Sermons and Bulletins


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A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin.

Gathering

PRELUDE

CONGREGATIONAL WELCOME

REMEMBRANCE OF OUR BAPTISMAL VOWS

Gathering Song              “Listen, God Is Calling”             red book # 513

GREETING

KYRIE                                red book p. 203 (set 10)

CANTICLE OF PRAISE                        red book p. 204 (set 10)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

1 SAMUEL 3:1-20

PSALM 139:1-6, 13-18

1 CORINTHIANS 6:12-20

JOHN 1:43-51

SERMON                                     Pastor Chris Halverson

HYMN of the DAY                   “Here I Am, Lord”               red book # 574

APOSTLES CREED

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY ANTHEM               “I Have Called You By Your Name”

GREAT THANKSGIVING

A MOMENT OF THANKFUL REFLECTION

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS                 “Lamb of God”

Also, blue book # 810, red book # 696

Sending

BLESSING

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG               “Will You Come and Follow Me”           red book # 798

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE

CONGREGATIONAL WELCOME

 

REMEMBRANCE OF OUR BAPTISMAL VOWS

 

Gathering Song          “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise”         red book # 310

GREETING

KYRIE                              red book p. 203 (set 10)

CANTICLE OF PRAISE                          red book p. 204 (set 10)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

GENESIS 1:1-5                                                          

PSALM 29

ACTS 19:1-7

MARK 1:4-11

SERMON                                    Pastor Chris Halverson

Baptism of Our Lord

 

Something happens out there in the wilderness!

Out there in the stark loneliness

—it fills up with sinners, turning their life around with the baptism of John

—confessing their wrongs, that their whole society is in some strange way still on the wrong side of the Jordon, waiting to cross back over into the promised land, into the land flowing with milk and honey. And so they cross over with John, they are washed in water.

Washed by this man who appears, John.
Washed by a wild man who is forever humble

—it ain’t about me, it isn’t about this washing, it is about the one who comes after me

—he points to Jesus.

And there he comes, this Jesus the Christ, anointed, tasked with, the salvation of the world.

This Jesus who is immersed, this baptism the beginning of his ministry, the description of who he is.

Jesus—the one for whom heaven splits, the division of sacred and secular sealed up, Creator and Creation reconciled.

Jesus—to whom the Spirit comes, to whom the Spirit stays—God’s agent in the world.

Jesus—declared Son of God. Declared beloved of God. Declared pleasing to God.

Thanks be to God.

Prayer

 

Thanks be to God for the Baptism of Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God as well, for all the Baptized and all who wish to be Baptized, in this congregation and throughout the world.

 

Thanks be to God—we’ve been called into community, to “live among God’s faithful people.” Sure, it might be easier to do it alone,

in fact, for the desert fathers and mothers, the Churches first monks and nuns, believed they ought to struggle with the high calling of being Sons of and Daughters of God, in solitude atop a pillar out in the desert… this didn’t last too long—soon enough those lonely pillars were replaced by communities and convents.

And that’s because we are meant to live out our baptism together. Yes, being part of a community can be tough, people can rub you the wrong way

—but that’s the point.

I can easily believe my own hype, but you all keep me humble.

I can see myself as the kindest gentlest person alive… in my head—but a community ensures I’m actually living that way.

Even Jesus… especially Jesus… gathered disciples, had friends, lived in community.

 

Thanks be to God—He gives us His Word and His Meal—how are we formed to be who we are—God pleasing, loved, children of God?

-The stories of God’s faithfulness to God’s people shape our minds… kindle our imagination into the image of Christ.

-The gracious gift of Holy Communion—all the sacred actions we do here in worship—it is cultivating Holy Habits, making our very movement reflect the mercy of God.

Jesus is found at worship in the synagogues and with scripture constantly upon his lips.

 

Thanks be to God—that story we learn here, that story that inhabits our bodies in worship—isn’t for worship alone, isn’t confined to this building… we are called to live those stories out in the world—to live with eyes and ears interested in our neighbors and neighborhoods—so we are ready for those little glimmers of good news, so we can point them out and rejoice with those around us—proclaiming the good news of Jesus in our words and deeds.

Christ too constantly making the Good News known—from Parables to healing paraplegics.

 

Thanks be to God—our words and deeds here in worship spill out into the world—these holy habits practiced on Sunday continue the entire week. They not only bear witness to Good News, but create some of their own. With no regard to race, religion, party, or zip code—we serve, like Jesus served. We do Holy work, because we are God’s Holy people.

Jesus doesn’t stop with people of his own race and religion, he scandalizes us with Samaritans and Centurions.

 

Thanks be to God—together, as baptized people with voices stronger together then on our own and encouraging any allies of good will, we can work to tackle larger problems facing this world—transform systems—powers and principalities—where there is war, we can point to peace, where there is prejudice and unfairness, we can strive for justice.

Jesus frees people from powers too big for any one person to control, and also empowers 70 of his disciples to go out and do likewise.

 

Yes. Thanks be to God, we’ve promised, or had others promise for us, or are yearning to promise—to continue along the path of Baptism—the path plotted for us by Jesus—God’s Son, the Beloved, He who pleases God.

HYMN of the DAY             “When Jesus Came to Jordan”           red book # 305

APOSTLES CREED

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY ANTHEM              “We Three Kings of Orient Are”

GREAT THANKSGIVING

A MOMENT OF THANKFUL REFLECTION

 

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS                “Lamb of God”

Also, blue book # 800, red book # 471

Sending

BLESSING

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG             “Go, My Children, with My Blessing”          red book # 543 

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin.

Gathering

PRELUDE

CONGREGATIONAL WELCOME

 

Thanksgiving for Baptism

 

Gathering Song         The congregation will pick a Christmas Carol.

GREETING

KYRIE                         red book page 98 (set 1)

Canticle of Praise                       red book page 101(set 1)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

ISAIAH 61:10—62:3

PSALM 148

GALATIANS 4:4-7

LUKE 2:22-40

HYMN of the DAY                     The congregation will pick a Christmas Carol.

NICENE Creed

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY

GREAT THANKSGIVING

A MOMENT OF THANKFUL REFLECTION

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS                    “Lamb of God”

Also, additional hymns to be announced.

Sending

BLESSING

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG                 The congregation will pick a Christmas Carol.

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

A digital version of this week’s bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE

Thanksgiving for Baptism

 

Gathering Song             “Angels We Have Heard on High”            red book # 289

GREETING

KYRIE                                       red book page 98 (set 1)

Canticle of Praise             “Go Tell It on the Mountain”         red book # 290

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

ISAIAH 9:2-7

PSALM 96

TITUS 2:11-14

LUKE 2:1-20

 

THE CHRISTMAS HOMILY                    Pastor Chris Halverson

Christmas 2017

Look here carefully into the candles of Advent,

what do you see within those four flames?

Look closer still, at the center, the Christ Candle.

Do you perhaps see what they represent, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love? Some of us have been meditating on those themes to get ready for Christmas; do you see such things within? Do you see Christ surrounded with our preparation, Christ flanked by those presents which he brings, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love—which he kindles in our hearts?

For that matter, what do you see in the altar candles? Can you see God in common earthly elements, bread and wine? Can you see and taste the point of Christmas ate and drank, God with us.

And what of those candles in your hands?

You anticipate the wax slipping through the little cardboard shield solidifying on your knuckles, the flame dancing there with you—calling you as well to the dance of Christmas, calling you to bear witness to the Christ Child in the manger.

Just a few days after solstice, the shortest of short days, when the sun seemed to almost never appear, we gather together with these lights, reminding us that the night will not last always

—and that the literal comfort of that reality, also speaks to a metaphoric truth

—the truth that Christ’s birth illuminates the world even in the most stinging of shadows

—in a world overshadowed with big and meddlesome world powers and personalities such as Emperor Augustus,

-a world where there is no room in the inn for weary travelers,

-a world in which God seems to be an oppressive force, or silent, or even absent.

In such a world as that, in such a world as our own, a child is born, a small holy spark hallows the whole world!

 

Hope:

From the first candle of hope, I can peer through the long darkness of space and time and see people doing the very same thing—peering, peering through time and waiting…

Waiting for the one for whom angels sing, the Hope of the world heralded by heaven!

And look there, how He kindled the shepherd’s curiosity. His existence moves the shepherds from field to manger.

They wonder, could he be the one? Maybe, and they dream bigger still, and say Yes!

The one who lights up the night sky—the one whose story stuns and amazes everyone the shepherds tell.

Yes, I peer into the first candle and see signs of hope!

 

Peace:

Look at this second candle, Peace… elusive… isn’t it?

Did you know that anyone under 17 has never known an America at peace?

Well, Isaiah’s generation felt a similar pressure, and was put in a similar place—and called out from that war weary place for an end to oppression, that violence would be burnt up, they called for the “Prince of Peace.”

And hundreds of years after Isaiah the angels sing back and blows our mind—God showing up in a trough!

Such a strange thing God does—it should shake us, as it did those shepherds, and later the whole world.

Christmas shakes the world’s foundation even as it calls to our terrified souls and says, “Be No Afraid.” It calms us even as it transforms the values of the whole world in a spiritual maelstrom—God with us!

 

Joy:

Look again—Joy, joy jolting the heavens, an angel descending with promise of a newborn child—God with us. Tidings of great joy, our hearts heaped to overflow with good news!

Sung, this song of angels, praise to the highest heavens, the highest heavens now here, hallowing our earth, making holy human habitation.

See too this truth, proclaimed not only by angels, but also from the rough lips of these shepherds, spoken in the midst of the stink of wool and animal waste, roughly spoken for a rough world in need of such speech.

 

Love

Look as well at the tallest of our blue candles—Love—Perhaps it hasn’t burnt long enough—only lit this morning, late and almost crowded out—Mary holding all these things in her heart, cherishing, loving what God is doing.

Loving that God is lighting a fire of love through her—loving the precious gift God is giving us. Love incarnate in Jesus Christ, born to us.

 

Then look to the central flame, marking that we have finally arrived

Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

Angels, Shepherds, Holy Family

—all of us gathered to hear the Good News.

All of it, all of us, peering in from different sides, that we might more clearly focus on him, on Christ Jesus, born of Mary, found by Shepherds, Announced by Angels.

Our Hope, Peace, Joy, Love.

 

Look too over here to my right—where we will eat together

2 more candles.

In their flames we can see blood and body given, bread and wine provided—both bringing us close to him, both allowing us to believe that it is true

—God with us, in this, the common everyday—a child, a manger, a family on the move.

We don’t need to look to a galaxy far far away, or embellish the facts of our lives—the stuff of life itself is holy and held by God and holds God. God is vulnerable—God is present in a baby boy—in bread and wine—in the fullness of our lives.

 

And in a few minutes, you’ll be holding candles, holding a flame—look there too, how it started with a single flame, just a spark—yet it spread.

What started on Christmas morning—what was witnessed first by shepherds—spread—the holiness of Jesus, spread to all the earth.

Good news for All people.

Amen.

HYMN of the DAY                 “Away in a Manger”              red book # 277

NICENE Creed

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY ANTHEM               “Go Tell the Good News!”

 

Candlelighting                           “O Holy Night”

“Silent Night, Holy Night”

GREAT THANKSGIVING

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS             “Lamb of God”

Also, red book # 271, red book # 296, red book # 298

Sending

BLESSING

SENDING SONG                “Joy to the World”            red book # 267

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin.

Gathering

PRELUDE

Processional Song                “O Come, All Ye Faithful”              red book # 283, vrs 1 & 2

GREETING     ISAIAH 9:2

CHILDREN’S SERMON

Word

LUKE 2:1-4

“O Little Town of Bethlehem”            red hymn # 279, vrs 1 & 2

LUKE 2:5-7

“What Child Is This?”                     red book # 296, vrs 1 & 2

LUKE 2:8-12

“Away in a Manger”                                       red book # 277

LUKE 2:13-14

“Angels We Have Heard on High”                            red book # 289

 Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY ANTHEM            “Go Tell the Good News!”

GREAT THANKSGIVING

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY       (Sung to the tune:  “Hark!  The Herald Angels sing”)

 

 

 

THE OUR FATHER        (Sung to the tune:  “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”)

 

 

COMMUNION SONGS

Also, red book # 298, red book # 292, red book # 290

Candlelighting             “O Holy Night”

 

 

“Silent Night, Holy Night”

Word

MATTHEW 2:1-6

“The First Noel”                    red book # 300, vrs. 1 & 2

MATTHEW 2:7-12

Vrs 1 & 2              “We Three Kings of Orient Are”          One License # A715274

Sending

ISAIAH 9:6–7

SENDING SONG               “Joy to the World”            red book # 267

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE

CONGREGATIONAL WELCOME

Gathering Song             “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”             red book # 257

Advent Candle LIGHTING  –  LOVE

Candle Lighting Song       “Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah”       red book # 240

GREETING

Canticle of PRAISE                       red book page 149 (set 4)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

2 SAMUEL 7:1-11, 16

LUKE 1:46b-55

ROMANS 16:25-27

LUKE 1:26-38

SERMON                                            Pastor Chris Halverson

Advent 4:Where do you find love?

Here we are at the tail end of Advent,
The last vapors of this season of emergence, arrival, revelation.
          A time like waiting for a letter, the contents of which will reveal everything—making everything plane.
          But this season is also like driving your car to a new place for the first time.
          The drive back always feels quicker—because you are no longer looking so carefully, you don’t pay as close attention.
          In fact, by the 100th drive there, it feels like the car drives itself.
          So too Advent—we’ve driven this road a long time—Christians have observed and practiced Advent in some form for at least 1,650 years–and by now we often see our destination as Christmas, so we don’t notice the budding blessing of Advent
–we don’t revel in the moving and empowering radiance of Love
–we don’t rest in the strengthening power of Peace,
–We don’t lean into the bracing and crisp wind of Hope,
–we aren’t buoyed up by the enduring buoyancy of Joy,
We skip over the precious gifts of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
We don’t let Advent interrogate our lives to help us find its treasures.
But this morning, at least, let’s ask, “Where can you find love?”
Prayer
Where can you find love?
          The short answer—God.
          Have you not heard, God is love!
          Our ability to love, it comes from God
—God fortifies us and strengthens us to love others. Throughout God’s good creation, through the power of God’s redemption of us,
and God’s ongoing sustenance of us
—we find God’s love in all those things
—in our relationship with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
          Yes—God loves us and fortifies us to act in loving and good ways!
Where can you find love?
          I can’t wait to tell you!
          There’s a love letter from God, one etched in flesh and proclaimed in a person!
          I can’t wait to tell you,
 you, yes you,
particularly and individually
—all your peculiarities and personality
—YOU are loved.
          I can’t wait to tell you, all of you, how deeply God loves the whole of you—y’all if you will…all of us connected together and bound in a great harmony
—heck, even the disharmony, the off notes, the unpleasant singing
—even that God makes into ruckus improvisational Jazz! Even that is found to be lovely, beloved!
Yes, even when we hold but faint fleeting wisps of Hope, Peace, and Joy—the Love of God is still there!
Where can you find love?
          That letter, written to humanity, penned as with invisible ink, told the story of God’s love—God’s continuous relationship—with particular people, through thick and thin, from slavery to tribal times, kingship to exile, escape to the enfeeblement of their nation, and an ongoing promise to always be with them—and then, that beautiful story, enfleshed, and expanded.
          That beautiful story, seen in full in Jesus
—that story continually expanding, even today, expanding God’s love for all of us
—God’s love found in Jesus, God fully with us,
with God’s creation
—the love story of God gifted to all of us!
          How do I even describe it?
          This mystery, revealed. You may know what it is like to fall in love—if so, it’s like that.
You’ve fallen even before you realize you’re in love
—the relationship overtakes you
—there is a reason it is called falling in love—it isn’t like you try to fall, it just happens to you, and then there you are on the ground a patch of ice under you!
          So too the revelation of God’s mystery—that God’s love through Jesus is for all!
          You’re going along reading the love story, and then you’ve fallen in love
—it was always there, God’s love for us, it’s always been there!
          A mystery, like the one in Mary’s womb, tiny yet tangible,
sign and story stirring within her, in the face of all that which would obstruct the mercy of God
—all the stories of the world that weave away from God’s promise and greatest gift found in Mary’s womb
—God’s love for us incarnate, that’s the great mystery of God!
Where can you find love?
          Anywhere—everywhere! That’s just it, that’s the revelation, that’s what is revealed in the invisible ink of scripture—God’s love for all.
          That’s what’s revealed in God’s Word made Flesh, Jesus—that God’s love is not meant to rest in some heavenly home, never to touch our secular soil, but instead that the sacred is here with us—that God’s love, is with us. Jesus present to each of us!
Where can you find love?
          We find love in you, dearest God. Love revealed in your strange wisdom. Love revealed in your glory, transformed into humility here on earth. God’s love in Jesus Christ revealed forever anew. Praise to you o’ God of Love. Amen.

 

HYMN of the DAY              “Christ, Be Our Light”          red book # 715

APOSTLES CREED

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY ANTHEM               “Candles of Advent”

GREAT THANKSGIVING

A MOMENT OF THANKFUL REFLECTION

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS                 “Lamb of God”

Also, red book # 272, red book # 242

Sending

BLESSING

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG            “I Am So Glad Each Christmas Eve”          red book # 271

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

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