Hybrid Worship, January 5, 2024, Epiphany
Rev. Suzanna Bates
Music Director: Dorothy Dittrich
We acknowledge these lands upon which we worship are the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.
Whoever you are and wherever you are on life’s journey,
you are welcome here!
Words For Worship
Words in bold italics, please say together
Prelude: I Will Bless the Lord Composer: Ira Sankey
Greeting & Welcome
Acknowledgement of the Land
Lighting the Candles
We light this candle to draw near to God and to one another.
We light this candle as a sign of our commitment to healing and reconciliation between all peoples.
We are here. God is here.
This space is holy ground.
Call to Worship
People of God, arise, shine,
for your light has come!
The light of Christ has come into the world.
Immanuel. God with us.
So arise, shine, for your light has come!
And we will follow the light–
when it shines brightly in the night sky;
when it glows dimly on the horizon.
We will follow the light when it leads down familiar paths to expected
destinations; when the road is unfamiliar and the star rests above a dubious-looking home.
We will lift up our eye and look around.
And when we see the Christ child,
may our hearts be overwhelmed with joy.
When we are in the presence of Immanuel,
may our knees bend in worship.
When our journey brings us, finally, to the heart of God,
May our hands open in generous sharing;
May our mouths open in generous praise.
Hymn: Will You Come And See The Light VU #96
Gracious and all loving God,
you call to us across deep waters and dark places.
Yours is the light which guides us
and the voice which we follow.
We pray that you would reveal yourself to us as we worship you.
May those without hope be encouraged;
those who are sad, comforted;
those who are seeking, find you;
and in the end, may all things be according to your will. Amen.
Prayer Before the Reading of Scripture
O God of sun and starlight, shine your light on the pages
we read so that we may hear your Word for us today.
First Reading: Isaiah 60:1–6 (NRSV) Reader: Angela Nutter
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of God has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth
and thick darkness the peoples,
but God will arise upon you,
and God’s glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light
and rulers 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 in 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.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense
and shall proclaim the praise of God.
Gospel Reading Reader: Lisa Griffith
As is your custom, please stand or sit for the reading of the gospel.
Reader: God be with you.
All: And also with you
Reader: The Good News of Jesus the Christ according to Matthew
All: Glory to you, Christ Jesus.
Matthew 2:1-12: The visit of the Magi (The Message)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory—this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”
When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” They told him, “Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly: It’s you, Bethlehem, in Judah’s land, no longer bringing up the rear. From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel.”
Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the Magi. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.”
Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child.
They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.
This is the Gospel of Christ.
We give thanks for Good news today. 4
Hymn: A Light Is Gleaming VU #82
Life and Work of the Church
The Prayer of Jesus (a paraphrase) (VU #916)
Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer,
Life-giver, Source of all that is and that shall be.
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven;
The hallowing of your name echo through the Universe!
The way of your justice be followed by peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope
and come on earth.
With the bread that we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts that we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever. Amen.
Hymn: All Poor Ones and Humble VU #68
Prayers For Others
Life and Work of the Church
Offering Hymn: As With Gladness (vs 3) VU #81
Prayer of Dedication
Loving God, we offer you our gold: the best of who we are;
the shining moments that brighten our lives.
We offer you our frankincense: the quiet reassurance
of familiar things; the grace of care and friendship;
the blessing of bread and our heart’s yearning in prayer.
We offer you our myrrh: the ashes of our dreams; the bitter taste of our failures; the shadows through which we stumble.
Transform our meagre gifts, that they may be an acceptable offering of praise, and transform our lives to reflect more deeply your justice and joy in the life of the world. Amen.
Hymn: Hope Shines As The Solitary Star MV #220
We have beheld a wonder, human-shaped, and light-filled.
A wonder that holds all potential,
making worthwhile our journeys to seek out the Christ child
again in every unstable place.
For there the Christ will be found.
We have beheld a wonder, God-shaped and human-filled
– for a world longing for light.
And so we travel on into unknown future
yet filled with the possibility of birth.
We wonder about every epiphany
waiting to reveal the hand of God,
in some unexpected place and time.
The boundless love of God,
The enduring presence of Light
The breath of life and love
Fill you and walk with you this day and every day.
The peace of Christ be with you,
And also with you.
Postlude: And Now Peace Composer: L. Fitzpatrick