Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving
January 3, 2021
In the midst of COVID cautions, one action for Epiphany can be accomplished whether you are meeting in person, folks are following along on-line, or you can mail instructions (and chalk!) from the church office.
Chalking the doorway is an ancient tradition, writing the supposed initials of the three wise men over the doorway. Typically the mark includes the century since Christ’s birth, followed by the initials of the magi (traditionally named Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar), and finally the year. Crosses alternate between the numbers and initials. So this year, the marking is: 20 + C + M + B + 21.
Interestingly, CMB also symbolizes the phrase Christus mansionem benedicat
(translated mean “may Christ bless the house.”)
Here’s a wonderful graphic to use with the call to worship:
(This is a microsoft free clipart image with text
from the Isiaiah text via www.laughingbird.net)
Call to Worship (from Isaiah 60)
One: Stand up and SHINE! For your light has come.
Many: The glory of the Lord is setting us ablaze with Light!
One: Lift up your eyes and look around.
Many: Now is the time to see and be radiant!
One: It’s time to rejoice, for God is at work.
Many: So now is our time to look up! Light up!
All: Let us worship the Lord our God!
In the midst of so much difficulty and darkness, God, we rejoice in the Light which came into the world in Jesus, the One we claim as Christ.
As we focus our minds, and put our energy into worship, help us celebrate
the shining which led travelers to find the child Jesus so long ago,
and the shining which continues to lead us to find and follow
the Christ who is Light of the world. AMEN
Moment for Stewardship (from Matthew 2)
The old joke goes like this: “You can be sure it was a group of MEN who came to bring these gifts to baby Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
If women had made the trip, they would have brought diapers, casseroles and helpful advice for a first-time Mom.”
For today, let’s think about how we ALL are magi, bringing gifts.
On this first Sunday of a new calendar year, what gifts are you bringing?
(if you have time/energy, you could provide each person with a cut-out star, and ask each one to write a gift s/he will offer in this new year. Someone with a Cricut could create them out of card stock.)
Imagine what can be done with the gifts you offer today.
The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus can be shared as we __________
(name one or two ways your congregation will use the morning offering).
With joy and energy for all this new year offers, let us receive our morning offering.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Ever-giving God, we thank you for this new calendar year and the opportunity to begin with thanksgiving! Help our gratitude for your many gifts translate into actions of generosity and care, beginning with this offering. Receive these gifts, help us use them wisely and rejoice in the Light which continues to come into the world. AMEN
Invitation to Communion
Jesus’ birth story in Matthew comes just before today’s text of the visit of the wise men/magi/astrologers. While we don’t have a time-line, Matthew reports it was some time after the birth by the time these travelers arrived at the house where Jesus and Mary were. And the visit was short enough, we have no record of Mary offering food to these travelers before they “left for their own country by another road”.
But for 2000 years, table fellowship has been part of what connects Jesus’ followers. At this table, all are welcome. At this table, there’s a place for you, whether you are a stranger in town for just a short time, you’re physically far removed from this sanctuary and connected via cyber-space, or you’ve been part of this congregation your whole life long.
Wherever you are sharing in a simple meal, remembering Jesus, may you, too, be overwhelmed with JOY…for the glory of the Lord is setting us ablaze with LIGHT. We have seen the light of Jesus, and we come to pay him homage.
Come! The table is spread and the feast awaits!