Gathering Music “Carols of the Star” (By Lani Smith) Jan Green
We are a community seeking to have open minds, open hearts, and open arms, building community in a fragmented world.
- We want to welcome everyone who is in the house today, everyone online, and everyone downstairs watching our live telecast. We are grateful for all the many ways you can join us for worship on this Lord’s Day.
- Announcements will be on one sheet at the back of the sanctuary.
- Thank you to Steve and Roger and all who made the services so meaningful while I was gone
- Children’s Coloring Sheet
- Stay after for a wonderful study downstairs with Nancy Humes…
- Let’s prepare our hearts and minds for worship with our Opening Scripture Reading…
Opening Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-5a
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.2 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. 3 Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 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. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
*Response - Weave
Weave, weave, weave us together,
Weave us together, in unity and love.
Weave, weave, weave us together,
weave us together, together in love.
*Call to Worship - Drema Herron
ONE: We come to this place—
ALL: each of us on our own path.
ONE: The path is winding,
ALL: and the path is not always clear,
ONE: and the path changes,
ALL: but we are here.
ONE: God is walking us home.
ALL: What a gift it is to not walk alone.
ONE: Let us worship Holy God.
*Opening Hymn - As with Gladness #173
1 As with gladness sages bold did the guiding star behold;
as with joy they hailed its light, leading onward, beaming bright,
so, true Morning Star, may we evermore your splendor see.
2 As with joyful steps they sped to that lowly manger bed,
there to bend the knee before One whom heaven and earth adore,
so, may we with willing feet ever seek your mercy seat.
Invitation to Generosity - Drema Herron
Children’s Moment - Ally Bozeka
Pastoral Prayer - Rev. Chad Delaney
“Prayer by Rev. Sarah (Are) Speed | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org.”
God of The Way,
We all have roads we travel. We travel emotional roads—the narratives we tell ourselves, the mental places we revisit again and again, the assumptions and the fears we know by heart. Then there are physical roads—the places in our lives that we walk every day, grocery stores and coffee stands, subways and carpool lines. And then there are roads of our society—the paths carved out that we are expected to follow, dress and etiquette, education and rules, so many things unspoken, but built in stone all the same. So today we remember the Magi— who traveled, who knows how long, down a dusty road to get to you. Holy God, we too want to be people that travel mental, physical, and cultural roads to get to you. We want to gather in your sanctuary. We want to remember you in our prayers. We want our hearts to know the way home, the way back to you, by perfect memory. Help us get to that place, for we long to be journeying toward you. In addition to the road the Magi traveled to you, we also remember the road they took home—a road home by another way. So, God, when the world cries out for violence and vengeance, show us that road—show us home by another way. And when the world cries out in scarcity and fear, show us that road—show us home by another way. And when we find ourselves on a path that could hurt us, show us that road—show us home by another way. God we are walking. This life is a journey. Be in our steps, that we might be led to you. Be in our eyes, that we might see you. Be in our hearts, that we might be brave enough to go home by another way.
On this day there are many on our hearts, minds, and spirits that we are thankful for and concerned for….we lift them to you now…..
Meditation - Beth Schabel
Communion Hymn - When You Do This, Remember Me #400
1 You my friend, a stranger once,
do now belong to heaven.
Once far away, you are brought home
into God's family.
""When you do this, remember me.""
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer - Beth Schabel
Words of Institution - Rev. Chad Delaney
Prayer of Illumination
Holy God, You speak to us in Scripture and in prayers,
in sunrises and sunsets, in friends and in strangers, in dreams and in songs. You are speaking all the time, and how often do we miss it?
Still our minds so that we can listen with a depth that we have not heard before. Still our hearts so that we can receive with open arms what it is you are offering us today. We know you are speaking, so we are listening.
Gratefully we pray, amen.
Scripture - 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, 2asking, ‘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.’ 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 “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.” ’ 7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then 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.’ 9When 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. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On 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. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Sermon Epiphany: Home By Another Road
As a dad of teenagers I’ve found out what it means to be a taxi service. Many afternoons over the last few years have been beating a well-worn path back-n-forth to Crestwood High School. This has put a lot of miles on the cars but has been a blessing of time with the kids as well.
On occasion as we set off for home I will go a different way. One of the kids will inevitably say, “Dad, you’re going the wrong way” or “This isn’t the way home.” The easy route is 44 to 82. The fastest may be 44 to Pioneer to Sheldon to 82. (Waive to the Derthicks and then Herrons on your way by.) The most scenic may be 44 to Pioneer to Ryder to 82. There’s the long way going to Mennonite to Vaughan (waive to Pat Miller and Painleys) to Pioneer to Ryder to 82. You can go the Gvillian way to Pioneer to 700. Or one of my favorite long routes from 44 North to Winchell through Hiram Rapids to 700.
I like to change it up depending on the mood or needing a little quiet time or longer time to talk with the kids or to just take in the beautiful scenery around here.
But…I’ll admit that the fastest route is usually the one I take on the day-to-day. It has become “the WAY” home and is more familiar, expected, and ingrained.
We can get stuck in our routines and they turn into these idols that can never be changed. This is the way it is and always will be.
Of course, this can be wonderfully comforting and gives a sense of security. It makes total sense why we do this. In our topsy-turvy world, who can blame anyone for wanting some stability and consistency in our lives? Trying something different or going a different route requires more energy, time, and sometimes gas to get to where you are going.
AND At the same time, sometimes we don’t have a choice. There are times in life when we are FORCED to go a different route. Bridge out, construction, flood, powerlines down. Many times on the road or in life when we have no other choice but to recalculate the route and go home another way. Sometimes this is welcomed, many times it is not. This is life and we’ve all seen our share of it.
The wise men in the story today experience both of these kinds of challenges.
In the one sense, they had a choice at the very beginning to go with a new adventure or stay with the Idolatry of Same. What sounds better? Traversing afar--field and fountain, moor and mountain following yonder star --- or ---- hanging at home watching the stars and night and sticking to the regular routine? Sticking to their habits, rituals and normal ways of doing things. These wise guys may have never even left their hometown before. It took courage to leave their homeland and traverse afar to see what God was up to in a strange and different land.
And later they had the other challenge. They ran into trouble on their little adventure. It wasn’t just a weekend trip with a baby shower and parting party favors. They ended up drawing the ire of the King Herod who tried to use them to track down and eliminate a perceived threat to his power. Instead of submitting to Herod’s despicable ruse, the wise men didn’t return to him and instead left for their own country by another road. Sometimes we are forced to go a different way---not only because of hazardous conditions but because of conscience. Sometimes the harder road is the right one.
Church Family, let’s learn from the Wise Men from the East who traveled to see the Christ Child.
Has the Idolatry of Same trapped and limited your vision? Might there be new roads to take and different paths to trod on. There may be risk, but may end with a bundle of joy waiting for you. What new route can you take this week? Either way God will be with you.
Have the challenges of life come to you in such a way that you’ve had to recalculate and go home by another road? Maybe something has emerged and made the way rockier and more dangerous. STILL…may the light of Christ lead you and guide you in and through the darkest ways.
I want to leave you with this Epiphany Blessing from
An Epiphany Blessing by Jan Richardson
If you could see the journey whole, you might never undertake it,
might never dare the first step that propels you from the place
you have known toward the place you know not.
Call it one of the mercies of the road:
that we see it only by stages as it opens before us,
as it comes into our keeping, step by single step.
There is nothing for it but to go, and by our going take the vows the pilgrim takes:
to be faithful to the next step;
to rely on more than the map;
to heed the signposts of intuition and dream;
to follow the star that only you will recognize;
to keep an open eye for the wonders that attend the path;
to press on beyond distractions, beyond fatigue,
beyond what would tempt you from the way.
There are vows that only you will know:
the secret promises for your particular path
and the new ones you will need to make
when the road is revealed by turns you could not have foreseen.
Keep them, break them, make them again;
each promise becomes part of the path,
each choice creates the road that will take you to the place
where at last you will kneel to offer the gift most needed—
the gift that only you can give—
before turning to go home by another way.
Closing Hymn - We Three Kings #172
1 We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar
field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.
Benediction - Rev. Chad Delaney
May the Light of Jesus Christ lead you, guide you, sustain you NOW and ALWAYS! Go in Peace!
Departing Music “March of the Kings” (By Robert Thygerson) Jan Green