Isaiah 63:7-9: praise for all God has done for the people, through God’s presence, mercy and steadfast love.
Psalm 148: a psalm of praise
Hebrews 2:10-18: Jesus become human like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people.
Matthew 2:13-23: the slaughter of the innocents

Resources (click on ‘read more’)

 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, 
        he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children 
        in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under. 
        Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: 
                “A voice was heard in Ramah, 
                        wailing and loud lamentation, 
                Rachel weeping for her children; 
                        she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” 
                                          — Matthew 2.16-18

Every year, politely aghast,
we push you aside, Rachel,
firmly usher you off stage
away from the baby
asleep in the manger,
no crying he makes,
so you don’t wake him
with your wailing.
Again this year you aren’t invited 
to our pageant.
Let us come and kneel instead 
at your cradle – empty –
your wanting lap,
and behold your devastation:
at the prison doors, 
the border walls, the tent cities.
For once let’s abandon our denial
that you are the reason he came,
not our comfort and joy,
that our violence is the manger
into which he empties himself,
your grief the abyss he willingly enters.
Your cry is his voice.
With you we shove him offstage,
and our complicity—
until we confess
we have ravaged the manger;
this is Good Friday,
and he does not bear his cross alone.
For you, Rachel,
and your children,
we still our confident carols,
hold silence,
and let your lamentation
be the song of our angels.      
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

THE INNOCENTS (Matthew 2:13-23)
Children die daily
in refugee camps worldwide:
we weep with Rachel.
Sad, injured, fearful,
exhausted, confused children:
we weep with Rachel.
How do we respond?
Our government sends some troops:
we weep with Rachel.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, 2019)

More for Christmas 1A by Jeff Shrowder


Singing from the Lectionary – music resources for the lectionary readings

A Voice Was Heard in Ramah
Tune: Llangloffan D (“Lead On, O King Eternal”)
A voice was heard in Ramah that could not be consoled,
As Rachel wept for children she could no longer hold.
For Herod ruled the nation, yet feared the Infant King.
How great the devastation that fear and anger bring!

O God, we hear the crying for little ones of yours;
For many still are dying in conflicts and in wars —
In every troubled nation, on every violent street,
How great the lamentation when fear and anger meet!

Whenever one is weeping, the whole world suffers, too.
Yet, Jesus, as we serve them, we’re also serving you.
So may we not ignore them, nor turn our eyes away,
But help us labor for them to bring a better day.

O Prince of Peace, you lead us in ways of truth and grace.
May we be brave to practice your peace in every place —
To love each fear-filled nation, to serve each troubled street.
How great the celebration when peace and justice meet!

Alternate tune: PASSION CHORALE (“O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”)
© 2004 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette from “Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor” by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (Upper Room Books).
Email: New Hymns:
Permission is given for free use of this hymn, please share it.

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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