A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Epiphany Sunday & the Baptism of Jesus 10:30 am
I suppose when we take on January 1 the world will look the same. But there is a reminder of the Resurrection at the start of each new year, each new decade. That’s why I also like sunrises, Mondays, and new seasons. God seems to be saying, “With me you can always start fresh.” —Ada Lum
From There to Here: We Gather
Prelude The Holly and the Ivy 18th Century Carol
¨ The Call
One: People of God, Arise, for the glory of God is shining on us. Though shadows abound, lift up your eyes and behold the brightness of God’s presence.
All: Arise and shine for our light has come!
¨ Hymn #164 Arise, Your Light Is Come Festal Song
1 Arise, your light is come! The Spirit’s call obey; show forth the glory of your God which shines on you today!
2 Arise, your light is come! Fling wide the prison door; proclaim the captive’s liberty, good tidings to the poor.
3 Arise, your light is come! All you in sorrow born, bind up the brokenhearted ones and comfort those who mourn.
4 Arise, your light is come! The mountains burst in song! Rise up like eagles on the wing, God’s power will make us strong.
¨ Prayer of Approach and Confession
All: O Shining Light, we give thanks for the light of this new day and of this new year.
One: We seek the star of eternal love, and pray to follow the light of justice and peace as we travel. We long to lay aside the failures and fractures of our past.
All: We confess that we have walked errantly, sought that which we knew would not satisfy, and have misused our gifts in ways that have hurt, rather than healed others.
One: We would turn now, and follow the Light. We pray your help to both forgive and be forgiven that we may walk forward in joy. Like the wise ones of old, help us seek until we find where Christ is laid in our world, in our ways, and in our hearts.
¨ Words of Assurance
¨ Passing the Peace of Christ
All who come to this sanctuary are welcome companions on this day! You are invited to turn to those nearest you and greet them with words of peace.
Word and Worship
Anthem Good Christian Friends, Rejoice
Scripture Lesson Isaiah 60:1-6
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 dawn. 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.
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. 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.
Children’s Moment as the children return to their seats we sing:
May God’s blessings guard, protect and guide you. God bless you, God bless you. Our savior’s loving arms be ever ’round you. God bless you, God bless you.
Scripture Lesson Matthew 2:1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 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.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘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.'”
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 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.” 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. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Sermon Living the Light of the World Rev. Kent Gilbert
Responding to God’s Love in Communion
¨ Invitation to Communion
One: God be with you.
All: And also with you.
One: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift our hearts in prayer.
One: Let us give thanks to God.
All: It is good to give God thanks and praise.
Ringing of the Peace Bell
The Union Church Peace Bell was created by Jeff Enge in honor of Union Church member Carl Eschbach (1904-1998). A twin bell hangs in Berea’s sister province in Japan and is also rung in the hope of peace for all nations.
Silent Prayers and Prayers of the Community
In the silence each person is invited to “cast forward” a prayer into the new year. What blessing might you particularly like to note and attend to? Is there a theme for this coming year you hope to live into? What fears do you bring, and what light would make them easier to bear? What gifts do you bring with you from the past? What will you offer as you seek the rising star?
One: Gracious God, who quickens the faith that brought Magi from the east, who kindles the hope that brought captives from exile, and who inspires the love that brings strangers together, we thank you for the light that guided those searching for the truth. We thank you for sending prophets and teachers, angels and magi to lead us into the way of salvation.
One: We praise you for the light that shines through time and history; for leading us year to changing year by the bright morning star, Jesus Christ. We sing praises as we begin this new year of your call and promise.
Sanctus Please Join in Singing
Words of Institution
One: Holy one, you who are in every gathering where joy is spread and hope is kindled, you were present when the wise arrived with gifts for sharing. We remember the bread of journeys and the wine of new discoveries. Later in his life, on the precipice of new beginnings and dangerous dealings, we remember that Jesus took bread and, when he had given thanks, he broke it among those gathered and said,
All: “This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
One: Not just the daily bread, but also the cup of celebration is passed to us: new life, flowing like joy, and looking like company. Amongst those same friends, he took a cup, and giving thanks, said,
All: “This cup is a new covenant of my life and blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
One: For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord until he comes.
One: Gracious God, by this meal we recall Jesus’ birth, his ministry to all on the margins, and his promise of eternal life and light. Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and cup, that we who eat and drink at this holy table may share the life of Christ, our Lord.
Serving One Another
All who seek the love of God are welcome at this meal and are invited to freely receive from it. We will share the elements today by intinction, dipping the bread in the cup. When invited please come to one of the stations by exiting your pew to the left and returning by the right. If it is not convenient to come forward, the elements can be brought to your seat by signaling to the usher. All the bread is gluten-free, and the chalices are filled with non-alcoholic grape juice. If it is not your tradition to receive, you are invited to join in prayers for the unity of the Spirit and all people, within your tradition.
Offertory The Friendly Beasts trad. English Carol
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¨ Doxology Old Hundredth
To God all glorious heavenly light; To Christ revealed in earthly night; To God the spirit now we raise Our grateful hymn of thankful praise. Amen.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
All: In your service we arise and shine, O Lord of light and truth. We thank you for this meal together. In all that we seek, in all that we share, may the star of your Christ be our guide.
One: As we renew our vows and follow the light of your life, cleanse and heal us, and set our feet on new paths to justice and joy.
All: God blesses; we respond with our lives.
One: Receive this water, gift of God, and hear for yourself how God names you: Beloved.
All: By the waters of baptismal grace we promise to love and serve God by following the Christ.
We pray to boldly and creatively embody the life and ministry of Jesus as we commit ourselves to work and fellowship that makes the radical and inclusive love of God, the beloved community proclaimed by Jesus, and the continuing inspiration of the Holy Spirit visible and real to all.
From Here to There
¨ Hymn #163 Many Are the Lightbeams Lightbeams
Today, with many other Christians, we celebrate a renewal of our Baptismal Vows with words and water. During this hymn a branch from a Christmas tree will be used to sprinkle water over the congregation. Like the rain, the grace of God falls on all people, baptized and unbaptized alike. We invite all who will to join in prayers for grace and wholeness, and all who will to recommit to service in the way of Jesus. All God’s children are beloved.
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve. Please see the listing of church & community evens, prayers, and notices in the pages following the service.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
Today we honor Dianne Kennedy of the Kentucky Blood Center. More than 50 years ago -on December 31, 1969, then-President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation designating January as National Blood Donor Month. The observance is intended to honor voluntary blood donors and to encourage people to give blood. Each donation assists in three medical procedures.
Union Church hosts a Blood Drive in the Community Room every month. Next chance to donate here: Jan. 16. Dianne has coordinated the drives for over 15 years, and has facilitated the doubling of the number of blood drives a year at Union Church to address the greater need during the Covid pandemic. kybloodcenter.org
¨ Blessing the Way
With deep feeling, we commend you to your life and work in other places, taking with you our strong support and sincere prayers.
All: Go forth into the world!
Piano Side: In peace!
Bell Side: In love!
Piano: To teach!
Bell: To learn!
All: Go forth into the world!
Piano: To preach!
Bell: To pray!
Piano: To heal!
Bell: To comfort!
All: Go forth into the world!
Piano: To build!
Bell: To plant!
Piano: To grow!
Bell: To thrive!
All: Go forth into the world to love and serve the Lord.
¨ Benediction & Sending Forth
@copyright 2007 Deborah Payne, used by permission
Postlude (please be seated) Joy to the World Christopher Norton
Our Prayers for Others
¨ Each week we join millions of Christians who pray for one another through the ecumenical prayer cycle and, locally, the Berea Ministerial Association’s prayer cycle (World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer cycle: union-church.org/ministries/prayer) Let us hold the people of Iran, Iraq and Syria and our brothers and sisters at Bethlehem Baptist Church in our hearts, and pray for them today and throughout the week.
¨ All the people of Ukraine for their safety and sovereignty. Prayers also that the government of Russia will turn to reason & respect for their own peoples’ lives as well as for Ukrainian families.
¨ All those affected by the devastating losses in the current conflict in the Middle East.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Jan Hamilton, Betsy Hoefer, Dorie Hubbard, Lois Morgan, Sara Parker, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Sally Zimmerman.
¨ All those suffering from mental strain, trauma, and disease: may God soothe and heal all who are troubled.
¨ Members and Friends who need safer housing and income security.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Jeannette Davidson, having health problems.
¨ Dorie Hubbard, moving to New York City; and Amy Williams, who’s recently moved to Sacramento, CA.
¨ The family and friends of Betty Wray, who died on Wednesday.
¨ The family, friends and students of Dianne Sykes, former Berea College professor and Union Church member, who died on December 11.
¨ The family, friends and classmates of Abdullahi Hamdy, young Berea Student, who died suddenly on New Years Eve.
¨ Celebrations with Prayers of Joy!
Birthdays: Jan. 7 – Eliana Saderholm, Christine VanPelt-Ward; 9 – Karen Edwards; 10 – MacGregor Lakes, Julia Whaley-Jones; 14 – Gaige Biggs, Levi Broadbridge
Anniversaries: Jan. 11 – Kelly & Teri Mehler
If we haven’t got your important dates, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!