• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Sunday Worship on December 20, 2020


The Holy Eucharist: The Liturgy of the Word

4th Sunday of Advent (Year B)

December 20, 2020


Watch the Livestream at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav/Live/

Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)



Preface


We at St. Matthew's Church in Savannah are unable to gather together in person due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Under the guidance of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, the Vestry has decided to keep our church building closed to all in-person gatherings.


At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, I will broadcast the following worship service using Facebook Live at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav. After the service concludes, you can re-watch it at any time.


Today's service is the Liturgy of the Word (or the first part of the Holy Eucharist service we use on normal Sundays). This is for use at home while watching the live stream or reading the prayers when you cannot physically attend worship. Lay people may read the entirety of this service as printed.


May God protect you from this virus and protect the most vulnerable among us. May we be God’s hands and feet of compassion and service to all in need during this time. Amen.


Yours in Christ,

Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda



The Word of God


Hymn #56: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel


1 O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.

REFRAIN: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

2 O come, thou Wisdom from on high, who orderest all things mightily; to us the path of knowledge show and teach us in her ways to go.

3 O come, O come, thou Lord of might, who to thy tribes on Sinai's height in ancient times didst give the law in cloud and majesty and awe.

4 O come, thou Branch of Jesse's tree, free them from Satan's tyranny! That trust thy mighty power to save and give them victory o'er the grave.

5 O come, thou Key of David, come and open wide our heavenly home. Make safe the way that leads on high and close the path of misery.

6 O come, thou Dayspring from on high, and cheer us by thy drawing nigh; Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadow put to flight.

7 O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of [hu]mankind. Bid thou our sad divisions cease and be thyself our King of Peace.


8 O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.

Words: Latin, ca. 9th century; version from Hymnal 1940; Public Domain.

Music: Veni, veni, Emmanuel, plainsong, Mode 1, Processionale, 15th cent.; adapt. Thomas Helmore; Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #32091. All rights reserved.



A Penitential Order

[BCP, p. 351]


Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen.


Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14,16)


Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.


Silence may be kept.


Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.


Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.


LEV #236: Lord Have Mercy

[BCP, p. 356]


Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy on us.


Christ, have mercy,

Christ, have mercy,

Christ, have mercy on us.


Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy, have mercy on us.


Words: Public Domain.

Music: Leon C. Roberts, Mass of St. Augustine © 1992 G.I.A. Publications, Inc.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #07254. All rights reserved.


The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 212]


The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Reading from Second Samuel (7:1-11, 16)


When the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, "See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent." Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you."


But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?" Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Song of Mary

[BCP, p. 119; Luke 1:46-55]

Read responsively by half-verse (at the asterisk).

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; * for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.


From this day all generations will call me blessed: * the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.


He has mercy on those who fear him * in every generation.


He has shown the strength of his arm, * he has scattered the proud in their conceit.


He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, * and has lifted up the lowly.


He has filled the hungry with good things, * and the rich he has sent away empty.


He has come to the help of his servant Israel, * for he has remembered his promise of mercy,


The promise he made to our fathers, * to Abraham and his children for ever.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: * as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.



A Reading from the Letter to the Romans (16:25-27)

Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith-- to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.



The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Luke (1:26-38)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

“Where Does God Live?” by the Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda


Where does God live? More than ever, this year we have been confronted with that question. Where does God live? Does God live in buildings made of wood, brick, and stone? Does God live in bread and wine? Does God live in any place where we physically gather to praise and worship? The answer to all of these questions is… sort of. But all three of those options have been challenged during this COVID-19 pandemic.


We have gone through a year together in which we have not been able to assemble physically since March. We have not worshiped God in this building that we love and cherish since March. We have not been able to receive the Sacrament of Jesus Christ’s Body and Blood in the bread and wine of Holy Communion since March. Everything about 2020 has been weird like that.


But those challenges beg the question: Where does God live? Because if we cannot do the things we normally do, we must ask whether what we can do matters. What do our virtual assemblies mean? What are they good for? Who are we as a people when those activities are stripped away from us? How can we continue to be a Christian worshipping community when our habits of worship have been forcibly changed and removed from us by this public health crisis? These are the kinds of reflection questions that we church leaders have been asking ourselves for months, and maybe you have wondered about too.


As it turns out, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). These questions that feel so new and fresh are just remixes of old, ancient questions. Human beings have been asking where God is for centuries. We have survived upheavals to our religious habits in many generations past. So we turn once again to the Bible for wisdom about how to proceed.


First, we’re going to look at 2 Samuel. You may not be very familiar with the stories in 1 and 2 Samuel, but they essentially tell the story of the rise of King David, who was only Israel’s second king, but is remembered as its greatest leader. These stories take place about 1000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. They are part of the Old Testament stories that help to establish the LORD God’s covenant relationship with the people of Israel (later known as Jews).


Some context here is important. You’re familiar with the story of the Exodus, right? The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, and God sent Moses to lead them out of slavery, through the Red Sea and into the wilderness. There, they met God together on Mt. Sinai and received the Law. On Mt. Sinai, they established the Ark of the Covenant and built a traveling tent in which they worshipped God on the go. They carried this Tabernacle with them wherever they went and they always worshipped in and around it. Then they wandered in the desert for a generation (40 years) and eventually made it across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land.


But then there are several hundreds of years, several generations, between arriving in the Land of Canaan and establishing a kingdom. In the Books of Joshua and Judges, we learn about the Israelites’ many conflicts with the people who already lived in Canaan. Throughout that period, the Israelites were a disjointed confederation of twelve tribes with no real political unity or authority. They were usually ruled by some bigger kingdom and God regularly sent prophets and judges to help liberate the people.


Throughout that whole period, the priests and Levites continued to lead worship using the traveling Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. For hundreds of years, God had been on the move with the people of Israel. They were unsettled in the land and God was unsettled too. God made God’s presence known in this tent that reminded them that God would be with them wherever they went.


But then the people grow tired of the uncertainty and ask the Prophet Samuel for a king. First they get Saul, but then they get King David. Under the leadership of Saul and David, the Israelites form a large enough army to push back all the competing nations and peoples around them and establish a small kingdom. They finally settle their borders and have “rest from all [their] enemies around [them]” (2 Samuel 7:1). David shifts from being a general-king, leading his troops in battle, to becoming a ruler-king. He settles into a city called Jerusalem, builds a palace, establishes a government, and goes about making the twelve tribes into a unified kingdom.


That’s when we arrive at 2 Samuel 7 and learn that David wants to build a house for God. It’s the next logical step in his mind. God has been on the move with the people, residing in this traveling Tabernacle for hundreds of years. But now, in David’s mind, the promises of God are finally fulfilled and the people have achieved their goal of settling down in the land of Canaan. So David asks the Prophet Nathan if he can build a temple, a permanent structure where the priests and Levites can lead the people in worship. Nathan thinks that’s fine and tells him to go ahead.


But then there’s a plot twist. God says no. “Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’” (2 Sam 7:5-7).


It turns out God does not need a house. God’s people do not need to meet God in a house. Their worship is perfectly valid even when God is found in a roaming tent. They can commune with God on the move. They can find God wherever they go. The people still assembled for worship and performed all the rituals prescribed by the Law, but they were not confined to one place to do it.


This will change a generation later when David’s son Solomon does build that grand Temple in Jerusalem, but that building doesn’t last forever. Instead, 1000 years later, God makes a new home on earth, and it’s not in a building made by human hands. It’s in the body of a poor young woman whose life is about to be turned upside down by a baby boy she did not ask for.


In Luke 1, the Angel Gabriel meets Mary while she is still engaged to Joseph and has yet to “know” him. He tells her that God will give her a son who is God’s Son and who will carry on the legacy of their ancestor, King David. This son, Jesus, will save all people and rule over a kingdom that has no end. Jesus will be the perfect union of God and humanity. Jesus will show us that God does not live in buildings or in anything else human beings can make. God lives in us.


In the Incarnation of the Word of God, we learn that God loves the world and humanity so much, that God is willing to become a human being. God is willing to take on flesh as a way of honoring and saving human flesh. On Christmas, we learn that all life is precious in God’s sight. We learn that God can be near to us and with us wherever we go because God still lives in the tent of the human body.


This year we are re-discovering that God doesn’t live in our church building. God never has. God lives in us. God lives in the human body, spirit, and soul. God lives wherever we are and wherever we go. God’s presence is concentrated when we worship together, and God’s presence is especially sure and certain in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. But even in the absence of those things and signs, God does not leave us nor forsake us. God remains with us in our very selves, souls and bodies. God shows that to us on Christmas.


Because God has drawn near to us in Jesus, God will continue to be near to us today. God’s Holy Spirit dwells within us, especially in times of uncertainty and instability. When we are most afraid and disoriented, most troubled by our loss of things that felt comfortable, God is near. When we lose our ability to step into familiar church buildings or assemble around people we love or receive the precious Sacraments, God is near.


We are not abandoning those things, of course. They are important and lovely, and we long for the day when it will be safe to assemble in person and gather in this building and share Communion at this altar rail. But now is a time for us to remember that we do not need them. As we approach this most unusual Christmas, remember that all we need is God’s presence. And God is never far from us because God lives in us. Amen.



Hymn #66: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus


1 Come, thou long-expected Jesus

born to set Thy people free;

from our fears and sins release us,

let us find our rest in Thee.


2 Israel's strength and consolation,

hope of all the earth thou art;

dear desire of every nation,

joy of every longing heart.


3 Born thy people to deliver,

born a child, and yet a King,

born to reign in us forever,

now thy gracious kingdom bring.


4 By thine own eternal Spirit

rule in all our hearts alone;

by Thine all-sufficient merit,

raise us to thy glorious throne.


Words: Charles Wesley, Public Domain.

Music: Stuttgart, adapt. and harm. William Henry Havergal, alt.; Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84272. All rights reserved.



The Nicene Creed

[BCP, p. 358]

We believe in one God,     

the Father, the Almighty,     

maker of heaven and earth,     

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,     

the only Son of God,     

eternally begotten of the Father,     

God from God, Light from Light,     

true God from true God,     

begotten, not made,     

of one Being with the Father.     

Through him all things were made.     

For us and for our salvation         

he came down from heaven:     

by the power of the Holy Spirit         

he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,         

and was made man.     

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;         

he suffered death and was buried.         

On the third day he rose again             

in accordance with the Scriptures;         

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.     

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,         

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,     

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.     

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.     

He has spoken through the Prophets.     

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.     

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.     

We look for the resurrection of the dead,         

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Prayers of the People

[Adapted from http://theadventproject.org/Documents/adventpop.pdf]

Sisters and Brothers, as we joyfully await the full manifestation of God’s Reign in Christ, let us pray for the needs of the church and the world, saying, “Come, Lord Jesus.”


O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High and reach from beginning to end, mightily and sweetly ordering all things. Behold and bless your church, remembering especially Michael our presiding bishop, Frank our Bishop, Guillermo our priest, Toni and Margaret our wardens, our vestry and delegates, and all leaders in this parish. Be present in ordering the life of this and every congregation.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Adonai, God of the Covenant, ruler of the house of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave your law. Forgive us when we stray from your guidance and will.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Root of Jesse, you stand as an emblem to humankind; before you, rulers will shut their mouths, and nations bow in worship: We pray for your peace and justice in every nation and throughout the world; be present to all whose lives are ravaged by war and strife; especially we hold before you those from among us who serve their country abroad. Guide the leaders of this and every land into the paths of peace and goodwill.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, you open and no one can shut, you shut and no one can open: Guide us in opening the doors of opportunity for the unemployed, for the homeless, for prisoners, and for all who are oppressed; and lead us in closing the doors that lead to poverty, bigotry, and injustice.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O King and Desire of the Nations, you are the cornerstone that makes us one: We lift up all who are suffering and in need, especially Martha Avery, Anthony Blue Jr., Charlotte Blue, Zavier Bradley, Jacquelyn Bryant, Jocelyn Bryant, Christine Brown, Genella Chamberlain, Liam Clemons, Marquez Clemons, Taylor Blue Clemons, Teresa Blue Clemons, Annie Colbert, Lazola Cope, Alice Dailey, Beryl Dandy, Mark Dashiell, Brittany Dawson, Eduardo Espinosa, Imani Ferguson, Ruby Fernandez, Harry Frazier, Gary Gordon, Amanda Green, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Enoch Henderson, Charles E. Hines, Kenneth Howard, Terri Howard, Dale Hundley, Jared Hundley, Tracy Hundley, Milinda James, Alvin Jenkins, Dana Jenkins, David Jones, Frances T. Jones, Jaiden Jones, Lori Jones, MacKenzie Jones, Nolan Jones, Olivia Jones, Rachael Blue Jones, Robert L. Jones, Sr., Ronald Jones, Tonya Jones, Emmanuel Kelley, Whitney Kennedy, Leonard Law, Jr., Ralph Lovett, Ryan Lovett, Tammie Lovett, Marcus Marzen, Joan Maty, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Altheria Maynard Carmelita Maynard, Bette Milledge, Hollie Moultrie, Patricia Murry, Russell Nails, Dorothy Neal, Jameel Newton, Glenzy Payne, Robert Payne, Dison Washington Slaughter, James Small, Gwendolyn Smith, Courtney (Watts) Vista, Ed Vista, Willie Stephens, Lori Ward, Gertrude Washington, and Noel Wheeler: Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous and help us minister to them in your love.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Dayspring, radiance of the Light Eternal and Sun of Righteousness: Shine your light on those who have died; remember especially Raleigh Bryant and those we name now..., and bring comfort to all those who mourn.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Emmanuel, God with us, Expected One and Savior, We give thanks for all the blessings of this life; for all those who this week celebrate birthdays and wedding anniversaries; and for the other blessings we now name silently or aloud… Make each of us ready to receive you into our hearts, to serve you in all whom we meet, and to greet you in the fullness of your glory in the day of your appearing.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The Celebrant concludes with a suitable Collect.


Hasten, O Father, the coming of your kingdom; and grant that we, your servants who now live by faith, may with joy behold your Son at his coming in glorious majesty; even Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.



The Peace

[BCP, p. 360]


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Announcements

NOTICE - Vestry Keeps Church Closed for In-Person Worship: The Vestry has continued to track public health data and the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. We have established a task force of church members who are health care professionals to advise the Vestry on when it will be safe to resume in-person gatherings.


You can follow the public health data with the Georgia Coastal Health District. The Vestry and COVID-19 Church Re-Gathering Task Force aim to see the daily COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people fall below 10 in Chatham County (yellow zone) for a sustained period of time before authorizing in-person gatherings: https://covid19.gachd.org/daily-case-rate-per-100000/


A. Christmas Eve Hybrid Worship at 4 PM: St. Matthew's will hold a hybrid online/in-person worship service on Christmas Eve (12/24/2020) at 4:00 PM. At 4:00, we will debut a pre-filmed video of the Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist on Facebook Live. This will function just like our other online worship videos.


At 5:00 (or right after the video ends), church members are invited to gather in their cars in the parking lot to receive communion. Worshippers will stay in their cars and Fr. Arboleda will deliver communion (bread only) to people at their car windows. Communion will be available in the church parking lot from approximately 5:00-6:00 PM. Please note that the church building will not be open to the public (not even the bathrooms, unfortunately). This is the first time Holy Communion has been available to our parish since the pandemic began in March. We hope to see you then!


B. T/W/Th Evening Prayer via Zoom in December: Starting on Wednesday, December 2, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in December, Fr. Arboleda will invite parishioners to pray Evening Prayer with him over Zoom. The video will still stream to Facebook Live at 5:00 PM, but we'll see more faces and hear more voices. To join the Zoom call, click the link below at 4:45 PM on Wednesday. Otherwise, watch the prayer service like you have been on Facebook Live.


For security purposes, below is the Meeting ID only; please check your St. Matthew's e-Newsletter for the password (or email FrGAA@StMattSav.org to request it).


Topic: Zoom Evening Prayer

Time: Dec 15, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Every week on Tue, Wed, Thu, until Dec 23, 2020, 10 occurrence(s)

Dec 15, 2020 05:00 PM

Dec 16, 2020 05:00 PM

Dec 17, 2020 05:00 PM

Dec 22, 2020 05:00 PM

Dec 23, 2020 05:00 PM


Join Zoom Meeting: See e-Newsletter


Meeting ID: 930 0965 1671

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


Dial by your location

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 930 0965 1671

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


C. Early Voting in Chatham County 12/14-12/31: The Georgia Senate Runoff Election will take place on January 5, 2021. Please make a plan to vote now! If you have not already requested and received an absentee ballot, please take advantage of the early voting period from December 14-31. The full schedule for early voting dates, times, and locations may be found here: https://www.savannahnow.com/story/news/2020/12/04/georgia-senate-runoff-election-early-voting-information-absentee-ballot-vote/3824169001/.


Fr. Arboleda spoke about the importance of early voting in a virtual press conference organized by Georgia Faith in Public Life on Monday. Read about it here: https://theamericanonews.com/2020/12/15/georgia-faith-senate/; here: https://fox28media.com/news/local/faith-leaders-encouraging-church-community-to-vote; and here: https://www.connectsavannah.com/NewsFeed/archives/2020/12/15/savannah-priest-guillermo-arboleda-joins-other-georgia-faith-leaders-in-call-for-early-voting.


D. SAIJM Is Now J.U.S.T.: The Savannah Area Interfaith Justice Ministry (SAIJM) adopted a new name at its annual Covenant Assembly on December 7. The organization will now be called "Justice Unites Savannah Together" (J.U.S.T.). More importantly, at the Covenant Assembly, over 260 people representing 21 congregations decided on the problem areas we will work to address in 2021. JUST will focus on Housing and Poverty/Income Inequality in our area. The next step is to begin researching practical ways to remedy these problems in our community. JUST will hold its Research Kickoff on Monday, January 11th at 6:30 pm via Zoom. Invitations and links are forthcoming.


E. Virtual Coffee Hour 12/20 - Advent Party: We will hold a virtual "Coffee Hour" over Zoom on Sunday, December 20, and again on every other Sunday at 10:30 AM. (Thank you to Mrs. Rachael Blue-Jones who is donating a professional Zoom login to the church for our use.) 


We will celebrate our annual Advent/Christmas Party for the parish. Wear your silliest sweater, drink hot cocoa, and come prepared for Christmas themed games.


For security purposes, below is the Meeting ID only; please check your St. Matthew's e-Newsletter for the password (or email FrGAA@StMattSav.org to request it).


Topic: St. Matthew's Coffee Hour

Time: Dec 20, 2020 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Meeting ID: 825 7251 1175

Passcode: SEE e-NEWSLETTER


Dial by your location

+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 825 7251 1175

Passcode: SEE e-NEWSLETTER


F. Worship with the Diocese 12/25, 12/27, & 1/3: Worship with the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia on their Facebook Page on Christmas Day (12/25/2020), the 1st Sunday After Christmas (12/27/2020), and the 2nd Sunday After Christmas (1/3/2021) at 10:00 AM on all days.

https://www.facebook.com/georgiaepiscopal


G. New Year's Eve Worship at 5 PM: St. Matthew's will hold a virtual worship service on our Facebook Page on New Year's Eve (12/31/2020) at 5:00 PM. Tune in for our celebration of the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, our goodbye to a difficult year, and our hopeful welcome of 2021.

https://www.facebook.com/stmattsav


H. “Trip Around the World” Quilt Raffle: The Quilter's Guild, through St. Matthew's ECW, is raffling a "Trip Around the World" Quilt to benefit St. Matthew's Building Renovation Fund. This fund supports major extra-budgetary building improvement projects, such as painting, replacing the sound system, replacing the oven in Toomer-Walker Hall, etc.


This beautiful, jewel-toned quilt measures 103"x90" and will fit a queen-sized bed. This machine-stitched quilt in tones of deep violet amethyst, blue sapphire, green emerald, blue topaz, and green peridot will enhance any bedroom.


The winner will be announced on September 30, 2021. Winners do not need to be present to win. In addition to the grand prize of the "Trip Around the World '' quilt, there will be interim raffles of seasonal quilt-type projects for no additional ticket purchase. Interim winners will still be eligible for the grand prize.


The first interim drawing was on December 16, 2020. Sheila Jones won four Christmas potholders and Yavonne Taylor won a set of six Christmas placemats. The next interim drawing will be in late February or early March.


Tickets are $15 each. Please make donations in $15 increments. Tickets may be purchased by:

  1. Mailing a check to St. Matthew's with "Quilt Raffle" in the memo line; OR

  2. Visiting https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/give/quilt

Expect your raffle tickets to be returned to you by mail or email within 5-7 business days of receipt. Direct any questions to office@stmattsav.org.


I. Giving to St. Matthew's: Many people are feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including the church. We still need your support to pay our staff, pay our bills, and provide for these online live streams. If you pledged a donation in 2020 and are able, please continue making those contributions. If you have not pledged, please consider donating to St. Matthew’s now and in the future. There are several ways to give, but the simplest are these:

  1. Mail us a check or money order at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1401 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd, Savannah, GA 31415; OR

  2. Make a secure online gift to St. Matthew’s and/or automate future gifts at: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now; OR

  3. Text “stmattsav” to 73256 to make a secure online donation through your phone.

NOTE: Donations made online (#2 or #3) through Realm incur a processing fee of about 2.5%. Please consider adding an additional 2.5% to your online gift to cover these costs.


The Offertory

[BCP, p. 376]


“When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24, NRSV)


Give online at: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now



LEV #14: Soon and Very Soon


1 Soon and very soon we are goin' to see the King,

Soon and very soon we are goin' to see the King,

Soon and very soon we are goin' to see the King,

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we are goin' to see the King!


2 No more cryin' there we are goin' to see the King,

No more cryin' there we are goin' to see the King,

No more cryin' there we are goin' to see the King,

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we are goin' to see the King!


3 No more dying there we are goin' to see the King,

No more dying there we are goin' to see the King,

No more dying there we are goin' to see the King,

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we are goin' to see the King!


4 Soon and very soon we are goin' to see the King,

Soon and very soon we are goin' to see the King,

Soon and very soon we are goin' to see the King,

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we are goin' to see the King!


Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.


Words & Music: Andrae Crouch © 1976 Bud John Songs, Inc. / Crouch Music / ASCAP. All rights reserved.



The Lord’s Prayer

[BCP, p. 364]


And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing & Dismissal

[The Book of Occasional Services 2018, p. 9; BCP, p. 366]


May the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.


Let us bless the Lord!

Thanks be to God!






Permissions: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), African American Heritage Hymnal (AAHH) and other sources cited. Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture readings and quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible


Cover Image: An artists' depiction of the ancient palace of King David in Jerusalem (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/palace-king-david/)

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