Worship Elements: January 6, 2013

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Epiphany of the Lord

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12

THEME IDEAS

The light of God’s love shines brightly in these passages. Isaiah speaks of the radiance of God’s glory drawing the nations together. The people come with rejoicing, bearing gifts of gold, and frankincense. Matthew tells of the magi, who followed the star to the Christ child, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Paul proclaims the boundless richness of Christ. This good news brings hope to those who despair. The psalmist reminds us that the true king will judge God’s people with righteousness, bring
justice to the poor, and save the lives of the needy. The infant in Bethlehem is this true king.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Isaiah 60, Matthew 2)

Arise, shine, for your light has come.
The glory of the Lord has risen upon you!
The glory of God shines in the darkness.
Lift up your eyes and look around.
Follow the star, wherever it leads!
Take the journey that leads to the child.
Let your hearts rejoice.
Be overwhelmed with joy!
We worship the Christ child,
the hope of the world.

Opening Prayer (Isaiah 60, Psalm 72, Ephesians 3, Matthew 2)

God of mystery,
in the darkness of our world
your light shines with grace and truth.
Open the eyes of our hearts
to the glory of your love.
Speak your word of truth and joy.
May the mystery revealed in Jesus
draw us closer to you.
May the wonder of your love
fill us with wisdom and peace.
As we rejoice in your presence,
teach us to seek justice and righteousness.
Fill our hearts to overflowing
with your joy, your glory, your hope. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Psalm 72, Matthew 2)

God of starlight,
shine your love
into the darkness of our lives.
Preoccupied with ourselves,
we forget the needs of others;
we participate in systems that oppress;
we accept violence as a way of life;
we fail to respond to the cry of others.
May your love fall upon us
like rain on the mown grass.
May your love wash away our indifference
and water the tender shoots
of our care and compassion.
Nourished in the sunlight of your love,
may we grow into people
who live in righteousness
and who work for justice
for all your children. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Ephesians 3)

In Jesus Christ, God has revealed the mystery that brings grace and forgiveness. The light of God’s love transforms us so that we may act with boldness and confidence.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Psalm 72, Ephesians 3)

The mystery of Christ has been revealed to the world. In that mystery, peace abounds. Share the mystery of Christ’s plentiful peace.

Response to the Word (Matthew 2)

We have seen your star, O God,
shining brightly over us
and all the peoples of the earth.
Teach us to trust your light.
Help us take risks,
that we might step out in faith
into the unknown.
Guide us to the place where you abide,
that we may be overwhelmed with joy
like the magi before us.
Guide us to the stable of your love,
that we may offer you
the gifts of our lives. Amen.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to the Offering (Matthew 2)

The magi paid homage to the child, offering gifts of gold,
frankincense, and myrrh. May we too bring the gifts of
our lives and offer them in joy to Jesus Christ.

Offering Prayer (Psalm 72, Matthew 2)

As long ago travelers laid their gifts
before the Christ child,
we too bring our gifts with great joy.
Use our gifts for justice and righteousness,
that oppression and violence may cease
and peace may flourish.
May the light of your love
shine through our living,
that suffering may end,
and all may rejoice
in your gift of life. Amen.

Invitation to Communion (Matthew 2)

By the light of the star,
God led travelers to the Christ child.
When they saw the child
they were overwhelmed with joy.
By the light of divine love,
God leads us to this holy meal.
Gathered together,
we encounter the living Christ
and taste the deepest joy.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Matthew 2)

Go forth and follow the star.
When you have found the child,
tell the good news to the world.
May the blessings of God’s love
fill your hearts with overwhelming joy.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Contemporary Gathering Words (Isaiah 60, Matthew 2)

The darkness is gone.
Rejoice in the light!
The star shines brightly.
Follow the star!
A child is born.
Bring your gifts!

Praise Sentences (Isaiah 60, Matthew 2)

Give glory to God!
Rejoice and be glad!
God’s light shines!
Rejoice and be glad!
Jesus is born!
Rejoice and be glad!

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