Sunday, December 27, 2020

Order of Worship - 1st Sunday after Christmas, December 27, 10:30 am

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December 27, 2020, 10:30 am

The First Sunday after Christmas





The color white, used for the vestments and paraments during the season of Christmas, represents the unalloyed purity and light of Jesus Christ.


OLD TESTAMENT: The prophet Isaiah writes that the LORD will act both to redeem his ancient people Israel and to display his glory before all people. The Christian message is that God has accomplished this in Jesus Christ.


NEW TESTAMENT: Paul tells the Galatians that in order to redeem human beings who are under the Law, God sent his Son as a human being under the Law. He did what we could not do and fulfilled the Law as a human being. In baptism we are adopted as brothers and sisters of the One who was born of woman. We dare to call Jesus’ father ‘Our Father’ in the words of his prayer.


GOSPEL: Both previous lessons speak to this Gospel. We read that Mary and Joseph brought the child Jesus to the temple to observe God’s Law (Galatians) and Simeon and Anna receive him as the one who is to be the glory of Israel to shine God’s light to the nations (Isaiah.) The human touches of the reading lead us into the mystery of the people’s longing for a Redeemer and God’s faithfulness in answering their prayer.




OPENING MUSIC                                                In His Temple Now Behold Him

                                                                                                   Harald Rohlig

Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played:


1              In his temple now behold him,

                see the long-expected Lord;

                ancient prophets had foretold him,

                God has now fulfilled his word.

                Now to praise him, his redeemèd

                shall break forth with one accord.


2              In the arms of her who bore him,

                virgin pure, behold him lie,

                while his aged saints adore him,

                ere in perfect faith they die.

                Alleluia! Alleluia!

                Lo, the incarnate God Most High!


3              Jesus, by your presentation,

                when they blest you, weak and poor,

                make us see your great salvation,

                seal us with your promise sure;

                and present us, in your glory,

                to your Father, cleansed and pure.


Text: Henry J. Pye, 1825-1903, alt.







Alleluia! Unto us a child is born.

  Unto us a Son is given! Alleluia!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

  And also with you.




In peace, let us pray to the Lord.                                 Lord, have mercy.

For the peace from above,

and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.       Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the whole world,

for the well-being of the Church of God,

and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.    Lord, have mercy.

For this holy house,

and for all who offer here their worship and praise,

let us pray to the Lord.                                                   Lord, have mercy.

Help, save, comfort and defend us, gracious Lord.                       Amen




Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.         

(Luke 2:14)

Lord God, heavenly king, almighty God and Father:

                We worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.

                Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God:

                You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.

                You are seated at the right hand of the Father;

receive our prayer.

                For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,

                you alone are the Most High,

                Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen





The Lord be with you.

  And also with you.


Almighty God, you have made yourself known in your Son, Jesus, redeemer of the world. We pray that his birth as a human child will set us free from the old slavery of our sin; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.




God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,

crying ‘Abba! Father!’                                                                             Galatians 4:6

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.




First Reading                                                                     Isaiah 61:10—62:3


10I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
  my whole being shall exult in my God;
 for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
  he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
 as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
  and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
  and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,

   so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
  to spring up before all the nations.
62:1For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
  and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
 until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
  and her salvation like a burning torch.
2The nations shall see your vindication,
  and all the kings your glory;
 and you shall be called by a new name
  that the mouth of the Lord will give.
3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
  and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.


The Word of the Lord.                                                   Thanks be to God.



The psalm is read responsively between the pastor and the people.


The splendor of the LORD is over earth and heaven.                     Psalm 148:13


1 Hallelujah! Praise the Lord | from the heavens;*

                praise him | in the heights.

2 Praise him, all you an- | gels of his;*

                praise him, | all his host.

3 Praise him, | sun and moon;*

                praise him, all you | shining stars.

4 Praise him, heav- | en of heavens,*

                and you waters a- | bove the heavens.

5 Let them praise the name | of the Lord;*

                for he commanded, and they | were created.


6 He made them stand fast forev- | er and ever;*

                he gave them a law which shall not | pass away.

7 Praise the Lord | from the earth,*

                you sea monsters | and all deeps;

8 fire and hail, | snow and fog,*

                tempestuous wind, do- | ing his will;

9 mountains | and all hills,*

                fruit trees | and all cedars;

10 wild beasts | and all cattle,*

                creeping things and | winged birds;

11 kings of the earth | and all peoples,*

                princes and all rulers  of the world;

12 young | men and maidens,*

                old and | young together.

13 Let them praise the name | of the Lord,*

                for his name only is exalted,

his splendor is over | earth and heaven.

14 He has raised up strength for his people

and praise for all his | loyal servants,*

the children of Israel, a people who are near him. | Hallelujah!


The splendor of the LORD is over earth and heaven.               Psalm 148:13





Second Reading                                                                     Galatians 4:4-7


4When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.


The Word of the Lord.

  Thanks be to God.




Alleluia.  Let Christ rule in your hearts.  Alleluia.


Gospel                                                                                                 Luke 2:22-40


The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, [Joseph and Mary] brought [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
  according to your word;
30for my eyes have seen your salvation,
  31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
  and for glory to your people Israel.”
33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.


The Gospel of the Lord.                                 Praise to you, O Christ





HYMN OF THE DAY                                                                  What Child Is This


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.


1      What child is this, who, laid to rest,

        on Mary's lap is sleeping?

        Whom angels greet with anthems sweet

        while shepherds watch are keeping?

        This, this is Christ the king,

        whom shepherds guard and angels sing;

        haste, haste to bring him laud,

        the babe, the son of Mary!


2      Why lies he in such mean estate

        where ox and ass are feeding?

        Good Christian, fear; for sinners here

        the silent Word is pleading.

        Nails, spear shall pierce him through,

        the cross be borne for me, for you;

        hail, hail the Word made flesh,

        the babe, the son of Mary!


3      So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh;

        come, peasant, king, to own him.

        The King of kings salvation brings;

        let loving hearts enthrone him.

        Raise, raise the song on high,

        the virgin sings her lullaby;

        joy, joy, for Christ is born,

        the babe, the son of Mary!


Text: William C. Dix, 1837-1898




The pastor and people confess the faith of the Church in the words of the Nicene Creed.


X At the words ‘For us and for our salvation,’ and continuing through ‘and was made man,’ 

a solemn bow is appropriate to praise the incarnation of our Lord.


We believe in one God,

                the Father, the Almighty,            

                                maker of heaven and earth,

                                of all that is, seen and unseen.


We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

                the only Son of God,

                eternally begotten of the Father,

                God from God, Light from Light,

                true God from true God,

                begotten, not made,

                of one Being with the Father.

                Through him all things were made.

                X For us and for our salvation

                                he came down from heaven;

                                by the power of the Holy Spirit

                                he became incarnate from the virgin Mary,  and was made man. X

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

                                he suffered death and was buried.

                                On the third day he rose again

                                                in accordance with the Scriptures;

                                he ascended into heaven

                                                and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

                He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

                                and his kingdom will have no end.


We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

                who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

                With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

                He has spoken through the prophets.

                We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

                We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

                We look for the resurrection of the dead,

                                and the life of the world to come. Amen




Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.             


Silence is kept.


In Jesus Christ, born of Mary and guarded by Joseph, you have given light to all the nations and fulfilled the promises you made to your people. Make your light shine in your Church and throughout the world. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let our bishop, our pastors, and all ministers praise God and speak of Jesus to all who look for redemption. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


You have called us as a faith family and made us sisters and brothers of your Son and all who believe in him. Bind us together with them and with each other. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We pray for the President, the President-elect, the Congress, the courts, and our state and local governments. We ask your blessing upon the men and women of our armed forces and pray for the peace of the world. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let all who wait upon you for healing, peace, courage, and strength see signs of your redemption and be comforted in their need. Hear now our prayers, aloud or in silence, for those for whom we have been called to pray.


The People may offer silent or spoken intercessions and thanksgivings.


Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We give thanks for Simeon and Anna, who with constant prayer awaited the sign of your saving grace. We, too, meet the Lord this day in the Holy Communion. Make us always aware of his presence, and give us peace when we depart this life, that we may welcome him joyfully when he is revealed to all creation. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Into your hands, Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your steadfast love, through Jesus Christ our Lord.




Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,

and his name shall be called the Prince of Peace.                                Isaiah 9:6

The peace of the Lord be with you always. 

  And also with you. 


The people exchange a sign of peace with the simple words, Peace be with you.



The Lord’s Table is prepared.




Word made flesh, life of the world,

by your incarnation you embraced our poverty:

by your spirit make us share in your riches.





The Lord be with you.                                   

  And also with you.                     

Lift up your hearts.                                         

  We lift them to the Lord.                        

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.                                  

  It is right to give him thanks and praise.


  It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places offer thanks and praise to you, O Lord, holy Father, through Christ our Lord.

  He appeared in the Temple, clothed in our flesh, to come near to us in judgment. He searches the hearts of all your people and brings to light the image of your splendor. Your servant Simeon acclaimed him as the light to enlighten the nations, while Anna spoke of him to all who looked for your redemption. Destined for the falling and rising of many, he was lifted high upon the cross and a sword of sorrow pierced his mother’s heart when by his sacrifice he made our peace with you.

  And so, with Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:


Holy, holy, holy LORD, God of power and might!

Heaven and earth are full of your glory;

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

Hosanna in the highest!                                                    (Isaiah 6:3, Matthew 21:9)


The pastor leads the people in praying the Eucharistic canon:


Glory to you, Lord God, heavenly King;

In the beginning you created the world

through him who is the Word-made-flesh.


In remembering your promises to Israel,

that from the root of Jesse

                a new shepherd would come,

                at the appointed time

                the archangel Gabriel visited the blessed virgin Mary,

                and by the Spirit’s power your Son was conceived.


Born in humble surroundings,

                our Lord Jesus became Emmanuel,

                God with us, God born for us

                God in the midst of us.


Thus we praise you for your goodness

                and laud your magnificent love,

                a love which would lead this child

                to become the man-for-others,

                the One who takes away all fears, doubts, and helplessness;

                the One who, in love, bore the holy cross.

In the night in which He was betrayed

                our Lord Jesus took bread and gave thanks,

                broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying:

                Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.

Do this for the remembrance of me.


Again, after supper, He took the cup, gave thanks,

                and gave it for all to drink, saying:

                this cup is the new covenant in my Blood,

                shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.

Do this for the remembrance of me.


We join our voices with the angels and all the heavenly choir:

  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth!


Glory to you, Lord God, heavenly King:

                in this holy Child all lives are renewed,

                and all sins forgiven by His Life and holy Passion,

                His resurrection and exaltation at your right hand.


By that same Spirit which gave our Lord life as an infant,

                empowered His ministry of words and miracles,

                and raised Him at his resurrection,

                bless now this Bread of Heaven

                and sanctify this Cup of Blessing,

                that as we eat and drink of our Lord’s body and blood

                we may be filled with your forgiving love,

                and the promise of new life through this holy Child.


Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. Amen


The One who was born in Bethlehem is now here in our midst.

By the power of his Spirit, we pray to his Father, saying:


Our Father, who art in heaven,

                                hallowed be thy name,

                                thy kingdom come,

                                thy will be done,

                                                on earth as it is in heaven.

                Give us this day 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,

                                forever and ever. Amen

We break the bread of life,

and that life is the light of the world.

  God here among us,

  light in the midst of us,

  bring us to light and life.


We adore Christ with the words of the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).


Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;           

   have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;

  have mercy on us.        

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;

  Grant us peace.                                                    John 1:29, see also Luke 17:13





Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.


Now We Join in Celebration


1      Now we join in celebration

        at our Savior's invitation,

        dressed no more in spirit somber,

        clothed instead in joy and wonder;

        for the Lord of all existence,

        putting off divine transcendence,

        stoops again in love to meet us,

        with his very life to feed us.


2      Lord, as round this feast we gather,

        fill our hearts with holy rapture!

        For this bread and cup of blessing

        are for us the sure possessing

        of your loving deed on Calv'ry,

        of your living self, our vict'ry,

        pledge of your unfailing presence,

        foretaste here of heav'nly gladness.


3      Lord, we share in this communion

        as one fam'ly of God's children,

        reconciled through you, our brother,

        one in you with God our Father.

        Give us grace to live for others,

        serving all, both friends and strangers,

        seeking justice, love, and mercy

        till you come in final glory.


Text: Joel W. Lundeen

Text © Joel W. Lundeen, admin. Augsburg Fortress.

When all have received, the congregation stands at the direction of the pastor.


The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.



Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

A light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning, is now,

and will be forever. Amen                         

             Song of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)


Father, in this holy meal

we have received him whom Simeon took in his arms

and to whom Anna bore witness in thanksgiving and praise.

Grant that we may always receive him with thanksgiving

and proclaim his name to the whole world,

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.





Father, we have sung your praise with shepherds and angels:

may Christ be born in our hearts today.

  Praise to Christ our light.

We have shared in the joy of Simeon and Anna;

help us, like them, to trust your word.

  Praise to Christ our light.

We have greeted Jesus, the light of the world;

may we be filled with the light of your love.

  Praise to Christ our light.


Almighty God, Father, X Son, and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever.




Go in peace. Serve the Lord.          

  Thanks be to God!


CLOSING MUSIC                                                                          Joy to the World!



From Sundays and Copyright 2017 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #20540.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included in this

service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2006.

Eucharistic Canon reprinted by permission from A Little Book of Canons by Rod L. Ronneberg,

STS, c. 1997 and c. 2010.

Presentation in the Temple, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved December 14, 2020]. Original source: Wikimedia.




The Rev. Maurice C. Frontz, III 

(412) 279-5868 Office

(570) 447-8758 Cell


Pastor Emeritus

The Rev. Harvey S. Mozolak


Organist/Choir Director           

Joyce Moon Strobel, AAGO

(412) 366-0074  Home   


Office Manager

Carrie Hoffman

(412) 279-5868 Office



Mr. Robert Dawe



Mr. Robert Shekerko











St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868


Saturday Evening Worship – 6:30 pm

Sunday Morning Worship – 10:30 am

 New Year’s Eve – 7:30 pm