And The Star Went Before Them!

And The Star Went Before Them!

Westport Presbyterian Church
Celebration of Epiphany/Three Kings Day
January 8, 2023, 11:00 am

PRELUDE: Variations on “What Star Is This?”—Michael Burkhardt

Pastor: Epiphany is the holy season of illumination—the birth of the Life-Light!
People: Epiphany is the season of revelations!
Pastor: Surprising appearances!
People: Cosmic signs!
Pastor: Natural wonders!
People: Marvels and joys!
Pastor: Supernatural guidance!
People: Emerging evidence!
Pastor: Of Spreading Life-Light –
People: Enlightening the entire planet!

HYMN: The First Nowell (stanzas 1-5)   GTG#147

There is something basically wrong with our world, We don’t have to look too far to see that. Look in the hearts and souls of human beings. The great danger facing us today is not the atomic bomb, created by physical science That you can drop on the heads of millions of people, as dangerous as that is. The real danger is that atomic bomb which lies in the hearts and souls of humans Capable of exploding into the vilest of hate and the most damaging selfishness. That’s the atomic bomb we must fear today The problem is within the heart and the souls of people. That is the real basis of our confession! The danger we pose to ourselves and to others to the earth itself, And to all living beings on earth. Amen. –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

SUNG RESPONSE OF THANKFULNESS FOR GOD’S GRACE: Jesus, Jesus, O What a Wonderful Child   GTG#126
BIBLE READING: Isaiah 60: 1-9 Matthew 2:1-12
ANTHEM: Saw You Never, In the Twilight—Mark Schweizer

Pastor: May the words of my mouth
People: And the meditations of our hearts
Pastor: Be acceptable to you, O Lord
People: Our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

SERMON: And The Star Went Before Them!

Pastor: Let’s gather around this planet friendly, holy table, With holy bread & drink
People: The promise of Christ being alive among us
Pastor: This is the welcome table of God where all who intend to experience the non-physical experience spiritual dimension of life—
People: And live in relationships of freedom and peace with neighbors!
Pastor: Hunger no more! Come to eat! Here, all who longs for otherwise elusive grace
People: May enjoy the strong love of God in Jesus Christ.
Pastor: Here you are embraced and held by Self Giving Love!—
People: One of God’s great and holy names!
Pastor: Come to drink, you are invited into this holy mystery.
People: We are ready!
Pastor: Jesus said: “I am the bread of life. All who come to me shall not hunger, and all who believe in me shall never be thirsty.”
People: We are hungry for Your Love, O God, We are thirsty for Your Deep Peace, OLamb of God. We seek an unusual gift— an experience of wonder and joy.
Pastor: Come, Holy Spirit. Come. Open our eyes to the mystery of The living Christ’s presence in our midst. Through the broken bread…
People: We are becoming the Body of Christ—
Pastor: Feeding the hungry!
People: Giving showers and clothes to people who are homeless and extremely poor!
Pastor: Becoming anti-racist! Getting into Good Trouble!
People: Let us praise and pray to God by singing an African hymn!

CONGREGATIONAL SUNG PRAYER: Come, Bring Your Burdens to God GTG#851
Pastor: Lift up names of people we wish to pray for, concluding with The Lord’s Prayer (Glory to God, page 35)…

Pastor: The Grace, Peace, Love and Joy of Jesus Christ be with you.
People: And also with you.
Pastor: Let us pray…..


Gracious and loving God, You have united us into a body of Christ, And nourished us at Your table with holy food and drink. Thank you for feeding our hunger and relieving our thirst. Now send us into the world to do the great work You have called us to do; To find the lost and lonely! To heal wounded souls! To free people, including ourselves, who are not at all free! To give compassion to the vulnerable and marginalized! To love Beauty, the Planet and Sky, To persist in resisting evil, and to share by what we say and do The Message of Jesus Christ!—Who is The Light in the World. Amen.

OFFERTORY: Go, Tell It on the Mountain—arr. Patsy Ford Simms; Jennifer Weiman, mezzo soprano

Pastor: It took the Magi a long time to find the baby Jesus.
People: Often, we too have to seek before we know.
Pastor: We often have to belong before we believe.
People: During Epiphany, let us recommit to making space for grace…
Pastor: For seekers and travelers!
People: For immigrants and refugees!
Pastor: For women, transgender, non-conforming!
People: And LGBTQ persons struggling to be free Pastor: For people of color fighting racism, families facing eviction and youth studying, striving to find a way!
People: Is the star of our faith and love shining brightly enough?
Pastor: To guide some Magi to the manger today!
People: Then let us dedicate out lives to following the beautiful star!

HYMN: We Three Kings of Orient Are (stanzas 1-4) GTG#151
SUNG BENEDICTION RESPONSE: We Three Kings of Orient Are(stanza 5) GTG#151
POSTLUDE: Wie Schon leuchet der Morgenstern, BuxWV 223—Buxtehude


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