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December 31, 2022
Theme of the Day
With the world we recognize the turn of the calendar from one year to the next. With the Christian Church we confess that we are another year closer to the promised return of our Savior. With the world we recognize the highs and lows of a year past and make resolutions for a new one. With the Christian Church we thank God for all his blessings in the past year and begin a new year under his promise to be with us and bless us for the sake of Jesus.
Pastor Westendorf’s Welcome
Across the Sky the Shades of Night – CW 367
Note that most musical liturgy songs will be sung by a small group of singers today. This is being done to introduce you to this service, called Prayer at the Close of Day, or Compline, found in the new hymnal. (CW p. 225)
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
Let us confess our sins in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence for personal reflection
Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
in our thoughts,
in our words,
in our deeds,
and in all that we have not done.
Forgive us in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Deliver and restore us,
that we may rest in peace.
By the mercy of God we are redeemed by Jesus Christ,
and in him we are forgiven.
Let us rest in his peace until the rising of the sun,
when we shall serve him in newness of life.
Eternal Father, you have placed us in a world of space and time, and through the events of our lives, you bless us with your love. Grant that in this new year we may know your presence, see your love at work, and live in anticipation of the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Reading – Hebrews 13:5-8, 14
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Fill Us with Your Love, O Lord – Psalm 90
After the small group introduces the Refrain, the congregation may join in subsequent Refrains.
Lord, you have been our / dwelling place
throughout all gener- / ations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the / whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting / you are God.
You turn people / back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you / mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has / just gone by,
or like a watch / in the night. Refrain
Teach us to number / our days,
that we may gain a heart of / wisdom.
May the favor of the Lord our God / rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work / of our hands.
Glory be to the Father and / to the Son
and to the Holy / Spirit,
as it was in the be- / ginning,
is now, and will be forever. / Amen. Refrain
Reading – Luke 13:6-9
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
“ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”
O God, Our Help in Ages Past – CW 820
5 Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
soon bears us all away;
we fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the op’ning day.
6 O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
still be our guard while troubles last
and our eternal home!
Sermon – Deuteronomy 34:26-29
Who Can Celebrate New Year’s Like You Can?
Lord God, we thank you for this day of grace now drawing to a close. Stay with us, and warm our hearts with your forgiving love in Christ. By your Word keep our faith burning brightly, that we may walk in the light of your presence through the darkness of this world. Come and bless us as we worship you – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Lord’s Prayer – CW 230
Song of Simeon – CW 231
The almighty and merciful Lord – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – bless us and keep us.
Now Greet the Swiftly Changing Year – CW 368
5 With him as Lord to lead our way
in want and in prosperity,
what need we fear in earth or space
in this new year of grace?
6 “All glory be to God on high,
and peace on earth!” the angels cry.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
another year of grace.
7 God, Father, Son, and Spirit, hear!
To all our pleas incline your ear;
upon our lives rich blessing trace
in this new year of grace.