Longest Night Worship 2016

Here is the liturgy I used for Longest Night worship December 21, 2016

Preparation for Worship

As you enter this time of worship, bring your heart as it is- especially if it is lost, broken, alone or in darkness. This is a time to offer a voice crying out from the darkness we all find sometimes. As you enter this time please meditate on the scripture, songs and poems in the booklet and feel free to light a candle for any need you have. Light a candle for every loved one lost, holiday celebrated alone, relationship broken or day spent wandering. Bring your whole self to this place and this worship. God will join you, and will hear you.

Words for Silent Meditation before Worship

Use the poems, prayers and song lyrics in the Meditation booklet to center for worship.

 

Solo                                   Longest Night Of The Year                                    Mary Chapin Carpenter

They say that spring will come again
No one knows exactly when.
Still the sun's a long lost friend
On the longest night of the year.

We stare into the firelight
While December beats outside
Where the darkest hearts reside
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight
Let the candle burn all night
Tomorrow welcome back the night
It was longest night of the year

I used to think the world was small
Bright and shining like a ball
Seems I don't know much at all
On the longest night of the year

We press our faces to the glass
And see our little lives go past
Wave to shadows that we cast
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
'Twas the longest night of the year

Make a vow when Solstice comes:
To find the Light in everyone
Keep the faith and bang the drum
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
'Twas the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
After the longest night of the year

Advent Prayer

Lord, by your presence,

Light up the past that we might learn from it with thankfulness.

Light up the present that we might live with love.

Light up the future that we might prepare for it in hope.

As we watch and wait and pray, may we be always ready to encounter the Lord who is already and always with us. Amen.

 

Scripture reading Revelation 21:3-7

 

Candle lighting

Lighting the first candle: A candle burns, a sign of love, God of Mary come to us again, may the light of your love be born anew in us.

Lighting the second candle: A candle burns, a sign of your Word. God of the prophets, come to us again, may your word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

Lighting the third candle: A candle burns, a sign of faith, God of messengers, come to us again, may we have faith that renews our lives, may we live in the light of your promises.

Lighting the fourth candle: A candle burns, a sign of hope. God of hope, come to us again, may your hope live within us burning as a light in our lives.

Leaving the christ candle unlit: A candle left unlit, a sign of our need. God of presence, be with us in the darkest moments of our lives, renew us in love, faith and hope in the darkest nights we face. Remind us that Christ is with us even when we feel totally alone.

 

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

6 O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight. [Refrain]

7 O come, Desire of nations, bind
all peoples in one heart and mind;
bid envy, strife, and discord cease;
fill the whole world with heaven’s peace. [Refrain]

Litany of intercession

Voice One: all around us are the sights and sounds o f Christmas, Gentle God: the laughter of parties, the songs of carolers, the shouts of children sledding down hills, the music in every store. But deep within us we carry our pain; our grief walks with us every step we take; loneliness is a shawl we drape over our shoulders on empty nights. So, in this time when every night stretches into eternity, we come to you, bringing our gifts: not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but grief, bitterness and loss.

Voice Two: we have come from different backgrounds, from different families, from different faith traditions. But we have all lived in the land of shame and wandered the far country of despair. We have stood on the side of every room we have gone into, hoping against hope that someone would ask us to dance but finding the wall is our only friend.

Voice Three: in a season when so many people don’t have enough hours in a day to get all their lists checked off, their cards mailed, their presents wrapped, we have all the time in the world: to remember the loss that has stolen the joy of the season; to grieve over a job, a dream, a loved one; to sit in the shadows of our homes, too weary to turn on the lights; to wander the streets lit by lights on all the houses, but not by the Light of the world.

Voice Four: our fear of the future, our remembrance of the past, our pain that is difficult to bear and harder to release, our emptiness which cannot be filled with platitudes, our hands which cannot hold the ones we wish to embrace: all make this a season of long nights.

All:     Be with us in our loneliness,

                    in our longing.

                   In our loss,

                         in our lives.

               In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Silent prayer

ANTHEM                                             Night of Silence                                              Daniel Kantor                                                                Youth Choir                                                 Franz Gruber

Cold are the people, winter of life,
We tremble in shadows this cold endless night,
Frozen in the snow lie roses sleeping,
Flowers that will echo the sunrise,
Fire of hope is our only warmth,
Weary, its flame will be dying soon.

Voice in the distance, call in the night,
On wind you enfold us, you speak of the light,
Gentle on the ear you whisper softly,
Rumors of a dawn so embracing,
Breathless love awaits darkened souls,
Soon will we know of the morning.

Spirit among us, shine like the star,
Your light that guides shepherds and kings from afar,
Shimmer in the sky so empty, lonely,
Rising, the warmth of your Son’s love,
Star unknowing of night and day,
Spirit we wait for your loving Son.

Assurance of acceptance

One: The God who sent Jesus Christ to the world, but also to foreign kings, to migrant shepherds and to a teenage mother, is a God who loves the mess of who we are at every moment.

All: may we all find peace and connection in the light of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen.  

Prayer for Illumination

God of our darkest moments, join us in the shadows, find us in the darkness, and help us to see the light of your presence even in those dark moments.

Scripture reading Matthew 2:1-6

Meditation The Shining of a Star

Communion

Charge and Benidiction