(Note: COCU 8A Epiphany may also be celebrated on this day)

Jeremiah 31: 7-14 or Sirach 24: 1-12
Psalm 147 or Wisdom of Solomon 10: 15-20
Ephesians 1: 3-14
John 1: (1-9), 10-18

Church of Scotland Starters for Sunday
Singing from the Lectionary (music)

Can also incorporate prayers for the New Year

Prayer of Approach
As we who gather on this day remember Your great Gift of Love,
we come close with reverence and with joy,
knowing that in the light of this New Year,
Your great Light, the Word made flesh,
will shine upon each darksome day the light of mercy, grace and peace.
We draw closer, and in Your presence, bless Your Holy Name.
(Source: Rev Dr Derek Browning)

A reflection: Make it now
(Matthew 2:1-12)
Where is the child, born king? they ask.
Where is the child born now? we ask.
Where the hope? Where the light?
Where is the challenge born today?
The challenge to kings on flimsy thrones,
the promise of peace for victims of war,
the threat of justice to shake oppressors
in their slave-built towers – where
is the Holy child born again
in a world starved of miracle,
parched of life?
Where is the child
piercing silence with angel chorus,
piercing darkness with star-light shining,
piercing hearts with love Divine?
Make it here, o Holy child,
your entry to the world;
make it us, o Holy child,
your challenge to the world;
make it now, o Holy child,
your peace through all the earth –
o make it now, we pray. Amen.
(Source: Rev Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

Opening Prayer
Lord of yesterday, today and tomorrow,
we gather here this first Sunday of the New Year,
in a mixture of hope, anticipation, fear, excitement, and expectation.
We do not know what the year holds for us.
there are things we are afraid of:
worries about health and family, job security and finances.
There is much to look forward to –
weddings or anniversaries or baptisms,
holidays to enjoy, friends to laugh with.
Lord God,
the coming year is full of uncertainty and hope.
Whatever the year holds for us, though,
we trust you, and we place every day of this year in your care
knowing that, as in the past, you are with us,
caring for us with constant love.
And so Lord, we place ourselves into your keeping
and dedicate our lives to your service
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. Amen.
(Source: Rev. Ian Elston)

Prayer of adoration
God of every age,
a source of insight upon the past,
a source of steadiness around the present,
a source of hopefulness into the future:
Now we praise You! Now we adore You! Now we seek You!
Into the desert places of our lives,
refresh each parched heart
that we might blossom in your kindness
in all the days that lie ahead.
Where lives grow tired, and energy is low, the hint of your nearness enables us to renew our strength, and in your light, reflect your glory.
(Source: Rev Dr Derek Browning)

Prayer of confession
Lord Jesus Christ,
when all are deaf with the business of life,
and we feel endlessly remote
from all that gives us reason to live
and courage to go on,
we turn to you, our brother and our friend,
to speak the words of regret and fear
that weigh us down and hold us back.
When joy should have been our garment,
we chose the darkness of envy.
When mercy should have marked our speech,
we chose the words of judgement.
When gentleness should have graced our actions,
we chose the harshness of the desert heart.
Our hope is vain, unless we turn to you.
So now we come, ashamed, resentful,
knowing that we’re broken, but finding words,
admitting failure sticking in our constricted throats.
Help us say, ‘Forgive me, Lord, forgive me now’.
Unworthy we may be, but unloved we are not.
A silence is kept
Today, this New Year, turn us round,
recalibrate our lives so they are measured
in gentleness and service,
and keep your steady hand upon our shoulders,
in all the days to come. Amen.
(Source: Rev Dr Derek Browning)

Prayers for Others
(Wisdom come again, inspired by Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21)
As Wisdom delivered God’s people of old,
we pray with the oppressed today.
We pray for liberation,
we pray for Wisdom to come again.
As Wisdom has entered souls before,
we pray for God’s prophets today;
we pray for resistance of injustice,
we pray for Wisdom to come again.
As Wisdom has guided God’s people before,
we pray for all who still seek your Way;
we pray for the peace we strive for,
we pray for Wisdom to come again.
As Wisdom has sheltered God’s people of old,
we pray for the scared and lost today;
we pray for protection and light;
we pray for Wisdom to come again.
As Wisdom has travelled with God’s people through time,
we pray for ourselves and our world;
we pray for your presence with us,
we pray for Wisdom to come again. Amen.
(Source: Rev Dr Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

An Epiphany Prayer
Creator of the Stars
God of Epiphanies
You are the Great Star
You have marked my path with light
You have filled my sky with stars
naming each star
guiding it
until it shines into my heart
awakening me to deeper seeing
new revelations
and brighter epiphanies.
O Infinite Star Giver
I now ask for wisdom and courage
to follow these stars
for their names are many
and my heart is fearful.
They shine on me wherever I go:
The Star of Hope
The Star of Mercy and Compassion
The Star of Justice and Peace
The Star of Tenderness and Love
The Star of Suffering
The Star of Joy
And every time I feel the shine
I am called
to follow it
to sing it
to live it …
(Source: M J Ryan from A Grateful Heart)


Now the star of Christmas
(words: Shirley Murray; tune: NOEL NOUVELET)
Now the star of Christmas
shines into our day,
points a new direction:
change is on the way –
there’s another landscape
to be travelled through,
there’s a new-born spirit
broadening our view.

When the Christ of Christmas
speaks to heart and mind,
clears the clouded vision
hurting humankind,
kindred spirits gather,
drawn toward the light,
sharing revelation,
joyful at the sight.

If we choose to follow,
we may yet be wise:
where the three kings travel,
three great faiths arise:
Christ within the Christian,
Jesus in the Jew,
Prophet for the Muslim,
each tradition true.

Where the star enlightens,
light is shared around.
God has drawn no borders,
faith sees common ground:
Peace the hopeful journey,
justice without bar,
God’s illumination
from the Christmas star.

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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