After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, Magi (wise men) from the east came to Jerusalem to find the “King of the Jews.” Having seen his star when it rose, they journeyed to come and worship him. After learning from Herod and the chief priests and scribes that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, they journeyed there, and having seen the star that rose before them, they followed on until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When the Magi saw the child Jesus and his mother Mary, they fell down and worshiped him. They opened their treasures, offered him the gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh, and returned home, skirting Herod’s path, having been warned in a dream to avoid him. Through God’s own special revelation, the Magi sought to find and worship Israel’s messiah-king. Like them, let us seek and adore the Child, of the ancestry of David, who is destined to reign as King and Lord of the eternal Kingdom of God.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O God, by whose light men from the east were led into the knowledge of thy blessed Son; send out thy light and thy truth into the east and the west, and into the north and the south; that all men everywhere may behold thy glory in the face of Jesus Christ; and that so thy kingdom may be set forward among the nations and thy peace be established in all the earth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Earnest Fremont Tittle. A Book of Pastoral Prayers. New York, NY: Abington-Cokesbury Press, 1946. p. 57.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
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.
Chronological Reading for the Day
An annual reading through the Bible in the order in which the events took place
Friday: Exod. 29-31
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
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.
O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we, who know Thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of Thy glorious Godhead; through the same, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
~ Fred H. Lindemann. The Sermon and the Propers: Volume I, Advent and Epiphany. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1958. p. 141
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Fill us, holy Father, with the same holy longing that the Magi owned, a passion to discover who you truly are, and to offer you ourselves and our gifts, that you alone may be worshiped and glorified.
“The worship of God’s people in the Bible is distinctive in that it is regularly presented as the worship offered by those who have been redeemed. Acceptable worship does not start with human intuition or inventiveness, but with the action of God. The earliest books of the Bible emphasize God’s initiative in revealing his character and will to his people, rescuing them from other lords in order to serve him exclusively, and establishing the pattern of response by which their relationship with him could be maintained.”
~ David G. Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992. p. 26.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Behold the Lamb of God, John 1.29-42
Peterson, Engaging with God