February 6, 2021

Dear Friends,
 
Peace to you this evening. It’s a joy to be back among you after four weeks of parental leave with my family. It was a very special and tender time of bonding with Arianne, Eden, Simon, and Noah. Thanks to you, to the Session, Personnel Committee, Pastor Laura, and the entire staff team for their generous support. I’m so grateful to be your pastor!
 
This Sunday in worship, we hear a less familiar scene from the Christmas story, the so-called “Presentation of the Lord,” where Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple and meet two faithful, elderly Jews, Anna and Simeon (Luke 2:22-40). They have much to teach us about perseverance and living expectantly.
 
Earlier this week, our kindergarten and 3rd-grade students received their Bibles from the church and we are so proud of them. A few of our 3rd graders even volunteered to read the Scripture lesson in the service today, which is a treat. Thank you, Taylor, Theo, and Oliver!
 
Below are video links to our virtual worship offerings, along with an order of service - both the main worship service and the family service. Also, here's a link below to the Common Life posted on our church website.
 
Our Sunday morning study focuses on the church-wide racial justice challenge we’re doing in the month of February. Tomorrow, we’re blessed to have Tracy McKeithen, executive director of Family Promise, with us. We’ll gather from 8:30 - 9:30am over Zoom (Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 841 8287 3354; Passcode: 348688; Call-In: 312-626-6799). Please join us if you can!
 
I hope you saw the email a couple of hours ago with the news that, due to the bitterly cold weather, we are postponing the banner dedication service scheduled for tomorrow at 1 pm. Stay tuned for a new day and time. Stay warm, friends!
 
Finally, I hope you’re able to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow night. Who are you cheering for? Tampa Bay or Kansas City? It’s a toss-up in our household, but we sure are hoping for a good game (and clever commercials).
 
Thank you for being the body of Christ, friends. You are loved and never alone.
 
With gratitude in Christ,
Pastor Jeff
Worship Service, Sunday, February 7, 2021
Family Worship Video, Sunday, February 7, 2021

Prelude
Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation

Welcome Jeff

Call to Worship
Welcome, friends, to this holy day.
We come to offer thanks; we come to sing and pray.
Welcome, friends, to this time set apart,
A time to remember those we love, and time to remember the holy promises of God.
Welcome, friends, to this table of remembrance and joy,
The table where we are fed, the feast we share with many.
Welcome, friends, and let us worship God.

Opening Hymn No. 12 
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise 

Call to Confession
We bring our flawed lives to God, not to be made perfect, but to be made whole. Let us confess our sins to God, trusting the one who weaves joy out of our despair, first in silent prayer. 

Prayer of Confession
Gracious and vulnerable God, in whom we live and move and have our being: Accept us as we are and not as we ought to be this morning. We are living through a profoundly difficult time. Each of us has burdens to carry. Forgive us, God, for what we’ve done and left undone, what we’ve said and left unsaid, in the past week. Help us forgive ourselves, and our families, friends, and neighbors who’ve hurt us. Remind us that we belong to one another. By your grace, heal and transform us. Fill us with sturdy compassion. Empower us with gritty hope. Touch us with your steadfast love. We are yours, ready to your will, whatever comes our way in the days ahead. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness 
Friends, nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. The only thing that can separate you is the thought that you are separate. Rejoice in compassion. Rejoice in hope. Rejoice in steadfast love.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

Peace of Christ and Our Common Life

Souper Bowl of Caring

Scripture Reading - Luke 2:22-40

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon

Hymn of Response No. 148
Mary and Joseph Came to the Temple 

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
We have been fed, Holy One, by your presence.
We have been led, Eternal One, by your light. 
May we bask in this glow
Now and forevermore. Amen. 
                         
Call to Offering
On this day, we are invited to participate in the kingdom emerging all around us. May we offer ourselves to God with glad and generous hearts, freely giving our tithes and offerings to the ministry of this congregation. In lieu of passing the plate, we invite you to give through our church website, our smartphone app, by texting the word “Wilmette” to the number 77977, or by sending a check to the church office. As we gather our gifts together and offer them to God, may we do so in gratitude and praise.

Congregational Response - The Doxology (OLD HUNDREDTH - Hymn 606) 
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; 
Praise God all creatures here below;
Praise God above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication

Sending Hymn No.  
Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Charge and Benediction Jeff

Postlude
Grazioso              G. P. Telemann



Sources
Communion Liturgy and Prayer of Dedication- UCC.org/worshipways, Copyright 2021 Faith INFO Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100.