Saturday, January 22, 2022

Scripture for January 23, 2022

 Luke 4:14-21

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
Jesus unrolls the Scroll in a synagogue by James Tissot 1890

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[a]

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Read full chapter

Friday, January 21, 2022

Daily Prayers January 21

 The Son of Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Daily Readings for Friday, January 21, 2022


Almighty God, in Jesus Christ you taught us to pray, and to offer our petitions to you in his name. Guide us by your Holy Spirit, that our prayers for others may serve your will and show your steadfast love. Lead us and every people into ways of justice and peace, that we may respect one another in freedom and truth. Awaken in us a sense of wonder for the earth and all that is in it. Righteous God, you rule the nations. Guard brave men and women who risk themselves in battle for their country. Keep our sons and daughters from hate that hardens, or from scorekeeping with human lives. Though they must be at war, let them live for peace. Encourage them as they encourage one another, and never let hard duty separate them from loyalty to your Son. God of all generations, we praise you for all your servants who, having been faithful to you on earth, now live with you in heaven. Keep us in fellowship with them, until we meet with all your children in the joy of your eternal kingdom. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord be kind and gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Order of Worship January 16, 2022

 


CENTERING PRAYER 

Holy God, through signs of grace you reveal your glory to all the world. Open our eyes to the hidden and surprising wonders you perform, that we may believe with our minds and trust in our hearts that you alone are Lord of all creation. Though Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen. 

PRELUDE (Sunday Worship) Built on the Rock, The Church Doth Stand arr. Hobby, 1994 

WELCOME and ANNOUNCEMENTS 

CALL TO WORSHIP 

How precious is the steadfast love of God. 

All people may take refuge in the shadow of God’s embrace. 

Christ is the fountain of life. 

In Christ we behold the Light of God. 

† HYMN      “Great is Thy Faithfulness”      Hymnal #39 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION 

Almighty God, we confess that we have been led astray by the idols of our world. We have depended on our possessions and have not placed our trust in your grace. We have carelessly consumed the gifts you offer and have failed to be faithful stewards of the earth’s resources. We have sought security in the might of the sword rather than the strength of your Holy Spirit. Forgive us, we pray. Lead us to true repentance that we may serve you faithfully. Through Christ we pray. (Silent confession) 

ASSURANCE OF GRACE 

† SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST 

The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.

 †GLORIA PATRI      Hymnal #581 

TIME WITH CHILDREN (Sunday Worship) (Children 5th grade and younger may leave to attend Sunday School) 

SCRIPTURE John 2:1-11 

SERMON “Picture it…Cana…year 30. Jesus is at a Wedding” Rev. MP Panco 

† AFFIRMATION OF FAITH The Apostles Creed 

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen. 

OFFERING      All Night, All Day      arr. Scham † 

THE DOXOLOGY Hymnal #606 

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND 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. 

† HYMN      “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”      Hymnal #263 

† CHARGE AND BLESSING 

† BENEDICTION      “Go to the World!”      Hymnal #295 Verse 1 

POSTLUDE (Sunday Worship) Basse de Gromorne Clerambault (1676-1749) 

† You are invited to stand, as you are able 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Scripture for January 16

 John 2:1-11

Jesus Changes Water Into Wine

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.Read full chapter

Marriage at Cana by Giotto di Bondone, 14th century

Friday, January 14, 2022

Daily Prayer January 14

 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.


Daily Readings for Friday, January 14, 2022

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation. In the beginning you separated light from darkness and placed all your works in our hands. You have given us the light of day that we might see your wonders in all we say and do; you give us the gentle darkness of the night that we might rest from our burdens and be refreshed in body and spirit. How great is your love, how wide is your mercy! Never let us board up the narrow gate that leads to life with rules or doctrines that you dismiss; but give us a Spirit to welcome all people with affection, so that your church may never exclude secret friends of yours, who are included in the love of Jesus Christ, who came to save us all. Keep us close together in your Spirit, breaking bread in faith and love, one with Jesus Christ our Lord and Master. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Monday, January 10, 2022

Thank you St. Mark!

 Thank you St. Mark for your generosity in a number of projects!


YOUTH LID PROJECT GREAT JOB EVERYONE! On Sunday, December 5, we weighed all of the cleaned and sorted lids and we have 526 pounds! 26 pounds over what we need. Soon Tricia Rouff will be driving to the site to make the exchange; lids for a plastic table which we have decided to donate to Mound Ridge Camp!

THANK YOU, ST. MARK, FOR YOUR GENEROSITY! 138 pounds of food/hygiene items were donated for Circle of Concern through the Children's Christmas program. In addition, Isaiah 58 was the recipient of 63 angel tree gifts PLUS 43 teddy bears from PW for their annual holiday store!

 CHRISTMAS ALTERNATIVES – Our 21st Year! St Mark Christmas Alternatives: a better way to live the values of the Season and make a real impact. Over $10,000 of alternative, transformational Christmas gifts were donated in December. Amen!

THANK YOU TO ST. MARK PW MEMBERS! Thank you to the PW Circles for providing Christmas gifts to children receiving care through Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services. Your generosity has provided Christmas blessings to 60 children.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Order of Worship January 9, 2022

 



CENTERING PRAYER

 Loving God, we begin this new day in the sure knowledge you have claimed us as your children. In all that we do, keep us mindful of actions that are pleasing in your sight. In all that we say, make us attentive to the witness we give to your love. Let our lives be an example to all whom we encounter, living as children of God who follow in the path of Jesus, our Lord and our brother. Amen. 

PRELUDE  Theme and Fantasia on I Want to Walk as a Child of God arr. Behnke

 WELCOME and ANNOUNCEMENTS 

CALL TO WORSHIP 

The voice of God resounds upon the water. 

The Spirit of the Lord hovers over the stream.

The Son of God is named, “Beloved.” 

And all who worship shout out, “Glory!” 

Ascribe to the Lord majesty and strength. 

Let us worship God in holy splendor.

 † HYMN “Men of Faith, Rise Up and Sing” Hymnal #319 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION 

We are precious in your sight, yet we often forget we are your beloved. We confess our love is fickle and inconstant. We follow selfish goals and deny our way of life harms others and hurts your world. We are sorry, and we want to change. Create in us a clean heart, strengthen our resolve, reconcile us one to another, and bless us with your peace. We continue to pray in Christ’s name. (Silent Confession) 

ASSURANCE OF GRACE 

† SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST 

The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.

 †GLORIA PATRI Hymnal #581 

TIME WITH CHILDREN (Children 5th grade and younger may leave to attend Sunday School) 

SCRIPTURE Isaiah 43:1-7 

SERMON “Called by Name” Rev. Dr. Dave Burgess 

† AFFIRMATION OF FAITH The Apostles Creed 

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen. 

OFFERING      My Son, The Beloved       Blackwell 

Chancel Choir 

† THE DOXOLOGY Hymnal #606 

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND 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. 

ORDINATION & INSTALLATION OF CHURCH OFFICERS

 † HYMN     “I, the Lord of Sea and Sky”     Hymnal #69 

† CHARGE AND BLESSING 

† BENEDICTION    “Go to the World!”     Hymnal #295 

POSTLUDE (Sunday Worship) Recessional Burke 

† You are invited to stand, as you are able 


Saturday, January 8, 2022

Scripture for January 9

 Isaiah 43:1-7 


Israel’s Only Savior

43 But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

Read full chapter

Photo by Kyle Peyton on Unsplash


Friday, January 7, 2022

Daily Prayer January 7, 2022

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.

Daily Readings for Friday, January 7, 2022

Eternal God, through long generations you prepared a way for the coming of your Son, and by your Spirit you still bring light to illumine our paths. Renew us in faith and hope that we may welcome Christ to rule our thoughts and claim our love, as Lord of lords and King of kings, to whom be glory always. Fill your church with the power that flows from Christ‘s coming, that, in the midst of the sinful world, this may signal the beginning of a renewed humanity, risen to new life with Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. We thank you, O God, that you call all people to worship you and to serve your purpose in this world. We praise you for the gift of faith we have received in Jesus Christ. We praise you also for diverse faith among the peoples of the earth. Help us all to celebrate your goodness, act upon your truth, and demonstrate your righteousness. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, make you complete in everything good so that you may do God's will, working among us that which is pleasing in God's sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever!

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Epiphany

Adoration of the Magi by El Greco, 1568, 
Museo SoumayaMexico City


 When you have an "epiphany" today, it usually means "a great discovery." But it once exclusively meant the discovery of the "King of the Jews" by a gang of travelers called "magi" or wise men. On January 6, Christians celebrate the original meaning, likewise a great discovery to those magi, who knew what they were looking for.

The Gospel of Matthew describes them as astrologers with extraordinary insight into the stars and history. They show up in Jerusalem asking, "Where is the child who has been born King of the Jews?" They frightened both King Herod and the city of Jerusalem.  Imagine a parade of pagan scientists, with a prediction that frightened the citizens of Jerusalem which set off a study of the scriptures and revealed Bethlehem as the likely birthplace of the prophesied king.

These obscure magi show up in the second chapter of Matthew, create a local disturbance with their prophecies, proceed to Bethlehem, have their joyful epiphany, present their precious gifts, and before the chapter is half over, "left for their own country by another road." New Testament scholar Dr. Amy-Jill Levine points out that the Greek word for "road" (hodos), in this case, is the same word used in the expression which described the early Christians: "people of the way (hodos)."  The term is rare in the New Testament, notes Levine, suggesting the magi might be compared to early disciples each with their own epiphanies.

Perhaps New Testament scholars make too much of Greek words or the significance of obscure wise men.  Yet the church has honored them with a holiday, and the Gospel writer of Matthew has used their visit to confirm the prophecy of a messianic king. It all seems like religious hype for these mysterious figures who were not, in fact, kings, but rather the early version of scientists, using superstitious ideas of the stars and Eastern sacred texts to investigate a prophesied king.

We have to remember that Matthew's Gospel had no shepherds or women like Mary and Elizabeth (found only in Luke) to proclaim the birth of the coming king. The writer had only the account of the dream of an angel by the earthly father, Joseph, and the visit of the foreign visitors, to mark the birth of Jesus.  The alien walk-on characters elevated the birth of Jesus with a message from abroad: "Where is he born King of the Jews?" Their message was not founded on the Law and the Prophets.

What this Gospel offers us is a Gentile or outside world perspective of the Birth. The magi came from the East, not any specific or venerated land. Their first question: Where is the child born king of the Jews? The actual location of Bethlehem was derived from the study of the local priests and scribes.  The "star of wonder" had only gotten them as far as Jerusalem. Now they had to rely on the local "wise men" to pinpoint Bethlehem as the prime location.

The Anglican poet T.S. Eliot, in his poem "The Journey of the Magi," removes any romance of the pilgrim journey of the wise men, describing instead the hardship of ancient traveling and the lingering doubts that the signs read by the Magi could be mistaken.  He describes the wise men as devoted in their persistence to find the foreshadowed "king of the Jews."

A hard time we had of it. 

At the end we preferred to travel all night 

Sleeping in snatches,

With the voices singing in our ears, saying 

That this was all folly.

Matthew says, "[T]hey knelt down and paid him homage." Why would they even care about a king of this western Roman colony? They opened their chest of valuables to present gifts to a child king, more significant than anyone could imagine. These foreign visitors must have understood more than the Jewish scholars did themselves.

Matthew's story has cosmopolitan significance. Without the wise men, it would be one birth in a thousand, ignored by Herod and the intelligentsia of Jerusalem. In the next scene the Holy Family is fleeing Herod's executions, journeying to Egypt.  They continue to be undistinguished characters in the history of Israel, while their chief witnesses (the wise men)  disappear into the East.

"And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another way" (Matt 2:12).  Somehow these travelers made contact with the divine. They saw something unique in Jesus and heard something crucial in their dreams.  They saw the threat this baby presented to the local authorities, but more than that, they saw that this baby's survival was crucial. They had a true epiphany, yet had the insight to keep it to themselves. They believed this baby would be transformative, not only to Jewish history, but all history.

Eliot's poem is an imaginary sequel to the Epiphany. He describes it from the reflections of one of the magi, one man recalling the journey of long ago.

. . . were we led all that way for Birth or Death?

There was a Birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt.

I had seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

What had died in the heart of this one witness to the birth of Jesus, as he reflected on his journey to find the "king of the Jews"? What is T.S. Eliot imagining as the impact of this Epiphany, which was a birthday party of a future king?  The reader of his poem wonders about the sad revelation, something the magi must have regretted in retrospect. Eliot, however, connects death and birth together in his poem. The musing wise man says:

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.

A "dispensation," as Eliot uses it, is "a political or religious system that operates in a country at a particular time"  What the magus (wise man) realized was that Jesus had changed the system of multiple, vengeful gods into a singular, benevolent God that cared about the Creation. He calls his countrymen "alien people" because they cling to old mythologies about the nature of the gods.  He now longs for another epiphany in the sense of deeper understanding of God and the messiah-king God sent to transform the world. "[A]nother death" would then allow a revelation of the kind of God Jesus represented.

Eliot's imagined transformation of this wise man addresses our need to know what happened to them.  Their role in Matthew is both fleeting and consequential. We have tried to elevate them with famous hymns ("We Three Kings") and the imagined status as kings, but we really know much less about them than our traditions suppose.

Still we understand that they had an "epiphany," (a moment when death and birth were seen together?), and they heard the divine warning to take a different path home.  It all resulted from their lifetime of study, a determined journey, and a wise consultation with scholars.  Preparation, determination, and timely collaboration.  The shrewd journey to epiphany and the safe route home.

Text of the entire poem follows;

Journey of the Magi

by T. S. Eliot
 
‘A cold coming we had of it 
Just the worst time of the year 
For a journey, and such a journey: 
The ways deep and the weather sharp, 
The very dead of winter.’ 
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, 
Lying down in the melting snow. 
There were times we regretted 
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces 
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.10
  
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling 
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, 
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, 
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly  
And the villages dirty and charging high prices: 
A hard time we had of it. 
At the end we preferred to travel all night 
Sleeping in snatches, 
With the voices singing in our ears, saying 
That this was all folly.20
  
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, 
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; 
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, 
And three trees on the low sky, 
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. 
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, 
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, 
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins. 
But there was no information, and so we continued30
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon 
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory. 
  
All this was a long time ago, I remember 
And I would do it again, but set down 
This set down 
This: were we led all that way for 
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, 
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, 
But had thought they were different; this Birth was 
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.40
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms 
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation 
With an alien people clutching their gods. 
I should be glad of another death
Bill Tucker