Thursday, December 31, 2020

Order of Worship - New Year's Eve - December 31, 2020, 7:30 pm

The livestream may be found here.

OPENING MUSIC                   It Came upon the Midnight Clear - J. M. Strobel


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


1      It came upon the midnight clear,

        that glorious song of old,

        from angels bending near the earth

        to touch their harps of gold:

        "Peace on the earth, good will to all,

        from heav'n's all-gracious king."

        The world in solemn stillness lay

        to hear the angels sing.


2      Still through the cloven skies they come

        with peaceful wings unfurled,

        and still their heav'nly music floats

        o'er all the weary world.

        Above its sad and lowly plains

        they bend on hov'ring wing,

        and ever o'er its babel sounds

        the blessed angels sing.


3      And you, beneath life's crushing load,

        whose forms are bending low,

        who toil along the climbing way

        with painful steps and slow:

        look now, for glad and golden hours

        come swiftly on the wing;

        oh, rest beside the weary road

        and hear the angels sing!


4     For lo! The days are hast'ning on,

        by prophets seen of old,

        when with the ever-circling years

        shall come the time foretold,

        when peace shall over all the earth

        its ancient splendors fling,

        and all the world give back the song

        which now the angels sing.


Text: Edmund H. Sears, 1810-1876





In the name of the Father, and of the + Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.



As we come to the Lord at the start of this New Year,

let us seek his grace to number our days,

that we may apply our hearts to wisdom,

confessing our sins in repentance and faith.


Silence for reflection and self-examination.


Eternal Lord God,

we give you thanks for bringing us through the changes of time

to the beginning of another year.

Forgive us the wrong we have done in the year that is past,

and help us to spend the rest of our days

to your honor and glory,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



The one seated on the throne says,

‘Behold, I am making all things new.’

As a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ,

and by his authority,

I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins,

in the name of the Father, and of the + Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

















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.




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.


Eternal Father, you have placed us in a world of space and time,

and through the events of our lives you bless us with your love.

Grant that in this new year we may know your presence, see your

love at work, and live in the light of the event which gives us joy

forever—the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.




For everything there is a season,

and a time for every matter under heaven.                              Ecclesiastes 3:1

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.



  Ecclesiastes 3:1–13

For everything there is a season,

and a time for every matter under heaven:
2a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
9What gain have the workers from their toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13moreover, it is God's gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.


The Word of the Lord.                                                   Thanks be to God.


Psalm 8


1 O | Lord our Lord,*

                how exalted is your name in | all the world!

2 Out of the mouths of in- | fants and children*

                your majesty is praised a- | bove the heavens.

3 You have set up a stronghold against your | adversaries,*

                to quell the enemy and | the avenger.

4 When I consider your heavens, the work | of your fingers,*

                the moon and the stars you have set | in their courses,

5 what is man that you should be mind- | ful of him,*

                the son of man that you should | seek him out?


6 You have made him but little lower | than the angels;*

                you adorn him with glo- | ry and honor;

7 you give him mastery over the works | of your hands;*

                you put all things un- | der his feet:

8 all | sheep and oxen,*

                even the wild beasts | of the field,

9 the birds of the air, the fish | of the sea,*

                and whatsoever walks in the paths | of the sea.

10 O | Lord our Lord,*

                how exalted is your name in | all the world!



Revelation 21:1–6a

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
"See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away."
5And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end.’


The Word of the Lord.

  Thanks be to God.



Alleluia. Your word is a lamp to my feet

  and a light to my path. Alleluia.                                            (Ps. 119:105)







GOSPEL                                                             Matthew 25:31–46


The Holy Gospel according to St Matthew.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


31When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.  32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,  33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.  34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;  35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'  37Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?  38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?  39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?'  40And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'  41Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;  42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'  44Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?'  45Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'  46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


The Gospel of the Lord.

  Praise to you, O Christ.







HYMN OF THE DAY                                                  By Gracious Powers


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


1              By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered,

                and confidently waiting come what may,

                we know that God is with us night and morning,

                and never fails to greet us each new day.


2              Yet is this heart by its old foe tormented,

                still evil days bring burdens hard to bear;

                oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation,

                for which, O Lord, you taught us to prepare.


3              And when this cup you give is filled to brimming

                with bitter suff’ring, hard to understand,

                we take it thankfully and without trembling

                out of so good and so beloved a hand.


4             Yet when again in this same world you give us

                the joy we had, the brightness of your sun,

                we shall remember all the days we lived through

                and our whole life shall then be yours alone.


5              By gracious powers so faithfully protected,

                so quietly, so wonderfully near,

                I’ll live each day in hope, with you beside me,

                and go with you through ev’ry coming year.


Text: Dietrich Bonhöffer, 1906-1945; tr. Fred Pratt Green, 1903-2000

© 1974 Hope Publishing Co. All rights reserved.












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


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

                creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

                He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

                                and born of the virgin Mary.

                He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

                                was crucified, died, and was buried.

                He descended into hell.*

                On the third day he rose again.

                He ascended into heaven,

                                and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

                He will come again to judge the living and the dead.


I believe in the Holy Spirit,

                the holy catholic Church,

                the communion of saints,

                the forgiveness of sins,

                the resurrection of the body,

                and the life everlasting. Amen




Let us pray.


We thank you, O Lord, for this past year of grace in which we have experienced your love, sung your praise and given thanks for your good gifts.

  We thank you, O Lord.


We praise you, O Lord, for the Word of Life which sustains us on our journey through the world. Grant that in this new year your Word may be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

  We praise you, O Lord.


We ask your forgiveness, O Lord, of the wrongs we have done in the past year. Stir up in us your Holy Spirit, that we may do your will with cheerfulness in the year ahead.

  We ask your forgiveness, O Lord.


We pray your blessing, O Lord, upon our bishop, Dan; our pastors, Maurice and Harvey; and all who preach the Word and administer the Sacraments, and we ask that your Church may be blessed with grace and strengthened for mission.

  We pray your blessing, O Lord.


We ask your protection, O Lord, upon us and upon all people. Grant your wisdom to all who make, administer, and judge our laws, that they may exercise their offices with discernment. Make ready for service the members of our military, all who care for others, and our first responders.

  We ask your protection, O Lord.        


Make us your servants, O Lord, in Church and world. Stir up your Spirit that with renewed zeal and hope we may be active and busy, bringing blessing to all to whom we are sent.

  Make us your servants, O Lord.


We ask your mercy, O Lord, upon those who fear the future, those whose anxieties weigh heavily upon their souls, and who struggle under the burdens of sickness, grief, poverty, or despair. Give them signs of hope and your presence which gives us confidence even in the midst of suffering.

  We ask your mercy, O Lord.


We entrust to you, O Lord, our lives, our families, our friends, and all who are dear to us. Now hear our prayers for those we name before you aloud or in silence.


Silence is kept for intercession.          


We thank you, O Lord, for those who in this past year have finished their course of faith and have attained to the eternal banquet of heaven. We ask that in your time you may bring us, with them, to the vision of your glory.

  We thank you, O Lord.


To you we commit our days and years, our comings and goings; and we give you all honor and praise through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit; one God, now and forever.




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.


  We give you thanks, Father,

through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son,

                whom you sent in this end of the ages

                to save and redeem us and to proclaim to us your will.

He is your Word,

                inseparable from you.

Through him you created all things,

                and in him you take delight.

He is your Word,

                sent from heaven to a virgin's womb.

He there took on our nature and our lot

                and was shown forth as your Son,

                born of the Holy Spirit and of the virgin Mary.

It is he, our Lord Jesus, who fulfilled all your will

                and won for you a holy people;

                he stretched out his hands in suffering

                in order to free from suffering those who trust you.



It is he who, handed over to a death he freely accepted,

                in order to destroy death, to break the bonds of the evil one,

                to crush hell underfoot, to give light to the righteous,

                to establish his covenant, and to show forth the resurrection,

                taking bread and giving thanks to you, said:

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

                Do this for the remembrance of me.

In the same way he took the cup, gave thanks,

                and gave it for all to drink, saying:

                This is my blood poured out for you.

                Do this for the remembrance of me.

Remembering, then, his death and resurrection,

                we lift this bread and cup before you,

                giving you thanks that you have made us worthy

                to stand before you and to serve you as your priestly people.

And we ask you:

                Send your Spirit upon these gifts of your Church;

                gather into one all who share this bread and wine;

                fill us with your Holy Spirit to establish our faith in truth,

                that we may praise and glorify you

 through your Son Jesus Christ.

Through him all glory and honor are yours,

                Almighty Father, with the Holy Spirit,

                in your holy Church both now and forever.



As we have prayed, as we will pray,

we pray with our Lord Jesus, 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



Jesus says, ‘I am the alpha and the omega,

the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

Let us come and taste of eternal life.

  Thanks be to God.


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




Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized.


They may receive the Lord’s Body and Blood who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, who commune in their home churches, and who believe that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is truly present in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.


The communicants will be invited forward one family unit at a time. Please do not come forward until the pastor directs you to come forward, do not approach all the way to the table until the pastor has retreated, and please do not remove your mask until you have reached the table with the elements on it.


 When the pastor says ‘The body of Christ, given for you,’ eat the bread. When the pastor says, ‘The blood of Christ, shed for you,’ drink the wine.  Please take the plate and the glass(es) and place them on the table that is indicated. Please put your mask on before returning to your seat.


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)


Almighty God, you sent your Son both as a sacrifice for sin

and a model of the godly life. Enable us to receive him always

with thanksgiving, and to conform our lives to his,

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.



Silence for meditation.



Jesus, Lord of time,

  hold us in your eternity.


Jesus, image of God,

  travel with us the life of faith.


Jesus, friend of sinners,

  heal the brokenness of our world.


Jesus, Lord of tomorrow,

  draw us into our future.


The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the Lord look upon you with favor, and + give you peace.




Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

  Thanks be to God.




From Sundays and Copyright 2020 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.

Alpha and Omega, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved December 28, 2020].