The Watchword for the Week:
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1
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 72:1-7, 10-14
Give the ruler your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a ruler’s heir.
May the ruler judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
May the ruler defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.
May the ruler live while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon,
throughout all generations.
May the ruler be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
In the ruler’s days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound,
until the moon is no more.
May the monarchs of Tarshish and of the isles
render the ruler tribute,
may the monarch of Sheba and Seba bring gifts.
May all monarchs fall down before the ruler,
all nations give the ruler service.
For the ruler delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
The ruler has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence the ruler redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in the ruler’s sight.
Confession of Sin (from the MBW Liturgy for Epiphany page 67)
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.
Now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage. If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read them now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to. So read slowly and deliberately. Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world. May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:
Epiphany Prayer of Intersession.
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 you would make clear your will for us in Jesus Christ.
Be with us as we seek to love as we have been loved, to forgive as we have been forgiven, and to give you as given to us.
Praise, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might,
Belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!