Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Benedictus | Luke 1:67-79: Blessed to Prepare the Way of the Lord in '20 + Saturday, December 28

Mary & Eve by Scott Erickson via Sr Grace Remington OSCO Sisters of Mississippi Abbey 2005 A.D.

Who can stand in this world of evil? Those who follow Jesus can. They are not only secure; they're exuberant. This is a curious but wholly biblical phenomenon. The most frightening representations of evil (ex. Revelation 6) are set alongside the most extravagant exultations of praise (ex. Revelation 7). Perhaps praise is the greatest weapon we have in protecting ourselves against the fear we naturally feel in the face of overwhelming evil. Just as God gives us a peace that passes all understanding when we pray, perhaps He gives us a courage that passes all understanding when we praise. + Eugene Peterson

Sermon Scriptures | Luke 1:67-79

Call to Worship Psalm 100:5

For the Lord is good, and His faithful love
endures forever; His faithfulness, through all generations.

All Glory Be to Christ
Dustin Kensrue, 2012 A.D.

Should nothing of our efforts stand,
No legacy survive,
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders strive.
To you who boast tomorrow's gain
Tell me, "What is your life?"
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we'll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

His will be done, His Kingdom come
On earth as is above,
Who is Himself our daily bread
Praise Him, the Lord of love!
Let living water satisfy
The thirsty without price.
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
All glory be to Christ! (Chorus)

When on the day the great I AM,
The faithful and the true,
The Lamb who was for sinners slain
Is making all things new.
Behold our God shall live with us
And be our steadfast Light.
And we shall e'er His people be,
All glory be to Christ! (Chorus)

King of Kings
Hillsong, 2019 A.D.

In the darkness we were waiting
Without hope without light,
Till from heaven You came running
There was mercy in Your eyes.
To fulfil the law and prophets
To a virgin came the Word
From a throne of endless glory
To a cradle in the dirt.

Praise the Father, Praise the Son,
Praise the Spirit, three-in-one!
God of glory, Majesty,
Praise forever to the King of kings!

To reveal the Kingdom coming
And to reconcile the lost;
To redeem the whole creation,
You did not despise the cross.
For even in Your suffering,
You saw to the other side.
Knowing this was our salvation,
Jesus, for our sake You died. (Chorus)

And the morning that You rose,
All of heaven held its breath
Till that stone was moved for good,
For the Lamb had conquered death.
And the dead rose from their tombs,
And the angels stood in awe,
For the souls of all who’d come
To the Father are restored!
And the Church of Christ was born,
Then the Spirit lit the flame!
Now this Gospel Truth of old
Shall not kneel shall not faint.
By His blood and in His Name,
In His freedom I am free
For the love of Jesus Christ
Who has resurrected me! (Chorus)

O Holy Night
Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure, 1847 A.D. 

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
Over the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!
Christ is the Lord! Oh praise His name forever!
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!

What Mercy Did for Me
People & Songs, 2017 A.D.

I was hopeless, I knew I was lost.
Death and darkness were my only songs.
I needed someone to come rescue me
Then mercy heard my plea ...

Lord, You found me, You healed me,
You called me from the grave!
You gave me Your real love,
I thank You, Jesus,
You washed my sins away!
Oh, now I'm living like I'm forgiven,
You came and set me free!
That's what Your mercy did for me!

You gave me beauty for my guilty stains
And now I'm living today by His grace.
So excuse me if I can't contain my praise
'Cause I know that I've been changed!

Every morning mercy will restore me, I will proclaim!
And even if the world should fall before me, I will proclaim!

Glory! Let There Be Peace
Matt Maher, 2016 A.D.

One star burns in the darkness,
Shines with the promise, Emmanuel.
One child born in the stillness,
Living within us, Emmanuel.

We're singing "Glory, glory,
Let there be peace, let there be peace!"
Singing "Glory, glory, let there be peace,
Let it is start in me."

One voice speaks for the voiceless,
Hope for the hopeless, Emmanuel.
One love brings us together,
Now and forever, Emmanuel. (Chorus + Bridge 2x)

Do not be afraid,
His love is strong enough to save us!
Nothing stands in the way,
His love is strong enough to lead us!

Prayers of Confession and Assurance

One: Jesus, today, we join in singing Your words
to the next generation. We confess we need You to ...

Congregational Prayers: "Lord, hear our prayer."

One: And now we pray together, Jesus, as You taught us to pray ...

All: Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil for Thine is the
Kingdom and the power and the glory
now and forever. Amen.

Pass the Peace | In the Story of God, Jesus declared, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you" (John 14:26) during humanity's darkest, most tragic weekend of His death. And then after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, defeating evil and death, He said, "Peace be with you ... Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:21-22). Somehow, with Jesus, peace is possible even in our darkest moments. During this time, we desire to share with each other peace that passes understanding, empowered by the Spirit of Christ.

The peace of the Lord by always with you.
And also with you.

Prayers of Preparation for Eucharist
Matthew 26:26-291 Corinthians 11:23-26

Prayer Asking for Jesus' Help
Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. I want to see. Please reveal to me who You are. Give me ears to hear You, and understanding for the Good News You are saying to me today. Amen.

Prayer for Communion with Jesus and Each Other
Jesus, by Your Spirit, fill us with Yourself, the true Bread and Vine. We turn to You now to unite us, strengthen us, and empower us to be Your Kingdom family of servants and witnesses together until You return and make all things new. Amen.

'19 Childermas Reflection | Christ Comes to Us in the Chaos

What fuels your planning and protection for the next year without God? What makes you insecure? Who do you lash out at and why? What causes you to become a little Herod? And how does Jesus disrupt your life with His grace and Truth in the midst of it all?

At the heart of the Childermas story is Jesus, a baby who poses such a threat to the most powerful man around that Herod kills a whole village of other babies in order to try to get rid of Him; a baby who, if only the Roman emperor knew it, will be Lord of the whole world. Within a generation His followers will be persecuted by the empire as a danger to good order. Whatever else you say about Jesus, from His birth onwards, people certainly found Him a threat. He upset their power-games, and suffered the usual fate of people who do that.

Jesus the Messiah was born in a land and at a time of trouble, tension, violence and fear. Before the Prince of Peace had learned to walk and talk, He was a homeless refugee with a price on His head. At the same time, the Gospel insists that we see in Jesus, even when things are at their darkest, the fulfillment of Scripture's promises of hope. This is how Israel's Redeemer was to appear; this is how God would set about liberating His people, bringing justice to the whole world. No point in arriving in comfort, when the world is in misery; no point having an easy life, when the world suffers violence and injustice. If He is to be Emmanuel, God-with-us, He must be with us where the pain is. And we can be with Him in the pain.

If this is Jesus' story, and we are saved by being redeemed and adopted into His family, He leads us to step into the pain of the world with Him to bring His Good News. How will we join Him in fulfilling the Scriptures in His entry into the world by how we welcome others' entry into our world?

+ Adapted from reflections by Pope Francis,
Bishop N.T. Wright, and Dr. Christena Cleveland

Our World Belongs to God Q&A 5-6 | 2008 A.D.

Q. Where does our hope rest?
A. In God who holds this world with fierce love.
Keeping His promise,
He sends Jesus into the world,
pours out the Holy Spirit,
and announces the Good News:
sinners who repent and believe in Jesus
live anew as members of the family of God—
the firstfruits of a new creation.
We rejoice in the goodness of God,
renounce the works of darkness,
and dedicate ourselves to holy living.
As covenant partners, set free for joyful obedience,
we offer our hearts and lives
to do God’s work in the world.
With tempered impatience,
eager to see injustice ended,
we expect the Day of the Lord.
We are confident that the light
which shines in the present darkness
will fill the earth when Christ appears.
Come, Lord Jesus. Our world belongs to You.

Benediction Based on Zachariah's Song in the Spirit
Go with the Lord and prepare His ways, to give His children
in Worcester and beyond knowledge of salvation through
the forgiveness of sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live
in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into
the way of Jesus, our Prince of Peace. You are sent out in His name!

Next sermon audio + liturgy notes post: The Way of Peace by the Power of the Spirit

Emmaus City Church is a local church made up of Micro City Groups.

A Micro City Group (CG) is a growing group that begins with 3+ people – children, women, and men included – who are befriending, serving, and loving a community together in Jesus' name in Worcester. Micro CGs start small enough that people can know you and value you, but seek to grow large enough (10-30 people) to make an impact in communities throughout Worcester. Each CG gets together throughout a month (i.e. dinners, times of prayer or learning from the Story of God in the Bible, acts of service, parties, etc.) to see Worcester become a city of neighbors and friends that showcase Jesus' love and compassion to all. Those who are cautious or curious to hear and see what it means to follow Jesus are just as welcome as those who believe Jesus is Lord and God and seek to follow Him in every area of life.

Current Micro City Groups: Lincoln Village | W.R.A.P. | Recovery | YMCA | Route One | Westside 

To connect with one of the City Groups above, please contact info@emmauscitychurch.com

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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