- Rev. Daniel Benson
First Sunday of Epiphany
Sunday, January 10th, 2021
Welcome to the season of Epiphany the church season that stretches from Christmas to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent! Christmas is not far behind us, so we are still carrying the freshness of the Miracle with us day by day, just as light lengthens day by day. With a new year, a new season, and a new age before us, everything is possible because nothing is impossible with God.
Every second of every minute,
every minute of every hour,
every hour of every day -- is God's.
Every breath we take,
every heart that beats,
every laugh lived,
every tear shed -- is God's.
Gift of the Creator.
Gift of the Christ.
Gift of the Spirit.
Gift of God.
And so, we are JOYFUL!
And so, we are GRATEFUL!
And so, we are BLESSED!
And so, we come to worship GOD!
We Sing! This is one of our favourite contemporary hymns for Epiphany, here played by Haewook Kim with lyrics for you to sing along with.
God be with you!
Lighting of the Christ Candle.
Epiphany is the season of light, the time of year when the days get longer, the sun gets brighter, and God's light shines into the darkest corners. Jesus said, 'I am the Light of the World,' and so we light a candle to remind us of Jesus, God's light, which is a lamp before us, showing us the way. May Christ's light shine within us, through us, and around us. Amen.
Scripture Reading: Genesis, Chapter 1, v 1 - 5.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Sermon: "What a Wednesday!" Rev. Dan.
With God's promise of a light that overcomes all shadows and darkness, we promise ourselves, our gifts, and our commitment to be God's hand and feet in the world, building God's kingdom of peace, justice, and love where all are welcomed and treasured.
Our offering is both a practical and symbolic act of our commitment to serve Christ and build His church. Although we can’t actually ‘pass the plate’ online, you are encouraged to continue your gift to the church, as the work of the St Paul’s and the staff continues:
Drop your envelope (cheque or cash) at the church;
Mail your cheque to the church;
Go on PAR (call the church for details);
Use the Donate button at the top of the page (it will take you to SPUC’s Canada Helps page where you can donate online and get an instant tax receipt).
May these gifts open others to the blessings you, O God, freely give:
the gift of childlike wonder,
the gift of peace that passes all understanding,
the gift of joy that knows no bounds,
and the gift of grace that overcomes all obstacles.
Prayer of the People.
God of light and epiphanies, illuminate our lives and our paths that we may follow your ways out of the darkness and the shadows. We are deeply aware of the ways that we so easily stray from the path, distracted by a glimmer here or a shine there, so often a bit of darkness masquerading as the true light. Guide us back to the right light, the authentic light of your love, where there are no shadows, no hidden corners, no gloom.
Lead us, O God, in making plans and thinking ahead in ways that magnify your light for all those around us: those in need, those who grief, those feeling alone, neglected, or abused, those who can find no room at the inn or the table but need to be housed by your shelter and fed from your nourishing banquet. Strengthen our generosity, that we may share the blessings we have, so that all may be blessed. Laugh with us, O God, when our plans go awry and we stumble before getting up and laughing ourselves.
And, of all the prayers silent and spoken, we pray the one prayer that unites us in your presence:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Let us go into the world with a daring and a tender heart. Let
Let us go in peace, the world is waiting.
And, whatever we do, may we do it mindful of the one who leads us onward in light.
Now, may the love of God, the grace of Jesus,
and the fellowship of the Spirit be with us all,
today, tomorrow, and always.
One Last Thought. A favourite benediction sung by our friends at Avondale U.C. (Stratford, ON).
Don’t forget to extinguish your candle(s)
Zoom Coffee Time on Sunday at 11:30. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8294323094 or by phone: +1 647 558 0588, Meeting ID: 829 432 3094.
Note that portions of this service are drawn and adapted from 'Gathering,' a worship resource published by The United Church of Canada.
Thanks to Allie for her reading of Scripture today and our friends at Pacific Spirit and Avondale United Churches for their gifts of music.