December 31, 2023
Worship live on Sundays in person at 11:00 am,
or on YouTube at noon.
WELCOME, GREETING, AND COMMUNITY LIFE
CALL TO WORSHIP
from Psalm 91
Leader: Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
the Most High your dwelling place,
People: No evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
Leader: For He will command His angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
People: On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
ALL: You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
Dear Heavenly Father, just as You sent your angels to care for Your Son Jesus in the wilderness, send your Holy Spirit to care for us in the wilderness of our lives. Make us strong in faith and capable of doing the work of Your Kingdom on Your behalf. Amen.
* GO, TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and ev’rywhere;
Go, tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born!
While shepherds kept their watching
O’er silent flocks by night,
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a Holy light.
The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Savior’s birth.
Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born,
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn.
Covenant Hymnal, #188
OLD TESTAMENT LESSON: Jim Anderson
A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass;
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers; the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers; the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
9 Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
* O ZION, ACCLAIM YOUR REDEEMER!
O Zion, acclaim your Redeemer!
Jerusalem, welcome your King!
Strew palms on the way for the Savior,
His praises exultantly sing.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice in your Savior and King!
Rejoice! Rejoice! Acclaim Him your Savior and King!
He comes from the joys of the ages,
He leaves His dominion sublime;
From glory to Bethlehem’s manger
He comes in the fullness of time.
He comes as a ransom most holy,
He dies on the cross for the world;
Redemption from sin is accomplished,
His banner of light is unfurled.
He comes from the tomb as a victor,
The shadows of death clear away;
The slumbering saints are awakened,
Aroused from their sleep in the clay.
He comes to the sorrowing spirit
And life is renewed by His hand;
He comes to establish a Kingdom
That shall thro’ eternity stand.
Covenant Hymnal, #122
* GOSPEL LESSON: Leslie Hodgkinson
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight,’ ”
4 so John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And the whole Judean region and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him and were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The One who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of His sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as He was coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove upon him. 11 And a voice came from the heavens, “You are My Son, the Beloved; with You I am well pleased.”
12 And the Spirit immediately drove Him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tested by Satan, and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels waited on Him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the good news of God 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 19 As He went a little farther, He saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him.
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.
Children 6 and under are dismissed to Children’s Church in the upstairs lounge. Parents can pick up their children in the lounge after the service.
REFLECTING ON THE WORD
There’s Work to Do
* YOU SERVANTS OF GOD, YOUR MASTER PROCLAIM
You servants of God, your Master proclaim,
And publish abroad His wonderful name;
The name, all-victorious, of Jesus extol;
His Kingdom is glorious and rules over all.
God rules in the heights, almighty to save;
Though hid from our sight, His presence we have;
The great congregation His triumph shall sing,
Ascribing salvation to Jesus, our King.
“Salvation to God, who sits on the throne!”
Let all cry aloud, and honor the Son;
The praises of Jesus the angels proclaim,
Fall down on their faces and worship the Lamb.
Then let us adore and give him His right:
All glory and pow’r, all wisdom and might,
All honor and blessing, with angels above,
And thanks never ceasing for infinite love.
Covenant Hymnal, #322
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH & THE LORD’S PRAYER
We continue to pray for: Nikolas Arden; Theresa Bonk; Messian Burgos; Frank Coszach; Vira Coszach; Art & Rosa Hamilton; Trevor Hanks; Mary Smith; Steve Staurseth; Phillip, son of Iris Velez; and Lauren Villada
Ministries & Mission
Serve Globally Team of the Evangelical Covenant Church; Carlos & Karen Feijoo, serving in Ecuador
THE LORD’S PRAYER:
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 sins as we forgive those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent”
led by Cynthia
* DOXOLOGY & PRAYER
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
* GOD OF GRACE AND GOD OF GLORY
God of grace and God of glory,
On Your people pour your pow’r;
Crown Your ancient Church’s story,
Bring her bud to glorious flow’r.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the facing of this hour,
For the facing of this hour.
Lo, the hosts of evil ’round us
Scorn Your Christ, assail His ways.
From the fears that long have bound us,
Free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the living of these days,
For the living of these days.
Cure Your children’s warring madness;
Bend our pride to Your control;
Shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Lest we miss Your Kingdom’s goal,
Lest we miss Your Kingdom’s goal.
Save us from weak resignation
To the evils we deplore;
Let the gift of Your salvation
Be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Serving You whom we adore,
Serving You whom we adore.
Covenant Hymnal, #608
L: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
P: Thanks be to God
led by Cynthia
please remain seated during the postlude
We’ll be back here next Sunday. We hope you can join us. Information on ravenscov.org.
Please wear a nametag
We’ve had a number of visitors and new attendees lately, and it’s very important that we not only welcome them warmly to our church but also allow them to attach a name to a face. We’re asking everyone to return to our old practice of wearing nametags on Sunday morning. Blank nametags and Sharpies will be available both in the narthex and in the sanctuary.
Esther Johnson (1932-2023)
Former Ravenswood Covenant member Esther Johnson passed away on December 22 at the age of 91. She had been living in Wheaton. Esther and her late husband Milton, who served RECC as church chair for multiple terms in the 1980s, raised their three children, Linda, Cheryl, and Douglas, in this church. Peace to her memory.
Camp Booster Fund
Interested in sending your children to overnight camp at Covenant Harbor or Covenant Point next summer? We have a camp booster fund that will give $200 towards the fee of any Ravenswood Covenant child (or that child’s friend) who wishes to attend one of our two Central Conference summer camps. We feel that every child from our congregation who wants to attend camp should have the opportunity to go!
Sunday School and Faith Forum
Sunday School and Faith Forum meets at 10:00 am every week, unless otherwise noted. Sunday School is currently in the middle of its annual three-week holiday hiatus; Faith Forum is continuing to meet. Come join us as we gather together to learn and grow in faith every Sunday morning.
Scripture reader sign-up
We are seeking people to read the scripture passages of the day as part of the worship services for the first quarter of 2024. If you are willing to be a scripture reader, please add your name to the sign-up sheet in the church office or contact Gregory Sager or Pastor Ryan.
Covenant Harbor is hiring
Covenant Harbor is still looking for some kitchen staff and volunteers. All inquires can be made to Sandy Wendtland at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Summer staff applications for 2024 are now open on the Covenant Harbor website as well. They are already hiring for next year’s summer camp positions. If you have any questions, please contact Emma Mueller at email@example.com.
All of these details can also be found on the camp’s website at www.covenantharbor.org.
Pastor Ryan’s office hours
Pastor Ryan’s office hours at church are typically Tuesday thru Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. If you would like to meet with Pastor Ryan please call the church office in advance to schedule an appointment.
Coffee hour changes
There is now a coffee hour bulletin board downstairs in the fellowship hall! (It’s right next to the kids’ serving window.) Please look there for updated serving instructions as well as to find out what team you’re on. We’ve had some turnover, so we encourage you to sign up to join a serving team if you haven’t done so already. A self-sign-up will now be available on the board so that you can pick which Sundays work best for you. As always, thanks for serving!
Thursday evening Bible study
The weekly Bible study meets Thursdays at 7:00 pm. We are studying the Gospel of Mark. The Bible study meets in the upstairs lounge. For more information, please contact Gregory Sager in the church office at (773) 784-7091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We now have Zoom available again for those who would like to take part in the Bible study but cannot be physically present. The Zoom link for the Bible study is:
Meeting ID: 839 2337 6849
Join Us in Sponsoring a Student in the NPTS SRA Program
North Park’s School of Restorative Arts offers a MA in Christian Ministry and Restorative Arts, allowing free and incarcerated students to study together. This unique degree program is designed to prepare individuals for ministries of restoration in contexts susceptible to violence and includes courses in trauma, race relations, nonviolent communication, conflict transformation, restorative practices, and transformative justice, in addition to Bible, theology, and history. In partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections, this four-year degree is currently offered at Stateville Correctional Center with 80 incarcerated men and a first cohort of 20 women at Logan Correctional Center.
We, Ravenswood Covenant Church, have partnered with North Park Theological Seminary by committing to sponsor a student in this program. To help us support an SRA student please send a check to church or give online and in the memo line write: “SRA Sponsorship.”
Scripture for next Sunday
Art Used in this Bulletin: Steve Erspamer, SM
Clip Art for Year A © 1992, Archdiocese of Chicago.
Our church exists to love and worship God, and love and care for others. By God’s grace, we commit to help people find and follow Jesus Christ through the guidance of His Spirit and His word.