Worship Service for January 1, 2023

January 1, 2023 – First Sunday after Christmas Day

A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, January 1, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EST on Sunday, January 1.

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Whenever you see this movie reel symbol, you can click on it to view a video segment on YouTube. If you experience any difficulties, please contact our webmaster.




Call to Worship

One: Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise God in the heights!
All: Praise the Lord, sun and moon; give praise, all shining stars!

One: Give praise, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling God’s command!
All: Give praise, hills and mountains.

One: All people together, let us praise the name of the Lord and declare God’s glory in heaven and on earth.
All: Let us worship God!

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.

Opening Hymn

“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 174). Words by Irish Anglican clergyman John Samuel Bewley Monsell (1811–1875). Music (tune: “Moredun”) by English composer Henry Thomas Smart (1813–1879). Words and music public domain.

Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)

God of majesty and mystery, like the magi following the star, we come to you in wonder. Your purposes are beyond our comprehension, your majesty incomparable and your love beyond imagination and your presence always with us. We praise you for your steadfast love, and offer you our trust for the days ahead as we seek to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ, our newborn King.

God of light and life, you have come to us in Christ Jesus to open a path to new life, but we fall back on what is familiar. We confess that we are in love with our old ways and our resolution for change is all to short. Forgive us when our resolve wavers and shine your light on the way we can follow into your future.

We pray in Jesus’ name, and continue to pray as he taught:

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

If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. Be assured of God’s forgiveness. Make a new start this year, be at peace with God, secure in the knowledge of God’s love. Thanks be to God!

The Peace

The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Guildwood Senior Choir Presents

Blessed Assurance” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 687). Words (1873) by American poet and lyricist Fanny J. Crosby (1820–1915). Music (1873; tune: “Blessed Assurance”) by American composer Phoebe Palmer Knapp (1839–1908). Words and music public domain.

Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)

(Practicing faith)

The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)

Scripture Readings

Matthew 2: 1–12 <– these link to on-line text of the NRSV bible
Psalm 148

Click here for additional scripture readings from today’s lectionary. Links courtesy of the Revised Common Lectionary, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.


Today we are looking at Psalm 148, It reminds us that everything around us praises God and helps us discover God’s presence.

“1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! 2 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host! 3 Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars! 4 Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! 5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. 6 He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed. 7 Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, 8 fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command! 9 Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! 10 Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds! 11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! 12 Young men and women alike, old and young together! 13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. 14 He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!”

According to Psalm 148 and those who wrote the Psalm, everything around us and everyone around us praises God. Sun, moon, shining stars, highest heaves, waters, sea monsters, mountains, hills, trees, animals, birds, fish, and flowers, fire, hail, snow (yes even snow), frost, stormy wind… All people, from the old and to the young, both men and women…They praise God, and if we pay our full attention to each of them, we may hear their praises. Perhaps this is a good time to ask ourselves, what is a praise? What does it mean to praise? I think: To praise is to give thanks to God by being true to who we are and our given task. We praise God by being faithful, by being forgiving, by being patient, by being kind. To praise is to deepen our awareness of God and to deepen our love. But it is not to define God with our petty human experience and knowledge. To praise is to sing, to pray, to dance, and to commune with God, to celebrate the gifts of God we have received with each other. But it is not about entertaining or amusing ourselves.

To praise God is to offer ourselves to God, to place ourselves before God. But it is not about putting ourselves above others. To praise God is to move from our comfortable, self-centered place to this place where God become the center of our lives. To praise God is to remember where we belong and to whom we belong, but it is not about running away from our problems or creating our own fantasy world. To praise God is not about forgetting who we are or our reality, but about remembering who we are in the eyes of God. According to the scriptures we read, everything and everyone around us offer their praise to God. If we pay our full attention to everything and everyone around us, we may experience God who listens to their and our praise.

Unfortunately, we don’t always realize our inner hunger for the presence of God and our inner desire to praise God. Sometimes we are too busy with today’s responsibilities and other times we are too distracted by yesterday. Sometimes we are too hurt, other times we are too tired. Sometimes we are too disappointed, other times we are too angry. To praise is to deepen our awareness of God and our conversation with God. Perhaps our praise begins when we have courage to silence all other voices in us and pay our full attention to the voice of God who is waiting to bless us. When we praise God, we silence all those harmful voices that keep us away from God and from our wholeness. When we truly give our thanks to God and place ourselves before God, we will recognize there is something sacred and holy in our heart… which cannot be changed or damaged by nothing….

May we find our inner hunger and desire of God.

Musical Reflection

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”. Derived from a piece composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1723. Music public domain. Combined with “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 407). Music (1868; tune: “Praise, my soul”, also known as “Lauda Anima”) by English organist and composer John Goss (1800–1880). Words and music public domain. This arrangement copyright © 2023 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.

Dedication of our Gifts


“Praise God from whom all blessings flow”(Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 830) Based on the tune “Old 100th” with words by English bishop and hymnwriter Thomas Ken (1637–1711). Words and music public domain.

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

Prayer of dedication

God of neighbourhoods and nations, we bring our gifts to you, grateful that you are with us in good times and hard times. We do not know what the year ahead will hold but your love shines like a star to guide us. Bless these gifts and bless us and use them and us in the service of your mission in the world. Amen.

God of all time and space, you guided the magi on their ancient journey; you watched over Jesus, Mary and Joseph when they fled as refugees; and you walk with us into a year of many unknowns. Thank you that we never take any journey without you. We thank you for the year just past, for walking through the good days and the hard days with us. We give thanks for new possibilities emerging in ministry and mission; give us courage to take them up with confidence. Thank you for friendships within our congregation which help us cope in ever changing times. Open our eyes to what we have to share with others as your Spirit guides us into the future.

The year just ending has held sorrows and challenges for us too. 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.

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope

God of light and love, As we face the year ahead, we are aware that 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 or changing circumstances. Guide leaders in communities and countries around the world so that justice and peace may prevail in troubled places and generous giving will bring hope to vulnerable lives.

God of community and commitment, We pray for wisdom and courage in the year ahead. Guide those for whom new opportunities appear and choices must be made. Strengthen our congregation as we seek to witness to your love. Make us faithful citizens who work together for the good of your whole creation. Receive our humble prayers in the name of Jesus our Christ. Amen.

Closing Hymn

We three kings” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 173). Words and music (both 1857; tune: “Kings of Orient”) by American clergyman and hymnwriter John Henry Hopkins Jr. (1820–1891). Words and music public domain.

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.


May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (the risen Christ), the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always. AMEN.

Choral Amen

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Click to listen to the Choral Amen at YouTube.
  • 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.


Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 321). Music (first published 1665; tune “Lobe den Herren”) likely based on a German folk melody. Music public domain. This arrangement copyright © 2023 Rachelle Risling; used by permission.

Copyright © 2023 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church

Last updated 2023-01-04 22:40 – Added Sermon text; added information about hymns, GCPC Senior Choir presents, Musical Meditation and Postlude.