Sunday, January 3, 2016
Year C, Second Sunday in Christmas
First Sunday in Christmas :: White ::
Jeremiah 31:7-14 :: Psalm 147:12-20 :: Ephesians 1:3-14 :: John 1:(1-9), 10-18
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 147
L: Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
P: For God strengthens your gates and blesses your children.
L: God grants you peace; and fills you with the finest of wheat.
P: God sends commands to the earth and God’s word runs swiftly.
L: God gives snow like wool; and scatters frost like ashes.
P: God speaks a word and melts them.
L: God declares the ordinances and statutes to Jacob
P: PRAISE THE LORD!
We come before you loving and mighty God, with an awareness of the turning of time. A new year is before us, and we seek to begin it with you. We come as your people, hungry for your word. We come as your faithful, ready to serve. We come as sinners, needing to meet you at the table of forgiveness. We come, O God, thankful that you have made us aware of your presence here with us.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came in being” The Gospel according to John, Chapter one verses one through three. Did you hear it? With God ALL things came into being: earth, food, you, me, everything. God asks us to return such a small portion of all God gives us, and we sometimes struggle to do so. Yet without God, what would you have?
Creator God, you have given us so much. We return these tithes and offerings as a reminder to ourselves of your many blessings. Bless them and use them, we pray, to further the work which you have begun. Amen.
Ephesians 1:7 and 8 says “In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, [and] the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of God’s grace that God lavished on us.”
LAVISHED on us. Webster says lavish is “very generous or liberal in giving or spending, often extravagantly so; characterized by abundance, luxuriance, splendor, etc.
Seems to me there’s plenty of this grace stuff to go around, and it is REALLY GOOD STUFF!
We remember the grace which God lavishes upon us at this table. This simple feast, which God has given.
Year C, Epiphany Sunday
Epiphany Sunday :: White ::
Isaiah 60:1-6 :: Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 :: Ephesians 3:1-12 :: Matthew 2:1-12
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Isaiah 60
L: Arise! Shine! For your light has come.
P: The glory of the LORD has risen upon us.
L: Nations and kings come before the Light of the World.
P: They shall bring gold and frankincense,
L: They shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.
P: We see and are radiant in the light of the LORD;
L: Let your hearts thrill and rejoice.
P: PRAISE THE LORD!
We gather in your Sanctuary, O God who gives light to the world. We gather because your light is near us, surrounds us, compels us to come together in Christ’s name. As we celebrate this day, the discovery of the Christ by the Magi, let our own Epiphany glow in each of our hearts. Teach us anew the blessing of your Son, Jesus, the Light of the World.
We recall and celebrate the coming of the wise men from the East. We recognize their gifts, and celebrate them as worthy of a newborn king. Today we have the opportunity also, to lay gifts before the King of Kings. Perhaps not gold or frankincense, but gifts nevertheless. Are they worthy? Of course they are. They represent the only gift God really desires: our willingness to recognize Christ as Lord of our lives. We will now receive the gifts you have brought to lay before the King of Kings.
Eternal God, we do indeed bring our gifts before you as did the Magi of old. We know that the value of our physical gifts pale in comparison, but hold fast to the hope they represent. Take these gifts as symbols of our love and devotion. Use them to reach new souls and allow Christ to born again and again in the lives of those you will reach. We offer them in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
It is interesting that the prophecy of Isaiah mentions only Gold and Frankincense. Yet we know that Matthew reports three gifts: including Myrrh. Tradition tells us that Myrrh is a gift for one who is to die, and was prophesy in itself. We also know there is plenty of other prophesy which foretold Christ’s death and resurrection. I’ll let the scholars battle that one out, but raise this question instead. Would we come to this table simply to remember Christ’s birth? Let us receive the gifts of our Lord AND Savior.
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