January 7, 2024

7 January 2024


God Invites Us To Gather

Words of Welcome 

  • Welcome to worship here at Maple Grove United 
  • My name is Rev. Jessica McCrae and I am so happy to be leading this time of worship with you along with our musicians Dr. Deborah Henry and Eran Rozen, Pat McKee on guitar, our choir, our scripture reader Arnaud Painvin, our greeter Barb Duffin, Charlotte Taylor on live streaming, with John Duffin on sound.  Thank you everyone!
  • As you have probably heard Barry Howie died the end of December, and we are holding Mary Jane and her family in our prayers at this difficult time … the funeral will be …
  • If you would like to make an offering to the work of this church there is a plate as you came in, and offerings can also be made through electronic transfer, cheque dropped off to the church, and through Canada Helps.  
  • Booked for Lunch group meeting Jan 23 at noon in the chapel – A Year of Living Danishly
  • Contemplative Prayer group meets in the chapel on Wednesdays at 11 am (and Fridays at 4 pm?)

Acknowledgment of the Land – 

Today we are worshiping on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, the Attawandaron and the Haudenosaunee.  These are the treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit.  We acknowledge the long and deep relationship the first peoples have with the land and as a church we commit to the work of reconciliation, through listening and learning. 

Our Christ Candle is lit.  We give thanks for the light of Christ in our life and in the work and worship we do together.  If you are at home I invite you to light your own candle to celebrate the light that lives in our world.  Let us prepare our hearts and minds for our worship, as we listen to our prelude. 


Darkness descended over the land.
The people lived in fear.
Then something so unexpected happened.
Something that filled the people with surprise.
A star burned brightly in the heavens!
A star beyond imagining!

Our darkness is gone! The people thought.
Though the night be dark and times are difficult, 

a new light shines for us!
Fears are more manageable, hope feels stronger. 

God has heard our cries.  We know we are not alone!

Come, let us celebrate God’s light given to us!
Let us praise the God of hope and promise! 

*Hymn: Arise Your Light Has Come. VU 79

Prayer of Approach & The Lord’s Prayer 

Loving God

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Christmas,

Praising you for the gift of Jesus who has given us new ways of looking at the world,

Who has birthed hope in our hearts and brought light

into our dark world.

This week we celebrate the gifts of the magi,

who followed a star to discover and give presents to a new king whose birth they were expecting,

who trusted their intuition,

who did not fall prey to Herod’s scheming,

who chose to travel home by a new way.

May we travel into this new year with a similar quest,

to search out your presence and honour you with not only what we have but with who we are,

and may we have the courage to follow new paths home to you.

This we pray in the name of Jesus our King

Who taught us to pray saying

Our Creator

in heaven

Hallowed be your name

Your kindom come

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread 

And forgive us our trespasses 

As we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

for yours is the kindom

The power and the glory

Forever and ever



Prayer of Confession

Merciful God,

You have given light to the world in Jesus Christ,

But we have preferred to live in darkness.

Your justice protects the weak and the distressed,

Yet we seek the shelter of privilege and power.

Your righteousness redeems the poor and the needy,

Yet we seek the status of wealth and possessions.

Your peace upholds the oppressed and defenseless,

Yet we seek the security of weapons and retribution.

Forgive us our sins, and lead us to true repentance,

That we may trust you in all things;

Through Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen. 

Sung Response:  Like A Rock. MV 92

Assurance of Pardon

Christ brings light!  In God there is no darkness.

Arise!  Shine! Our light awaits.

We are forgiven; our hope-filled future awaits.

We can walk in the light of God’s grace.

The Word of God Proclaimed

Prayer of Illumination (Arnaud Painvin)

Guide us, O God,
by your Word and Spirit,
that in your light we may see light,
in your truth find freedom,
and in your will discover your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 page 2 in the New Testament of your pew bibles

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star in the east[b] and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him, and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah[c] was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah,
for from you shall come a ruler
    who is to shepherd[d] my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod secretly called for the magi[e] and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out, and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen in the east,[f] until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped,[g] they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.

Thanks be to God.

Sermon: Seeking Christmas

Hymn: Will You Come and See the Light. VU 96

Our Response to God

Offering: We will take time in our service now to give thanks for the gifts that have been given so generously this week – financial donations, donations to our outreach projects, time, talents, and prayers …. Let us stay seated as we sing verse 3 of 

Offering Hymn:  As With Gladness Men of Old. (v. 3) VU 81

As they offered gifts most rare

At that manger crude and bare,

So may we with holy joy,

Pure and free from sin’s alloy,

All our costliest treasures bring,

Christ, to you our heavenly King.

Offering Prayer

Holy God, it is with joy that we respond to your presence in our lives. We ask that you receive these gifts and offerings as our “thank you.” Thank you for choosing us as your own. Thank you for guiding and protecting us through life’s storms. Thank you for the privilege of serving you. Thank you for your love. Amen.

Meditative Music

Prayers of the People

God of new beginnings and new journeys

We still have the taste of Christmas on our lips and the 

Song of the angels in our ears

And so it is difficult to come face to face with Herod

as we bask in the glow of the star that led the Magi to the baby.

And yet it reminds us that the world you came to

the world you chose to know in its human frailty and difficulties

Is not so different from this world.

Amidst hope and joy there is difficulty and pain,

amidst people of love and compassion, lurk hearts filled with fear and hostilities.

And so we know, as we bring our prayers to you that you understand.

As we wrestle and try to outrun our own Herod’s

You understand.

As we struggle with doubts and struggles, following the path that is best,

you understand.

Gracious God help us to sort out our interests and intentions

that we may know with certainty the path to follow – not necessarily the path that fulfills our wants, but the path that brings us closer to you, and enables us to grow into our fullest selves.

Help us to persevere,

to not being afraid to make adjustments and to journey down new paths,

Holding continually to you

Knowing that wherever we go,

Even if it is home by new ways … you are with us.

God there are so many who are feeling like the road is dark and difficult this day, whose new year is not happy.  We remember them this day and ask your blessing on them …

We pray for those who are grieving, especially holding Mary Jane Howie and her family in our prayers following the death of Barry.

We pray for all struggling with new diagnoses, ongoing treatments, those navigating the medical system, feeling anxious, and living with pain.

We pray for strength and healing.

We pray for peace in our world and in our time.

For areas of our world filled with conflict, for those without safe homes, those who are hungry, those who have no control over what is happening, to them or their families.

May all who struggle see the light of your hope, the light of your star,

and know that through you God, all things are possible,

Healing and new beginnings, and end to suffering and worry.

Comfort and bring light God, 

And fill us with the wisdom and knowledge to do our part to make it so.

We pray with gratitude and love for this baby born to us, our Saviour, our Messiah, Emmanuel.


*Hymn: In the Darkness Shines the Splendor. VU 92


Sung Blessing: Go Now In Peace