This Week’s Theme
“A Light to the Gentiles, and the Glory of Israel”
Mary and Joseph obeyed the Lord by keeping the Law’s command for new mothers to be purified and to present their firstborn sons in a ceremony to the Lord. Each firstborn male was considered holy, to be set apart to God for his glory and purpose. During their visit to the temple, a certain righteous and devout man, Simeon, was there. It had been revealed to him by the Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Coming into the temple as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus in, he took the child in his arms and blessed the Lord. Simeon said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2.29-32). Simeon blessed them, and warned Mary that her baby would be for the “fall and rising of many in Israel” alongside her own suffering as well. A prophetess, Anna, a long-time widow eighty-four years old, came up at that very hour, giving thanks to God and speaking about the child to everyone who was “waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (v. 38).
Truly, Jesus is God’s gift of salvation to humankind, the “light of revelation” to the Gentiles and “the glory” of Israel. To the non-Jews he is the revelation of God’s plan of salvation, and he is the fulfillment of God’s promise to the nation for a Messiah who would reign as King forever. In Jesus, God’s kingdom promise is now fulfilled.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
All-powerful Father, Christ your Son became man for us and was presented in the temple. May he free our hearts from sin and bring us into your presence, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
~ International Committee on English in the Liturgy (Storey, p. 68)
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
The Presentation of the Lord: Num. 16-18
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 84
OT: Mal. 3.1-4
Gospel: Luke 2.22-40
NT: Heb. 2.14-18
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in 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 Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits 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 Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in 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, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Father of light, unchanging God, you reveal to those of faith the resplendent fact of the Word made flesh. Your light is strong, your love is near; draw us beyond the limits which this world imposes to the life where the Spirit makes all life complete. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. (Storey, p. 67)
Affirmation for the Day
Jesus of Nazareth is the salvation of God prepared in the presence of all peoples.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for being the light of the salvation for the nations, and the glory and majesty of your people, Israel.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Spirit of the Lord Is upon Me
Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism