January 1, 2023 (New Year’s Day)

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Isaiah 63:7-9

 Psalm 148

Hebrews 2:10-18

Matthew 2:13-23

Call to Worship  (inspired by Psalm 148)
One: This is the first day of a brand new year.  Let’s praise God!
Many: God’s name is the only name worth praising,
One: All who love God, launch 2023 with PRAISE!
Many: God’s glory shines in this new year.
One: Hallelujah!  All who are gathered,
Many: Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!

As an opening hymn, sing the round “Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah
                                                         Praise ye the Lord!”
      Encourage opposite sides of the sanctuary to stand up and sing out,
      then sit (or wave a hand and then bring it down) as the other side sings.
Have some fun as you welcome folks to worship, and greet this new year.

Opening Prayer  

From the creatures all ‘round us, the waters of the earth, and all the heavenly lights (sun, moon and stars), may we all praise you, 
God of all Creation!  
We mark the beginning of a new calendar year, celebrating our presence in the midst of land, air and water which you’ve brought into being.  
Thank you for raising up your power to bless us all in 2023!  
Help us rejoice in all you provide, giving you the glory.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

(put a slip of paper in each bulletin or on each pew or table, so people can write a note of their 2023 intention to offer a specific action, and put it in the offering tray)

As we begin a new year, many folks either make resolutions and/or seek to begin some new healthy habits.  
Have you made a New Year resolution or two?
Have you committed to actions which will point you to a healthier 2023?

One possibility which combines both of these is to cut out one not-so-healthy routine or activity (sitting for hours, lack of exercise, buying a fancy coffee drink every day, holding fast to every item in your home …)
 use your own items if these don’t resonate
and put in its place you sharing something every week with someone who lives “in need”.  

How can that work?  

Recently, I read of someone who committed  to working 1 hour a week in their congregation’s food pantry.  That contribution was enough for him to acknowledge the reality of hunger in their neighborhood, and led him to ask the congregation to create a “Free Little Pantry” for their front lawn.

What energizes you as you think about sharing time, talent and treasure through this congregation? 

What will you commit to, as a New Year/new action?  
Will you write a note to put in the offering tray, along with your morning financial support?  

Prayer of Thanksgiving

We give you thanks, Holy God, for the energy which comes with the start of a new year!  Thank you for this opportunity to share our gifts and our intentions for action in 2023.  Keep us mindful and engaged as we follow through!   AMEN

Invitation to Communion  

Last night many of us sang (or listened to others singing) “Auld Lang Syne”.  It’s appropriate today to remember the “old, long since” song as we look both back and forward while we’re focused on this Table.

For here, we look back to the “old, long since” time.
The prophet Isaiah spoke, looking back, of the gracious deeds of the Lord:  the exodus, the wilderness, the entry into Canaan.
And we remember, the Upper Room, Jesus praying in the garden, betrayal by his own disciple, death, burial.
But we remember, and rejoice, in God’s mighty act of resurrection, raising Jesus from the tomb and calling him into eternal life!

All this is the “old, long since”.  

But we also look ahead.

Here we lift, not a cup of kindness, but a cup which brings us new life in this new year.  

Here we find our very souls enlivened by sharing in the bread of Life.

All are invited to receive these gifts, recognizing God’s gracious deeds in the past and anticipating God’s grace at work in this year ahead.

Let us share, in gratitude, this feast!