Lectionary (Year A): New Year’s: Eccles. 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; Matthew 25:31-46
Theme: Everlasting Life
Everlasting life is our future hope, but also a present reality for those who envision themselves daily in the Master’s hands. It is a higher degree of life than just what we see and hear and touch. It is life by faith in the One for whom there is no shadow of turning…a life the essence of which is beyond the here and now; a life that will never end, as citizens of a regime that will never be overthrown, as members of a family of God that will never be separated. We are blessed to be in the hands of the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the resurrection and the life, everlasting.
It is said of King Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, kept a slave in his palace whose task was to approach the king every morning and say, “Philip, remember that thou must die.”
Film, other visual aids:
“Jerusalem the Golden,” “Soon and Very Soon,” “For All the Saints,” “O Where Are Kings and Empires Now?” “The Lord Bless You and Keep You”
Call to worship:
This is a day of beginnings:
A new day, a new week, a new month, a new year;
A time of new experiences of God’s grace,
A time of new opportunities for service,
A time of new eras in one’s life,
A time of new relationships,
A time of new joys,
A time of new pathways.
Come, let us celebrate God’s new day.
O God, our Help in Ages Past, our Hope for years to come: Come to us in our new days, weeks, months, and in this new year. May we experience you anew in every experience, and opportunity. In the new eras of our life may you go with us. In all the new relationships that come along, O Lord, be there, and bring your joy in the new pathways as we celebrate each new day.
Let us remember: our present and future, as well as that of the family, the church, the nation and the world, which God so loved that there was a Christmas, and a New Year: a visitation of God to the planet earth that assures a good ending in the time to come.
Do not look backward, lest you become fearful.
Do not look sideways, lest you become tempted.
Do not look downward, lest you become discouraged.
But look upward, from which comes your help,
And look forward, to the road that leads to duty and glory.
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