~ SERVICE OF THE WORD ~
January 03, 2021
PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
O God of light and peace, whose glory, shining in the child of Bethlehem, still draws the nations to you: dispel the darkness that shrouds our path, that we may come together in this place before Christ in true worship, offer him our hearts and souls, and live as he has taught us. Amen.
PLEASE NOTE - THERE IS NO VIDEO OF TODAY'S SERVICE
DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS, THE SERVICE WAS NOT RECORDED
GREETING & CALL TO WORSHIP
Good morning and welcome to Saint John’s Church. Today we celebrate Epiphany, the visit of the Wise Men and the manifestation of Christ as both human and divine…God’s light has come to reveal the Way in this New Year. Arise! Shine! Let us being our worship together.
GATHERING HYMN "The First Nowell"
PSALM OF THE DAY
A Prayer For Guidance & Support
Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service.
For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.
CONFESSION OF SIN
The prophet speaks of the coming light of God, which calls all the people of the earth to come together. Let us confess the ways in which we have rejected God’s vision of wholeness.
God of light and darkness, we have seen the glimmer of your star beckoning to us,but we have turned away and followed other paths. We confess that we have not loved you with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us, Holy One. Strengthen our faltering steps and guide us in your holy way of peace. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
God's light is present in this world, and the darkness did not overcome it. God's grace is in the world, and our mis-steps will not overcome it. We are loved, we are forgiven. Thanks be to God! Amen.
SHARING GOD'S PEACE
God’s peace is yours!
And yours also!
ACT OF PRAISE
Let us praise the Lord!
The Lord’s name be praised!
Response: “Glory Be To The Father”
OLD TESTAMENT READING
The Ingathering Of The Dispersed
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon, you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. They shall bring gold and frankincense and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.
NEW TESTAMENT READING
Ephesians 3: 1-12
Paul’s Ministry To The Gentiles
This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles – for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
Matthew 2: 1-22
The Visit Of The Wise Men
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
HYMN "Watchmen, Tell Us Of The Night"
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
He ascended into heaven,
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
And he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic Church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body
And the life everlasting. Amen.
MORNING PRAYERS & LORD’S PRAYER (using debts/debtors)
The Lord be with you.
And with you also.
God of wonder, we gather today with gratitude for the gift of your presence and your guidance in our lives. You continue to lead us, guiding us by the teachings of Jesus to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly in your loving shadow.
We struggle with the pain we see daily in our world…wars waged over power and greed, violence committed against the innocent, broken relationships and loss. It is almost too much to take in sometimes. Yet through all these, you remain steadfast in your devotion for your entire creation. And even in our doubts and struggles, you remain constantly present.
We pray for peace in our world, Lord, the kind of peace in which we share in the joy that is to be found everywhere. We pray for those who are lonely, that you might lead us to reach out to them. We pray for those who are hungry, that you might lead us to offer sustenance. We pray for those who are lost, that you might lead us to give hope and direction. We pray for our world, that we might work together to lift one another up. We pray for our leaders, that your Spirit might guide them work together rather than against one another.
We pray for our church, that we may seek your Spirit in the work of our congregation. And we pray for ourselves, that we might continue learning the lessons you offer, seeking the fullness of your perfection, and live as you would have us live. We ask all these things through Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray saying…
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
The birth of Jesus, our light, has come and overwhelmed us with joy. Like the Magi of long ago, may we offer the gifts that we are able. Please stand as we join in singing God’s praise…
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Loving God, we offer our gold: the glow of shining moments that brighten our lives. We offer our frankincense: the grace of care and friends. We offer our myrrh: the ashes of our dreams and bitter taste of our failures. Accept our treasures and transform them that they may be used to pass the promise of hope, of peace, of life, of community to all in need of your gifts and presence in their lives. Amen.
PARTING HYMN “As With Gladness Men Of Old”
COMMISSION & BENEDICTION
Go in peace. Love and care for one another in the name of Christ. May the Spirit of God which filled John and Jesus, fill your hearts, souls and minds; May the power of God which upheld them, strengthen us for each day; and may the love of God which directed their every action be our guiding light and shining star, both now and forevermore. Amen.
Response: Amen, Amen, Amen
CHIMES & POSTLUDE MUSIC
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