“Wise men still seek him.“
Good morning FCCG family! Our Joys, Concerns and Announcements this week include:
- Birthdays or anniversaries coming up this week: Candy Stevenson’s Birthday (Jan 11), Anna Mohr-Hunter’s Birthday (Jan 11), and Adam Fenne’s Birthday (Jan 12). Let us know if we missed yours!
Introit ………………… How Many Kings?
performed by Downhere
CALL TO WORSHIP
Have you seen the star? Have you heard the good news?
God, who created all things, has come to earth.
We have heard of a baby born in Bethlehem.
We have seen evidence that God is with us.
Have you allowed God to reign in your life?
Have you laid your gifts before the holy child?
We witness the generous travelers from the east.
They inspire in us a willingness to share.
God’s call to us is for justice, beyond generosity.
Are you ready for God’s eternal purpose in Christ?
We fear to trust God completely;
Yet we want to respond to God’s hopes for us.
OPENING HYMN …………………….. #172 We Three Kings
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Arise upon us, holy God, and let your glory appear over us today. Come in the brightness of your dawn to bring light to all the nations of earth. Gather us together in such harmony that we may discern your will for us and be led in your ways. Fill us with that radiant joy that allows us to reflect your goodness. Let all people praise you, O God. Let our praise resound through all the world. Amen.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
The Epiphany season celebrates God’s inclusiveness. The mystery of Jesus Christ is revealed, not to an elite few, but to the whole world. Yet we continue to build barriers to protect our own interests and keep others at a distance. If loyalty to God calls for accepting and embracing all God’s children in love, we have much to confess. Let us confess our sin before God and one another, and may God have mercy.
May Christ have mercy.
May God have mercy.
God of light, we admit our retreat into the shadows of pretension and exclusion. How often we choose to associate with people who are like us and then look down on others who differ from us. It is easier to discover their sins than to admit to our own. We judge the poor and take the side of their oppressors, while you call us to identify with those in need, that all may proper together. We imagine that we alone are faithful stewards of your grace, while you welcome, as fellow saints with us, many whom we ignore. Save us from our earthbound judgments, that we may look up and be guided by the star that draws all people to yourself. Awed by your forgiving presence, we fall down to worship you. Amen.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
Hear now these words of assurance:
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we can come to God in boldness and confidence, assured of the gift of grace and empowerment of the Spirit. Lift up your eyes to see the glory of God. Receive light and healing, for God has come to dwell in us and among us. Let your hearts rejoice and your faces be radiant as we share the abundance of God’s love.
GLORY PATRI ………………………………………. #35
All readings are from the English Standard Version bible.
OLD TESTAMENT LESSON ………………………………… Isaiah 60:1-6
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned 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 bring good news, the praises of the LORD.
PSALTER LESSON …………………………………………………………. Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon,
throughout all generations.
May he be like the rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound,
until the moon is no more.
May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts.
May all kings fall down before him,
all nations give him service.
For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence, he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.
EPISTLE LESSON …………………………………………………………… Ephesians 3:1-12
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles — assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
HYMN …………………………………………… #168 Down to Earth
GOSPEL LESSON ……………………………………………………………… Matthew 2:1-12
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “’And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
SERMON …………………………………….. Fanfare ……………………………… Rev. Rebecca Clancy
The Lord’s Prayer (watch background location on this video!)
SPECIAL MUSIC …………. What Star is This With Beams so Bright
performed by Karen Howard and Jared Ortega
TITHES AND OFFERINGS
The riches of our land far surpass the resources of the visitors from the east who came to worship the infant Jesus. As they opened their treasure chests, may we open our hearts and our lives in expressions of thanksgiving and commitment. This offering is an expression of our priorities.
We bring our treasure to praise you, O God. All the riches of our abundance you have provided. The land has yielded prosperity for us so that even the poorest among us has something to give. Above all, we are thankful for your revelation in Jesus Christ that gives us good news to share. May this offering accomplish among us, and far beyond us, the mission you give to each one of your people. Amen.
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CLOSING HYMN ……………………………………………….. #173 As With Gladness
May the Lord watch between me and thee, while we are apart one from the other, Amen.
Please keep the following individuals in your prayers this week:
- The family of Marilyn Cuscaden (death of Marilyn);
- Jodi Holleran’s mom (illness);
- Mercedes Nuss (illness);
- Jess Reddy’s friend, Keeley (illness);
- Sue Cechner’s friend, John (Illness);
- Barb and Dick Sharp’s friend, Alice (illness);
- Barb and Dick Sharp’s nephew, Jeff (illness);
- Barb and Dick Sharp’s niece, Amy (illness);
- Carolyn and Gail’s son, Collin (unit deployed to Afganistan);
- Lisa Peterson (illness);
- Lisa Peterson’s niece-in-law, Wendy (illness);
- Linda Moran (illness);
- Faith DiMaria’s brother, Steve, and family (illness);
- The Connolly Family (lots of prayers);
- Lynnly & Dave’s friend Mark (illness);
- Wayne’s brother John and his family (death of his sister-in-law Teresa);
- Karen’s Cousin, Dwight, (Illness);
- Those affected by violence as well as those serving in the military;