January 9, 2022 – First Sunday after Epiphany
A recording of a video version this worship service is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDtW4iNlvG4.
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Call to worship
Beloved, God chooses us and calls us by name.
We belong to God. Alleluia!
Our lives have purpose because we belong to God.
We are called to be like Christ and follow him.
We will find joy, peace, and restoration through God’s amazing grace.
Let us worship God who claims us and loves us! Praise be to God!
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Prayers of Approach and Confession
Creator of the sun and moon and stars, You stir in our midst to reveal your light. By the work of your Spirit, you lead us in new directions. Your beloved Son has called us to new life and by his grace, reconciles the divisions among us. Holy One, we praise you for the blessings you give us in our baptism into Christ, and through your love that surrounds us day by day.
Merciful God, in baptism you promise forgiveness and new life, but we confess that we prefer our old, familiar ways. We cling to destructive thoughts, we harbor grudges, and we are reluctant to welcome a stranger or forgive one another. In your loving kindness, forgive us. Have mercy upon us and move among us so that we might pursue new life in Christ together.
Declaration of Pardon
Do not be afraid, for Christ has redeemed you. Baptized in the deep waters of death, he has washed away your sins. Risen from death, he invites you to be washed in the cleansing tide of God’s mercy. Your sins are forgiven; be at peace with God, with yourself, and with each other.
Thanks be to God.
Both the gospel of Luke chapter 3 and the book of Isaiah chapter 43 remind us how God speaks to us and what God sounds like each time when we are with God.
In the book of Isaiah, we hear the voice of God that the ancient people of Israel heard.
Isaiah 43: 1–2, “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
In the gospel of Luke, we hear the voice of God that Jesus and his disciples heard,
Luke 3: 22, a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
That is how God sounds like, generation after generation. God has not changed how God speaks to us or how God approaches us….
The question we need to ask ourselves: What are we listening today? Are we listening to God or are we listening to something else? Because it is not only God who speaks to us, there are many different voices around us. We hear our fear and anxiety. There is this voice of expectation we put on each other, “Why don’t you do more?” We hear cultures around us telling us to buy this and that. We hear voices of darkness and hopelessness constantly telling us, “There is no hope.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get overwhelmed by voices around me and forget to listen God. I find the voice of darkness is louder and aggressive than the voice of God… What do you think God will tell us when God comes and sees us today? Do you think God will go around our house telling how messy our house is and our desk is? Do you think God will go over with us every failure we experienced in our life?
What do you think God will tell you when God is here with us in this very moment, what do you think God will say to us?
This is what I hear again and again, when I come before Jesus.
28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28–30)
I believe God will say to us if we are in trouble, “Let me help you.” I believe God will say to us if we are suffering, “I am listening. What can I do for you?”
Dear friends, today the gospel of Luke chapter 3 and the book of Isaiah 43 reminded us what God sounded like, generation after generation.
May we remember the voice of the divine love, treasure it and protect it in our hearts.
“She comes sailing on the wind” (Book of Praise, 1997, Hymn 403) performed on the keyboard by GCPC music director Rachelle Risling. Words and music by Canadian Anglican priest Gordon Light (1944–). Words and music copyright © 1985 The Common Cup Company; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Arrangement copyright © 1994 Andrew Donaldson; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
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.
Prayers of Thanksgiving, People and Lord’s Prayer
God of time and eternity: As this new year stretches before us, we thank you for the time you give us and for all those things that are still possible and precious in this gift. We thank you for each new day and its possibilities; for each night, its rest and reflection. We thank you for words of forgiveness and the chance to make a new start, for word of invitation to explore new opportunities. Give us the courage to try something new and the conviction to finish things leftover from last year. Make time spent this year your time, O God. Bless our time with you. God of moments and memories we remember before you people facing hard times in the months ahead. We pray for those struggling with illness, and for those facing treatment or surgery with uncertain results…. We pray for those who are grieving the loss of dear ones and for all who remember what used to be but can no longer be… Make time spent this year your time, O God. Bless our time with you. God of hopefulness and helpfulness, we remember those who are seeking new opportunities this year: Those training for new employments and those looking for work; Those developing new businesses and seeking the right employees; And those who provide services to improve life in our communities amid the uncertainties around us…
Give us wisdom and perseverance in what we undertake as a congregation in the face of all the changes in our community. Make time spent this year your time, O God. Bless our time with you.
As we work together with the vision of your kingdom before us this year, fill us with love and generosity that can change the world because of your blessing. We pray we can make a difference in even the most challenging situations because we are the people of your beloved Son who taught us to pray together:
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.
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 2022-01-09 12:30 – Added link to video version of the service.