2nd Sunday after Christmas – 3rd January 2021

Welcome

Good morning and welcome to our time together this morning.

Gathering Activity.

 Take a few moments to look at the following image and consider the following questions

  1. How well does this image represent the year ahead for you?
  2. How does the idea of seeking direction make you feel?
  3. When do you find yourself asking God for guidance?

 

A Gathering prayer

Lord of our journeys
help us this day to have
eyes to see your leading,
ears to hear your guidance,
and a heart of courage,
that we may journey faithfully and find your way_
even when the path may seem difficult and dark.
Amen

© Copyright 2002-2020, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Print ISSN: 2040-4832 and 1477-0555; Online ISSN: 2635-2818.

Worship

A Prayer of Adoration

Father God, full of wisdom and power,
whose mighty arm stretches over all the earth:
we bow down in humble adoration.
Holy Saviour, full of grace, lighting up our world:
we bow down in humble adoration.
Spirit of the living God,
full of the boundless riches available to us in Christ:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit; three in one:
we bow down in humble adoration,
open to your direction.
Amen.


© Copyright 2002-2020, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Print ISSN: 2040-4832 and 1477-0555; Online ISSN: 2635-2818.

Word

Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem when Herod
was king in Jerusalem. One day, wise men from
eastern lands came to speak to Herod, asking
‘Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We have
followed the Birth Star all the way here. We have come
to worship him.’
Herod was frightened when he heard this and so was
everyone else in Jerusalem.
He called a meeting of all the wise and religious scholars to
find out where this Messiah was to be born. ‘The prophet
Micah wrote that it was to be Bethlehem,’ they told him. 
Herod met again with the wise men, in secret. He found
out more about their learning and in turn told them
to go and search for the newborn King in Bethlehem.
Herod also asked the wise men to come back to him and
tell him exactly where the baby was to be found, ‘So that
I too may worship him.’
So, the wise men set off again, following the same star,
and it led them to Bethlehem, right to the Christ-child.
When they entered the place where the child and his
mother Mary were, their hearts were overwhelmed with joy.
The wise men knelt down before him and worshipped
indeed. Then they offered their precious gifts of gold,
frankincense and myrrh. But when it was time for them
to leave, the wise men went home by a different route,
because God had warned them in a dream not to return
to Herod. 

Matthew 2
1-12

So this morning we are exploring the idea of where do we look for the direction that God has for our lives.
As I have been pondering this, I have been remembering how God has directed me in the past. As a young and not so young adult, it has quite often been the case of pushing at doors and seeing which ones opened but also and rather randomly it was quite often that my Mother would approve or be supportive of the decision. As I pondered this I started to recognise that for many of us, we too will have lots and lots of stories that show how God has directed and guided our lives and I would encourage to spend some time over the coming week to remember and to share the stories where you can.

In my reflection on Christmas Day, I talked about God using the ordinary things of the world to fulfil his plan, in terms of the census placing Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and thus fulfilling the Micah prophecy and within our Bible passage this morning we have God using creation to bring into being what has been prophesied.
For those of you who would like to do some additional digging check out the story of Balaam and his prophecies found in the book of Numbers and specifically Numbers 24:17 where he prophesies that a star will be the sign of a kings arrival.

Matthew tells of the Magi or wise men who have spotted the star and who have chosen to follow it to see the king it represents. Over the years, tradition has written much into the story, the three gifts became three men, they were given names and places of origin. The star has been considered to be a number of different phenomenons in the Night Sky or even an angel.

Yet the text simply says wise men went to Jerusalem from the East. At the palace of Herod they asked where the king of the Jews could be found. I guess with hindsight, we want to shout Nooooo! at them. For that simple, innocent question that they ask has far reaching consequences for many families in Bethlehem. But for the wise men, the question points them to Bethlehem and Herod sends them on their way to find the child with the instruction to send word so that he too can go and worship, although we known that this is not really his intention. The star leads them to Bethlehem and the place where the child can be found.

So as we return to the theme of exploring where do we look for God’s direction, it seems that God can and does use a variety of the ordinary and extra-ordinary to direct and guide us and as I look at the text it seems to me that the Magi, whoever they were, had a couple of qualities that enabled God’s leading and guidance.

The first is openness, an awareness of what was going on in the Night Sky and the implications of this. I wonder, are we aware of what is around us and are we open to listen for and hear God’s promptings?

The second is the willingness to take a risk. Having seen the star, they choose to leave their homes in order to find the king and worship him. It was a journey into the unknown and when the star stops, the text says that they were overjoyed! (before they had even seen the child).
When we hear God’s prompting, how willing are we to take risks and step into the unknown journey?

At the start of the new year, it is a tradition within the Methodist Church to pray the covenant prayer. It is a challenging prayer encompassing the whole of life and can be difficult to pray, but I shall finish with these words and perhaps you can pray them for yourselves.

The Methodist Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.’

Amen

There are a number of different activities on the Roots at home sheet – linked below –  to complete on your own or as a family or household.  

Roots at home Sheet

https://www.rootsontheweb.com/media/22246/roots-at-home-3-jan-2021.pdf

Said response

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a Friend, to so loving a King?

Saviour what Can be said about God’s Son

In praise of your name for the things you have done
Oh, my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart

You deserve my every breath, for You’ve paid the great cost
Giving up your life to death, even death on the cross
You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin
Opened up the gates of heaven and have beckoned me in

Jesus What can I give, what can I bring,
as my lowly offer to the king of kings

 I will offer up my life in spirit and truth
Pouring out the oil of love, as my worship to you
In surrender I must give my every part
Lord, receive this sacrifice of a broken heart

Witness

Prayers

Lord of all our journeys,
we pray for those searching for warmth and safety,
for those fleeing persecution and violence,
for those in temporary accommodation because their homes have been flooded or damaged –
remembering particularly those affected by Storm Bella and by the earthquake in Croatia.

Jesus child of the crib;
bless them with the gifts of hope and courage
and may they find security in you.

Lord of all our ups and downs,
we pray for those searching for peace of mind,
for those struggling with depression, eating disorders, addictions…and for their families,
for those facing the new year with sadness of heart, or little sense of purpose,~
for those who face it alone.

Jesus child of the crib;
bless them with the gifts of hope and courage
and may they find comfort in you.

Lord of all wisdom,
we pray for those searching for clarity and stability,
for businesses adapting to new trade agreements.,
for farmers and fishermen,
for teachers and students amid uncertain term times and new ways of learning,
for those in industries unsure when they can re-open and struggling with new regulations,
for scientists challenged by new variants of the Covid-19 virus,
for those desperate to see their families again.

Jesus child of the crib;
bless them with the gifts of hope and courage
and may they find reassurance in you.

Lord of love,
we pray for those searching for work,
for those whose work is exhausting –
remembering especially those in the NHS and the emergency services,
for carers and those administering the new vaccines and for those who will receive it ,
for those searching for ways to feed their families and pay their bills,
and for those charities and organisations trying to help them.

Jesus child of the crib;
bless them with the gifts of hope and courage
and may they find strength in you.

Lord of us all ,
we pray for those searching for faith amid anxiety and loss,
for your church as she reaches out to those who are isolated, grieving, or battling with big questions,
and we pray for one another as we seek to offer our time and resources to our communities and those most in need.

Jesus child of the crib;
bless us all with the gifts of hope and courage
and may we find peace in you. Amen.

© Copyright 2002-2020, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Print ISSN: 2040-4832 and 1477-0555; Online ISSN: 2635-2818.

 

Community

The community of S17 has drawn together during these unusual times in a very special way. This is reflected in the great work of the S17 COVID-19 Community Support group.

The group aims to support those in the community who may be in need and to provide a support network to the S17 community at this time.

“If there are needy people in our community let’s ensure we help them out with things like bringing shopping to their door.”

The Wardens of All Saints Totley have been producing regular newsletters with helpful links, thoughts and resources. The latest of these is here.

We have also started to add resources for the younger members of our church, to add to this virtual service. They can be found here, and here.

Blessing and Dismissal

Closing prayers

Lord, as we continue our journey with you this week,
as we seek to live out our faith every day,
be with us, surprise with your love,
nudge us when you want us
to see or do something new –
for Jesus’ sake.
Amen.

 

Dismissal  

We have seen his glory,
the glory revealed to all the nations.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

All:           In the name of Christ. Amen.

Reminder

If you have any feedback on this service or any other ideas, suggestions or contributions, for future services please do send these to comments@allsaintstotley.church

There are also the sermons available from the Bishop’s senior staff here: https://www.sheffield.anglican.org/video-sermons.