Liturgy for Holy Name Day

This liturgy was originally written to celebrate Jesus naming day celebrated January 1st as a wonderfully refreshing Christian celebration for starting the new year.  It can also be used for an morning or evening prayer during the 12 days of Christmas too – though of course there are only 6 days left.

May we join in the dance of God this day,

And sing our praises to Christ our Saviour.

Let us celebrate the joy of Christ’s birth,

And shout aloud: Emmanuel, God is with us!

Pause to light the Christ candle and remind yourself of the many names by which Christ is known in the Bible. Allow time for each person to call out the names that are most meaningful to them)


Lord Jesus Christ,

A thousand names cannot confine you

You are King of Kings and Lord of Lord

Wonderful counselor, Prince of Peace,

Saviour, Restorer and Redeemer

You are the Lamb who was slain,

Lord Jesus Christ,

A thousand names cannot confine you

God of justice and truth how can we know you?

You are majestic and holy, abounding in love and faithfulness

You are the source of life, our provider

You walk beside us as companion and friend

Lord Jesus Christ,

A thousand names cannot confine you

God of glory, God of power you care for the vulnerable

Protector of widows and orphans,

Compassionate to the poor, comforter of the downcast

You heal all our diseases and bring us wholeness

Lord Jesus Christ,

A thousand names cannot confine you

God in whom we trust, you are always with us

You are all things good, known yet unknowable

You are the way, the truth and the life,

We worship you

Lord Jesus Christ,

A thousand names cannot confine you

Read the scriptures for the day from the daily lectionary

Lord Jesus Christ, your name is proclaimed in all the earth.

You were God almighty yet you made yourself nothing

You came as a vulnerable child to live amongst us.

You were God all powerful

Yet you came as a humble servant

You were faithful as a son,

You went through death so that we might find life

Your blood was shed so that we could be redeemed

Your body was broken so that we might be made whole

Therefore God has exalted you and given you the name above all names

So that one day all peoples will proclaim you

As Jesus Christ the Lord

God who calls us all by name

Have mercy upon us

Christ who invites us to share life as one family

Have mercy on us

Spirit who welcomes us home together into God’s eternal world

Grant us peace

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. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus, as members of your family, help us to proclaim your names in all the earth

Make us instruments of your life today

Through our words and actions help us to proclaim you as saviour and redeemer to all peoples

Lord make us instruments of your love today

Where there is war may we proclaim you as the Prince of Peace

Lord make us instruments of your peace today

Where there is despair may we proclaim you as the God of all comfort

Lord make us instruments of your comfort today

Where there is sickness may we proclaim you as the great physician

Lord make us instruments of your healing today

Where there is oppression may we proclaim you as the God who brings freedom

Lord make us instruments of your freedom today

Where there is hunger may we proclaim you as the God of abundant provision

Lord make us instruments of your generosity today

Jesus may we be proclaimers of your names through all the earth

Lord make us instruments of your kingdom today

The Wonderful Counsellor guide you,

The Mighty God protect you,

The Everlasting Father be with you.
The Prince of Peace inspire you,

And the blessings of God be upon you, now and evermore.

Amen


The prayer The Wonderful Counsellor guide you… is from David Adam, The Rhythm of Life, (Morehouse Publishing 1996,) p54

That’s My King

Jesus is only one of the names by which we remember the Son of God.  Throughout the scriptures Christ is called by many names, most of which we rarely think about.  Yet our understanding of Christ and even of God is limited when we only know him by a few names.  To call him Christ the Carpenter conjures up very different images than those associated with knowing him as the Prince of Peace.  And to call Christ the great physician gives a very different understanding than acknowledging him as Saviour and Lord of all creation

One of the most powerful sermons on the names of Jesus was given by Rev SM Lockridge in a short 5 minute sermon entitled That’s My King. Watch this video and then spend some time reflecting on the ways in which Christ has revealed himself to you.  By which names do you know Jesus best?



What’s In A Name?

January 1st, in the Christian calendar is not the beginning of a new year.  This is the day we celebrate the circumcision of Christ.  Since our cultures are more squeamish than were those of our ancestors, modern calendars usually list it as the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.   Just like every Jewish boy, Jesus as circumcised and formally named on the eighth day of his life, and so, one week after Christmas, while we are still celebrating the wonder and the joy of the Saviour who came to dwell amongst us, we celebrate this occasion  In Jesus day, a name was far more important than it tends to be today.   Introducing a person just about gave you their whole genealogy and sometimes even reflected their personality.

As a celebration of then naming of Jesus why not get together with a group of friends for a party – always a good way to shake off those post Christmas blues.  Bring a name book with you.  Look up the names of each person in your group and discuss their meanings.  Get each person to share the story of why they were given that name.  Then ask the question: In what ways does your name reflect the call that God has placed on your life?  Some of you may like to consider a new name that reflects what you believe is God’s call on your life.  One friend of mine changed his name from Bill to Will because he felt it better reflected his desire to use his life “doing the will of God.”

Next spend time discussing the names of Jesus.  Get each person to write down the names that they remember as being applied to Jeuss in the Scriptures.  You might like to have a competition to see who can think of the most names.  Or you could write a poem or song that reflects these names.  end your time with a discussion about how you could represent these different aspects of who Jesus can me to those who live around you.

Previewing 2009 with MSA

As we look ahead to 2009, we find ourselves facing a spreading global recession that is putting growing numbers of our neighbors near and far in serious peril. At MSA, we hope to help followers of Jesus respond to the current crisis creatively and effectively in 2009. Please consider joining us with support and participation.
In the next year, MSA plans to hold events and produce resources that will enable all of us to respond with God’s compassion in these turbulent times.

Holy Cooperation!January 2 | We begin the year with a conversation led by Andrew McLeod, author of Holy Cooperation!, a book that gives hope for challenging economic times.

February 7 | Ricci Kilmer will lead the next workshop in The Revolution Starts At Home series, Justice at the Table, that will explore the intricate connections between our faith and our food.

April 25 | The third Revolution workshop will be The Spirituality of Gardening with Christine Sine.

We will continue to use the Seed Sampler, our website and our blogs to provide practical resources, liturgies and spiritual reflections.

We also have a number of other exciting events planned for this coming year.

Salvation on the Small Screen?January 16 |A conversation with Nadia Bolz-Weber, author of Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television

March 7 | Christine Sine will conduct a seminar in Pasadena, California, “Sacred Rhythms: Finding Peace in our Hectic World”

August 14-16 | The annual MSA Celtic Prayer Retreat on Camano Island

October | Tom and Christine Sine will be on a speaking tour in Australia. If you are interested in holding an event while they are down under, please email us at mail@msainfo.org.

You can check out the rest of our speaking and travel schedule here

More Christmas Prayers

This morning I have been reading through some Advent meditations sent to me by our good friend Mark Pierson in New Zealand  Unfortunately they arrived too late to use for Advent but Mark’s reflections are always refreshing and provocative.  I have adapted one here that really impacted me this morning:

God moved into the neighbouhood, as a baby.  Powerless.  Vulnerable.  Approximately 500,000 mothers die in childbirth each year most of them in the poorest countries of our world.  When a mother dies like this it is almost certain that her child will die too God takes a risk.  Where in the world today will women be giving birth in similar circumstances to Mary?

Take a flower and place beside your Advent wreath.  As you watch it this week let it remind you of women living in poverty and crisis who are carry and bearing children in situations even more dire than Mary’s.  Pray for them

Here is another Christmas prayer that this reflection inspired

Jesus you come

In the voice of the poor

In the hurting of the sick

In the anguish of the oppressed

Jesus you come

In the weakness of the vulnerable

In the questions of the doubting

In the fears of the dying

Jesus come

Transform our indifference into caring

Transform our acquisition into sharing

Transform our hearts of stone to compassion

Jesus come

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Here is an interesting bit of Christmas trivia that shows how creatively Christians have always managed to ensure that followers of Christ are trained in the tenets of their faith.  The Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas, is not really the nonsense rhyme its seems to be.

According to kirkweb.org, the song was written in England between 1558 and 1829 when it was a crime to be Catholic.  In fact writing anything that indicated adherence to the Catholic faith could get you hanged.  It was devised as a catechism song to help young Catholics learn the principles of their faith.   The “true love” mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God and the partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ.  Read more

A Christmas Prayer

Rosario Kilmers going sledding

Rosario Kilmers going sledding

I am sitting in our dining room looking out onto the snowiest landscape I have ever seen here in Seattle.  About 12″ of snow covers our yard and garden and there is the possibility of more to come.  We are all anticipating a white Christmas.

The fun aspect of the snow is that it has forced us all to slow down and enjoy life a little more.  Everyone is walking rather than driving and as I tramped around the neighbourhood taking photos I said hello to people I normally only see at our annual street party.  The kids have been out sledding and last night we sat around a cosy fire making a dent in the mountains of cookies we had baked for the open house we intended to hold last night.

Yesterday was a good day for quiet reflection and a great opportunity to write  some liturgies for Christmas and Epiphany that I will share with you over the next few days

Joy to the world our Saviour comes

Not in power, not in might but in in the tenderness of love

He comes as the promise of life hidden in a mother’s womb

This is the time we believe once more thta perfect love casts out fear

That generosity transforms scarcity into abundance

That righteousness overcomes oppression with justice

This is the time we are assured

That God’s light has come into the world

And the darkness will never overcome it.

Who Gets the Bailout?

I don’t normally blog on Sunday but with most of the roads closed, 6″ of snow on the ground and more to come my Sunday routines have changed.  This article courtesy of Jordon Cooper in Saskatoon  Canada caught my eye.  One has to wonder who is the government bailing out?  Obviously Christmas cheer for some.

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.  Read more

OnLine Segregation: The New Form of Discrimination?

In light of the thoughts expressed in my last post I thought that you might appreciate this article from Sojo.net  The New Digital Divide by Andrew Sears of TechMission

As more people get online, they are encountering another type of digital divide: the online segregation of Christians. … You can see a similar segregation reflected in profiles of Christians on online social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace; most people will have friends with backgrounds similar to their own. If everyone links to people they know, the result is that a disproportionate number of resourced individuals and ministries will link to each other, while ministries serving under-resourced communities are stuck in a virtual ghetto. The rich link to the rich, while the poor link to the poor.  Read more

Perhaps one of the other places we need to consider connecting in new ways over the Christmas season is over the internet.  How could you increase your connection to people of other cultures and backgrounds at this season and so increase your understanding of God’s international community.

Are We Looking Forward to Christmas?

greenlake-snow

Christmas is less than a week away and we are looking out on a snow covered Seattle with a clear cold day ahead of us.  I am about to go upstairs to Ricci and Eliacin Rosario Kilmer’s apartment for morning prayers.  In the comfort of my warm home I am reminded once again of what we look forward to at this season.  Our morning prayers start with

This is a season of watchfulness
We watch and wait for the One who heard our cries and entered the suffering of our world
We expect new light to shine as the season of joy approaches

What I realize is that when Christmas arrives, in the excitement of cooking Christmas dinner, opening gifts and phoning my family it is easy to forget what this season is really all about.  And the day after Christmas day our renzied activity can easily give way to a low grade depression.  But Christmas isn’t really over.  In the sixth century it was decided that celebrating Christmas jsut for a day didn’t  provide time to celebrate the joy that Christ’s birth brought into our world.  They made Chrismas into a twelve day festival that ended with a feast on the Eve of Epiphany on January 5th to celebrate the coming of the wise men.

So what are ways that we can fully enter into the celebration of Christmas and make it a 12 day feast not just for ourselves but for our neighbours in God’s worldwide community too.  This beautiful story A Christmas Gift for Mohammed by JR Briggs presents one possibility.  Othe rpossibilities are

  1. Do you know people that are alone at this season? Take them out for a meal or invite them out for the day.  Share with them the reasons that you continue to celebrate the joy of Christmas beyond December 25th
  2. Do you know people who are disabled? Take them for a drive around your neighbourhood to enjoy the Christmas lights.
  3. Do you know people of other faiths? Invite them over for a meal.  Ask them questions about their own faith journey and then ask them if you can share yours and why this season is important to you.
  4. Do you have friends, acquaintances or family you rarely speak to?  Phone one person each evening during the Christmas season to share your joy at Christ’s birth with them.
  5. Do you know people who are homeless or living on the streets?  If you live in the Northern hemisphere invite them home for a meal and an evening by a warm fire.  If you live in the Southern hemisphere invite them out for a BBQ and an afternoon of games and fun.

What are you doing to share your joy of the coming of the Christ child to others at this season?