurry and rush -- a holy, inner place that cherishes silence and song, that keeps a candle lit and a manger ready.  God of all time and seasons, create in us a place for your birth. Amen.


Response Hymn #92





Preparation for the Word Hymn #95


December 2, 2018

First Sunday in Advent and Celebration of Holy Communion

Sermon by Reverend Dr. Robin Crawford

"The Hopefulness of Gratitude"

Prepare the way of the Lord

Prepare the way of the Lord

And all people shall see the salvation of our Lord

For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you.

O Lord of Light, our only hope of glory,

Your radiance shines in all who look to you

Come, light the hearts of all who dwell in shadow

While we are waiting, come.

While we are waiting come

Jesus our Lord Emmanuel

While we are waiting come

Centering Prayer

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. Amen.


Lighting of the Second Candle of Advent: Peace

ONE: Isaiah 11 describes the Kingdom of God as a place of peace where hatred, anger, and violence are not just tucked under the rug, but swept away all together. In today’s terms, that scripture might sound like this: The wolf shall live with the lamb.

ALL: Israel and Palestine will tear down their wall.

ONE: The leopard shall lie down with the kid.

ALL: Black lives and poor lives will matter to all.

ONE: The calf and the lion will feed together.

ALL: Democrats and Republicans will work together in harmony,

ONE: and a little child shall lead them.

ALL: And without fear, the Church will lead them.

ONE: Today we light the candle of peace as a prayer, a protest, and a reminder of God’s prayer for this world. Starting first with the candle of hope, we light the candle of peace to symbolize God’s ever-increasing light.

Let us pray: God of hope and peace, you created the world and it was good. However, we have forgotten what that looks like and have walked too far from Eden to even remember how to get home. As we eagerly anticipate the birth of your Son, we ask that you will instill your burning energy for peace within our bones, for our world so desperately needs it. We so desperately need it. We also ask that you would guide our feet, so that maybe one day we will stumble back to the gates of Eden, back home, with you, once more. Gratefully we pray, Amen.


Response Hymn - Hymn #89




Advent Prayer

Lord, we have pulled out the Advent wreath, the Christmas tree, the poinsettias.  We dusted off the hymns, unsung for a year, and unearthed the words of your prophets. Yet, in your eyes, these efforts are for nothing without the regular, persistent, deep pursuit of justice for all people. Our efforts are hollow without consistent work toward peace, reconciliation, and participation in your mission for creation. In our hearts, we do long to be your people, to carry out your mission, to be lights in the darkness — proof that no darkness can overcome your truth. Awaken us to action. Stir us to courage. Rouse us to prepare a way in the wilderness for your coming, clearing the brush of oppression, racism, injustice, and hopelessness — so that all may see your light and perceive your coming. Amen


Response Hymn #92





Preparation for the Word Hymn #95


December 9, 2018

Second Sunday in Advent: PEACE

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"Making Our Way in the Wilderness"

Prepare the way of the Lord

Prepare the way of the Lord

And all people shall see the salvation of our Lord

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For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you.

O Lord of Light, our only hope of glory,

Your radiance shines in all who look to you

Come, light the hearts of all who dwell in shadow

While we are waiting, come.

While we are waiting come

Jesus our Lord Emmanuel

While we are waiting come

Centering Prayer

Across the universe, creation waits for the prophets to speak their words of expectation and their vision of renewal.  May we gather round them today once more and let their longing grip us and lead us into birth and blessing.  So come now, my friends, this is the meeting place of promise and prophecy.  Let us listen through the ancient words that we might be ready to hear a baby’s cry.  Amen.


Lighting of the Third Candle of Advent: Joy

Joy is the space between our breath and our laughter.  Joy is a hand wrapped around ours.  Joy is our heart beating in sync with someone else’s heart.  Joy is that first day of a new season, and the intoxicating hope it brings.  Joy is dancing in the kitchen and singing in your car.  Joy is the first cry of a newborn baby.  Joy is contagious.  Joy is a song.  Joy is the daughter of gratitude.  Joy is the heart of praise.  Today, we plant our feet in joy.  For much of Advent we assume the position of leaning forward, longing for the moment where God will break into this world once more.  However, today we stop leaning to remember with gratitude all that God has already done for us, through us, and around us.

Let us pray:  Loving God, all of creation rejoices for you; for it was you who hung the stars, and you who made our beating hearts.  As we anticipate the birth of your son, fill our hearts not only with hope and peace, which we so desperately need, but also with joy.  For when the nights feel too long, and the darkness too strong, you light the way for us.  In Your holy name we so gratefully pray, Amen.


Response Hymn - Hymn #89




Advent Prayer

We are waiting for Love without end, without conditions, without violence, without fear.  We are waiting for Justice without end, without vengeance, without hatred, without lies.  We are waiting  for Peace without end, without displacement, without borders, without war.  We are waiting for Restoration without end, without favoritism, without fatigue, without debt.  We are waiting for Joy without end, without reservation, without rebuke, without want.  Holy Love, Divine Justice, God of Peace, Restoration, and Joy: we are waiting for you.  We need you. Amen.


Response Hymn #92





Preparation for the Word Hymn #95


December 16, 2018

Third Sunday in Advent: JOY

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"What Then Should We Do?"

Prepare the way of the Lord

Prepare the way of the Lord

And all people shall see the salvation of our Lord

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For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you.

O Lord of Light, our only hope of glory,

Your radiance shines in all who look to you

Come, light the hearts of all who dwell in shadow

While we are waiting, come.

While we are waiting come

Jesus our Lord Emmanuel

While we are waiting come

Centering Prayer

God beyond time and space, take this moment of worship and bless it.  May the grace experienced in this place be multiplied to overflowing so that your whole world sees the light of your love.  God of new surprises, take each of us here, and bless us. Create in us clean hearts,  refresh our spirits, and transform our whole beings, until we reflect your love and compassion through and through. In the name of Emmanuel, God with Us, the one who comes to us even now, Amen.


Lighting of the Fourth Candle of Advent: Love

Friends, we come to this circular wreath as a symbolic reminder that God’s love has no beginning or end. When we talk about Christmas, we talk about a love song of God kneeling down like a mother to her child saying, “Oh how I love you,” to each and every one of us. I invite you to take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. For in that breath, the Holy Spirit speaks love. Now, I invite you to place your hand on the inside of your wrist or on your neck just under your chin. Feel your pulse, notice your heart beating inside you. For in that beat, the love of the Creator sings. Today we light the candles of hope, peace, and joy as touchstones of the Christian faith. From those lights, we also light the candle of love, which in one word tells the Christian story.

Let us pray: Nurturing God, you brought your word of life to birth through the body and spirit of your servant, Mary. Bring us and our world to birth by that same gracious word, that we may be filled with your love, and that our world may become a new creation. We ask this in the name of Mary’s Child. Amen.


Response Hymn - Hymn #89




Advent Prayer

Surprising God, your word sets wonder in motion. Like Mary and Elizabeth, 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 and Elizabeth 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


Response Hymn #92





Preparation for the Word Hymn #95


December 23, 2018

Fourth Sunday in Advent: LOVE

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"Listen Closely"

Prepare the way of the Lord

Prepare the way of the Lord

And all people shall see the salvation of our Lord

Scripture  

Luke 1:39-55

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For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you.

O Lord of Light, our only hope of glory,

Your radiance shines in all who look to you

Come, light the hearts of all who dwell in shadow

While we are waiting, come.

While we are waiting come

Jesus our Lord Emmanuel

While we are waiting come

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December 24, 2018  

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service






Lighting the Christ Candle

We come to receive the light of Christ as we celebrate his miraculous birth; we receive this light that illuminates the holy path of hope, peace, joy, and love. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;  authority rests upon his shoulders;  and he is named  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  His authority shall grow continually,  and there shall be endless peace  for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it  with justice and with righteousness  from this time onwards and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Carol #133 "O Come, All Ye Faithful"

Christmas Prayer

O God of love, you have brought us together tonight and blessed us with your very self. Open our eyes to the light of Christ which glows in the darkness of a world engulfed in apathy, pain and loss; a world separated from you.  Speak to us now that we may hear the good news of your salvation. Bring us into the wonder of your presence. Fill us with that light that we may carry it out with us into our lives. Amen.


Preparation for the Word #113 "Angels We Have Heard on High"

First Reading: Isaiah 9:2-7

Musical Offering: "In the Bleak Midwinter" - the Bethany Quartet

Second Reading: Luke 2:1-7

Musical Offering: "O Holy Night" - Lyn Hughes and George Lynch

Third Reading: Luke 2:8-14

Carol #115 "Away In a Manger"

Fourth Reading: Luke 2: 15-20

Musical Offering: "Carol of the Bells" - Jessica Redell-Popovich

Meditation by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

Carol #145 "What Child is This?"

Offertory: "Mary Did You Know?" - Bethany Prayz

Carol #134 "Joy to the World"

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.


Carol #122 "Silent Night"

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December 30, 2018

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.

Readings

#1  Isaiah 9:2-6a


#2 Toward the Light

From Kneeling in Bethlehem by Ann Weems


#3 Luke 1:26-35, 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

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Archive - Advent/Christmas 2018