Christmas Day is a Sunday. Here’s a Liturgy to do at Home.

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Since Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year we’re forced to ask:

Do we want to be home or be holy?

Of course home is just as sacred as the church space but this year gives us an opportunity to explore that truth in new ways. That’s why we, at University Christian Church, chose not to have a service at the church building this Christmas Day. Our worship pastor, Nathan Smith, gathered a merry band of artists and contemplatives to create a liturgy to be used at home, maybe even in our slippers?

We’d like to share it with you.

Below you’ll see the order of “service” and HERE you can download the recordings (two songs and a guided meditation), and handouts. Use it however it works for you.

Greetings from our homes to yours this season!

Christmas falls on a Sunday. If you decide not to have a gathering, here's a Liturgy for home. Click To Tweet

Order of Service for Christmas Day

(italics indicate sections for group to read aloud together if using in a group setting)

Good and gracious God, you have given us your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to come to us and to become like us in flesh and appearance. Through his coming we can say confidently that you have not left us and you will never forsake us. Grant us the grace and the peace to live into this reality and to accept the adoption that you offer and may we be daily renewed in this grace by your Holy Spirit.

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

Psalm 96 Cantate Domino

1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the whole earth.

2 Sing to the Lord and bless his Name;
proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations
and his wonders among all peoples.

4 For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; he is more to be feared than all gods.

5 As for all the gods of the nations, they are but idols; but it is the Lord who made the heavens.

6 Oh, the majesty and magnificence of his presence! Oh, the power and the splendor of his sanctuary!

7 Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples; ascribe to the Lord honor and power.

8 Ascribe to the Lord the honor due his Name;
bring offerings and come into his courts.

9 Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
let the whole earth tremble before him.

10 Tell it out among the nations: “The Lord is King!
he has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea thunder and all that is in it;
let the field be joyful and all that is therein.

12 Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord when he comes,
when he comes to judge the earth.

13 He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with his truth.

or Sing Psalm 96 song (see track 1)

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

The Gospel Reading

Read Luke 2:1-14

The Word of the Lord, Thanks be to God

The Meditation

(For a guided meditation see track 2)

Lord, have mercy Christ, have mercy Lord, have mercy

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

The Canticle

(The below canticle may be read and/or the hymn “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” may be sung. See track 3 for a recording of the hymn.)

Benedictus Dominus

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.

He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,

as he said through his holy prophets of long ago, salvation from our enemies

and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors

and to remember his holy covenant,

the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,

and to enable us to serve him without fear

in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;

for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation

through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God,

by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness

and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Luke 1:68-79

The Blessing

Hear these words and receive this blessing as we celebrate the hope we have in Christ:

Today the darkness begins to grow shorter and the light to lengthen, as the hours of night become fewer…. Realize that the true light is now here and, through the rays of the gospel, is illumining the whole earth.


The Book of Common Prayer

Guided reflection prayers from St. Dimitri of Rostov, PrayerBook App and Orthodox Church in America


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16 responses to “Ordination and the Lord’s Table: PROVIDING SOME “SHAPE” FOR “THE THINGS TO COME”

  1. My sense from the missional leaders, bloggers, and authors I’ve encountered is they wouldn’t disagree with you. Overwhelming we favour the need for organization and leadership. However, it’s the method we recognize these leaders…. Is it the governing body of 4-6 who quiz on dispensationalism and four fold gospel? Or the “recognizing and testing of the gift to facilitate its flourishing in the community…” as you’ve put it….
    I’m in favour of such a discernment process for leadership/apotleship, however, the danger that makes me wary is we become bad Protestants as a result–creating a chasm in our missional churches that recreates distinctions rather than affirming gifts. The downward slope of ‘ordination’ may lead to an organization where there’s clergy over here, and the ‘regular lowly laity’ somewhere over there disconnected from mission.

  2. This is so deeply encouraging, David. These two examples are very relevant to me in my early experience as a church planting pastor. With respect to ordination, I have felt drawn to this again and again, yet resisted it on two ground: first, that it not be done in such away as to created a tiered approach to faith, and second, that it not be linked to requirements that are both distant from the community and unattainable in the details (i.e. cost, time, etc.). While I have always affirmed the shift away from hierarchy, I have equally been concerned with the attitude that would see the gift of pastoral ministry disappear into a bland uniformity in the guise of equality. In my context, though, I am not sure how to approach ordination, as the requirements may disqualify me rather quickly.
    As to the Lord’s Table, this is something we have been working at developing in Little Flowers Community, though it is a slow process. We’ve recently “appointed” an emerging young leader in our community to coordinate the Lord’s Table (though not necessarily leading it). As a result it has been practiced with a degree of diversity and “style” as different members of the community lead. How do we navigate the tension between continuity and (for lack of a better term) monotony?


  3. […] I had to update this post to add a link to David Fitch’s post “Ordination and the Lord’s Table: Providing some ‘Shape’ for “Things t…, a MUST read for those who are seek to nurture missional […]

  4. Love it, Dave. Thanks for speaking a fresh breath into the anti-institutional air. I think the rub re: “clergy” in particular is less with regard to the incarnational nature of church and more with regard to the multiplication and deployment issue. The critique is that ordained clergy aren’t easily reproducible, because it takes time for a person to develop the necessary competencies and prove one’s character in community. This smacks in the face of the rapid multiplication of cells or organic/home churches that is all the rage in certain streams of missional thought.
    BTW, I LOVE your observation about not over-realizing our eschatology. Very insightful and critical.



  5. I really appreciate this post. As I entered the missional church conversation four or five years back in seminary, I found a strange bed-fellow in Hans Kung. His book, “The Church,” expounds on the marks of the church as being a kind of interplay between essence and form, which I think dovetails nicely with what you lay out here. He strongly rejects a kind of idealized, invisible church, but as a Roman Catholic, neither does he accept a perfected institutional church. The Church, he argues, exists in this conversation between its eschatological essence and its historically embodied form. If I’m not mistaken, it was this work that began to get him into some hot water with Rome. In any event, if you’ve not already, I’d consider his work as a nice conversation partner.

  6. Erik,Kung’s book was huge in my own journey back 20 some years ago. I still use it in my missional church classes to this day. Thanks for the good words on that.
    Celione, and Jamie,
    the question on the Lord’s Supper is so huge it’s hard to respond without another blog post etc.. What I’ve learned is this is a very discerning process, done together with a group of people , who have cntextual gifts for sure, but also historical and theological ones… reading both Anabaptist and Catholic sources at the same time … don’t know if that helps at all.

  7. Hey David,
    Given the nature of my question, I actually didn’t expect you to answer here (though a blog post on the topic would be excellent). Your answer is, in fact, helpful. We have been exploring just this path of late. Thanks!


  8. David, I always appreciate your thoughts, though in this case, I must register some reservations. First of all, w.r.t. ordination, I think the word itself is fraught with false clerical notions that render it problematic. Secondly, since you have not really engaged the biblical texts to propose what you might mean by “ordination”, I’m not sure what a better term to use would be. I’m also disappointed that you have not engaged with Marjorie Warkentin’s study, “Ordination: A Biblical-Historical View”. I would have really loved to hear your response to her arguments.
    In the same vein, I would have liked to have seen a more positive exposition of the Lord’s Table. My sense is that many in the emerging/missional community seem to be falling for a sacramental view, perhaps in reaction to the “Lord’s Table Lite” view of typical evangelicalism. To this end, I was hoping to know what you thought of Eric Svendsen’s thought-provoking study, “The Table of the Lord: The Setting of the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament and Its Significance as an Expression of Community” as I believe it has excellent missional applications.

    I also recall a very good article on the Lord’s Table that interacted with the film, “Babette’s Feast”.

  9. […] both cases, there will be a time to both ordain pastors and formalize worship (see this post here). However, what I learned at Life on the Vine is that moving too early on these two fronts (which […]

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