Photo: Star ornament. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021.
“Teach us to seek You in all that has life that we may see You as the Light of life.” -John Phillip Newell
Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)
Welcome to our 2022 celebration of The Epiphany – the adoration of the Christ Child by traveling Wise Ones. We, too, are travelers or the descendants of people who have come from foreign lands. Let us honor the graciousness of the indigenous Lisjan-Ohlone people upon whose land we live and practice ministry.
Invocation: Isaiah 60:1-6 (NRSV; pastor) A message of hope for the people.
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 divine glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and rulers 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.
We light The Christ Candle invoking God’s presence as The Messiah. May it be Christ’s Light that shines within, among, and beyond our congregation this year. Amen.
Light The Christ Candle (pastor)
Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)
Passing the Peace (all) Joyful gestures and words of peace to one another.
We Rest in God’s Grace
Song: “O Radiant Christ” New Century Hymnal #168
Prayer and Silence (pastor)
Let us shift into silence in God’s presence with this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10.
Be still and know that I am God. (Breathe slowly)
Be still and know that I am. (Breathe slowly)
Be still and know. (Breathe slowly)
Be still. (Breathe slowly)
Be. (Breathe slowly)
(Breathe in silence) Amen.
Assurance of Grace (pastor)
The God who guided extravagant blessings to the Christ Child will always draw us into holy communion. The God who redirected danger away from the Christ Child will always show us a better way forward. May we rest in the assurance of God’s good guidance. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV; pastor) A message of wisdom during broken times.
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise ones 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, King Herod 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 ones and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then Herod sent the wise ones 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 the wise ones had heard the king, they men 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 the wise ones 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 the child 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.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Sermon “Drawn to The Light” (pastor) May we, too, be led by Christ’s Light.
Special Music (instrumental solo)
Prayer Requests (all)
Pastoral Prayer (pastor)
Brilliant One, all we really want, all our souls really want, is to be in Your Light. Shine upon us. Illuminate us. Bless our congregation with Your truth that we might be a beacon of hope and justice for many. Amen.
Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer (pastor)
We Celebrate Holy Communion
Invitation to Holy Communion
Stargazers, gather round! We are in the presence of Christ! If your heart, mind, body, or soul seeks the blessing of Christ’s Light, this blessed meal is most lavishly offered to you and all who wish to partake.
Let us speak the names of those who are not physically present with whom we wish to be spiritually gathered. (Say names out loud.)
Today’s Holy Communion, mystically, takes place in the manger in the presence of Jesus’s earthly parents, shepherds with their flocks, wise ones with their gifts, and angels singing, singing, singing the glory of God.
Consecration of Elements
Place hands on the cup and the bread in your household.
Let us pray:
Holy Light, bless our cups and pieces of bread. Bless our households and homes. Bless our nations and our shared world. Shine upon us. Fill us what You most wish to share with us this Epiphany. Amen.
Sharing the Elements
Did the infant Jesus know, as foreign wise ones presented him with regal gifts, that one day he would give the world the gift of himself for the liberation of all beings? I hope so! Today, we receive, again, what God continues to give…
Jesus lifted up the loaf, gave thanks to God, broke it, and said: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Let us receive the gift of Christ’s Body given for us. (eat bread)
After supper, Jesus lifted up the cup, gave thanks to God, and offered it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Let us receive the gift of The New Covenant poured out for us. (drink from cup)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Let us pray:
We are not worthy, O God, of Your abundant grace, and yet, we are most grateful. May the blessing of this Epiphany Communion especially fortify us with hope, wisdom, and mercy as we offer our congregation to You for Your glory in the year ahead. May it be so. Amen.
Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.
Song: “Arise, Your Light is Come!” The New Century Hymnal #164
Benediction: “The Blessing of Grace” written by The Rev. William Sloane Coffin and final Epiphany blessing by Pastor Kathryn (pastor)
May God give you the grace never to sell yourself short; grace to risk something big for something good; and grace to remember the world is now too dangerous for anything but the truth and too small for anything but love. (wsc)
Arise, Dear Ones, Our Light is Come! May we go forth with Hope, Love, and Peace. Amen. (kms)
The service is concluded.
(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.
Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceded territory of the Lisjan- Ohlone people, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!
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Online Publishing Date: December 29, 2021.
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