Christmas Sunday & Epiphany Resources

Many of us are still in the thick of Advent 4 and Christmas Eve preparations so I’d like to share some resources and inspiration that might make your life easier and allow you to have some rest post Christmas.

Cookies & Carols Worship Sunday, Dec. 29 at 10am

For Christmas Sunday, we traditionally hold a Christmas carol hymn sing. This year we’re calling it Cookies & Carols and encouraging relaxed attire (PJs even!). We’ll be worshiping in our social hall so we can enjoy our cookies, cocoa, and coffee while we sing. It will be a standard worship service for us with a hymn sing in place of the sermon. But I up the ante a little and ask everyone to answer a question as they make their hymn request. This year’s question will be: What is the best gift you received this year, for Christmas or at any point through the year? 
We’ll start the service with Joy to the World, read Luke 2:25-38, sing Spirit-Child Jesus from Worship & Song #3062, and close with Go, Tell It on the Mountain in the United Methodist Hymnal #251. It’s a wonderful, relaxed service that doesn’t require a sermon! (yay!)

For Epiphany this year, I’m tying in the new year/new decade to think about what unexpected places God is leading us, just as the magi were led to return home by a different route. We’ll be using the traditional magi scripture Matthew 2:1-12. Our music director made the discovery that the song Shine (Heaven Let Your Light Shine Down) by Collective Soul is actually the perfect Epiphany song! We’ll be singing it as a praise song. I also came across this perfect Epiphany poem just today:
Those Hours by Joyce Sutphen

There were moments, hours even,
when it was clear what I

was meant to do, as if
a landscape had revealed itself

in the morning light.
I could see the road

plainly now, imagining myself
walking towards the distant mountains

like a pilgrim in the old stories—
ready to take on any danger,

hapless but always hopeful,
certain that my simple belief

in the light
would be enough.

star wordsIt’s become tradition at my church that on Epiphany everyone receives a Star Word (a word to guide your year written on a star shaped paper). It’s been really fun to see what words people get, how it plays a role in their year, and how it might guide them. I give them to the kids first during children’s time and then have the kids pass them out during the first hymn. We pray over them and then just choose them at random. I encourage everyone to take it home and put it somewhere they’ll see it every day. Follow these links for a list of suggested words and more information about Star Words.

Finally, here is a Call to Worship I adapted and used for Epiphany last year (updated for 2020):
Call to Worship (adapted from Rev. Andy Bryan)

God, we come to worship in this new year hoping it will be better.
Guide our thinking and doing and help us remember:
2019 will be kinder,
if I am kinder.
2019 will be more compassionate,
if I show more compassion.
2019 will be less anxious,
if I offer more grace.
2019 will be more just,
if I advocate for more justice.
2019 will be less contentious,
if I speak more gently.
2019 will be less violent,
if I more actively work for peace.
2019 will be more loving,
 if I demonstrate love more freely.
Guide us by your Light,
that we may bring your Light to the world.

I know there are lots of great Christmas & Epiphany resources out there so feel free to share your favorites as well! Hopefully in our sharing we can help make worship planning easier for us all during this busy time of year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Planning!

Puppet Skit on Love

mr-rogersHere’s the final puppet skit we’re using for children’s time during our theology of Mister Rogers sermon series. I’ll be sharing the worship plan for this series soon so stay tuned!

Click here to download the script: Love Matters Most Puppet Script

Happy Planning! 143!

C2W for Easter Sunday Cross Fit Faith

Here’s a Call to Worship for Easter Sunday based on Luke 24:1-12, 36-48, “A Way of Life” in the Cross Fit Faith worship series.

The Call
Christ is risen!
   Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Hear the bells ring out the Good News
(listen as the bell rings)
We are an Easter people,
   Alleluia is our song!
Our lives too ring out the Good News
   by our words and thoughts and actions.
We come today, despite the many other places we could be
   to celebrate our God of Life and embrace the new life only Christ can give!

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Good Friday Prayer Stations

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We’ve traditionally had low attendance for Good Friday services, so a few years ago we moved to holding open Good Friday prayer stations for most of the day. This allows many more people to participate. When you download the PDF of this year’s prayer stations you’ll get all the written materials you’ll need along with signs and a list of other the items for each station.
This year we worked hard to find prayer stations that didn’t need a lot of work to set up and didn’t require things we’d have to go searching for. I expect set-up and tear-down will take less than an hour! These are a compilation of various ideas we’ve found or come up with so you can use freely!

Download the complete Good Friday Prayer Stations PDF here

Check out my past posts for Maundy/Holy Thursday ideas and a fun Easter Sunrise Worship.

Happy Holy Week! God’s got this! And remember, no matter what happens (or doesn’t happen) this week Jesus will rise on Easter morning! TBTG! 😀

I’ll continue to share liturgy and worship resources throughout the year. Be sure to subscribe by clicking the +Follow button below so you won’t miss a thing!

Happy planning!

Maundy Thursday Taize Worship

Maundy Thursday is my favorite worship service of the Christian year! Yes, for me it even tops Christmas Eve and Easter. Jesus knew this was his last chance to show his friends God’s Truth and he does not disappoint! Teaching us what love is, giving us a new covenant open to everyone, sharing one last blessing with those he loved even though he knew they would soon desert him… that’s the good stuff.
This year, we used a Taize style worship for Ash Wednesday and it was so well received we decided to do it again for Holy Thursday. We’ll be holding this worship service around tables in our Community Room with candles and Communion elements on each table. The service includes the song By My Side from Godspell and a poem/reflection on Jesus’ foot washing by Rev. Carol Ferguson.

Download the PDF worship outline here: Maundy Thursday Taize Worship 2019

There’s more Holy Week resources coming.. I’ll be sharing our Good Friday prayer stations soon! Check out my Easter Sunrise worship and be sure to subscribe!

Happy (almost) Holy Week! May the odds be ever in your favor!Related image

C2W for Palm Sunday Cross Fit Faith

Here’s a Call to Worship for the sixth Sunday of Lent, Palm/Passion Sunday based on Luke 19:29-40, 22:14-21, 33-34, “Perfection Not Required” in the Cross Fit Faith worship series.

This Call to Worship has been adapted from  Rev. Christine Sobania Johnson’s Short Litany as Holy Week Begins, posted on her blog, Freshly Squeezed Liturgy

O God, today we come to cheer Jesus on as our champion and hail him as our hero.
   Forgive us tomorrow when our enthusiasm wanes. 
Today we have entrusted you to rescue us from our pitiful circumstances.
   Forgive us on Tuesday when we decide we can take care of ourselves. 
Today we make you the centerpiece of our very existence.
   Forgive us on Wednesday when we forget to remember who you are. 
Today we call out to you loudly by name.
   Forgive us on Thursday when we pretend that we’ve never met you. 
Today we stare at you with the star struck eyes of fans and groupies.
   Forgive us on Friday when we avert our eyes because it’s too painful to see you on the cross. 
Today we express our unsuppressed hopefulness in the future you have in store for us.
   Forgive us on Saturday when we believe all is lost. 
Today we are boldly certain of the earthly ways you will redeem us.
   Restore us on Sunday when we are startled and awed by your rising.
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C2W Lent 5 Cross Fit Faith

Here’s a Call to Worship for the fifth Sunday of Lent based on Luke 11:1-10, “When It Gets Hard” in the Cross Fit Faith worship series.

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The Call
God calls us and despite all that has happened this week,
    O God, we are here.
We did not stay on track, we missed the mark more than once but
    O God, we are here.
We missed opportunities to trust you and tried to handle things ourselves but
    O God, we are here.
We fell off the wagon again this week and yet
    O God, we are here!
Our faith may feel stagnant and blasé but
    O God, we are here.
We are here.What we need is here.
    O God, we are ready to receive all that you would give.

 

 

C2W Lent 4 of Cross Fit Faith

Here’s a Call to Worship for the fourth Sunday of Lent based on Luke 10:38-42, “Mindset is Everything” in the Cross Fit Faith worship series.

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The Call
God calls us into presence.
    We come ready and willing to work on our faith.
Let us soak up the Love that improves us
    and pulls us from the dark corners of our minds.
For this next hour, let us focus solely on God, practicing our connection 
    so we know how to return to God this week when life brings us down.
Raise our souls and minds, O God, to focus on only what is necessary,
    our connection to You.

 

C2W for Lent 3 of Cross Fit Faith

Here’s a Call to Worship for the third Sunday of Lent based on Luke 9:18-24 & Matthew 11:28-30, “The The Tools for Success” in the Cross Fit Faith worship series.

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The Call
Jesus calls us saying, ‘If you want to follow me, pick up your cross daily and follow.’
And so we’ve come, leaving our lives behind for this hour.
Jesus welcomes us saying, ‘Let me take your burdens and lighten your load.’
And so we hand over our worries, doubts, and fears to God.
Jesus calls us to leave behind the life we would make for ourselves and receive the life of freedom and joy only God can give.
We are here, trying to give up control, ready to receive the loving care of our
Creator
who we worship today.

C2W for Lent 2 Cross Fit Faith

Here’s a Call to Worship for the second Sunday of Lent based on Luke 6:20-31, “The Principles” in the Cross Fit Faith worship series.

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The Call

We’ve left comforts and responsibilities to be here today,
   to gather together and be inspired by the founder.
But God calls us to an upside-down way of life.
   Love our enemies? Bless our attackers? Give to all who ask?
Jesus shows us how those who harm
   can only be loved back to justice.
We who were lost were only loved back to life.
   This is God’s only way, to love us inspite of ourselves.
So let us follow and worship the Christ today
   as we learn the principles of our faith, to love and be loved.