PRELUDE MUSIC (a time for silent reflection)
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
HYMN #112 BLUE In the Bleak Midwinter
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, in the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold him nor earth sustain; heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign: in the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed the Lord God incarnate, Jesus Christ.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there, cherubim and seraphim thronged the air; but his mother only, in her maiden bliss, worshiped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part; yet what I can I give him—give my heart.
Celebrant Blessed be the one, holy, and living God.
People Glory to God for ever and ever.
Beloved God, as we approach your Presence, guide and stir us with your Holy Spirit, that we may become one body, one spirit in Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
SONG OF PRAISE ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH, v. 1
Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly through the night, and the mountains in reply echoing their brave delight. Gloria in excelsis deo. Gloria in excelsis deo.
THE COLLECT OF THE DAY
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Let us pray.
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
A Reading from the Letter to the Galatians 4:4-7
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Let us say together Psalm 148
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
2Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
3Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
5Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
6He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
7Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
8fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
9Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
10Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!
11Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
12Young men and women alike, old and young together!
13Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
14He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!
HYMN #81 BLUE Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung! of Jesse’s lineage coming, as seers of old have sung. It came, a blossom bright, amid the cold of winter, when half spent was the night.
Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind; with Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind. To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a Savior, when half spent was the night.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air, dispel with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere; true man, yet very God, from sin and death now saves us, and share our every load.
THE GOSPEL Luke 2:22-40
Celebrant The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.
People Glory to you, Lord Christ.
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
Celebrant The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.
SERMON Pastor Neil
THE NICENE CREED (please stand)
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
With all our heart and with all our mind, let us pray to the Lord, saying, “Lord, have mercy.”
For the peace from above, for the loving kindness of God, and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For the peace of the world, for the unity of all peoples, and for all the leaders of the nations and all those in authority, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For Eugene and Chilton, our bishops, Neil our priest, and for all the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For the community of Springwell, the city of Baltimore, those who live here, and their families, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For the good earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For all who endure illness, oppression, poverty, or any other suffering; for Pastor Neil’s pastoral and healthcare ministry, and for other caregivers, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For the communities of St. John’s Mt Washington, and St. Mark’s on the Hill, Pikesville, as we seek a special relationship with one another through the Two Saints Collaborative, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.
For all refugees, that God might bring them to a place of peace and safety, we pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.
We especially pray for those suffering from human rights abuses; because of hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and other disasters, and for those we name now… (please add your petitions). Let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.
Life-giving God, heal our lives, that we may acknowledge your wonderful deeds and offer you thanks from generation to generation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us confess our sins to God (Silence may be kept).
Celebrant and People
God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you,
opposing your will in our lives. We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created. We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen.
Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through the grace of Jesus Christ. Strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.
Celebrant The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.
(Please greet one another in the name of the Lord.)
Let us with gladness present the offerings and gifts of our life and labor to the Lord. (Please be seated)
OFFERTORY HYMN #111 BLUE Silent Night, Holy Night
Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight, glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing alleluia; Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ the Savior is born!
Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
PRESENTATION HYMN #94 BLUE While Shepherds Watched…
While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground, the angel of the Lord came down, and glory shone around.
THE HOLY COMMUNION
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Celebrant will chant:
It is indeed right and salutary … (preface continues)
…we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
SANCTUS S-125 BLUE
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna in the highest.
In these latter days, God leaned toward the earth and spoke to us by a Son, Jesus the Beloved. Born of our sister Mary and the Holy Spirit, guarded by our brother Joseph with fatherly care, Jesus came among us as a helpless babe, cradled beside the beasts and warmed by their breath – human, as we are, in need of human love.
Kings bowed down before him, bringing gifts; emperors were troubled by his reign – this Child in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. This Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us, his flesh and blood were given to us, in his final gift of grace. As a servant, Jesus emptied himself of might upon the cross, and as the risen Anointed One is enthroned at God’s right hand to bring mercy and justice to all the earth at the end of days.
At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying, “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.”
After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”
ACCLAMATION OF FAITH (said together)
We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom.
Made one with him, we offer you these gifts and with them ourselves a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and this wine, that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, they may be the Body and Blood of your Son, and we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptized into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.
Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:
THE LORD’S PRAYER (traditional)
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 for ever and ever. Amen.
PRE-COMMUNION ANTHEM S-154
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.
Loving God, we give you thanks for restoring us in your image and nourishing us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. Now send us forth a people forgiven, healed, renewed; that we may proclaim your love to the world and continue in the risen life of Christ our Savior. Amen.
Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace, as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, hold on to what is good, return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering, honor all people, and let our gentleness be known by everyone. May God, who raised our Lord Jesus from death, lift us up and restore us to wholeness. And may God bless us all, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Amen.
HYMN #89 BLUE It Came upon a Midnight Clear *
It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth, to touch their harps of gold: “Peace on the earth, goodwill to all, from heaven’s all-gracious King.” The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come, with peaceful wings unfurled, and still their heavenly music floats o’er all the weary world; above its sad and lowly plains, they bend on hovering wing, and ever o’er its babel sounds the blessed angels sing.
Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long; beneath the angel-strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong; and man, at war with man, hears not the love-song which they bring; O hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.
And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow—look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing!
For lo, the days are hastening on, by prophet bards foretold, when with the ever-circling years comes round the age of gold, when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling, And the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing.
* We are singing the familiar tune, but the original words of “It Came upon a Midnight Clear,” which were written by Richard Sears in 1849. They focus on social justice in a troubled world, an important message for the season.
Celebrant Go in peace to love and serve the Lord by loving and serving each other and the world. Alleluia!
People Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!