Weekly Evangelectionary : The Epiphany of the Lord January 6, 2016

epiphany stained glassLectionary (Year C): Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12

Theme: “The Mission Star”

Message: “Other-Wise”
Right in the middle of what has been so far a narrative written by a Jew, about a savior who was of lineage a Jew, a story of particular interest to Jews, “wise men from the East” enter the picture as an clear indication that this savior is not just for “us,” but also, for others. They are led miraculously by a star in the heavens, find the Christ child, worship him, and offer him gifts, which actually are used to provide for the savior and his family. This is a reminder that God may be leading people to our churches who are not from among us, and whom we must help in their search for God. What are the “stars” that may be leading “other” people into our church’s life and ministry? How can we join God in His efforts to reach out and bring others in, and then to send them back to their “own country.”

Quotes:
“These men for their own part came – I beg you, very earnestly again to note this – not to see, nor talk, but to do reverence. They are neither curious, nor talkative, but submissive.” (Ruskin)

Illustration:
Everywhere I go in Phoenix these days there are people standing on street corners with signs that say: “We Buy Gold,” and you wonder, do these people who are buying everyone’s gold know something that I don’t know? What are they going to do with all this gold? For centuries, the church of Jesus Christ has been the receiver of untold amounts of gold, and while not all of it has been dealt with in ways that would honor Jesus Christ, most of it has. Think of the missions that have been launched, the poor who’ve been fed, the medicine that’s been dispensed, the hospitals and orphanages that have been established, schools that have been founded, and churches that have been built in almost every corner of the world because people brought their gold to the feet of Jesus Christ.

Music: “Beautiful Savior,” “Jesus Shall Reign Wher-e’er the Sun,” “We’ve A Story to Tell to the Nations,” “As With Gladness Men of Old,” “We Three Kings of Orient Are,”

Prayers:
Call to Worship
Leader: O come, let us worship the Lord!
PEOPLE: WE, LIKE THE MAGI, WILL SEEK THE HOLY CHILD.
Leader: O come, let us worship the Lord!
PEOPLE: WE, LIKE THE MAGI, WILL BOW BEFORE THE ONE WHO CAME TO SAVE US.
Leader: O come, let us worship the Lord!
PEOPLE: WE, LIKE THE MAGI, WILL BRING GIFTS TO HONOR IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US.

Opening Prayer
Everlasting God, we praise you as the One who brings light—light from a special heavenly object two thousand years ago, light from a special revelation through your Word, light from the Holy Spirit that enlightens our inner being, light from your Son, who came to show the way to eternal life.

Prayer of Confession
We confess, Lord, that sometimes we have allowed the darkness to overcome the light. Sometimes we have followed the wrong star, the improper dreams, the faulty goals; and sometimes we just drifted along without direction or purpose. Sometimes we have failed to bring our gifts, our talents, our time, ourselves, in the service of the Savior. Pardon us, we pray, and restore in us the wonder of your life among us.

A Prayer for the Nations of the World
Leader: Let us pray that the light of the good news of Jesus Christ will shine in every place, in every climate, on every continent, in every culture.
People: HEAR OUR PRAYER, O LORD.
Leader: Let us pray that the ends of the earth will see the glory of God.
People: HEAR OUR PRAYER, O LORD.
Leader: Let us pray that all people everywhere will be led by your Spirit as they make a journey of faith.
People: HEAR OUR PRAYER, O LORD.
Leader: Let us pray that no one, whether rich or poor, male or female, famous or unknown, educated or uneducated, will feel unwelcome at the feet of Jesus.
People: HEAR OUR PRAYER, O LORD.
Leader: Let us pray that the peace that can come only from God will become real in every corner of the earth.
People: HEAR OUR PRAYER, O LORD.

Offertory Sentence
On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. –Matthew 2:11

Offertory Prayer
We may not be able to give gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but we offer our financial gifts for the use of the Christ whose birthday we are still celebrating after more than two thousand years.

Benediction
May you, like the Magi, seek the light, follow the light, and walk in the light until at last you behold the light of the glory of God in the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

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avatar About Bruce Laverman

Bruce is a retired pastor and former Director of Evangelism in the Reformed Church in America now living in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the RCA's representative to Evangelism Connections and serves as Managing Editor of this Web site.

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