January 16, 2022 – Second Sunday after Epiphany
A recording of a video version this virtual worship service will be available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn7e6PKJTSI from 12:15 AM on January 16, 2022.
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Call to worship
How precious is God’s steadfast love!
We will find refuge in the shelter of God’s wings.
Come and feast on God’s abundance.
We will drink from the river of God’s delights.
For with God is the fountain of life;
And in God’s light we will see light.
Let us worship God with joy and thanksgiving!
We will bring God our prayers and our praise with hearts full of love.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
This is the Christ Candle. We light the candle to help us remember that Jesus Christ, the light of the world, is with us in every place and every time.
Prayers of Approach and Confession
God of light and life, You shine your light into our lives in your Son Jesus. Your Spirit strengthens us to face whatever this year will hold. And so we come to praise you for your light which transforms our days and our lives, and for your wisdom which enlightens truth for our times. Shine through us, we pray, so that we may bear the light of Jesus in this world you love.
God of all life and our lives, we gather in worship week by week, seeking your refreshing presence. But we confess sometimes we are discouraged by things happening around us. We don’t expect your presence to make a difference for us. Forgive us when we give up on you and end up feeling unfulfilled. By your grace, refresh us when we are weary or worried, and renew our trust in you.
Declaration of Pardon
Hear the good news! Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ prays for us. No power in heaven or on earth can separate us from God’s great love. Take heart, and know that you are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.
A wedding is a funny human event, isn’t it? The process of two individuals becoming one family.
As a minister, I have the privilege of officiating many weddings…. During the first ten weddings I officiated, I paid so much attention to the ceremony: when should a bride come in, how they should walk, what to say, where to stand, what kind of vows they are using, the type of prayer we want to use…
A wedding ceremony is a tiny part of what people are trying to celebrate and build in their life. A tiny part of our life celebration, there is far more in our life.
It is not how I look at a wedding ceremony but how I look at the scriptures and stories in the Bible changed.
In my younger days, when I read the story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding, I used to pay so much attention to my scientific mind asking how water could turn into wine? I kept feeding my skeptical mind because I tried to make a story of spirituality into a tale of science.
By doing so, I forgot to pay attention to the kind of blessings Jesus had brought to the wedding. I did not pay enough attention to who Jesus was and what Jesus did. Jesus enabled the wedding celebration to continue. Jesus brought the sense of abundance, joy, and God’s glory into the wedding party. Turning water into wine was such a small part of the story.
Somehow sometimes during their celebration, Jesus became the host of the wedding. Jesus became the reason for celebration… the reason for celebration…. That is when the glory of God was revealed at the wedding party…. It was not the bride or the groom of the wedding, but this strange guest, Jesus became the main event.
This transformation began when Mary said to others, “Do whatever he tells you.” I am going to read verse 5, “His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” This complete trust in Jesus transformed the wedding party.
That kind of trust transforms our human relationships with God and one another.
Do you know how stubborn we can be? Even when we are wrong? I know I am. It is so hard to say to God, “I will do whatever you ask.”
I invite you to try this not just with God but with your loved ones.
I am not saying it is good to do what others tell us to do, but once in a while try it with our loved ones.
Some of us turn every relationship into a competition and a fight. Others of us turn every relationship into a hide and seek… but God invites us to turn our relationships with God and with each other into forgiving and trusting relationships.
Actually, the transformation at the wedding party had begun even before Mary stepped into the picture, it had started when Jesus was invited to the wedding as a guest.
I am going to read verse 1 and 2, On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
The transformation of the wedding party began when Jesus was asked, “We would like you to be at the wedding.” It is clear what we need to do. It is to keep inviting Christ into our lives, family, relationships, and struggles. This particular story does not teach us about a miracle that ignores science by telling us you can turn water into wine by simply praying. But to treasure all the wonders and mysteries, we experience in our human life.
This particular story is not about wine. It reveals to us a clue in how we can allow God to transform our human hearts and relationships. It gives us a clue in how we deepen our relationships with Christ and deepen our joy.
“Sing a new song unto the Lord” (Book of Praise hymn 422). Words and music by American composer Daniel L. Schutte (1947–). Words and music copyright © 1972, 1974, 1979 Daniel L. Schutte, administered by New Dawn Music; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Vocals, keyboard and guitar performed by GCPC music director Rachelle Risling.
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.
Dedication of our Gifts
Prayer of dedication
God of grace and mercy, receive all our gifts, offered in thanksgiving. We share the fruit of our labours with you, asking that you will multiply their effects in and through the Church. And we share the fruit of our time and talent, seeking to know how you would have us serve in Jesus’ name.
Prayers of Thanksgiving, People and Lord’s Prayer
O God, Jesus brought the joy into lives that needed hope and a new beginning. We pray for all those who need a new beginning this year: Individuals trying to make a new start, Families trying to sort through difficulties, Groups hoping to accomplish good things for others, Refugees building new homes in a new land, Students and teachers beginning a new semester, Businesses and congregations trying to rebuild in uncertain times. Show each one how much they matter to you, and renew their courage and resolve to make a fresh start.
O God, Jesus faced the suffering around him with compassion, reaching out to those in pain and grief with healing and hope. We remember before you those whose lives are wrapped in sorrow or despair, and those facing tragic death or critical illness… We remember those rebuilding lives and communities after flooding and storm and all those burdened by pain or problems that seem to have no end… Embrace each one with your comfort and courage, and show us what we can offer to make a difference.
O God in whom we live and move and have our being, thank you for giving us the courage and commitment we need to follow Christ in good times and in hard times. Thank you for the strength we find together as part of your church and the gifts you give us in each other, gifts we can rely on as we plan for our ministry and mission in these ever-changing times. Help us trust in the promise of your love for us and energize us with your Spirit so that we can recognize the opportunities you give us to live out the grace and mercy we know in Jesus Christ who taught us to pray:
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.
Changing the Light
Now, it is time to change the light. The light that was in one place can now be in every place and every time going with you wherever you go.
Let us go into the world in humble faith with Christ as our company. May all that is Holy protect us, all that is kindly watch over us, and all that is true, speak to us of freedom.
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 2022-01-15 00:35 – First Version