February 5, 2023 - Home Worship

For the week of February 5-11 – 5th Sunday after the Epiphany

Morning prayer: Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as Your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to You with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Lectionary Prayers)

Hymn #100 God, Whose Love Is Reigning Over Us

  1. God, whose love is reigning o’er us, source of all, the ending true;

Hear the universal chorus raised in joyful praise to You: 

Alleluia, Alleluia, worship ancient, worship new.

  1. Word of God from nature bringing springtime green and autumn gold;
    mountain streams like children singing, ocean waves like thunder bold:
    Alleluia, Alleluia, as creation’s tale is told.
  2. Holy God of ancient glory, choosing man and woman, too;
    Abr’am’s faith and Sarah’s story formed a people bound to You.
    Alleluia, Alleluia, to Your covenant keep us true.
  3. Covenant, new again in Jesus, Star-child born to set us free;
    sent to heal us, sent to teach us how love’s children we might be.
    Alleluia, Alleluia, risen Christ, our Savior He!
  4. Lift we then our human voices in the songs that faith would bring;
    live we then in human choices lives that, like our music, sing:
    Alleluia, Alleluia, joined in love our praised ring!

Psalm 84:1-2, 10-12

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; He bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in You

Children’s message Malachi 3:1-4

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Children’s Message 

Many of the items you bring with you each week and most of the tasks you perform, whether at home or at school, require focus. You can’t easily look away and then begin again. You have to take some time to find where you left off and some times backtrack to remember where you are in the act of accomplishing your task. It can be frustrating and it can lead you to successfully completing your task or doing it haphazardly.

In our scripture today, Malachi is comparing the refining of silver and gold to God’s work in us. To refine precious metals like gold and silver, extreme heat in the form of fire is used to burn off any impurities. Impurities will cause the metal to lose its strength, flexibility and brilliance (or maybe better put, its shininess). In order to remove the things unwanted in silver and gold the refiner has to be precise in the amount of heat and the duration of the heat. Too much heat destroys the metal and too long also destroys the usefulness of the metal. The refiner has to stay focused on the task, she can’t walk away and hope for the best, she has to be right there and fully present. She will know that all the impurities are gone once she can clearly see her face in the metal.

You are precious to God and God stays focused on you and the desire of God is that in you, God will see God’s reflection. Just like with precious metals, God stays attentive to you, doesn’t walk away and hope for the best, but holds you in the palm of God’s hand.

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers for those dear to our hearts.  We now pray as You have taught us: 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 sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us, not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

Offering spotlightSoup-er Bowl of Caring was Sunday evening.  51 cans of food, 12 boxes of food and $16 was collected to support John Buck Food Bank and The Blessings Box.

Offering prayer: God of all creation, source of every blessing: You have given us so much. As we bring our tithes and gifts to You this day, these seem so small by comparison, unless we see that we are truly called to give ourselves back to the world. May we be the salt that brings value and flavor into relationships with those around us. May we be the light that helps others find their way to Your love and care. We pray all of this in the mighty name of Jesus, who came to help us see all we could be. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn #451 Be Thou My Vision

  1. Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
    Thou my best thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
  2. Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
    Thou and Thou only, first in my heart, great God of heaven, my treasure Thou art.
  3. Great God of heaven, my victory won, may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Scripture Luke 2:22-40

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him what was customary under the law, Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now You are dismissing Your servant in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel.” And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.

Message Revelation and Redemption             Pastor Becky

Since the beginning of Advent and through the season of Epiphany, whether we have realized it or not, we have been hearing the pronouncements of who Jesus is and what this means for God’s people. We will be continuing to hear these pronouncements as we come closer to Lent. These pronouncements will help us frame Jesus’s teachings, His actions and His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.

As a refresher of the last couple of weeks, let me briefly summarize the pronouncements so far:

Zechariah is told that his son, John will come as a forerunner to the Lord. This is the first pronouncement of the coming of the Lord.

Mary is told she will birth the one called Son of the most High. He will be given David’s throne and reign over an everlasting Kingdom.

Elizabeth acknowledges the coming birth in her greeting to Mary, calling her the mother of my Lord.

Again Zechariah’s prophecy over his son begins with Jesus’s purpose. John’s calling on his life only materializes because of the one that will come after him – Jesus.

We didn’t look at Joseph that much this season, but Joseph is told who Jesus will be, Jesus will be the one to save people from their sin, Jesus will be God with us.

Christmas Eve isn't complete without the angels proclaiming their good news to the shepherds – I bring you good news of great joy for all people – to you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. The shepherds go on to see and tell everyone who will listen about the birth of this child.

The wise men upon entering Jerusalem inquire of the one born to be King of the Jews.

All of these pronouncements inform and shape what we are to be expecting and how to see the ministry and teachings of Jesus. Which leads us to today’s pronouncements of Simeon and Anna of who and what Jesus will do.

Neither of these pronouncements are trivial or lesser to the other, but I would like to take a look at Anna’s first. She comes to Mary and Joseph, along with all gathered there. She comes first praising God for the birth of this child. You can see it, right? Is there nothing more peaceful, joyful, or fulfilling than holding a new baby? They fit perfectly in your arms, they snuggle into your neck and your breathing begins to match theirs. For just a moment – all is right with the world and the future suddenly becomes brighter. Anna then goes on to say this child would bring redemption.

She has been in the temple most of her adult life, only for the seven years she was married did she have other responsibilities. She has devoted her life to worship and is prepared to see Jesus and to see this redemption begin. For Anna, the redemption is salvation, the canceling out of a debt owed. Redemption would be the fresh start for Israel and the world. The birth of this child would usher in God’s ultimate reign. She reminds us of all of God’s promises to be our God, everything every prophet and poet ever spoke praising God for all that was done, is being done and will be done.

Simeon’s pronouncement of revelation strikes at our very heart. “This child is destined for the falling and raising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed”

This is not a historical statement. It is prophecy and it is living and breathing and is a measuring stick or a plumb line for walking with Jesus.

Jesus reveals our thinking. All of our thinking leads to our actions, the problem is, our thoughts and actions do not always reveal us as followers of Jesus and we can find ourselves on the list of those opposed to Jesus. How we live our lives, reveal not what we claim on Sunday, but what we actually believe on Tuesday, Wednesday, or some random Saturday.

None of the pronouncements leading us to Jesus or the pronouncements Jesus makes about Himself – like the I am statements: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, I am Alpha and Omega, I am the vine, or I am the bread of life are stagnant statements because Jesus is alive and what was said, is said and will be said inform our lives. And having Jesus as the revealer of our thoughts should lead us to think closely and deeply about what we say and do in regard to those Jesus holds dear – the poor, the naked, children, the sick, the marginalized and the isolated. Jesus reveals what we are to do on behalf of others. We must as Christians, proclaimed followers of Jesus, put what we believe about all things through a sieve composed of scripture held tightly by the Holy Spirit.

Simeon promised our thoughts would be revealed for our raising and our falling. Will it be easy to revisit and reflect on our thoughts, alliances, allegiances, what our parents taught or what we hear around us? Absolutely not, yet it is the work that we need to do, individually and as a Body of Christ, If it is our desire to hear, well done, good and faithful servant. Amen.

Closing Hymn: #378 Amazing Grace

  1. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.

  1. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

  1. Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

  1. The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be, and long as life endures.

  1. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.

  1. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.

Go into your week with the blessings of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.