Thanks to LeAnn Hodges for sending us this liturgy for Christ the King Sunday that takes a Lessons and Carols approach to teaching the liturgical calendar!
WE GATHER AS THE PEOPLE OF GOD
FOR YOUR REFLECTION The liturgical year is an adventure in bringing the Christian life to fullness, the heart to alert, the soul to focus. ~ Joan Chittister
OPENING VOLUNTARY CALL TO WORSHIP
L: Who are you?
C: I am a child of God.
L: Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.”
C: Let us, God’s children, answer God’s call.
L: Let us worship God, our Creator and Savior.
L: Let us pray:
C: God of majesty, you love us more than we can imagine. In Jesus Christ you reconciled the whole world to you and claim us as your own, so that we may live as Christ’s body on earth. We give you thanks for the lives we have been given. We pray in your holy name, great Trinity of Love. Amen.
* OPENING HYMN “We Gather Together” #336
WE LISTEN TO GOD’S WORD
Advent is a season of preparation for the coming of Christ: preparation to celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas, to receive faithfully the risen Christ who comes to us in Word and Spirit, and to await with hope Christ’s coming in final victory. The word Advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.”
Dates of the Season: Advent is the four weeks, including the four Sundays, before Christmas Day.
Colors for the Season: The color is purple, which symbolizes both penitence and royalty.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38
Hymn: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” #88 (Stanza 1) O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that morns in lonely exile here until the son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
Christmas Season is the time of celebration, thanksgiving, and praise for God present with us in Jesus Christ. Christmas Day was first celebrated on December 25 in Rome sometime between 336 and 354 C.E. A pagan winter solstice festival, the birthday of the unconquered sun, was already celebrated on December 25. Christians adopted that date to celebrate the birth of the Son of God. Christians have often adapted and transformed the customs of the world around them.
Dates of the Season: Christmas Season begins with Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and continues through the Day of Epiphany, January 6.
Colors of the Season: White and gold
Scripture: Luke 2:1-7
Hymn: “Joy to the World” #134 (Stanza 1) Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her king; let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.
The word Epiphany is from the Greek word epiphaneia, which means “manifestation.” On the Day of Epiphany, January 6, we celebrate Jesus being revealed to the world and the visit of the wise men, the first gentiles to whom he was made known. Scripture doesn’t say how many wise men came to Bethlehem. At various times tradition has set the number from two to twelve. However, because three gifts are mentioned, we usually think of three wise men or Magi.
Celebration of Epiphany: When January 6 falls on a weekday, churches that do not have services on the 6th may celebrate Epiphany on the Sunday before or after.
Colors for Epiphany: White and gold
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12
Hymn: “What Star is This, with Beams So Bright” #152 (Stanzas 1 & 2)
Lent is a season of preparation for the celebration of Easter. The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon lencten, which means “spring,” the time of the lengthening of days. At first Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism on Easter Eve. Eventually, Lent became a time of reflection and self-examination for all Christians.
Days of Lent: Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Saturday before Easter. Lent lasts forty days, not counting Sundays. Sundays aren’t counted because Sunday always celebrates Jesus’ victory over sin and death.
The Color for Lent: Purple, a royal color that also signifies penitence and preparation.
Scripture: Mark 8:34-37
Hymn: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” #223 (Stanza 1) When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count by loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.
In Old English usage good meant “of God.” Good Friday is God’s Friday: Jesus’ death shows God’s salvation.
The Date of Good Friday: Good Friday is the Friday before Easter.
Colors for Good Friday: The worship space is either void of decoration and color, or black is used.
L: With sincere and repentant hearts, let us name our sins against God and one another. Join me as we pray in silence.
SILENCE FOR INDIVIDUAL PRAYER AND MEDITATION L: Amen. ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
L: This is the good news: God remembers! Not our sins, not our foolish lives, not our rebellion. God remembers us – and redeems us!
C: God prepares the way for us – the way to grace, to hope, to new life. Joyfully, we offer our thanks to God. Amen.
SINGING WITH THANKSGIVING “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” #223 (Stanza 4) Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
The Easter Season
The Easter Season, also known as the Great Fifty Days, begins at sunset on Easter Eve and continues through the Day of Pentecost. At this season we celebrate with joy Christ’s resurrection and ascension and the giving of the Holy Spirit on the first Easter (John 20:22-23) and on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
Date of Easter: Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or next after March 21, the spring equinox. Easter can be any time from March 22 through April 25. The date may differ in Orthodox Churches.
Colors of the Easter Season: White and gold
Scripture: Luke 24:1-9
Hymn: “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” #232 (Stanza 1 & 2)
Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, comes from the Greek word for fiftieth, pentekoste. Greek-speaking Jews called the Jewish Feast of Weeks the Day of Pentecost. Acts tells how the anxious and fearful disciples, who had gathered on the Day of Pentecost, were filled with the Holy Spirit and thereafter preached boldly the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Date of Pentecost: The fiftieth day after Easter.
Colors for Pentecost: Red or red on white. Red, the color of fire, represents the Holy Spirit.
Scripture: Acts 2:1-4, 41-43
Hymn: “On Pentecost They Gathered” #289 (Stanza 1) On Pentecost they gathered quit early in the day, a band of Christ’s disciples, to worship, sing, and pray. A mighty wind came blowing, filled all the swirling air, and tongues of fire aglowing inspired each person there.
Season of Pentecost
The Season of Pentecost, called Ordinary Time, is a period of growth. Churches emphasize Jesus’ teachings about the kingdom of God. They engage issues of daily life and concerns of the community, nation, and world. The Season comes after we have remembered Christ’s sacrifice on Good Friday and celebrated his resurrection on Easter and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Easter and Pentecost.
Dates of the Season: From the day after Pentecost through the Saturday before the first Sunday in Advent.
Colors for the Season: The basic color is green symbolizing growth in Christ. White is used on Trinity Sunday, All Saints Day, and Christ the King Sunday.
Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20
Hymn: “Now Thank We All Our God” #643
Christ the King
This last Sunday of the Christian Year celebrates the coming reign of Jesus Christ.
Date of the Season: The Sunday before the Season of Advent begins, and the last Sunday of the Season of Pentecost.
Colors for the Season: Gold and white
Scripture: Psalm 100
Hymn: “Raise a Song of Gladness” #155 Raise a song of gladness, peoples of the earth. Christ has come, bringing peace, joy to every heart. Alleluia, alleluia, joy to every heart! Alleluia, alleluia, joy to every heart!
WE RESPOND TO GOD’S WORD
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
OFFERING The Call to Give
L: Let us offer ourselves and our gifts to God, with gratitude and praise.
* SINGING WITH THANKSGIVING
* PRAYER OF DEDICATION
L: Let us pray:
C: Holy God, use us, and these gifts, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and honor your presence in all people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
NEWS OF THE COMMUNITY
* HYMN TO SEND US FORTH “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” #82
* CHARGE AND BLESSING
CLOSING VOLUNTARY Please be seated for silent reflection.
For a great reflection on the liturgical year (and another source of inspiration) check out Jerome W. Berryman’s The Complete Guide to Godly Play Vol. 2!