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January 1, 2023
Springwell Holy Communion


A Meditation

Shakespeare posed a rhetorical question about what is in a name. A rose, he wrote, would by any other name still smell as sweet. That line worked in context in a conversation between Romeo and Juliet. Perhaps if they had been older and more mature, the conversation would have been more interesting. Names matter a lot. They are not superfluous. They are intimate and profoundly communicative.

God knows that. After he’d created the world and all that was in it in less than a week, he gathered all the creatures that he’d created, and then marched them in front of Adam and Eve so the couple could name each one of them. In the book of Exodus, Moses asked God what his name is. God wouldn’t tell him. In fact, what God did was to tie the question in a knot. God said that he should be addressed as “he who is.” A mysterious way of saying perhaps the God of everything and more, a God always “beginning anew.” However, implicit in what God said about his name is a caution: “Human, don’t look in the mirror to find God’s name because you will see only what you have the ability and sentience to see. God is not a reflection of our own imaginings.”

In New Testament scripture Jesus re-names Simon and calls him Peter. The Jewish tormenter of the fledgling Christian church, called Saul, is re-named Paul. We can’t ignore these restive moves to search and label persons with names that are more germane to who they are and represent. It’s not as if we live in a time in which names are incidental and fixed in concrete. At times of ceremony and great transition, people hear an invitation to dress up in a new name. We must understand choosing a name is important and certainly sacred. It’s a shifting world in which people—even the figure of God—are reassessed. Shakespeare notwithstanding, a (new) name can be everything. Thus, Jesus and also Christus.                         Pastor Neil


Celebrant ☩ Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever.

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Celebrant Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”


Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.


Old Testament, Numbers 6:22-27

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. So, they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

Celebrant The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.

Epistle Philippians 2:5-11
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore, God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

THE GOSPEL Luke 2:15-21


Luke 2:15-21

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So, they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Celebrant The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to thee, O Christ.


But Mary treasured
all these words
and pondered them in her heart.


Celebrant and People together, all standing

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


Celebrant: On this holy day we rejoice at the birth of Christ, Word-made-flesh, and light of the world. With glad hearts let us place all our needs in God’s loving care.
Leader We pray for all religious leaders, that they will bear united witness to God’s boundless love for the human family, including this community of faith, benevolence, fellowship, commitment, and sacred generosity. Loving God hear us.
People: Loving God, hear our prayer.
Leader We pray for peace in the world, that the light of Christ will dispel the dark shadow of war from the face of the earth. Loving God hear us.
People: Loving God, hear our prayer.
Leader We pray for the earth and all it contains, that the whole creation will be cherished and cared for as God’s gift to humankind. Including, particularly, all animals, species, and plants, as well as the land we all occupy. Loving God hear us.
People: Loving God, hear our prayer.
Leader We pray for the countless, even in the billions, people around the world displaced from their homes, that their cry for safety, shelter, food, and freedom will be heard and answered. Loving God hear us.
People Loving God, hear our prayer.
We pray for families in all their diversity, that by God’s grace they will grow strong in love, mutual respect and the practice of forgiveness. Loving God hear us.
People Loving God, hear our prayer.
We pray for all who struggle with sadness and loneliness at this time of year, that the outreach of neighbors will free them from their isolation. Loving God hear us.
People Loving God, hear our prayer.
We pray for all whose selfless service has helped us through the difficulties of this year, that they will be blessed with our gratitude and the opportunity to rest. Loving God hear us.
People Loving God, hear our prayer.
Celebrant We pray with our loved Ones who have died and are now enjoying the banquet of Heaven which we hope for in our Christmas Eucharist. Loving God hear us.
People Loving God, hear our prayer.
Celebrant Holy God, in the birth of Christ you have made us your beloved daughters and sons. Help us to stay true to our calling. We ask this through Christ our Lord.



Celebrant Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbors.

Silence will be kept

Minister and People Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Celebrant Almighty God have mercy on you, ☩ forgive you all your sins through our Lord 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.


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 It is indeed right and salutary that we should— in all times and in all places—give thanks to you, Almighty Father, through Jesus Christ your son. For by water and the Holy Spirit, you have made us a new people in Jesus Christ our Savior, to show forth your glory in all the world. Therefore, we praise your name and join angels and archangels by saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. ☩ Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself. When we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you in your mercy sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself
in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole

On the night before his death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Therefore, we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanks- giving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts. ☩ Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. ☩ Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace. And at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom. All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ.
By him, and with him, and in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father,
now and forever. Amen.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:




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 forever and ever. Amen.



Celebrant 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.

Celebrant will distribute communion to people in their chairs.



Celebrant Almighty and everliving God,

All We thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen


Celebrant Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace. We live and walk as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, to hold on to what is good, and to return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering; do justice, 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 Holy Spirit. Amen.

Celebrant Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.