January 2, 2022 – Second Sunday after Christmas Day
A recording of a video version this worship service is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RitQhehaRpU.
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Call to worship
One: We have life because God created it.
All: Life had its beginning in God.
One: We need not fear the end of life.
All: In God, it will come to completion and its meaning will be fully revealed.
One: All creation, including us, will find fulfillment in God.
All: Now we see in part. Then we shall see face to face. Let us worship God, who is the Creator of Life and the Victor over death!
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Hymn (Book of Praise) 173 – “We three kings”
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of power and might, God of grace and mercy, heaven and earth are full of your glory. You chose to become one of us in Jesus Christ, sharing our joys and sorrows, displaying your greatness in the child of the manger. We praise you for your amazing love, great enough to embrace the expanding universe, yet close enough to enter our humble hearts. During this time worship, surprise us with your grace once again, that we, with the whole Church and your precious creation, may praise and honour your holy name, O God, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
God of goodness and guidance, In Christ you sent us light to live by, yet sometimes we seek shadows in which to hide. In him, you promise new life, but too often we prefer old habits, nursing grievances and clinging to familiar opinions. You are generous with your love, but we tend to reject neighbors and fear strangers who differ from us. Remake us in the image of your Son with your mercy, and teach us how to follow him in the year ahead.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.
Declaration of Pardon
Here is the good news of the Gospel! Jesus Christ is God’s elect, chosen for our salvation. In him we find God’s acceptance. Let us give thanks to God for this gift, and be at peace with ourselves and with one another.
Thanks be to God.
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
In the Bible, stories and people inspire me and challenge me. The story of wise men is one of them. I love the story of wise men. It is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Every time I read it, something speaks to my heart.
A group of people travels miles together by studying and following the shining bright star. Carrying the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh…spending days and nights to encounter the promised child of God. When they found the child, they knelt and paid their respect. Then they offered their gifts to baby Jesus and his parents. They did not leave their name cards behind. They did not offer their gifts to be recognized, thanked, or repaid. They witnessed the birth of Jesus. Then they left in the same manner they came. When they accomplished what came to achieve, they left. They left everything behind, even baby Jesus. They went back to their home, but they did not go the same way. Verse 12 reminds us (“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.”) They went home by another road that God invited them to take. Taking another road means starting a new journey that God is inviting. Everything these wise men and women did in the story inspires me and challenges me.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having human experience.” I believe that We are spiritual beings. Our life is a spiritual journey and quest to deepen our relationships with the divine God, deepen our awareness of who we are and who others are, and discover the risen Christ in our daily lives.
Yet, how hard do I try to discover the gift of Christ each day? How faithful am I to the risen Christ in my daily living? So busy doing my things, so busy with what I think and want, when was the last time I searched for God in my own life. The way the wise men and women searched for Christ, the way they paid attention to the shining star and the creation…. The way they listened to their dreams and the voice of God in their hearts. The way they found they met Jesus and his family, the way they said good bye to Jesus and his family, and the way they went home by choosing another road…. The way they continued to walk their life with God…. They truly inspire me.
How easy it is to forget our life is a spiritual quest, each day, there is a new gift to discover and to open. How quickly can we become comfortable with what we have, get caught with what we have, and forget to search for the kind of gifts and blessings God has prepared for us each day.
As a Christian, it is my prayer that I listen when God says listen. I speak when God says speak. Be silent when God says be silent. I let go, wait, try again, smile, cry, laugh, play, sing, pray, when God tells me to do so. I stay when God says ‘stay’, I say goodbye when God says ‘your work is done.
It is not that God is not speaking to me, but too often to do what I hear. Constantly God is telling us, “Forgive, love, be patient, be understanding and be generous.” We often say, “But not this time, after I am finished with this until she pays the price until this person learns his lesson Some say these wise men were fictional people, yet others say they were real. They are real to me because even today, I meet many men and women who keep searching for Christ, keep searching for truth and truth, and keep searching for something more than what we eat, what we wear, and what we own.
We have met many who freely give their time and resources to serve God and others. People who visit the shut-in and bring them a cup of coffee, people who teach English and the Canadian culture to refugee families, people who drive the sick to the hospital, people who sing for others, people who pray for others, and people who listen to others. We all know those who give their wisdom, talents, and resources to serve Christ and something beyond themselves. Without asking to be recognized, noticed, or praised, they continue to find ways to celebrate God.
“We three kings” performed on the keyboard by GCPC music director Rachelle Risling. Words and music in the public domain. This arrangement copyright © 2022 Rachelle Risling; used by permission.
We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of being present at Sunday worship, you may sign up for pre-authorized remittance (PAR), donate online, or drop off your offering envelope in the mailbox at the church. Do not leave a cash donation unattended in the mailbox; instead, please call the office (416.261.4037) to ensure someone will be there to receive it. The building will be checked daily for mail and phone messages. If you are not comfortable leaving an envelope, you are welcome to contact the office (once again, 416.261.4037) and someone will pick up your offering.
Prayer of dedication
God of love, we give thanks for the many blessings you have given us throughout our lives. We are grateful to celebrate the birth of your greatest gift, our Saviour Jesus, once again. Bless the offerings we make in his name, and use them and us to serve you well in the coming year. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of all time and space, as we gather in prayer, we recognize that our lives are but small details in the vast expanse of your universe. So we thank you for attending to the details of our lives. We thank you for the year just past, for walking through the good days and the hard days with us. The pandemic has been exhausting in so many ways but we are grateful for your steadfast love. We give thanks for all the ways ministries have been able to adapt and for faithful generosity to support the needs we confront. Thank you for friendships and relationships that sustain us in uncertain times. We ask for your Spirit to guide us into the future, and create new possibilities for ministry and mission through our congregation.
In gratitude Our hearts kneel before you, O God; Receive our humble prayers.
God of all people and places, The year just ending has held sorrows for so many in our community and around the world. We remember dear ones of have died and pray for those who look ahead in loneliness or sadness….
We pray for those who have faced challenges in health, in their families or at work….
Support each one who needs you close by. In compassion, Our hearts kneel before you, O God; Receive our humble prayers.
God of light and love, As we face the year ahead, so much around us is still uncertain. We seek your strength and guidance in each challenge we will face. Draw near to each one who must confront illness, loss, economic hardship or changing circumstances….
Guide those for whom new opportunities appear and choices must be made In anticipation Our hearts kneel before you, O God; Receive our humble prayers.
God of community and commitment, We pray for wisdom and courage in the year ahead. Strengthen us as a congregation to be a lively and committed witness to your love. Help us reach out to our community in faithfulness and service. Guide leaders in our nation and around the world so that justice and peace may prevail, especially in troubled places and vulnerable lives. Show us all how to honour and protect your creation, even when that takes sacrifice on our part. Receive our humble prayers and encourage us onward in the name of Jesus our Christ.
Hymn (Book of Praise) 145 – “In the bleak mid-winter”
Changing the Light
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always. AMEN
- “Go Now in Peace”. Words by American educator, lyricist and composer Don Besig (1936–) and American lyricist Nancy Price (1958–). Music by Don Besig. Words and music copyright © 1988 Harold Flammer Music, a division of Shawnee Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
- Performed by Rachelle Risling (keyboard) and the GCPC Senior Choir. Audio and video production by Rachelle Risling.
- Audio and video recording copyright © 2021 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church.
Copyright © 2022 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated on 2022-01-03 22:55 – Added sermon text; musical reflection details; link to video version of the service.