January 3, 2021: “Journey to Radiance”

Preparing for Worship

We gather around our computers or CD players on this, the first Sunday of the new year, known on the church calendar as Epiphany Sunday. Our theme for our services since the first Sunday of Advent has been “On the Road . . . “ We’ve considered, first, the Road to Readiness, and then to Repentance, Restoration, Revelation, and Rejoicing. This theme of “On the Road” has conveyed a sense of movement . . . And, just as we are in the season that moves toward more hours of sunlight, may we find ourselves moving closer to the “true light that gives light to everyone” as we, today, consider the “Road to Radiance.”

Welcome & Call to Worship

Peter H. welcomes us and calls us to worship.

Welcome
Call to Worship

Leader: Lift up your eyes and look around:

People: God delivers the needy when they call.

Leader: Let your hearts thrill and rejoice:

People: God will deliver the poor and those who have no helper.

Leader: The nations will bring gold and frankincense before the Lord.

People: We shall see and be radiant,

All: and we will proclaim the praise of the Lord!

Songs of Praise

Our first song of praise is HWB 199 The First Noel, accompanied by Dianne H. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

The first Noel, the angel did say,
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star
shining in the East, beyond them far,
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night.

And by the light of that same star
three wise men came from country far.
To seek for a king was their intent,
and to follow the star wherever it went.

This star drew nigh to the Northwest,
o’er Bethlehem it took its rest,
and there it did both stop and stay,
right over the place where Jesus lay.

Then entered in those wise men three,
full rev’rently upon the knee,
and offered there in his presence,
their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

Our second song of praise is STS 32 Oh, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, accompanied by Loretta T. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Oh, beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shining afar thro’ shadows dim,
giving a light for those who long have gone,
(have gone,) and guiding the wise men

on their way unto the place where Jesus lay,
beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shine on. (shine on.)

Oh, beautiful star—
of Bethlehem,—
shine upon us until the glory dawn;—
oh, give us thy light to light the way
into the land of perfect day;
beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shine on. (shine on.)

Oh, beautiful star, the hope of light,
guiding the pilgrim thro’ the night,
over the mountain till the
break of dawn; (the dawn;)
and into the light of perfect day
it will give out a lovely ray;
beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shine on. (shine on.)

Oh, beautiful star, the hope of rest,
for the redeemed, the good and blest,
yonder in glory when the crown
is won; (is won,)
for Jesus is now that Star divine;
brighter and brighter he will shine;

beautiful star of Bethlehem,
shine on. (shine on.)

Offering

Thank you for your faithful giving even during a difficult year! Please continue this act of worship in support of the church’s ongoing ministries. You can send a cheque to the church office by mail, or you can give through an Access Credit Union branch or their online banking services (see the information here).

Community Life & Prayer

For announcements related to our church community, please see the eBulletin emailed to those on the weekly email list. You can also stay updated by checking the church Facebook page and this website.

This week in our prayers we especially remember:

  • Those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, both directly and indirectly, both locally and around the world. May God bring protection, provision, and healing to those most in need. May we continue to have patience and grace toward one another during this time of increased restrictions.
  • Ben P. as he begins his interim ministry as Lead Pastor among us. May he know the wisdom, strength, and peace of Christ as he provides spiritual leadership for us during this in-between time. May we support and encourage him in this role.
  • Those among us facing difficult challenges, and those among us celebrating good things. May each one know the presence and peace of Christ, and may we show the empathy and compassion of Christ as we “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).
  • Us as a church on this Epiphany Sunday. May the light of Christ guide our steps as we walk in his ways. “For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).

Peter H. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing HWB 352 Gentle Shepherd, Come and Lead Us, accompanied by Loretta T. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow along below.

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us
For we need you to help us find our way
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us
For we need your strength from day to day

There’s no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us
For we need you to help us find our way

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Cherie F. reads Isaiah 60:1–6 and Matthew 2:1–12 for us today. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church.

Isaiah 60:1-6
Matthew 2:1-12

Children’s Feature

Kristy L. H. has chosen the following video for the young (and young at heart). Enjoy!

Meditation

Lawrence S. shares a meditation for us entitled “Journey to Radiance.”

Song of Response

Let’s respond to God’s word to us by singing HWB 218 As with Gladness Men of Old, accompanied by Linda P. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

As with gladness men of old
did the guiding star behold,
as with joy they hailed its light,
leading onward, beaming bright;
so, most gracious Lord, may we
evermore be led to thee.

As with joyful steps they sped,
Savior, to thy lowly bed,
there to bend the knee before
thee whom heav’n and earth adore;
so may we with willing feet
ever seek thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
at thy cradle rude and bare,
so may we with holy joy,
pure and free from sin’s alloy,
all our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee, our heav’nly King.

Holy Jesus, ev’ry day
keep us in the narrow way,
and, when earthly things are past,
bring our ransomed souls at last
where they need no star to guide,
where no clouds thy glory hide.

In the heav’nly country bright
need they no created light;
thou its light, its joy, its crown,
thou its sun which goes not down.
There forever may we sing
alleluias to our King.

Ben Pauls’ Welcome and Installation

Installation Litany

Lisa: Ben, on behalf of the congregation of Morden Mennonite Church, we as the Church Council have called you to serve as our Interim Lead Pastor. We see your positive response to our call is an answer to our prayers, and we are grateful to God and to you.

Ben: Having prayerfully considered your call to serve as your Interim Lead Pastor, I accept it as a call from God, and I want to faithfully serve and care for this congregation as the body of Christ.

Kristy: We want to affirm you as a leader of this congregation.

Lawrence: We offer ourselves as partners in ministry with you.

Lisa: Ben, we welcome you among us, and pledge our support to you as you exercise the leadership among us that we have called you to.

Prayer (please pray along with Lisa): O God, you call your people to service through the church. We thank you that Ben has agreed to serve among us. Be a source of strength to him, and endow him with the gifts of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. May we all be faithful to support him in prayer and with our encouragement, and may all of us together work to help our congregation be a source of strength and witness. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Benediction

Peter H. offers this benediction for us as we leave this time of Advent worship together.

Sending Song

Let’s go from our worship together with this song on our lips and in our hearts: STJ 78 Sizohamba Naye (We Will Walk With God), accompanied by Jude, Milo, Erin, and Joel K.  You can use the song book or follow the lyrics below.

We will walk with God, my brothers,
we will walk with God.
We will walk with God, my sisters,
we will walk with God.
We will go rejoicing till the kingdom has come.
We will go rejoicing till the kingdom has come.

Sizohamba naye, wo wo wo, sizohamba naye.
Sizohamba naye, wo wo wo, sizohamba naye.
Ngomhla wenja bula sizohamba naye.
Ngomhla wenja bula sizohamba naye.

You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

In the Week Ahead

Check the church website and church Facebook page regularly for resources for staying connected and for spiritual growth during this time. Grace and peace to you this week!

Songs: The First Noel (Text: English carol, Some Ancient Christmas Carols…, 2nd ed., 1823; Music: English carol, Christmas Carols, 1833; harmonized by John Stainer, 1871.); Oh, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (Text: Adger M. Pace, 1940; Music: R. Fisher Boyce, 1940; harmonized by Adger M. Pace); Gentle Shepherd, Come and Lead Us (Gloria Gaither, William J. Gaither; ©1974 William J. Gaither); As with Gladness Men of Old (Text: William C. Dix, ca. 1858, Hymns of Love and Joy, ca. 1860; Music: Conrad Kocher, Stimmen aus dem Reiche Gottes, 1838; adapted by Wiliam H. Monk, Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861); Sizohamba Naye (We Will Walk With God) (Swaziland traditional transcribed by John L. Bell; ©2002 WGRG The Iona Community/GIA Publications, Inc.)
CCLI 491687 / One License A-714686
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