We are also having a service at 11:00 this morning in Bethel's sanctuary. An insert to the bulletin, provided by a link above, presents Bethel UMC's policy regarding these gatherings during the time of COVID-19 restrictions.
For those unable to attend the services at the church, a new service will be available here online before 10:00 am each Sunday morning, using the same format as the on-site service. So you may "gather" here for an "Early Service" at 10:00 or the traditional service at 11:00...actually it will be available here at any time all week. We hope that you will find it a refreshing place to come into God's house.
NOTE: Each part of this online service consists of an audio file and, for most, a Link to a pdf file of "projection slides". Click on the symbol to play the audio file under a separate browser tab or in a new window. Then select the "Bethel 11/28/21 Service" browser tab or return to this window to open the Link to the "slides". It is best to stop the playing of one Audio segment and close its tab or window before starting another.
We hope that you will fully participate in the service provided here, taking the time to raise your voice or read along with the hymns and responses, and listening to the recorded messages and songs that have been prepared for you. Realize that, though not meeting face-to-face, you are virtually gathering with many others for this time of worship, celebration and spiritual refreshment.
Pastor Ralph will guide you through the service by a series of recorded messages. Click on each
symbol to begin a recording in a separate browser tab or window. Return to this tab/window to follow along, then remove the audio player tab/window at the end of each recording.
- . Slides - Welcome and Announcements (04:41)
- - Blessing of the Chrismon Tree (03:39)
. Verses - "O Come All Ye Faithful (v 1,3,6)" . (UMH 234)
- . Slides - Lighting the First Advent Candle
- . Slides - Prayer Concerns, Thanksgivings & Lord's Prayer (10:43)
- . Message/Remarks - "The Readiness Potential", Scripture: Luke 21:25-36 . (15:44)
Declaration of the Good News
: Hear the good news which we receive, in which we stand, and by which we are saved: That Jesus Christ was born, lived, and died for our sins according to the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day; and that he appeared to the women, to Peter, then to the Twelve, and to many faithful witnesses. We believe he is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He is our Savior, the Victor over the powers of sin and death. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is our Lord and our God.
People: Be born in us, O Lord. Be born in every part of our lives. Be born in every place where we live, until we are conscious of your presence: In our joys and sorrows; in our fears and our failures; in our hopes and our
dreams; in our work and in our worship, be born in us, O Lord, be born in us
this day. Amen.
Christmas Confession (All together)
Almighty God, who sent a star to guide men to the Holy Child Jesus, we confess we have not always followed the light of your Word. We have not searched for signs of your love in the world. We have failed to praise your Son’s birth, and refused his peace on earth. We have questioned the good news. We have expected little and hoped for less. Forgive us, Lord, for such self-serving symbols that mark our lives. Open our hearts to your abiding presence.
May the joy of the angels become our joy; may the devotion of the Shepherds become our devotion; may the vision of the wise men become our vision; may the wonder of your love be born in us, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
INTRODUCTION TO CHRISMONS
At Christmas, not only does the star lead us to Bethlehem, but also to Nazareth, Galilee, Capernaum, Jerusalem, Calvary, and heaven. For as part of Jesus’ birth, we also celebrate his life and ministry, his death and resurrection, and his ultimate victory over the powers of sin and death.
Like the three kings, we present our gifts to Jesus and to one another. Today, we will present our offerings in the form of CHRISMONS. CHRISMON is a combination of two words: CHRIST and MONogram. A Chrismon is a symbol of Christ.
Christian symbols date back to the early church. They are found on the walls of the Roman catacombs, on jewelry and utensils from excavations in Palestine and elsewhere. Early Christians used them to identify themselves to one another, to designate meeting places, and sometimes, to show nonbelievers where they stood. These symbols of the early church served to transmit the faith and beliefs of the followers of Jesus Christ.
Chrismons were first used in 1957 to decorate a Christmas tree in the Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Danville, Virginia. They were composed of white and gold materials, WHITE is symbolic of our Lord’s purity and perfection, GOLD, of his majesty, glory and triumph. The green of the tree is symbolic of promised healing. The white lights on the tree point to Christ as the light of the world.
. Verses - "O Come, O Come Emmanuel (v 1,2)" . (UMH 211)
Click on a symbol to hear a recording for each Chrismon type, or you may click on a PRESENTATION group heading, like that below, to hear all recordings in the group sequentially.
Hold your cursor over a Picture or Chrismon Name to read a brief description of the Chrismon's meaning. Click on the picture to see a larger version of it.
PRESENTATION OF THE NATIVITY SYMBOLS
The Epiphany Star
(Matthew 2:1-2) Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him."
The Christmas Rose
(Isa 35:1-2) The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.
(Luke 2:1-7) In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:8-14) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
. Verses - "Away in a Manger" . (UMH 217)
PRESENTATION OF THE PASSION SYMBOLS
(Mat 26:26-28) While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
(John 19:16-18) Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others -- one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
The Sacrificial Lamb
(Isa 53:4-7) Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
(John 1:29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Just as the caterpillar spins a cocoon and lies encased in a seemingly dead shell only to emerge in a changed form as a beautiful butterfly, so Jesus was entombed, but rose from the dead.
(Mat 28:1-7) After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
The Dove and the Shell
(Mat 3:16-17) As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."…
(Mat 28:19-20) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of
. Verses - "The Old Rugged Cross (vs 1)" . (UMH 504)
PRESENTATION OF THE SYMBOLS OF VICTORY
Alpha and Omega
(Rev 22:13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End..
The Chi Rho
(Mat 16:15-16) He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
(Mat 4:19) "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
The Shepherd's Staff .
(John 10:11) "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd
lays down his life for the sheep".
The Cross and Orb
(1 John 4:9-10) This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(Heb 13:8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Phil 2:9-11) Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Rev 11:15) The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."
(Mat 1:21) She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he
will save his people from their sins.
. Verses - "Up From the Grave He Arose (vs 1,3)" . (UMH 322)
Almighty God, whose glory and majesty glow through the symbols of Christ, may these Chrismons ever remind us of your love entering our lives. May these gifts we have hung upon the tree become the gifts of your comfort and joy we share with others. So may we sing of redemption’s happy dawn, for Jesus Christ is born in Bethlehem; through the heaven-born Prince of Peace, we pray. Amen.
. Verses - "Joy to the World" . (UMH 246)
Thank you for coming. Our prayer will be that we will soon all gather again for worship in Bethel's Sanctuary, but intil then we'll be here for you on Sunday morning.
Please let us know of any problems you have with or suggestions about this site by sending an email to "firstname.lastname@example.org". If you have any announcements or prayer concerns you would like included next week you may contact Pastor Ralph Wrightstone directly at: 850-591-9785