Lectionary (Year A): Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1: (1-9), 10-18
Theme: “Searching for Meaning in the Sky”
Message: “And Can It Be?”
In his book, The Rough Years Chad Walsh describes the reaction of two healthy, happy teens who come upon a gravestone while on a hike, which reads: “You are standing where I stood, On eternity’s dire brink. Stranger, say a prayer and know it is later than you think.” “Let’s start back,” Tom said abruptly. A cold chill passed through him…
“It is later than you think,” Betty said with an involuntary shiver. She seized his hand again. “Tom, I’m afraid.” “Of what?” “Of everything. Of the end—it comes so soon. Afraid of death. Afraid of life. Afraid I’ll die before I really live. Afraid I’ll mess up my life. Just afraid, I guess.” The Rough Years, Chad Walsh, pp. 48-49.
Remember when as a child you stood in a group as someone chose sides, hoping to be among the chosen? Or later, applying for a job, or being accepted at a college, or still later being chosen as someone’s mate? Within all of us there is a deep human need to be chose, picked, and selected…ultimately by God, too. The amazing thing is that God has chosen us, warts and all, to be His peculiar people, according to the Apostle Paul.
“Great is Thy Faithfulness,” “Amazing Grace,” “And Can It Be?” “Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated”
Opening: “Gracious God, we come to you at the beginning of a new day, a new week, a new month, a new year, a new decade. We address you as the God of new beginnings—the Originator of fresh starts, the parent of new birth, the author of expanded visions, the foundation of new hope. Hear our prayer as we celebrate, not just a new era on the calendar, but also—and especially—a new era of our lives.”
We confess, Lord God, that we come here this morning as those who still cling to old had bits—as those who still wander off the pathway, as those who still struggle to control our thoughts, as those who fall short of your expectations for us. Pardon us, we pray, and accept us again by your grace.
Assurance of Pardon
Be of good courage, for God will not only wash away your past but will walk with you into a future of confidence and hope.
(Prayers from Leroy Koopman, Liturgical Publications Inc., LPi Resource Center, P.O. Box 510817, New Berlin, WI 53151-0817, 1-800-950-9952 X 2469)
Lectionary (Year A): Second Sunday after Christmas (White) Epiphany of the Lord