Welcome to our worship service. On the last Sunday of the year, we take the opportunity to have a more interactive and participatory service at Cornerstone Congregational Church. This year we are expanding it from a time of thanksgiving and praise to also include confession and lament. The year 2020 has been very difficult for many, and we need to process it and lay it before the Lord. Let us come before Him and each other to confess what is on our hearts, lament the losses we experienced and the hurts we saw, thank God for the ways He has blessed us in the storm, and praise Him for who He is. He stands above the year 2020 and is altogether good.
Prayer of Invocation (pastor)
Please prepare your hearts and minds with me.
Song #1: O Come To The Altar
As we prepare to come before God, let us take time to examine our hearts and confess our sins. 1 John 1:7b-9 says, “…the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (ESV) This means that we all have sin and all need forgiveness, which Jesus gives us if we ask him. Let’s take time this morning to confess our sin.
Reading of Psalm 80 – A Psalm of Corporate Confession
Corporate Confession (all)
Almighty God, we acknowledge and confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed; we have not loved you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength; we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. Deepen within us our sorrow for the wrong we have done, and the good we have left undone. Lord, you are full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy; there is always forgiveness with you! Restore to us the joy of your salvation; bind up that which is broken, give light to our minds, strength to our wills, and rest to our souls. Speak to each of us, and let your word abide with us until it has wrought in us your holy will. Amen. (source)
Personal Confession (pastor/all)
Jesus died to save us from our sins. He died to reconcile us to himself and to each other. Another pastor once said that if we really understood what Christ has done for us, instead of getting into fights and arguments we would run to each other asking for forgiveness. Is there anything you need to confess? Is there anything you need to be forgiven? If yes, take a moment to confess it to those hurt, your family, your church, yourself. You can do this personally or confess publicly.
Assurance of Pardon (both)
Leader: Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. (Romans 8:34) Friends, believe the good news of the gospel.
People: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!
Leader: The good news in Christ is that when we face ourselves and God with the awareness of our need, we are given grace to grow, and courage to continue the journey. Friends, believe the good news of the gospel.
People: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!
Leader: The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. May the God of mercy, who forgives us all our sins, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life.
Leader: As Jesus healed the afflicted and restored those who have died, He also forgives our sins and gives us new life. Friends, believe the good news of the gospel.
People: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven! (source)
Song #2: Nothing But The Blood
Children’s Moment – Blue sings I’m Bored & Blue says hi to his church friends
WHAT IS LAMENT?
Lament is a biblical way to process grief. It gives us the opportunity to face and name our pain and then to create space for future hope—all without glossing over tragedy. It allows us to cry and rage and even protest life’s difficulties to God and others without fear of judgment. It gives us permission to ask How God? Why God? It’s often raw and emotional. And that’s okay. The Bible gives space for God’s people to do this.
LAMENT IN THE BIBLE
In the Old Testament, almost a third of Israel’s songbook is devoted to psalms of lament, both corporate and individual. Israel’s wisdom literature offers the story of Job’s honest protests to the Lord amid his tragedy. Lamentations is a tear-drenched book entirely dedicated to the cries of God’s people as they process the greatest catastrophe in their history and ask for deliverance despite their sin.
In the New Testament, we witness Jesus lamenting Jerusalem’s future doom and then his own path of doom in the garden. We see missionaries like Paul crying over his lost brothers of Israel. Even in Revelation, the martyred saints cry out “How long, oh Lord?” as they await their vindication. Lament is ingrained into the culture of Jesus’ people and will be until He returns. (source)
Reading of Psalm 12 – A Psalm Lamenting Injustice
Corporate Lamentation (pastor/all)
- Hear now oh Lord the names of those who perished in 2020, our loved ones, family, friends, coworkers, and those we heard about in the news.
- Hear now oh Lord our disappointments and sorrows from this year. We mourn each and every hurt. We experience sadness and grief even though we know you are good.
Song #3: Be Thou My Vision
We now transition into a time of thanksgiving. We thank God for everything he has done in our lives this year, both those things we recognize as good, and those things we have difficulty understanding.
Reading of Psalm 111 – A Psalm of Thanksgiving
Corporate Thanksgiving (pastor/all)
- Hear now oh Lord our prayers of thanksgiving. We thank you Lord for all the ways you blessed us and showed us kindness this year. Please share anything you would like to thank God for publicly.
Song #4: God You’re So Good
Now we finish our time together praising God for who He is. He is good whether He answers our prayers the way we desire. We love Him not for what He can give us, but for who He is.
Reading of Psalm 145 – A Psalm of Praise
Corporate Praise (pastor/all)
- We praise you now oh Lord for who you are by naming your characteristics, your attributes, saying your names, and by worshipping you. You are good and we love you.
The Gospel (pastor)
Most of all we praise God for sending His Son, Christ Jesus, into the world to pay the penalty for our sins, forgive us, and make us new. It is by Christ’s death and resurrection that we know that one day death will be defeated and we, along with the whole world, will be refurbished and renewed. We look forward to our eternal day with Jesus with anticipation and hope. Come Lord Jesus, come.
Song #5: Great Things
We close our time receiving a blessing from God and in return blessing his name.
Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
If you would like additional prayer, please private message me and we can go to a breakout room. Otherwise you are welcome to stay and fellowship or go enjoy your day. God bless.
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