Christmas Worship

Saturday, December 24
Christmas Eve Worship
4:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 25
Christmas Day Worship
9:00 a.m.
Sunday, January 1
Epiphany/New Year’s Day Worship
9:00 a.m.

Worship Volunteers Needed

We are trying out an online sign up for worship volunteers for December. We are looking for all the regular volunteers (assisting minister, ushers, acolytes, etc) as well as Advent Wreath helpers of varied ages and Christmas Eve volunteers. Anyone interested is encouraged to use the links below to sign up. If you need help signing up, or are learning a new role, please contact Jim W. or Pastor Katie. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

December Worship Leaders: https://tinyurl.com/blcdec22
Advent Wreath Leaders: https://tinyurl.com/BLCAdvent
Christmas Eve Leaders: https://tinyurl.com/BLCXmas22

Sunday Worship Schedule

8:00 a.m. Worship & Livestream on YouTube
9:15 a.m. Sunday School
10:15 a.m. Worship

Lectionary Resources

November 20 – 24th Sunday after Pentecost
Jeremiah’s promise of the execution of “justice and righteousness in the land” finds ironic fulfillment in the execution of Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. It appears utterly contradictory that a king should be crucified with a criminal. This victory appears for all the world as humiliating defeat. Yet through the gate of death Jesus opens the door to paradise.
Readings: Jeremiah 23:1-6, Colossians 1:11-20, Luke 23:33-43

Tuesday, November 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Thanksgiving Worship and Pie – Worship with Bethlehem and Light of Christ at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary, then join together in the Fellowship Hall for pie!

November 27, 2022— First Sunday in Advent
Our Advent series begins with Matthew’s genealogy. In that long list of names, we remember the trauma and triumph of those who came before; each name holds a story and their story gives way to Christ’s story. God works through the unexpected people and stories of the past and present. When you zoom in, you may not be able to see how each character propels the story forward, but when you zoom out, you can see how each story is woven together into a larger tapestry. The Isaiah passage illustrates a convergence of opposing groups and identities coming together. Instead of the way of the past—of war—they learn a new way by transforming their weapons into gardening tools. What are the old paths that we’ve followed, and where must we diverge into a new way?
Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5, Matthew 1:1-17

December 4, 2022 – Second Sunday in Advent
When the angel Gabriel comes to Mary, she is perplexed and confused—and no doubt, afraid. And yet, the angel’s news is: “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid. We hear this refrain all throughout the Christmas story and remember it is the most common phrase in all the bible. From generation to generation, God shows up in the midst of our fear and uncertainty and confusion. From generation to generation, faithful people have said, “yes,” despite apprehension. From generation to generation, our ancestors in faith have accepted the invitation. The prophecy in Isaiah paints a vision of what we work toward when we say “yes”: righteousness and equity reign, the wolf lives with the lamb, no harm or hurt shall destroy the earth, a child shall lead the way. This is the vision passed down to us: we must pursue it and make it real.

December 11, 2022 – Third Sunday in Advent
As far as Joseph knows, his new wife has been unfaithful to him and broken their marriage contract. And yet, instead of punishment, he chooses not to publicly disgrace or humiliate her. This interruption in his life becomes a holy invitation when the angel comes to him in a dream and says, “Do not be afraid.” When he awakes, Joseph once again has the courage to choose a better way. He chooses to stay with Mary, to become an adoptive parent. He chooses peace over violence, grace over condemnation. Like Mary, he chooses to say “yes.” When have our ancestors also chosen a better way, and when have they not? Isaiah 35 is a vision of what happens when we choose a better way: the wilderness blooms, water breaks forth in the desert, eyes are opened, ears are unstopped, sorrow and sadness flee away. A highway shall appear and it will become a holy way.

December 18, 2022 – Fourth Sunday in Advent
This week we return to Mary’s experience. After receiving the news from the angel, she retreats to her cousin Elizabeth’s house. When Mary arrives (perhaps unannounced), Elizabeth doesn’t just welcome her—she is filled with the Holy Spirit and speaks a blessing upon Mary as her own child leaps and kicks within her womb. She sees how God is at work and names it out loud. In this moment of profound solidarity, Mary and Elizabeth see the divine in one another. This connection inspires Mary to sing her radical hymn of praise, declaring how God’s liberating love remains steadfast throughout the ages. From generation to generation, we can see how God is at work in our relationships. We find God in each other. The way we see the divine in each other impacts how we live and move in the world. When we view every human being as a child of God, we generate a different world.

December 25, 2022 – Christmas Day – First Service at 9:15 am
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us…” (John 1:14a). Unlike the other gospels, John’s gospel offers us a cosmic glimpse of Christ’s birth. Christ’s beginning was with God, therefore, Christ has been with us since life began. On this Christmas Sunday, we celebrate the many ways God dwells with us from generation to generation, since the beginning of time. Like Mary pondering the angels’ message in her heart, we invite you to dwell in your worship, perhaps embracing stillness, contemplative practices, creativity, and prayer. In the fullness of this season, come dwell with God—in silence or in song, in prayer or in stillness.