Liturgy

GREETINGS AND OPENING PRAYERS FOR VARIOUS OCCASIONS

Advent
Lift up your heads, O gates!
   and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
   that the King of glory may come in.
                        (PSALM 24:7)

 

 

 

A voice cries out:
   "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
                         (ISAIAH 40:3)

 

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
   For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord.

Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day,
   and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst.
                        (ZECHARIAH 2:10–11b )

 

You know what time it is,
how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.

For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers;
   the night is far gone, the day is near.

Let us then lay aside the works of darkness
   and put on the armor of light.   
                        (ROMANS 13:11–12)

 

See also:

Psalm 131:3

Hope in the Lord.

Isaiah 35:3 –4

Be strong; do not fear.

Isaiah 40:1 –2

Comfort my people.

Isaiah 40:9

Here is your God.

Ezekiel 30:1 –3

The day of the Lord is near.

Joel 2:1

The day of the Lord is coming.

Zephaniah 2:1 –3

Seek the Lord.

Matthew 25:31 –34

When the Son of man comes

Mark 1:15

The time is fulfilled.

Luke 3:4 –6

One crying out in the wilderness

Luke 12:35 –38

Watchful slaves

2 Corinthians 6:2

Now is the acceptable time.

Philippians 4:4 –5

Rejoice in the Lord.

 

See! The ruler of earth shall come,
    the Lord who will take from us the heavy burden of our exile
                        (TRADITIONAL MONASTIC LITURGY)

 

Praise be to God!
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
   who has visited and redeemed the people.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
   Blessed be the name of the Lord.
                        (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

Tell the timid to take heart.
   The Lord our God will come!
                        (TRADITIONAL MONASTIC LITURGY)

 

We wait for the word of the Lord as we wait for the rains
   and our God shall come down upon us like gentle dew.
                        (TRADITIONAL MONASTIC LITURGY)

 

The hills and the mountains will be singing praise to God.
Every tree in the forest will be clapping its hands.
The Lord will come and rule for ever. Alleluia.
                        (TRADITIONAL MONASTIC LITURGY)

 

Opening Prayers

 

See Advent (UMH 201) and O Antiphons (UMH 211).  The antiphons (short phrases based on scripture may be used over several Sundays, with each one being read before its corresponding hymn stanza is sung.

Merciful God, you sent your messengers the prophets
   to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation.
Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
                        (THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, U.S.A., 20TH CENT., ALT.)

 

O God, you so loved the world as to give your only begotten Son,
that whosoever believes in him should not perish,
   but have everlasting life.
Grant to us the precious gift of faith,
   that we may know that the Son of God is come,
and may have power to overcome the world
   and gain a blessed immortality;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
                        (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

 

Christmas Eve, Day or Season


Do not be afraid;
for see—I am bringing you good news of a great joy for all the people:
to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
   who is the Messiah, the Lord.                        (LUKE 2:10)

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us,
   and we have seen his glory.                         (JOHN 1:1, 14 a)

The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all.                        (TITUS 2:11)

See also:

Isaiah 9:6

A child has been born.

Micah 5:2 –4

Bethlehem of Ephrathah

Luke 2:10 –14

Good news of great joy

2 Corinthians 9:15

Thanks be to God

1 John 1:5 –7

God is light.

Revelation 21:23 –24

The city of God

 

 

Christ is born; give him glory!
Christ has come down from heaven; receive him!
Christ is now on earth; exalt him!

O you earth, sing to the Lord!
O you nations, praise him in joy, for he has been glorified!
                        (TRADITIONAL BYZANTINE CHRISTMAS PRAYER, ALT.)

 

Opening Prayers

 

O almighty God, by the birth of your holy child Jesus
   you gave us a great light to dawn on our darkness.
Grant that in his light we may see light.
Bestow upon us that most excellent Christmas gift of love to all people,
   so that the likeness of your Son may be formed in us,
   and that we may have the ever brightening hope of everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
                        (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

Sundays after the Epiphany

 

The Lord has declared victory,
   and has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
                         (PSALM 98:2)

 

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
   and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

                            (ISAIAH 60:1)
                           See UMBOW Hymn 216 for musical setting.

 

And the Word became flesh and lived among us,
   and we have seen his glory,
   the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.    
                        (JOHN 1:14)

For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"
   who has shone in our hearts
   to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
      in the face of Jesus Christ.
                           (2 CORINTHIANS 4:6)

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off
      and peace to those who were near;
   for through him all of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.
                         (EPHESIANS 2:17–18, ALT.)



During Lent

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
                        (ISAIAH 1:18, ALT.)

Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord,
that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.
                         (ISAIAH 2:5, 3c )

In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
                        (ISAIAH 30:15 b–c)

Rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
a
nd relents from punishing.
                        (JOEL 2:13)

Since, then, we have a great high priest
who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.

For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are,
yet without sin.

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
                        (HEBREWS 4:14–16)

 

See also:

 

 

Psalm 139:23–24 Search me, O God, and know my heart.
Isaiah 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray.
1 Corinthians 10:13  God is faithful.
James 4:10  Humble yourselves before the Lord.
1 John 1:8 –9 We deceive ourselves.

 

O Savior of the world,
    who by your cross and precious blood has redeemed us,
save us and help us.
                         (SARUM LITURGY, ENGLAND, 13TH CENT., ALT.)

 

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
   nor requite us according to our iniquities.

What shall I render to the Lord for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
   and call on the name of the Lord.
                               (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965)

 

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!
God has blessed us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
   call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
   and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
                               (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)


During Easter Season

 

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise the Lord in the heights!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, whose name alone is exalted,
   whose glory is above earth and heaven.
                                (PSALM 148:1, 13, UMH)

 

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
   break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
   and will have compassion on his suffering ones.
                                (ISAIAH 49:13)

 

Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people.
                                (ISAIAH 52:9 a–b)

 

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live,
   and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
                               (JOHN 11:25)

 

 

In fact Christ has been raised from the dead,
   the first fruits of those who have died.
                               (1 CORINTHIANS 15:20)

 

For this perishable body must put on imperishability,
   and this mortal body must put on immortality.
When this perishable body puts on imperishability,
   and this mortal body puts on immortality,
then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
   "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
                               (1 CORINTHIANS 15:53–55)

 

Since then we have a great high priest
   who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God,
let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness,
   so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
                                 (HEBREWS 4:14 a, 16)

 

Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
   be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever.
                                (PSALM 96:7 b; REVELATION 5:13b)

 

See also:

Isaiah 12:2 God is my salvation.
Isaiah 43:1 –3a   I have redeemed you.
Isaiah 60:19 The Lord will be your everlasting light.
Luke 12:49 –50  I have a baptism.
1 Corinthians 15:20 –22  All will be made alive in Christ.
Colossians 3:1 –4 New life in Christ
1 Peter 1:3 –4  New birth into a living hope

 

    

Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, following our exalted Head;
made like him, like him we rise;
    ours the cross, the grave, the skies!
                         (CHARLES WESLEY, ENGLAND, 18TH CENT.)

 

For Judah's Lion bursts his chains,
crushing the serpent's head;
and cries aloud through death's domains
to wake the imprisoned dead.
                        (LATIN HYMN, 11TH CENT.)

 

By your cross you destroyed the curse of the tree.
By your burial you slayed the dominion of death.
By your rising, you enlightened the human race.
O benefactor, Christ our God, glory to you.


Glory to the Father, who has woven garments of glory for the resurrection.
Worship to the Son, who was clothed in them at his rising.
Thanksgiving to the Spirit, who keeps them for all the saints.
                        (SYRIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH)

Opening Prayer

Almighty God, through your only Son you overcame death
   and opened to us the gate of everlasting life.
Grant that we who celebrate our Lord's resurrection,
   by the renewing of your Spirit,
   arise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
                        (GELASIAN SACRAMENTARY, 5TH CENT., ALT.)

 

Sunday after the Ascension

 

O God, the King of glory,
   you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ
      with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven.
Do not leave us comfortless,
   but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us,
   and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
                         (THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, U.S.A., 1979, p. 226)

 

 

Day of Pentecost

And in the last days it shall come to pass, God declares,
   that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh
and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy,
   your old shall dream dreams, and your young shall see visions.

When the Day of Pentecost had come,
   they were all gathered together in one place.
And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind,
   and it filled the house where they were sitting.

And there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
    distributed and resting on each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.                         (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

Trinity Sunday (Sunday after Pentecost)

No one has ever seen God;
if we love one another,
      God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.                        (1 JOHN 4:12)

 

 

Season after Pentecost or General Occasions

 

 

Greetings

Joshua 24:24 We will serve God.
Psalm 15 (UMH 747) Who shall abide in God's tent?
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord's.
Psalm 84 (UMH 804) The joy of worship
Psalm 95 (UMH 814) Call to worship and obedience
Psalm 96:1, 13 Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 100 (UMH 821) Make a joyful noise to the Lord.
Psalm 117 (UMH 838) Call to worship
Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made.
Psalm 139:7–10 Where shall I go from God?
Psalm 145 (UMH 857) All works give thanks.
Psalm 146 (UMH 858) Praise the Lord.
Psalm 147 (UMH 859) Praise the Lord.
Psalm 148 (UMH 861) Praise for God's universal glory
Psalm 150 (UMH 862) Praise for God's greatness
Joel 2:28 God will pour out the Spirit.
Daniel 12:3 The wise shall shine.
Amos 5:24 Let justice roll down.
Matthew 9:37 –38 The harvest is plentiful.
John 3:6 –8 What is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 4:23 –24 Worship in spirit and truth.
John 14:15 –17 Love me and keep my commandments.
Acts 1:8 Receive power from the Holy Spirit.
Romans 5:5 b The Holy Spirit has been given to us.
1 John 4:13

He has given us his Spirit.   


Trust in the Lord and do good.
May the Lord give strength to the people!

 

O taste and see that the Lord is good!
God is our refuge and strength.                           (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

 

The hour is coming, and now is,
   when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,
   for such the Father seeks to worship him.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!                        (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

In the midst of the congregation I will praise you.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
   and give thanks to God's holy name!

I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
   and God's greatness is unsearchable.                         (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

May those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the Lord!"
Yea, our heart is glad in God, because we trust in God's holy name.

Let us make a joyful noise to God with songs of praise!
We praise you, O God;
we acknowledge you to be the Lord.                        (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

May the warm winds of heaven blow softly on our house.
May the Great Spirit bless all who enter here.
                        (TRADITIONAL CHEROKEE NATION PRAYER)

 

See also UMBOW Hymn 198 and Hymn 200.

 

Opening Prayers

Almighty and everlasting God,
   in whom we live and move and have our being,
   you created us for yourself,
   so that our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.
Grant to us such piety of heart and strength of purpose
   that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing your will,
   and no weakness from doing it.
In your light may we see life clearly
   and in your service find perfect freedom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
                        (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

O God, our Guide and Guardian,
   you have led us apart from the busy world into the quiet of your house.
Grant us grace to worship you in Spirit and in truth,
   to the comfort of our souls
and the upbuilding of every good purpose and holy desire.
Enable us to do more perfectly the work to which you have called us,
   that we may not fear the coming of night,
   when we shall resign into your hands
      the tasks which you have committed to us.
So may we worship you not with our lips at this hour,
   but in word and deed all the days of our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.                        (THE BOOK OF WORSHIP 1965, ALT.)

 

We believe, O Lord,
that you have not abandoned us to the dim light of our own reason
   to conduct us to happiness,
but that you have revealed in Holy Scriptures
   whatever is necessary for us to believe and practice.
How noble and excellent are the precepts,
   how sublime and enlightening the truth,
   how persuasive and strong the motives,
   how powerful the assistance of your holy religion.
Our delight shall be in your statutes,
   and we will not forget your Word. Amen.
                        (RICHARD ALLEN, AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL BISHOP, U.S.A., 19TH CENT., ALT.)

 

O Lord our God,
you are always more ready to bestow your good gifts on us
   than we are to seek them,
   and are willing to give more than we desire or deserve.
Help us so to seek that we may truly find,
   so to ask that we may joyfully receive,
   so to knock that the door of your mercy may be opened to us;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
                        (THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, 20TH CENT., ALT.)

 

 

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Copyright: Items listed from Book of Worship 1965 are Copyright © 1964, 1965 Board of Publications of The Methodist Church, Inc., Renewal © 1992 UMPH. Quotations from scripture, unless otherwise indicated, are adapted from The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1989 by Division of Christian Education of the national Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and used by permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Greetings and Opening Prayers