Morning Worship– 31 December 2023

New Year’s Eve: First Sunday of Christmastide

Organ Prelude “Andante” from Italian Concerto (J.S. Bach)

Congregational Welcome
Responsive Call to Worship
One voice: The Lord says,
All: “For I am about to create a new heavens and a new earth;
One: The former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.
All: But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating;
One: For I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.
All: The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” Lord, help us to bring about this new creation even here today.

*Gathering Hymn #46 On This Day the Earth Shall Ring
(Please enjoy ringing your bells joyfully during each refrain,
and then set them on the pew or floor, for the prayer)

*Prayer of Invocation
One Voice: Wise one, you who have come far, attend to that yearning within
you that is given, as if from above.
Do not cease following that star, whose light
you have seen at his rising. It will shine in all darkness, and no darkness will
overcome it. Let no other glitter distract you, no tiresome journey dissuade you.
Fearful powers will try to make use of your pilgrimage. Do not cooperate.
Follow love alone.
In that light you will find the child, always.
All: Amen.

*Assurance of Grace
*The Response in Praise

Good Christian Friends rejoice, with heart and soul and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Jesus Christ was born for this!
He hath opened heaven’s door, and we are blest for evermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!

*Sharing of Peace
One Voice: The Peace of Christ be always with you.
All: And also with you!

The Hebrew Bible Isaiah 11:1-9

The Children’s Time Wendy Donnell
*The Hymn Response #40 Joy to the World
(children are invited to Church School during hymn)

The New Testament John 1:1-5;14-17

The Morning Meditation Rev. Judith Arnold

The Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
(Our father and mother… trespasses)

Call to Offering Musical Offering “Adagio” from Oboe Concerto (A. Marcelo/J.S. Bach)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Christ the word in flesh born low,
Praise Holy Spirit evermore,
One God, Triune, whom we adore. Amen.

*Prayer of Dedication
*Hymn #29 Go Tell It on the Mountain

*Blessing and Benediction
Postlude Romance (A. Scriabin)

* Those who are able please stand


NHCC is an Open and Affirming, Still Speaking congregation where all are welcome regardless of the divisions or separations that some in society would impose: whoever you are, you are welcome in God’s house. “In Christ we are a new creation,” so we are blessed to be together in Christ’s name.

Thanks to worship leaders Judith Arnold, Wendy Donnell, Christy Liao (Organ/Piano),
Maxwell McDonnell (Oboe), Katie Chuang (Cello), Christian Education,
Amanda Ketchpaw, Ted Palés, and Misha Hill.

The Rev. Judith Arnold is a long-time UCC pastor from Winchester, MA, a great colleague, and no stranger to Newton Highlands. In her (recent) retirement she has been serving several parishes with interim and transition needs, as well as finding time for travel and restoration.
Please greet her at Fellowship Time in the Parlor.

Christy Liao is our very welcome visiting organist today. Christy has been connected with NHCC for well over a decade, often plays concerts here, and is in our pews frequently. Outside NHCC she serves at Newton South High school, as well as providing private piano lessons (along with recitals).

Kenneth Baily is away for one weekend, and back next Sunday to celebrate Epiphany.

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