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Sunday
Dec172017

Call to Worship – December 17, 2017

Who was Jesus? How do we see him? How did he see himself? There are only two biographical references to Jesus from his own time apart from the four Gospels. The Gospels were written decades after Jesus lived and died. Today we shall focus on how Jesus perceived himself from two different and even conflicting episodes from the Gospel of Mark. As we do so, let us examine how we ourselves conceptualize the man whose title we bear, simply because we are here together. Let us, with expectancy, worship God.

 

Pastoral Prayer

 

We give Thee thanks, Lord God, for bringing us to another Advent, when together we recall once again Jesus Christ coming into the world. Help us, as we re-visit this annual commemoration, to be stirred by the extraordinary message it proclaims. Enable that message to take deep root within us, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may continue to be the motivating force in our lives. We thank Thee for the courageous faith of Jesus in the midst of all the resistance he faced throughout his life. We thank Thee for his persistent willingness to look within himself to seek to understand Thy purposes for him. Grant that as we study Jesus’ inner thoughts, we too may be led to new revelations about ourselves as we attempt to live out Thy purposes for our own lives.

 

We ask Thy blessings to be with all people who become Christmas angels themselves in this holiday season: those who travel long distances to see family members and friends; those who forego the pleasures of Christmas Day  or New Years Day for the wellbeing of others: medical personnel, members of the military, delivery people, transportation workers, and for everyone whose holiday service we take for granted but who make these days special for all of us. Broaden our vision to see that we are all members of the world-wide human family, and that all of us belong to one another.

 

We pray for Christian workers who are serving in nations and cultures where Christianity is not only foreign but also perhaps strongly opposed. Give to them the perseverance and tenacity necessary to continue their service to Thee and Thy kingdom where there is daily resistance to their efforts. We pray for those who approach Christmas either with dread or with complete indifference, who carry bad memories of Christmas or who have never felt stirred at all by the astonishing story of a baby born in a stable. All of us need Thy healing touch in our lives, O God, and we ask that it may come especially at Christmas. Our prayers we bring to Thee in the name of Jesus, by whose ministry we are led into Thy presence. Now we join together in prayer as he taught us, saying, Our Father…. 

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