The Session of Union Presbyterian Church has decided to cancel worship in our East Main Street Sanctuary on Sunday January 20, due to Winter Storm Harper. Below you can find a service of worship for use at home. It is our prayer that all would be safe and warm this weekend.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy never cease,
fresh as the morning and sure as the sunrise.
Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for God is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem,
and gathers the outcasts of Israel.
The Lord heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
God determines the number of the stars,
and gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
God’s understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden,
and casts the wicked to the ground. Psalm 147:1-6
Prayer for Wholeness:
Before God, in the company of the great cloud of witnesses, I confess to my brokenness: to the ways in which I wound my own life, the lives of others, and the life of the world.
Move within me, O God; give all your people life; let us rejoice in you. Renew us in mind and in spirit, making our hearts new within us. Give us again the joy of your help, and sustain us with your Spirit. Amen.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Holy Wisdom, Holy Word: Thanks be to God!
Praying With Scripture:
Each month at our Session meetings, we do a group form of “Lectio Divina” (“Sacred Reading”). But Lectio, in its original form, is for private prayer, so it may be an ideal way to reflect on today’s scripture passage.
Sacred reading has four distinct movements: Read, Meditate, Pray, Contemplate. Begin with some deep breaths, quieting yourself, perhaps lighting a candle. Know that you are bathed in the love of God, who delights to meet you in all places, and especially as you open scripture. Know, too, that you don't have to make a lengthy investment in this process for it to "work." If you have just 15 minutes today, that's fine. If you have longer, that's fine, too. Let's begin.
1. Reading. Read a short passage of scripture (the story of the Wedding Feast at Cana, above, would work well). Feel free to:
Read until a particular word of phrase strikes you. ("If God comes in the first verse, why go on to the next?")
Read the entire passage.
2. Meditation. Think about the passage by wondering about any or all the following questions, as you find them helpful.
What did it mean to the people for whom it was first written?
What does it mean to or for me today?
What does it mean to or for us, the community of God's people, today?
If you close your eyes and imagine the scene, what do you see? Try to imagine all the people in the passage: Jesus, the disciples, his mother, the servants, the steward. Though they are not specifically mentioned, the bride and groom! What do you see? Who looks worried? Who is having fun? Is there music? What do you hear? Is there food? What do you smell?
When you are ready, go to the next movement.
3. Prayer. Some say prayer is "a loving conversation with God." In a conversation, both speak, and both listen. You may choose to do all or any of the following. Wonder how you might respond to God's word to you this day. Talk to God about the passage, and whatever it brings to your attention. Wonder what changes you might make in light of what you read. Write a poem, journal, draw a picture, or create something else simple that expresses your feelings. Spend some time in quiet, so that God can speak to you.
4. Contemplation. This is the moment when you let go of words, images, wrestling, and wondering, and simply give yourself up to love. This is the celebration. Rest in God's love.
Closing Hymn: “Lord of All Hopefulness”
(Please click on the hymn title to go to a Youtube video.)
Lord of all hopefulness
Lord of all joy
Whose trust ever child-like
No cares could destroy
Be there at our waking
And give us we pray
Your bliss in our hearts Lord
At the break of the day
Lord of all eagerness
Lord of all faith
Whose strong hands were skilled
At the plane and the lathe
Be there at our labours
And give us we pray
Your strength in our hearts Lord
At the noon of the day
Lord of all kindliness
Lord of all grace
Your hands swift to welcome
Your arms to embrace
Be there at our homing
And give us we pray
Your love in our hearts Lord
At the eve of the day
Lord of all gentleness
Lord of all calm
Whose voice is contentment
Whose presence is balm
Be there at our sleeping
And give us we pray
Your peace in our hearts Lord
At the end of the day
Copyright © 1998 Thankyou Music
Writers: David Ball, Jan Struther
May the peace of Christ go with you, wherever he may send you.
May God guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm.
May God bring you home rejoicing at the wonders life has shown you;
May God bring you home rejoicing, once again into our doors.