Dear Friends in Christ,

Happy New Year! What a gift to be welcoming in 2021. We pray it is a year of hope, peace, joy and love for all God's children, a year where God's dream is increasingly realized through the tangible actions of ordinary people like you and me.

This Sunday, we celebrate Epiphany Sunday. The feast of Epiphany technically falls on January 6 (after the twelve days of Christmas are over), but we celebrate it the first Sunday of the new year. The "epiphany" is the revelation of the Christ child to Gentiles, represented by the "Magi from the East" who visit the newborn king (see Matthew 2:1-12).

It's also our fourth annual "Star Gift Sunday" during which we receive a special word to focus on in the year ahead. Because we are not worshipping together in person, we plan to send everyone a word in the mail this week. We encourage you to view this word as a gift from God and to place it in a visible spot where you'll see it regularly in 2021.

The service is a bit different this morning because two of our hardworking staff members are on well-deserved vacation: Peggy Massello and Madeline Weston. For that reason, the music is drawn from various sources: a virtual church choir from NYC, a bluegrass ensemble from Berea College, a husband-wife duo, and a community chorus from Los Angeles.

Both the main virtual worship service and songs and stories service are linked below. We hope they bless you and bring you hope! We'll also receive the sacrament of communion and invite you to gather elements from your cupboard and fridge.

Some of our program start back up this weekend, including a one-session adult faith class I'm leading tomorrow morning on Epiphany. Here's the Zoom link if you can join us from 8:30-9:30am (Meeting ID: 832 3379 4440; Passcode: 389051; Call-In: 312-626-6799).

Finally, thank you for supporting the remainder of my parental leave I will take from January 4 - 31. Please pray for me - that it will be a restful and meaningful time spent with my family, especially Noah. I will miss you, but will be praying for all of you and will look forward to tuning in for Sunday worship each week.

Happy New year, again, friends - I'm so glad to be on the journey of faith with you.

With Epiphany hope,
Pastor Jeff
Epiphany and Star Gift Worship, January 3, 2021
Songs and Stories Worship, January 3, 2021
Prelude

Welcome

Call to Worship
O come, let us worship the Lord and consider what wondrous things God has done:
The Magi who study the heavens follow a guiding star!
O come, let us worship the Lord and consider what wondrous things God has done:
The peoples who live in the shadows see a glorious light!
 O come, let us worship the Lord and consider what wondrous things God has done:
The Christ who embodies the Word unveils the hidden plan, making us joint heirs of the promise of salvation through the gospel!
O come, let us worship the Lord,
for God has done wondrous things!

Opening Hymn No. 147
The First Nowell FAPC NYC Virtual Choir

Call to Confession
The prophet speaks of the coming light of God which calls all the people of the earth to come together in God’s realm of shalom. Let us confess the ways in which we have rejected God’s vision of wholeness. First in a time of silent prayer.

Prayer of Confession
God of light and darkness, we have seen the glimmer of your star-light beckoning to us, but we have turned away and followed other paths. We confess that we have not loved you with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us, Holy One. Strengthen our faltering steps and guide us in your holy way of peace. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness
Lift up your eyes and see the grace of God poured out into your lives. The light of God shines through the darkness. Our hearts rejoice for Christ is in our midst.

Peace of Christ and Common Life

Special Music
Carol of the Bells Berea College Bluegrass Band

Star Gift Distribution

Scripture Reading John 1:1-5, 14

Sermon Rev. Jeff Lehn

Responsive Hymn 
What Child Is This/Child of the Poor            The Hound + The Fox

Invitation to the Table

Prayer of Great Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.

The Lord’s Prayer
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Blessing of the Bread and Cup

Communion of the People

Prayer after Communion
Abba God, you have shown us your Beloved in the words Christ spoke to us and in the bread of life given for us. May the light of Christ shine in us and may our hope and joy reflect this light, that we may show forth goodness and peace for all to see. We ask this through the light of our lives, Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Call for Offering

Doxology

Prayer of Dedication
Loving God, as Magi approached the child Jesus, we follow a star of hope, we come with awe and wonder, and we bring gifts – ourselves, our time, our money and our commitment. We give in response to your generosity. Send us out as transformed people, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Sending Hymn Angel City Chorale
We Three Kings of Orient Are  

Charge and Benediction

Postlude
We Three Kings arr. Dan Coates Cecilia Chow


Worship Leaders:
Rev. Jeff Lehn, preaching
Rev. Laura Sherwood, pastoral liturgist
Spencer Olson, Liturgist
Chancel Choir, Doxology
Cecilia Chow, Postlude
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church Virtual Choir, Opening Hymn
Special Music, Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble
The Hound + The Fox, Responsive Hymn
Angel City Chorale, Sending Hymn
Bulletin Image: Jan Richardson, "Epiphany"