An Open and Affirming Congregation

JANUARY 3, 2021

"For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice." ~ T. S. Eliot

As you prepare for worship this morning, you are invited to participate in communion.

Please prepare a slice or small loaf of bread, corn tortilla, rice cake or what is sacramental and joyful to share and a cup or small cups of juice — perhaps grape or cranberry — or wine, with or without alcohol, or coffee, or coconut water all of which are used in worship in different places around the world.

Matthew 2: 1-12
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. 2 They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”

3 When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. 4 He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:

You, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
        by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah,
            because from you will come one who governs,
            who will shepherd my people Israel.

7 Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” 9 When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. 11 They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.
For the last several years our congregation has celebrated Epiphany by receiving a "star gift" when congregants come to worship. Written upon it is a word to reflect and ponder its significance in your life for the upcoming year.

This year we included the "star gifts" in the Glad Tidings bag handed out on Christmas Eve. If you didn’t pick one up, please let Gina or Krista know so one can be mailed to you, or you can pick one up in the “white tub” on the covered back steps.
God, we acknowledge that we are not always ready to receive your best gifts for us. You have given us an epiphany word in order that our searching will bring us to you.

It is often our habit to turn aside, stumble over, or even reject experiences and encounters that we later understand to have been precious gifts.

Help us to be open to the gift that you offer us now through our star words. We acknowledge that we do not fully understand what this word might mean for our faith, but we receive it from you with gratitude and pray that your Spirit will enable us to live into our word with intention and faithfulness. Amen.
It's not too late to send in your 2021 "Together With Joy" stewardship pledge card. Thank you to those who have already sent yours in!

Weekly offering envelopes are available for pick up at the church or mailed if requested. Please let Krista know when you would like to pick up and she will put it out for you.

Please note that all offerings for 2020 pledges must be received no later than Wednesday, January 6, 2021 to be considered 2020 contributions and reflected in your year-end statement that can be used for tax filings.
Please remember to send in your offering, as you are able.
We are checking the mail at the post office, and our counters are still making deposits. Many of our expenses continue.