27 December 2020 is the First Sunday after Christmas.
The Lectionary readings are Isaiah 61:10-62:3, Psalm 148, Galatians 4:4-7 and Luke 2:22-40. Rev. Geoff McKee’s sermon is based on the passage from Isaiah and picks up on themes of waiting patiently in different circumstances and the need for courage to face new challenges.
Below you will find the four Lectionary readings, prayers, Geoff’s audio sermon and Kath Robertson’s musical selection.
Isaiah 61:10-62:3 (New International Version)
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
Zion’s New Name
62 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.
2 The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
3 You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
1 Praise the Lord.Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for at his command they were created,
6 and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 And he has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the Lord.
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
1 Timothy 1:15
In you, O God, we will greatly rejoice: in speaking, in silence, in travels, in resting, in working, in leisure, in duties, in freedom, we will greatly rejoice.
Lord God, our whole being exults in you, and our lives shall evermore declare your praise, our light, our love, our joy.
Merciful God, we confess that we have not lived as your faithful children. We have kept silent in the midst of prejudice and hatred. We have been idle in the face of violence and injustice. We have not been a light to the nations, and our lives have not revealed your glory. Forgive us, merciful God. Repair the ugliness of our sin and restore in us your beautiful grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Saving God, the prophet Anna and righteous Simeon sang your praise and proclaimed Jesus our Lord to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. Let us who seek redemption in this day prepare our hearts, that we may believe the good news of Jesus, receive the light of salvation, and live according to your word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Loving God, we give you thanks for the light of the world, Jesus Christ, through whom we have received adoption as your children. With Jesus our brother, we dedicate our offerings and ourselves in ministry to the world, that we may live as heirs of your promises to the honour and glory of your name.
We pray for the church of Jesus Christ, that all who have been baptised into him may shine like the dawn, bear witness to the Good News of Jesus, and light the way of salvation in Jesus’ name,
We pray for the nations of the earth, that governments and those in authority may protect the vulnerable, shelter the oppressed, and pursue the way of peace.
We pray for our town and for all places of human interaction and livelihood, that kindness may abound, compassion prevail and harmony endure,
We pray for the earth, our home, that we may honour its abundance, respect her limitations, and protect her resources.
We pray for those troubled with illness, hardship, or conflict, that they may receive healing for their bodies, release from their burdens, and mending of their brokenness.
Hear us, O God, for our eyes have seen your salvation. Let your light shine through us and fill the world with the radiance of your love revealed in Jesus Christ, our Lord, who taught us to pray together…
The Lord’s Prayer
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 debts,
as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
Prayers of intercession reprinted by permission of Westminster John Knox Press from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion. Copyright 2014 (adapted).
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
The lyrics were written by Charles Wesley, and set to a tune by Mendelssohn. There are no lyrics to this video, but most people know them well! The message of this carol is so clear and reassuring and, as we open up our hearts, we can truly enjoy giving all our praise to the newborn King.