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Advent Devotional Liturgies – Week of Peace

We won’t get to enjoy Advent in the sanctuary this year. We’ll be worshipping on living room couches and at kitchen tables. But even when we’re apart, we recognize our togetherness—with one another, with God—through our worship.

This year, we encourage you to join in worship by lighting Advent candles and sharing in a weekly liturgy, either with others or alone. You can say the liturgy every day with your family, substituting scripture readings for the appropriate day. Or you can light a candle on Sunday to mark a new week.

Join us as we prepare to receive the Christ child—God’s love incarnate for you.

 

SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT – PEACE

 

OPENING SENTENCES

The Lord shall come when morning dawns,

and earth’s dark night is past.

As the sentry waits for daybreak,

so my soul hopes for the Lord.

 

PRAYER

 

We praise you, O Lord our God, Ruler of all things,

by whose word the shadows of evening fall.

your wisdom opens the gates of morning;

your understanding orders the changes of time and seasons;

your will controls the stars as they travel through the skies.

You are the Creator of both night and day,

making light recede before darkness,

and darkness before light.

 

Living and Eternal God, rule over us always,

through day and night, light and dark,

through all season and celebrations,

as we look for the light of the Savior.

Illumine our hearts, that we might find him. Amen.

 

LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLE

 

Light two purple candles. When lighting the second candle, say,

 

We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ.

As the Lord has promised in days to come,

The wolf shall lie down with the lamb,

the leopard shall lie down with the kid,

the calf and the lion and the fatling will lie down together,

and a little child shall lead them.

 

SCRIPTURE READINGS

 

see list below

 

CANTICLE

 

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71     that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
78 By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Luke 1:68-79

 

DISMISSAL

 

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

be with your Spirit. Amen.

Galatians 6:18

 

Bless the Lord.

The Lord’s name be praised.

Advent Devotional Liturgies – Week of Peace2020-12-02T11:35:00-05:00

Advent Devotional Readings – Week of Hope

We won’t get to enjoy Advent in the sanctuary this year. We’ll be worshipping on living room couches and at kitchen tables. But even when we’re apart, we recognize our togetherness—with one another, with God—through our worship.

This year, we encourage you to join in worship by lighting Advent candles and sharing in a weekly liturgy, either with others or alone. You can say the liturgy every day with your family, substituting scripture readings for the appropriate day. Or you can light a candle on Sunday to mark a new week.

Join us as we prepare to receive the Christ child—God’s love incarnate for you.

FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT – HOPE

OPENING SENTENCES

Love and faithfulness will meet;

justice and peace will embrace.

Faithfulness will spring from the earth

and justice will look down from heaven.

Psalm 85:10-11

 

PRAYER

God of all wisdom, our hearts yearn for the warmth of your love,

and our minds search for the light of your Word.

Increase our longing from Christ our Savior,

and strengthen us to grow in love,

that at the dawn of his coming

we may rejoice in his presence

and welcome the light of his truth.

This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLE

 

light one purple candle

 

We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ.

As the Lord has promised in days to come,

The nations shall beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war any more.

 

SCRIPTURE READINGS

 

see list below

 

CANTICLE

  “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,

and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

            Luke 1:46b-55

 

DISMISSAL

 

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

be with your Spirit. Amen.

Galatians 6:18

 

Bless the Lord.

The Lord’s name be praised.

Advent Devotional Readings – Week of Hope2020-11-25T09:17:21-05:00

2021 Stewardship: Together in Christ

Dear Friends in Christ

 

This past Sunday we caught a glimpse of the community we have missed these past seven months. Seventy five of you gathered on the front lawn of the church in tartan masks and chairs brought from home, spaced six feet apart, and offered worship to God. We didn’t get to exchange hugs and handshakes with the peace, or hold hands as we sang “God Be with You ‘til we Meet Again” (it wasn’t quite the same as you were humming under your mask). But we did catch sight of what the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls the “visible grace” of the Christian community. Simply, it is grace to see one another and to remember that we are a part of a real and visible community, even if we can’t always see it.

Bonhoeffer reminds us what the basis of our community really is. “Christian Community,” he says, “means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. There is no Christian community that is more than this, and none that is less than this. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily community of many years, Christian community is solely this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.” If Jesus Christ is the basis of our community it means that no temporary suspension of worship, no virus, and no good-faith efforts at social distancing can alter that reality.

In the meantime, the work of the church continues. This year our missions team has given a record amount to local and national non-profits working towards COVID relief alongside regular priorities. Our congregational care team has been providing meals and support to families experiencing illness and grief. Our scholarship singers have been leading us in worship, preparing diligently every week. We have added a member to our support staff for worship so that we can better utilize technology to stay connected. We still study the Bible, pray, and give.

This work will continue as long as COVID-19 does, and beyond. And so this year, while we may feel separate from one another, unable to be together, I ask you to remember that your connection to the community of faith at First Presbyterian Church is much deeper than the extent to which we can always see it. This year our stewardship theme is, “Together in Christ,” as we recognize the basis of our unity and mission in the work of Jesus.

I hope you will support this work through your prayers, your presence, and your financial contribution. You can return the enclosed pledge card by our stewardship commitment Sunday, November 15. You can return an electronic pledge card which can be found in our online newsletter or your email. Or you can give through our website: firstpresdalton.org/giving.

Whether you are a first-time giver or a longtime member, know that your contribution and your presence matters as you bring something of God’s grace into our community.

 

 

Peace,

 

 

 

Will

2021 Stewardship: Together in Christ2020-10-27T12:53:06-05:00

2020 Tartan Info for Reformation Sunday

 

This year Reformation Sunday is on October 25. Although this year’s Reformation Sunday will look different than year’s past, we do still plan to parade our tartans. Do you need a tartan?(Details about the service will be advertised closer to the date.) If you do not have a tartan to use at the Kirkin’ O’ the Tartans and would like one, please order one yard of tartan fabric, light or medium weight, in the pattern of your clan, from any one of the supply houses online. We will need the fabric in hand by October 14 in order to complete them on time. Kathryn Sellers will help prepare the fabric and arrange the mounting.

See below for a few good supply houses.

Scottish Lion

Scotland by the Yard

Scottish Tartan Museum in Franklin, NC

The Celtic Shop of Dunedin, FL

 

2020 Tartan Info for Reformation Sunday2020-09-28T08:06:53-05:00

FPC Weekly Lectionary – September 1-7

Job continues to battle with is friends. The early church confounds friends and enemies alike. And, in the Gospel of John, Jesus brings his listeners to a point of decision with an unmistakable sign of God’s power. Miracles provide one of the major conceptual frames for the gospel. John includes eight major miracles, each one adding to the amazement of Jesus’ followers and the perplexity of his detractors. Around the midpoint of the gospel, Jesus heals a blind man. The authorities question him—who healed you? How did this happen? The man responds—maybe innocently, maybe insolently—“why do you want to know? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” Polarization, we find, is nothing new. Jesus’ friends know that it’s another sign of God’s power. The powerful are threatened by another reminds of their fallibility (and maybe a troubling divine confirmation of what Jesus says). So, enough is enough, Jesus shows up for a festival and the authorities take the opportunity to question Jesus themselves: “22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’” Wouldn’t we all want to ask Jesus that question?

 

Some years ago I taught a class of youth who asked something similar. Where in the Gospel does Jesus say clearly who he is? How do we know to trust him as God’s own Word? We could spend time unpacking each of Jesus’ coy confessions and each of the disciples blundering attempts at understanding. But Jesus himself takes a run at an answer: “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me.” This probably isn’t the answer you want to give some questioning youth; but it works for our purposes. God doesn’t just want to give us the answers, as if we could set appropriate terms for the question. We don’t get to decide who God is and determine whether or not Jesus meets the job description. We do, however, get to follow Jesus to Jerusalem, see what he does, see how he loves, and respond. The text gives us the opportunity to follow along with Jesus. If we are really serious about answers, we’ll be sure to start here.

 

Tuesday, September 1

Morning Psalms 12; 146

First Reading Job 12:1, 13:3-17, 21-27

Second Reading Acts 12:1-17

Gospel Reading John 8:33-47

Evening Psalms 36; 7

 

Wednesday, September 2

Morning Psalms 96; 147:1-11

First Reading Job 12:1, 14:1-22

Second Reading Acts 12:18-25

Gospel Reading John 8:47-59

Evening Psalms 132; 134

 

Thursday, September 3

Morning Psalms 116; 147:12-20

First Reading Job 16:16-22, 17:1, 17:13-16

Second Reading Acts 13:1-12

Gospel Reading John 9:1-17

Evening Psalms 26; 130

 

Friday, September 4

Morning Psalms 84; 148

First Reading Job 19:1-7, 14-27

Second Reading Acts 13:13-25

Gospel Reading John 9:18-41

Evening Psalms 25; 40

 

Saturday, September 5

Morning Psalms 63; 149

First Reading Job 22:1-4, 22:21-23:7

Second Reading Acts 13:26-43

Gospel Reading John 10:1-18

Evening Psalms 125; 90

 

Sunday, September 6

Morning Psalms 103; 150

First Reading Job 25:1-6, Job 27:1-6

Second Reading Revelation 14:1-7, 13

Gospel Reading Matthew 5:13-20

Evening Psalms 117; 139

 

Monday, September 7

Morning Psalms 5; 145

First Reading Job 32:1-10, 32:19-33:1, 33:19-28

Second Reading Acts 13:44-52

Gospel Reading John 10:19-30

Evening Psalms 82; 29

 

Cover art: Duccio, di Buoninsegna, d. 1319. Christ Healing the Blind Man, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=49262 

[retrieved August 31, 2020]. Original source: www.yorckproject.de.

FPC Weekly Lectionary – September 1-72020-09-08T16:04:26-05:00
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