Happy new year, and a blessed Epiphany to you! Thank you for joining us for worship! Wherever you are, we invite you to create space for worship, both in your physical space and in your heart — perhaps light a candle or fill a bowl with water to remember your baptism, or grab a bible or hymnal, or do whatever helps you most to feel worshipful.
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Sunday, January 1, 2023
First Sunday after Christmas Day / New Years Day / Epiphany Sunday
Ministers: the people
Pastor: Day Hefner
Organist: Chrissi Bywater
The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
SHARING OF JOYS, CONCERNS, PRAYER REQUESTS
All are invited to share joys and concerns for the assembly to lift up in prayer together. Later in the service, Pastor Day will lead us in gathering these things in prayer.
As Christians, our prayers are meant to reflect the wideness of God’s mercy for the world. In addition to your own joys and concerns, consider lifting up prayer for the broader world:
- for the church universal, its ministry, and the mission of the gospel
- for the well-being of creation
- for peace and justice in the world, the nations and those in authority, the community
- for the poor, oppressed, sick, bereaved, lonely
- for all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit
- for the congregation, and for special concerns
- thanksgiving for the faithful saints who have gone before us – those commemorated by the church as well as those we know, who died recently or the anniversary of whose death is near
GATHERING SONG (ELW 288) Good Christian Friends, Rejoice
Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice; give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today; ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now. Christ is born today! Christ is born today! Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice; now ye hear of endless bliss: Jesus Christ was born for this! He has opened heaven’s door, and we are blest forevermore. Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this! Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice; now ye need not fear the grave: Jesus Christ was born to save! Calls you one and calls you all to gain his everlasting hall. Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save!
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.
We have beheld Christ’s glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
To us a child is born, to us a Son is given.
In the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people.
GREETING AND PRAYER
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.
Let us pray.
God of radiance and life, you revealed the incarnation of your Son to the nations; leading the Magi by the bright shining of a star. So lead us and guide us in this new year, that we too may encounter Christ in the world around us. Let our lives reflect your radiance, that we may shine like stars, guiding others toward the light of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.
FIRST READING: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to break down and a time to build up;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.
HYMN (ELW 292) Love Has Come
Love has come – a light in the darkness! Love shines forth in the Bethlehem skies. See, all heaven has come to proclaim it; hear how their song of joy arises: Love! Love! Born unto you a Savior! Love! Love! Glory to God on high. Love is born! Come, share in the wonder. Love is God now asleep in the hay. See the glow in the eyes of his mother; what is the name her heart is saying? Love! Love! Love is the name she whispers; Love! Love! Jesus, Immanuel. Love has come and never will leave us! Love is life everlasting and free. Love is Jesus within and among us. Love is the peace our hearts are seeking. Love! Love! Love is the gift of Christmas. Love! Love! Praise to you, God on high!
SECOND READING: Revelation 21:1-6a
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and be their God; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.
HYMN (WOV 646) We Three Kings of Orient Are (v 1, 2, 5)
1. We three kings of orient are; bearing gifts we traverse afar, field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star. Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright; westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light! 2. Born a king on Bethlehem’s plain, gold I bring to crown him again; king forever, ceasing never over us all to reign. Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright; westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light! ((3. Frankincense to offer have I; incense owns a deity nigh; prayer and praising, voices raising, worshiping God Most High. Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright; westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light! )) ((4. Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom; sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone cold tomb. Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright; westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light! )) 5. Glorious now, behold him arise: King and God and Sacrifice; Heav’n sings alleluia, alle- luia the earth replies. Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright; westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light!
GOSPEL: Matthew 2:1-12
The holy gospel according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star in the east and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him, and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod secretly called for the magi and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out, and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen in the east, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
NEW YEAR/EPIPHANY PRACTICE: STAR WORDS
The practice of receiving a “star word” at Epiphany has become popular in many churches in recent years. Each person chooses a paper star at random, on which is written a single word: this word is intended to be a point of focus and reflection, something to carry with you throughout the coming year.
At this time, an offering plate will be passed around. A multitude of paper stars will be in the plate, all face down. Each person will select a star as the plate is passed. Try to resist the temptation to trade your word for a different one, but instead pray and trust that God will use whatever word you choose to guide you, even if it’s not yet clear how.
(For anyone participating from home, you may come pick up a star at the church sometime this week if you’d like, or shoot me a message and I’d be happy to pick one for you. Or you could also click here to have a star word generated for you online.)
Let us pray.
Ever-living God, our wisdom and our way, long ago you sent a star to guide the Magi to the infant Jesus. As that star once drew the hearts of many toward Bethlehem, so may these stars draw each of us irresistibly toward you. Open our hearts to receive these words today. Through them, reveal to us whatever gift or focus or intention you know will help us draw nearer to you in the year to come, that we may glorify you with lives of faithfulness, intention, and grace, through Christ our Savior.
HYMN (ELW 282) It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (v 1, 3)
1. It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold: “Peace on the earth, good will to all, from heav’n’s all-gracious king.” The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing. ((2. Still through the cloven skies they come, with peaceful wings unfurled, and still their heav’nly music floats o’er all the weary world. Above its sad and lowly plains they bend on hov’ring wing, and ever o’er its babel sounds the blessed angels sing. )) 3. And you, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow: look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing; oh, rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing! ((4. For lo! The days are hast’ning on, by prophets seen of old, when with the ever-circling years shall come the time foretold, when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling, and all the world give back the song which now the angels sing. ))
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Let us pray…
All that the assembly has shared is lifted in prayer, along with the silent prayers we lift in our hearts – God lovingly receives them all.
The peace of Christ be with you always.
And also with you.
God feeds us with the presence of Jesus Christ.
There are many ways to make your offering:
- Checks may be mailed or dropped off at the church
- Ask your bank about setting up automatic giving
- Make a secure offering online by clicking on the button below (opens up our Tithe.ly giving page in a new window)
Let us pray.
God of abundance, receive and bless these gifts we have offered. Join our hearts with the song of the angels, and gather us at your table of celebration. Strengthen us to share with all the world the abundance of your grace upon grace, poured out in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord.
It is right to give our thanks and praise
It is indeed right… we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
HOLY HOLY HOLY (tune of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear)
O Holy, holy, holy one,
great God of power and might.
the heav’ns and earth declare your praise.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed now and ever is the one
who comes in God’s holy name.
O Holy, holy, holy God,
from age to age the same!
THANKSGIVING AT THE TABLE
Holy one, the beginning and the end… Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
With this bread and cup, we remember… We look with hope for his coming.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Holy God, we long for your Spirit… Bring the gift of peace on earth.
Come, Holy Spirit.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
INVITATION TO COMMUNION
All are welcome at the Lord’s table, whether Lutheran or not. Ushers will invite you forward by pew. Wine and juice are available. To receive a blessing, please come forward with arms crossed across your chest.
COMMUNION SONG (ELW 290) Go Tell It on the Mountain
Refrain Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and ev’ry where; go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born! While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night, behold, throughout the heavens there shown a holy light. Refrain The shepherds feared and trembled when, lo, above the earth rang out the angel chorus that hailed our Savior’s birth. Refrain Down in a lonely manger the humble Christ was born; and God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn. Refrain
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
Let us pray.
God our redeemer, you have fed us at this table with gifts of grace, truth, and life. As you have gathered us in joy, send us forth as messengers of your peace. Make us shine with the good news of your glory, born to us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.
SENDING SONG (ELW 313) Oh Lord, Now Let Your Servant
Oh Lord, now let your servant depart in heav’nly peace, for I have seen the glory of your redeeming grace: a light to lead the nations unto your holy hill, the glory of your people, your chosen Israel. Then grant that I may follow your gleam, O glorious Light, till earthly shadows scatter, and faith is changed to sight; till raptured saints shall gather upon that shining shore, where Christ, the blessed daystar, shall light them evermore.
God bless you and keep you, Jesus grant you grace and truth, and the Spirit send peace upon your hearts, now and forever.
Christ the Savior is born! Go in peace. Proclaim this good news.
Thanks be to God.