January 3, 2021 Worship
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. In him was life and the life was the light of all people. Let us turn always to the light.
THE CALL TO WORSHIP
Arise, shine, for your light has come!
The glory of the Lord has risen upon us!
Like sages from afar, come and behold your Christ!
Let us fall on our knees in his honor!
Let us lift our voices in praise of his name!
Let us worship God!
EPIPHANY HYMN No. 145
What Child is This?
(Because the singing of hymns is discouraged during this period of pandemic, you are invited to meditate on verses 1 & 3 below.)
What child is this, who, laid to rest,
on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
haste, haste to bring him laud,
the babe, the son of Mary!
So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh;
come, one and all, to own him.
The king of kings salvation brings;
let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high.
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
the babe, the son of Mary!
CALL TO PRAYERS
Let us come to the feet of Jesus, confessing our sin and our need. And, in the light of Christ, let us be reconciled to God.
PRAYERS OF APPROACH AND CONFESSION
Dear God, In life or death you are our God. We measure our lives by years and by decades, but you are the eternal God—without beginning and without end. Our days are in your hands. We, your people, are in your hands. And we thank you for this. Help us to take heart in the promises that nothing can separate us from your love and that there is a peace that belongs to the people of God. We give you thanks that these promises are real and sure and for Jesus Christ, who makes them real and sure.
We confess, Lord, that you are the Way and that we need the way out of our distress and into your rest, the way out of our anxiety and into your peace, the way out of our disillusionment and into your integrity. We ask for strength to be instruments of your righteousness so that others will know we are Christians by our love, by the integrity of the words we speak, by the order in which we set our priorities.
God, you know the desires of our hearts, the people for whom we are concerned, the anxieties we harbor, and our need for healing where there is sickness in body, mind, or spirit. We ask that the healing wings of your Spirit enfold all who are in need. We ask your comfort for those who grieve, your assurance that while weeping may tarry for the night, joy indeed comes in the morning. We ask your presence for those who are alone, your guidance for those who are lost, your provision for those who hunger and thirst for blessing. We ask the power of the resurrection for our daily living, that all that we do, in word and deed, would glorify the God who raised his son from the dead.
Grant your grace to our leaders, O God, and to all who follow. Make us together a people who do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you, our Lord and Savior. Give us ears to hear your call; give us ears to listen to one another. Gives us hearts open to receive your resurrection; give us hearts open to the needs of one another. Give us eyes to see your glory in the heavenly places; give us eyes to see the needs of your people here in our community and around the world. Give us hands stretched out to touch your mercy; give us hands stretched out to hold one another.
We ask all these things in the strong name of Jesus 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. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF GOD WITH US
As certain as the dawn follows the night, so is the promise of God’s healing, forgiveness, and love for us all. Sisters and brothers, hear and believe the good news of God.
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
And also with you.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
God, source of all light, by your Word you give light to the soul. Pour out on us the spirit of wisdom and understanding that our hearts and minds may be opened. Amen.
SERMON Seeking the Divine
Rev. Dr. Nina Reeder
CELEBRATION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Bright and shining God, inner light of all faithful souls, we celebrate your gifts of love, creation, and beauty. We rejoice that you have made us in your image and call us to live in your limitless love. You bring peoples and leaders to the dawn of your rising. You sent your only child, our morning star, to light a way in our night and lead us to justice and peace. Your Holy Spirit shines good news into our lives. Each daybreak you call us to feed the hungry, bring recovery of sight, liberate the oppressed, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds, and keep watch for the dawn of your commonwealth on earth.
For all of this we give you thanks. And we praise you, joining our voices with all life on earth and the company of heaven, who forever sing their hymns to proclaim the glory of your name:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
You are holy, O God of majesty, and blessed is Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. He was born to dwell among us, full of grace and truth; in him we have seen your glory. Baptized by John in the Jordan, he lived for you, spoke your truth, showed your love, and gave himself for others. In his death on the cross, he overcame death. Rising from the tomb, he raised us to eternal life, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit. Remembering your gracious acts in Jesus Christ, we take from your creation this bread and wine and joyfully celebrate his dying
and rising, as we await the day of his coming. With thanksgiving we offer our very selves to you to be a living and holy sacrifice, dedicated to your service.
Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts of bread and wine, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ. By your Spirit make us one with Christ that we may be one with all who share this feast, united in ministry in every place. As this bread is Christ’s body for us, send us out to be the body of Christ in the world. Shine your light and your love on the offering of our lives. Enlighten us that we may be your people, the body of the risen Christ, the light of the world, set apart to serve this earth that you have made. Keep us faithful in your service until Christ comes in final victory and we shall feast with all your saints in the joy of your eternal realm.
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God, now and forever. Amen.
The Words of Institution
Prayer following Communion
OUR GIFTS OF SACRIFICE and THANKSGIVING
“The LORD will give what is good,” says the psalmist.
Let us share our tithes and offerings, in thanksgiving
for what we have already received, and in the sure hope of an abundant world to come.
Thank you for sending your offerings. They make a great difference to our church’s work in the world.
First Sunday loose plate offering benefits the Deacons Fund.
Prayer of Dedication
O God, who restores and makes new, let these gifts prepare the way: for good news proclaimed, for people comforted, and for the earth tended.
Through our giving, may all partake of an abundant yield of peace. We believe it will be so. Amen.
We Are Sent
ADVENT HYMN No. 151
We Three Kings of Orient Are
(Because the singing of hymns is discouraged during this period of pandemic, you are invited to meditate on the hymn below.)
We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of light,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light.
Born a King on Bethlehem's plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising,
worshiping God on high.
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
All songs not in the public domain are used by permission of CCLI #1124594.