The Watchword for the Week:
God has made know to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ. Ephesians 1:9
Like the wise-men from the east, we have been following a star that brings us to greet a mystery.
Perhaps we expected a king, royalty of some manner, at the very least we expected power that finds its roots in wealth. But instead we greet a humble peasant family with a vulnerable child. And to this great mystery we offer our gifts.
Psalm 147: 12-20
12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
14 He grants peace within your borders;
he fills you with the finest of wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down hail like crumbs— who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his ordinances.
Praise the Lord!
Confession of Sin (from the MBW Liturgy for Epiphany page 67. Used by permission of the Interprovincial Board of Communication.)
With sincere hearts and open minds, let us now acknowledge the sin that entangles us and prevents us from doing God’s will:
Compassionate Lord, you call us to a higher standard than we have achieved. We therefore bow in honest confession of those thoughts, words, and deeds which have missed the mark. Within our families, we have loved imperfectly. Among sisters and brothers in the church, we have not fully walked in the light. Often our congregations have not reflected the rich diversity of people in our communities. In our witness to the world, our lives have not adequately testified to your redeeming power. Forgive us, gracious Lord, for permitting ourselves to be distracted from the goal of our discipleship. Heal the brokenness of our hearts and restore us to you, our first love.
There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus. Hear the word of the Lord: I do not condemn you. Go, but do not sin again.
Take time now for reading the Daily Texts or a passage of Scripture. If you do not have access to the Daily Texts you can view the online version at http://www.moravian.org/todays-daily-text/daily-text/. As you read the texts pause to ponder words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit today. Then spend some time praying for the needs of our hurting world. When you are ready, please continue with the prayer as follows:
Epiphany Prayer of Intersession (From the Moravian Book of Worship page 70. Used by permission of the Interprovincial Board of Communication):
Let us offer intercessions and petitions for the needs of the world.
Lord Jesus Christ, as disciples called to your service, we pray for the salvation of all. Lead us to bear witness to friends and neighbors in this community. Fill our words and manner of life with the convincing power of your Spirit. Intensify our love for all people that our discipleship may be confirmed as genuine. Through our obedience to your call, bestow on many the faith to be saved.
Give every gift and blessing to your witnesses in all places. May those who suffer because they have named you as Lord be strengthened to endure every temptation. Give courage, insight, and loving patience to those who have left their own people to proclaim the gospel to those yet unreached.
Savior, grant that your church may always grow in grace and in numbers. Bring multitudes from every people to bow and confess that you are Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
The message of Epiphany is that the birth of Jesus was meant to have global implications; that the good news was meant for all people.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Just as the magi came bearing gifts to the Christ Child, so may we offer ourselves to our Lord.
Lead us Lord to nurture and then share our gifts with the world around us. Through the tasks that are laid before us today, may the message of your grace fall on an ear that needs to hear it.
We marvel, gracious Lord, that through this mysterious birth your will for humanity is revealed for all to see.
Be with us as we seek to love as you have loved us, to forgive as you have forgiven us, and to give as you have given to us. Amen.