Presbyterians Today

NOV-DEC 2018

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22 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay some ways puts it rightly back on God," Weaver Riehl said. One of the things that begin to happen, she said, is that people come to the service on behalf of someone else in their lives: "My uncle just lost his wife, so I'm here for him" or "My best friend just lost their baby, so I'm here for them." For Weaver Riehl, rather than being a contradiction to traditional Advent and Christmas services, the Longest Night actually deepens the significance of those services. "We're trying to help people inte- grate the fullness of life and know that we can find our joy in the midst of our sorrow," Weaver Riehl said. Erin Dunigan is a PC(USA) ordained evangelist living in Baja California, Mexico, where she founded Not Church, a gathering of atheists and agnostics who wish to deepen their spiritual journey. She is also a freelance writer and photographer who finds joy in riding her horse daily along the beach. LEARN MORE When loneliness, grief and depres- sion get too great to handle, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at sprc.org BLUE CHRISTMAS LITURGY The following are examples of prayers to incorporate in a Blue Christmas service. These were written by parish nurses at First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The complete order of worship can be found at presbyterianmission.org/ resource/blue-christmas-service-wholeness-and-healing Call to Worship Today we come looking for the Christ Child. We come, bringing our hurts, our worries, our fears. We come seeking relief from pain. With the psalmist of old we say, "O Lord, you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Give heed to my cry, for I am brought very low." Prayer God of mercy, hear our prayer in this Advent season for ourselves, and for our families and friends who live with the struggles of illness and the pain of loss. We ask for strength for today, courage for tomorrow, and peace for the past. We ask these things in the name of Christ, who shares our life in joy and sorrow, death and new birth, despair and promise. Amen. Intercession for Healing The God of strength moves within us; the God of courage hears our distress. The God of hope reveals wholeness to us; the God of healing touches us when we are broken. When the pain overwhelms us, when the burden is too heavy, we turn to our God, who is sustaining and redeeming. When there is loneliness, when there is isolation, we turn to our God, who is loving and present. For God created us, redeemed us and sustains us, and we are not alone. Lead us in your ways, O God, and bring us your healing touch. Benediction May the power and the mystery go before us, to show us the way, shine above us to lighten our world, lie beneath us to bear us up, walk with us and give us companionship, and glow and flow within us to bring us joy.

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