Joel Littlepage

Pastor & Pianist

2016-17 Christmas & Epiphany Prayer Book

Greetings to you and yours as we near the day of Christmas, celebrating the incarnation of our Lord. I pray that this Advent season has been one of loving communion with God in the midst of the deep sorrows, wounds, and joys that come from life in this world.

Today, I am releasing my 2016-17 Christmas & Epiphany Prayer Book

This prayer guide is an entrance into an experience of common daily prayer that journeys along through the Christian Year. Here you will find a daily liturgy for prayer that includes Psalms, Old and New Testament, and Gospel readings, times for meditation and contemplation, confessions, prayers, traditional refrains, hymns, and songs. It is a holy and unifying experience to know that you, your local congregation, and the Church of Jesus around the world are worshipping together in a common way throughout these seasons, whether together or apart. This year, the guide uses scripture selections and weekly prayers (or “collects”) from the Daily Office Lectionary within the Book of Common Prayer (the lectionary and prayer book of the Church of England). Though most of the assigned scripture is included, there is not enough space to fit every reading on every day, so you are encouraged to “fill out” the readings with those found here: http://www.esvbible.org/devotions/bcp/

For the music portion of this season's prayer book, please use the additional Christmas & Epiphany Songbook, which can be downloaded below. There is a streaming Spotify playlist, Redeemer W-S Christmas & Epiphany Sounds that goes with the guide here.

For family devotionals and practices, I recommend using the family devotional guide created for each season by Trinity Presbyterian, a sister church in Charlottesville, VA found here.

Front Cover Artwork: Natividad by Lalo Garcia. 4' x 6' | Acrylic on Canvas.

May all of us experience a vibrant communion with the Triune God during these seasons of Christmas & Epiphany as we learn more and more what it means to live a life of prayer.

2016 Advent Prayer Book

Once again, the holy season of Advent is upon us.

I have completed another year's prayer book, with alterations and improvements from last year. Feel free to use and share. It is my prayer that you be blessed with a rich season of prayer through it. May we all experience deep communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for these next weeks.

Grace and peace,

Joel

 

Advent Prayer Guide

Sample Page

If you are looking for a way to incorporate rhythms of prayer and worship into your life throughout this holy season of Advent, I offer to you this humble attempt at a prayer guide. It features weekly themes, weekly family devotions, weekly songs, and daily liturgies to pray through in community (or on your own). 

Here's a snippet from the introduction:

Common worship and prayer has always been a part of the life of the people of God. In the Scriptures, the Psalms are the most obvious representation of this reality because they function as the hymnbook, daily prayer guide, and liturgical calendar of Israel (i.e. certain Psalms for certain times and occasions throughout the Jewish calendar). The most basic form of this, for us, is on Sunday morning, when we believers gather together to sing common songs, pray common prayers, eat the same Lord’s Supper, and hear the same word preached. Yet, for most strands of Christendom, other times of weekly and daily worship and prayer have been seen as vital and necessary for living a life of discipleship in the local (and global) body.

This prayer guide is an entrance into that experience of common prayer and worship. Here you will find a daily “liturgy” for worship that includes Old and New Testament scripture readings, Psalms, prayers, refrains, hymns, and songs. It is an amazingly unifying experience to know that you and your Church family are worshipping together in a common way throughout this season of Advent, whether together or apart. As directors and pastors at Redeemer, we pray that this guide would be an enriching and sanctifying experience for our whole community in this most holy season.

May all of us experience a vibrant communion with the Triune God during this season of Advent, where we enter into anxious longings, sorrowful lament, unrivaled joy, and quieting peace together, waiting for the visitation of our Lord Jesus.

Download the PDF

 

 

"Welcome Morning" by Anne Sexton

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

_________________________________

"Welcome Morning" by Anne Sexton, from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton. © Mariner Books, 1999. Reprinted with permission.

In Christ There Is No East or West

In light of the history of our country, the events of the last year, and the tragedy in Charleston, our church, Redeemer Presbyterian, recently began a series on Race and the Church. Incorporating corporate song into a series on race and justice issues can be challenging because there are, comparatively, few congregational songs that accompany this theme, though that number is ever-growing. 

I have always enjoyed the text to the hymn In Christ There Is No East or West by Will­iam A. Dunk­er­ley, but have never found a tune for it that I find suitable for my context. Once we began this series, I began reading the hymn anew for this new season in our country and in the Church. As I read the text, I mourned over the fact that though it is true that "in Christ there is no East or West," it is a truth that is so rarely cherished or displayed in our ecclesial life here in America. So the tune, I suppose quite naturally, started out as a dirge in the style of New Orleans. 

But the story doesn't end there. Over the past year and even in the past weeks, I have seen some amazing moments of understanding, reconciliation, and unity here in my land. Surely Jesus' own words will be fulfilled: “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 8:11 ESV). My wife, Melissa, listened to my melody and instantly heard (and sung to me) a gospel chorus to accompany it. It completed and rounded out the tune, both musically and theologically. I wrote one verse (v.3) to explore the nitty-grittiness of racial reconciliation: walls of hostility, the Christ who tears them down, and the unity of the family of God. 

Here's what came out of all of that:

1. In Christ there is no East or West, in Him no North or South;
but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.

2. In Him shall true hearts everywhere their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord, close binding humankind.

Chorus
Join hands, then, members of the faith, whate'er your race may be;
who serves my Father as His child is surely kin to me.

3. In Him those walls shall tumble down, that bear hostility,
and the whole family of God shall dwell in unity.

4.In Christ now meet both East and West; in Him meet North and South:
all Christlike souls are one in Him throughout the whole wide earth.

inchristthereisnoeastorwest.jpg

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