Worship: January 3, 2021

ZION UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

22 Gettysburg Street  Box 538

Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

Epiphany Sunday

January 3, 2021

9:00 am

Live stream link:  Zion UCC Sunday Service Livestream – January 3 2021

Welcome to Zion and a special welcome to our visitors in these days of adjusting to a new normal in worship.  Because of the continuing concerns for the spread of the covid-19 virus, we have chosen to live stream our worship services, suspending in- person worship until we gain a clearer picture of how to gather together in the sanctuary to worship safely.  These are difficult times and even with the hope for a vaccine in the near future, it will be some time before enough people have the vaccine in order to effectively control covid-19.  We ask for your patience and understanding and your faithful support of the church in these days of a new normal for all of us.  Let us continue to pray and to remain faithful, knowing that our God continues to reach out and to embrace us.  We sometimes need to be reminded that our God promises to be near to us in the most difficult days as well as the days when life seems easy for us.

As you follow along in the bulletin during live stream worship, please participate quietly when you come to the bold print.

 

PRELUDE

“Carols of the Star”, arr. Lani Smith, ©1976, Lorenz Publishing Co.

TIME OF SHARING

CALL TO WORSHIP

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 his glory will appear over you.

Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

 

PRAYER OF INVOCATION

Light of the world,

we come to you seeking the eternal brightness.

We wish to behold your majesty.

We wish to be illumined in our understanding.

We wish to see clearly your will for our lives.

We wish to travel in faith to the city of lights.

 

GATHERING HYMN “As With Gladness Men of Old”

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

As with gladness men of old did the guiding star behold,

As with joy they hailed its light, leading onward, beaming bright;

So, most gracious Lord, may we evermore be led to thee.

 

As with joyful steps they sped, Savior, to thy lowly bed,

There to bend the knee before thee, whom heaven and earth adore;

So may we with willing feet ever seek thy mercy seat.

 

As they offered gifts most rare at thy manger rude and bare,

So may we with holy joy, pure and free from sin’s alloy.

All our costliest treasures bring Christ, to thee, our heavenly king.

 

TIME OF CONFESSION

As the glory of God shines around us once more, our mistakes

and unfaithfulness are revealed in ways we cannot escape.

We come to recognize that we have failed to act

with God to show forth Christ in the world.

We have resisted communion with God, who seeks to expand

the narrow circles of interest and attention that constrict us.

May our confession express an earnest desire for change.

Holy and Merciful One, when we exclude our sisters and brothers,

forgetting that Christ came for all people –

female and male, imprisoned and free, strong and weak –

please forgive us.

When we believe that our way is the only way to follow you,

and forget that you may choose to be known by different names,

 in different ways, by different cultures, please forgive us.

 When we believe that revelation is ours to decide

 rather than yours to show forth, please forgive us.

Pardon us and bless us with humility and love,

 so that we may be your faithful servants forever.

And now let us confess in silence those fears that keep us from loving as Christ has loved us.

 

CONFESSION MEDITATION

“How Brightly Beams the Morning Star”, Phillip Nicolai, arr. Roger C. Wilson, ©1975 Lorenz Publishing Company

 

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,

but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,

and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,

says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Thanks be to God for this magnificent gift of love.

 

THE GIVING OF OURSELVES AND OUR OFFERINGS

On entering the house, the wise men saw the child with Mary his mother,

and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure

chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

 

(For the time being we would ask you to mail your offering Zion United Church of Christ, PO Box 538, Arendtsville, Pennsylvania 17307, or to use the Electronic Funds Transfer option which is available by contacting the church office.  Your ongoing support of the church is deeply appreciated in these days.)

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

We don’t usually know who will be the eventual recipient

 of our tithes and offerings, but we pray for them, Holy God,

and ask that you will bless them through what we give today.

 

VOCAL SOLO

“Do You Hear What I Hear”, N. Regney/G. Shayne, ©1962 Regent Music Corporation

Fred M., soloist

 

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON FOR THE MORNING

Isaiah 60: 1-6

60:1 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
60:2 For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.
60:3 Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
60:4 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.

60:5 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.
60:6 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.

GOSPEL READING FOR THE MORNING

St. Matthew 2: 1-12

2:1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2:2 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.”
2:3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;
2:4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
2:5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
2:6 ‘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.'”
2:7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.
2:8 Then he sent them 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.”
2:9 When they had heard the king, they 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.
2:10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
2:11 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 him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

 

SILENT PRAYER AND PREPARATION

“As With Gladness, Men of Old”, ©1990 Hope Publishing Company

 

THE MESSAGE FOR THE MORNING

THE LITURGY OF THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

When Jesus sat at table and enjoyed communion

with tax collectors and sinners,

he proclaimed that God’s care knows no bounds.

We proclaim again the comfort and challenge of that witness:

all are invited now to share God’s table and be nourished by the Bread of Life.

God be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts

We lift them up to God.

Let us thank God.

It is good to thank God.

We thank you, God, that you have provided for all the worlds that ever were

or will be by giving yourself to them in love.

If we go to the heights of the mountains, or if we make the grave our bed,

you are with us. If we go to the depths of the sea, your right hand holds us fast.

We thank you for Jesus, your Word, who lived among us, uncovering your presence. We thank you that you stamped his death with victory and that life,

not death, was the final word.

We ask now that you bless us, as we share this bread and cup,

that we might be nourished by that same unbounded love and

so be encouraged to be your servants in the world.

At this table, most gracious God, your love invites us to partake and to share.

We give thanks for the strength we receive

through the body and blood of Jesus.

It feeds our souls and nourishes our faith,

so that we can be your witnesses in a broken world. 

It is your gift to us, and we lift up our hearts in thanksgiving and praise.

You, O Lord, are the sovereign God of justice,

so help us to be your source of light in a world that seems dark.

Just as your Son gave of his life freely for us,

may we also give of ourselves freely to those around us.

 Let your bread of life and cup of everlasting mercy

move and flow through us,

that our faith and deeds may be an honest witness to you. 

 Almighty God, we offer you this bread and this cup,

and we give thanks for the life and example of Jesus Christ.

Because he died, we live. Because he lives, we experience your loving Spirit.

Send that spirit upon us and upon this bread and this cup,

that we may be made one with you and with each other,

bound together in your covenant of love and life.

As this grain was scattered in the fields and has come together in one bread,

so we, with different hopes and needs, come together as one,

for we share one bread.

Take. The Bread of Life.

The cup which we share is the cup of the New Covenant written on our hearts and witnessed by Jesus. Take.  Drink. The Cup of the New Covenant.

Let us now eat of the bread and drink of the cup as one body.

Thanks be to God.

SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

THE SACRAMENTAL BLESSING

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

All powerful and living God,

help us to be grateful always for your amazing love

shown through Jesus Christ.

As you walk with us in our journey of life, let your Spirit work within us,

that we may live as true witnesses to your mighty works of love.

 

CLOSING HYMN  “Go, Tell It on the Mountain”

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;

Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

 

While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night,

Behold, throughout the heavens there shone a holy light.

 

The shepherds feared and trembled when lo! Above the earth

Rang out the angel chorus that hailed our Savior’s birth.

 

Down in a lowly manger the humble Christ was born,

And God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn.

*COMMISSION AND BENEDICTION

May the Light of the World shine brightly in your world,

casting light on the path and bringing warmth, truth, and love.

 

CHIME MEDITATION

(please be seated until dismissed by the usher)

“Star of the East”, Amanda Kennedy, arr. Roger C. Wilson, ©1977 Lorenz Publishing Company

POSTLUDE

“Procession of the Magi”, George Blake, ©1985 Lorenz Publishing Company

 

The Altar Flowers are presented to the glory of God and with prayers to keep Zion’s members in good health by the Zion Altar Guild.

During this virus situation, the Office Manager will often be working from home.  Please call the office before stopping by.

Coming Up This Week:

January 3                         Live Stream Worship – Epiphany                    9:00 a.m.

With Communion

No Sunday School – winter vacation

Looking Forward:

January 10                       Live Stream Worship                                      9:00 a.m.

Sunday School                 Zoom                     10:30 a.m.

 

Pastoral Care:  If you would like a visit from George, please contact him and let him know a convenient time.

Prayer Requests:  Don’t forget to send your prayer requests via email to the church office by Friday evening to have them included in the Sunday service.

Recognition:  Zion has received from the Penn Central Conference certificates recognizing your 2019 contributions to Our Church’s Wider Mission – Changing Lives campaign and also for being a “5 for 5 Congregation in the UCC in 2019” for your support of Our Church’s Wider Mission, Neighbors in Need, One Great Hour of Sharing, The Christmas Fund, and Strengthen the Church special offerings.

Pictures needed:  As we enter the new year, please remember to send updated pictures to the church office for the on-line directory which we plan to roll out in 2021.

Mac and Cheese Donations are gratefully accepted for John’s Meals.  Just put them in the bin in the utility closet on the back porch at Zion House.