Sunday, January 5, 2020


Organ PreludeIn Wynter’s Throe (Trad. Scottish)

Words of Welcome and Announcements John Strawbridge

Choral IntroitFrom the Eastern Mountains (Pitts)

From the eastern mountains pressing on they come,
Wise men in their wisdom, to His humble home;
Stirred by deep devotion, hasting from afar,
Ever journeying onward, guided by a star.

* Call to Worship

L: We gather wondering, ‘Where will we find the Babe born in Bethlehem?’
P: We will find the Babe in the laughter of children, in the wisdom of grandparents.
L: We gather asking, ‘where will we find the Child of Christmas?’
P: We will find the Child where the needy are gifted with hope, where the oppressed are set free.
L: We gather wanting to know, ‘where will we find the Christ who has come for us?’
P: We will find our Hope where fear is overwhelmed by grace, where hatred is overwhelmed by love, where all people are overwhelmed by joy.

* Opening HymnThere’s A Song in the Air UMH 249

1. There’s a song in the air! There’s a star in the sky! There’s a mother’s deep prayer and a baby’s low cry! And the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing, for the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!

2. There’s a tumult of joy o’er the wonderful birth, for the virgin’s sweet boy is the Lord of the earth. Ay! the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing, for the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!

3. In the light of that star lie the ages impearled; and that song from afar has swept over the world. Every hearth is aflame, and the beautiful sing in the homes of the nations that Jesus is King!

4. We rejoice in the light, and we echo the song that comes down through the night from the heavenly throng. Ay! we shout to the lovely evangel they bring, and we greet in his cradle our Savior and King!

Prayer of Invocation (All)

God of promise and light, open our eyes this morning, that we may see your light in the darkness. Open our hearts, that we may perceive your promises of justice and righteousness fulfilled in the babe of Bethlehem. May we, like the Magi, have a star to guide us on our journey quest to find the one who will truly set us free. May this time of worship bring us closer to you, that the good news of the birth of light & love will transform our lives. Amen.

Sharing Joys and Concerns

Pastoral Prayer

Lord’s Prayer

Children’s Moment

Anthem Baby Born In Bethlehem (Johnson)

Run, run, run to the manger,
There’s a baby born in Bethlehem.

See amid the winter snow
Born for us on earth below
Wise men travelled from afar;
They were guided by a brilliant star.

Oh, go tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere,
Oh, go tell it on the mountain,
There’s a baby born in Bethlehem.

Old Testament Lesson – Isaiah 60:1-6   Walter Williams, Liturgist

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings 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 on 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 the Lord.

Prayer of Confession (All) Walter Williams, Liturgist

Creator of the Stars and Sun, creator of all light we know: we confess that at times it is difficult to find light, to trust that hope is alive. When children are separated from their parents in cages; when floodwaters threaten and wildfires wreck havoc and climate change spirals out of control; when a nation is divided and families are divided: come unto us,
O Creator God.

Be the light in our world. Help us to shine Your light and to become the light the world needs. Breathe into us the breath of hope, speak into us Your truth, that Your love reigns. Life and light have the last word, not death and destruction. Reveal in us Your light, and send us forth to become living hope to the world. In the name of Jesus, the Light of the World, we pray. Amen.

Word of Assurance Walter Williams, Liturgist

Every moment is a new beginning, a fresh start with God. In every moment, grace is present, forgiveness granted, and love revealed. You are forgiven, loved, and restore. Begin this moment afresh now, with God and with one another, and share the Good News. Amen.

* HymnWe Three Kings (Vs. 1, 2 & 5)    UMH 254

1. We three kings of Orient are; bearing gifts we traverse afar, field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star. O star of wonder, star of light, 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. O star of wonder, star of light, 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: Alleluia, Alleluia, sounds through the earth and skies. O star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

A Reading from the Gospel – Matthew 2:1-12

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, 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 wise men 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 at its rising, 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.

Sermon – “Strangers from the East”   Rev. Debbie Scott

The Offering of Gifts & Tithes

OffertoryNew Year Carol (Britten)

Here we bring new water from the well so clear,
For to worship God with, this happy New Year.

Sing levy-dew, sing levy-dew, the water and the wine,
The seven bright gold wires and the bugles that do shine.

Sing reign of Fair Maid, with gold upon her toe;
Open you the West Door and turn the Old Year go.

Sing reign of Fair Maid, with gold upon her chin;
Open you the East Door and let the New Year in.

* Presentation of OfferingPraise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow UMH 95

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, yet heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Offering Prayer (All)

As long ago travelers laid their gifts before the Christ child, we too bring our gifts with great joy. Use our gifts for justice and righteousness, that oppression and violence may cease and peace may flourish. May the light of your love shine through our living, that suffering may end, and all may rejoice in your gift of life. Amen.

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Act of Covenant UMH 607

L: I am no longer my own, but thine.
L: Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
L: Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
L: Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
L: exalted for thee or brought low by thee.
L: Let me be full, let me be empty.
L: Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
L: I freely and heartily yield all things
L: to thy pleasure and disposal.
L: And now, O glorious and blessed God,
L: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
L: thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
L: And the covenant which I have made on earth,
L: let it be ratified in heaven.
ALL:     Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

People of Advent: the Lord be with you!
And also with you!
People of Christmas, lift up your hearts.
We lift our hearts overwhelmed with grace to the One who was born for us.
People of the Star, offer your songs of joy and thanksgiving to God.
We will sing our praises to the One who has revealed glory and hope in the Babe of Bethlehem.
In that first moment, you spoke, Radiant God, and the light of creation
dispelled the thick darkness of chaos.
You whispered, and your glory filled the skies.
You sang, and the dust of the earth was shaped into your image,
as you breathed life into us.
We could have lived in grace and peace with you
for as long as the sun endures,
for as long as the moon hangs in the night sky.
But we were tempted by the sweet taste of sin,
and overwhelmed with temptation’s wealth of cheap gifts and thrills.
The prophets were sent to tell of your gifts of joy and peace,
but we listened to the world’s news of success, power, achievement.
Finally, in that dark time of despair, you sent Jesus, your servant of salvation.
Therefore, we will join our voices with the wise ones, as well as the foolish,
of every time and place who forever sing of your grace:

Holy, holy, holy, God of bright dawns!
All creation renders tributes of praise to you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who saves the lives of the needy.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of redemption, and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Overwhelmed with compassion, he left the glory of heaven,
to become a prisoner of sin, so we could be set free.
Overwhelmed with hope, he entered death’s house,
to break its dark power forever.
Overwhelmed with love, he traveled another road, walking to Calvary, so we might run with joy into your waiting arms.
So, as we remember his birth, as we prepare to journey with him this year,
we speak of that mystery called faith, which is revealed to us through Christ:

Christ came, the morning star of love;
Christ died, the night star of salvation;
Christ arose, the radiant star of resurrection;
Christ will come again, the constellation of hope.

Holy One of stars and sinners, send down your Spirit of hope
upon those gathered around this Table,
and on the gifts of the bread and the cup,
that they might make us your faithful and loving children.

Feed us with the bread of hope, that when we leave,
we will travel another road,
to defend the weak, to speak for the voiceless, to assist those cast aside.
Refresh us with the sweet nectar of grace, so we, overwhelmed with joy,
would go forth to enter the houses of the strangers in our midst;
to enter the despair of the lonely and forgotten;
to enter the hearts of everyone we meet.
And when eternity’s time begins
and we are gathered around your Table,
with friends and family we loved,
with those we ignored and mistreated,
with all our sisters and brothers of grace,
we will lift our songs of glad joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


Sharing the Bread and Cup

Prayer after Receiving (All)

God of New Beginnings, You are bringing forth something new in our world and in our lives. In this new year, may we commit to being open: open-minded to new ideas; open-hearted to loving one another; open-handed to serving wherever we are needed. Plant in us the seeds that will bloom into new ideas, new insights, and new hope, for the world needs what You are growing in us. Bless us, encourage us, and help us to shine Your light into this world in 2020. Amen.

* Closing HymnThis Is a Day of New Beginnings (Vs. 1, 2, 3, & 5)   UMH 383

1. This is a day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on, time to believe what love is bringing, laying to rest the pain that’s gone.

2. For by the life and death of Jesus, God’s mighty Spirit, now as then, can make for us a world of difference, as faith and hope are born again.

3. Then let us, with the Spirit’s daring, step from the past and leave behind our disappointment, guilt, and grieving, seeking new paths, and sure to find.

5. In faith we’ll gather around the table to taste and share what love can do. This is a day of new beginnings; our God is making all things new.

* Benediction

Go now, seek out the Christ wherever he may be found,
and share the good news with all.
Bring light to those in thick darkness,
a voice to those no one speaks for,
and hope to those no one cares for.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord, Amen.

* Choral ResponseHail, the Ever Blessed Morn (Goss)

Hail, the ever blessed morn;
Hail, Redemption’s happy dawn;
Sing through all Jerusalem:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

* Ringing of the Bicentennial Bell

* Organ PostludeAllegro deciso (Thomson)

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on January 3, 2020

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