IN PERSON AND LIVESTREAM WORSHIP SERVICE – A SERVICE TO SOULS!
WESTPORT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH – THE PHOENIX IS RISING!
LESSONS AND CAROLS SERVICE
December 18, 2022 11 am
(Video will be posted LIVE on the church’s FB page at 11am and then cross-posted here. If the video doesn’t load properly here, you should be able to click on the Watch on Facebook link and watch as a guest, even if you don’t have Facebook)
Poetry by Ann Weems, from Kneeling in Bethlehem (except where noted)
PRELUDE AND ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTING: Come, Thou Redeemer of the Earth Richard Shephard
UNISON READING: “In December Darkness” Diane Kennedy, leader
The whole world waits in December darkness for a glimpse of the Light of God. Even those who snarl “Humbug!” and chase away the carolers have been seen looking towards the skies. The one who declared he never would forgive has forgiven, and those who left home have returned, and even wars are halted, if briefly, as the whole world looks starward. In the December darkness we peer from our windows watching for an angel with rainbow wings to announce the Hope of the World.
CONGREGATIONAL HYMN: Jesus, the Light of the World (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing) GtG#127
READING: Excerpt from a poem by Scott Myers. Ave Sweeney & Mollie Sweeney, readers
Reader 1: Let’s Practice seeing what we can’t see – A tree’s roots underground – Stars at 10:00 o’clock in the morning
Reader 2: Planets in mid-afternoon – A winter night – no evidence of the Moon.
Reader 1: A Galaxy other than our own. Water stored in an aquifers’ ancient sandstone.
Reader 2: The owl in the woods you have never seen – only heard. The unknowable journey of a few kind words.
Reader 1: Have you ever tried to find the place where the baby possum who comes to eat red berries in your yew bush every afternoon-Lives? I seriously doubt you will succeed.
Reader 2: Still, seeing what you can’t see is a practice you definitely need! God’s Unseen Realm will come closer gradually! – To thee!
SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 7:10-16; Matthew 1:18-25
CHORAL ANTHEM: The Friendly Beasts arr. Dan Forrest
RESPONSIVE READING: “Had We Been There” Diane Kennedy, leader
Leader: Into the stable they straggled, poor and dirty, Hardly suitably dressed for polite society. Had we been Joseph
People: We would have feared robbery.
Leader: Had we been Mary
People: We would have feared germs around our newborn.
Leader: Had we been God
People: These are not the ones we would have chosen to first come and see the Child. After all, they showed a certain carelessness about the rules of the church. And yet, God-chosen, they came to kneel and worship him Whom we would later call the Good Shepherd. Perhaps we could brush up on our humbleness.
CHORAL ANTHEM: Snow on Snow setting by Ruth Elaine Schram
READING: “Sitting on the Hillside” Diane Kennedy, reader
CONGREGATIONAL HYMN: O Little Town of Bethlehem GtG#121
PRAYER: MERGED PASTORAL PRAYER/MATTHEW 25 PRAYER, LORD’S PRAYER
OFFERTORY: Jesus Christ the Apple Tree Timothy Shaw, Choir & Recorder
CONGREGATIONAL HYMN: ‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime Glory to God #142
RESPONSIVE READING: “In Search of Our Kneeling Places“ Diane Kennedy, leader
Leader: In each heart lies a Bethlehem,
People: An inn where we must ultimately answer Whether there is room or not.
Leader: When we are Bethlehem-bound,
People: We experience our own Advent in his.
Leader: When we are Bethlehem-bound
People: We can no longer look the other way, conveniently not seeing stars, not hearing angel voices.
Leader: We can no longer excuse ourselves by busily tending our sheep or our kingdoms.
ALL: This Advent, let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing the Lord has made known to us.
RESPONSE/POSTLUDE: Carol of the Birds Earlene Rentz
THE WESTPORT CHOIR:
*denotes section leader
- Readers: Rev. Scott Myers, Ave Sweeney,Mollie Sweeney, Diane Kennedy
- Oboe & Recorder: Meribeth Risebig
Violin: Luke Gilmore
- Director/Accompanist: Emily Davidson
- CONGREGATIONAL MEETING to elect church elders and deacons, and review the budget that the Church Session passed last Tuesday, will be held here in the sanctuary after a brief 5 minute break following worship.
- ILLUMINATED CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE is at 7:00 pm on Saturday, Dec. 24. While Global and Local Art interpreting the Nativity Story is displayed on the Big Screens, hymns and carols are sung—and the Nativity Story is read in dramatic, synchronistic fashion.
- CHRISTMAS SUNDAY SERVICE is at the usual 11:00 am time.
- We will not be livestreaming the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services this year as we have less staff over the holiday.