This Week’s Theme
The Light Has Shone
In prophesying of the coming of the Messiah, Isaiah declared that his appearing would be the end of gloom for the land and the people in anguish. While in the former season the land of Zebulun and Naphtali were seen with contempt, at the coming of the Messiah the Lord would make these same lands glorious. Specifically, these would be the people and the lands “by the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations” (Isa. 9.1). Those who walk in darkness, during the Messiah’s appearing, will see a great light, and those who dwell in a land of deep darkness, the light of God will shine upon them. The coming of God’s anointed ruler for his people would bring glorious benefits and blessings upon his people – their prosperity, the increase of joy and rejoicing, like the kind they experienced during harvest or dividing spoil after a battle. Truly, for those who cling to the Gospel by faith, the entrance of the Messiah into the world has brought us light and life.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
God of Blazing light,
through the power of the cross you shattered our darkness,
scattering the fears that bind us
and setting us free to live as your children.
Give us courage and conviction
that we may joyfully turn and follow you
into new adventures of faithful service,
led by the light that shines
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
~ Revised Common Lectionary Prayers.
Fortress Press, 2002. Digital ed. Loc. 486.
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
Sunday: Lev. 27; Num. 1
Psalm: Ps. 27.1, 4-9
OT: Isa. 9.1-4
Gospel: Matt. 4.12-23
NT: 1 Cor. 1.10-18
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
God of every land and nation,
you have created all people
and you dwell among us in Jesus Christ.
Listen to the cries of those who pray to you,
and grant that, as we proclaim the greatness of your name,
all people will know the power of love at work in the world.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ RCL Website – https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu
Affirmation for the Day
Thank you, Father, for ending the gloom and darkness of our former lives.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord, shine your great light into our land of deep darkness.
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Light Has Shone, Isaiah 9.1-4
Packer, Knowing God