Sunday (Zoom from the sanctuary) message: Everything changed when God came down to earth

Worship on the Lord’s Day

2nd Sunday of Christmas

Music prelude

Greeting:    Heather Tansem

Lighting of the Christ candle

Welcome and announcements

Silent preparation for worship

Opening words:

L: Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth
P: God’s steadfast love endures forever
L:  Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: Great are you, Lord

You give life, You are love,
You bring light to the darkness,
You give hope, You restore.
Every heart that is broken.
Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs.
So we pour out our praise.
We pour out our praise.
It’s Your breath in our lungs.
So we pour out our praise to You only.
Great are You, Lord

Songwriters: Jason David Ingram, David Leonard, Leslie Jordan
Great Are You Lord lyrics © Integrity’s Praise Music,
Integrity S Alleluia Music. License #3095377​.
All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Call to worship:

L: Rejoice, for God has sent the Saviour
P: to bind up the broken hearted,
L: to proclaim liberty to the captives,
P: to grant a garland to those
    who mourn instead of ashes.
L: The mantle of praise
instead of a faint spirit.
P: Arise! Shine! For our light has come.
    We will rejoice and be glad!

Prayers of approach and confession

Someone shared a prayer with me yesterday and I thought the most appropriate place to use it this morning, is in the prayer of approach: Sweet 2020 Baby, we just want to say thank you.

Because in many ways, this year has been a mess. A bit of a disaster, really. But you. You’ve been the light in the darkness. The calm in the chaos. The joy in the midst of a whole lot of hardship, pain, and frustration. So I know people will talk about 2020.

They’ll talk about the stress and the fear and the sadness. They’ll recount every bit of the hard stuff that’s brought tears to my eyes more times than I can count. But I’m just so glad, when I think back on this year, I also get to think about you. Because you’re such a gift. The sweetest blessing. And even though things looked a little (okay—a lot) different than I’d planned, and it certainly wasn’t always easy or comfortable, your timing couldn’t have been more perfect. So thank you, little one. Thank you for allowing me to be grateful for 2020. Because it gave me you.” So now, dear Lord of light and life, as we turn to You in confession, you have come to us in Christ Jesus to open a path to new life. Yet once the New Year has begun, we long for things to get back to normal, especially this year. We confess that our resolutions for change often don’t last long. Old habits draw us back to familiar ways. It is so hard for us to make a new beginning, dear Lord, even with the best of intentions.

Forgive us, dear Lord, and renew our determination to know you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly, day by day. Now, in these moments of silence, we turn to You in our personal prayers of confession…

Response: I will trust in the Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

The apostle Paul declared to us that from now on, we regard no one from a human point of view. If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. Everything old has passed away; See, everything has become new! So let us regard ourselves from God’s point of view. This year we can make a new start, trusting in God’s love and mercy.

Response: Be still and know

Prayers for God’s help and guidance

Lord, as we turn to You in prayers for help, we come as your humble servants, asking, because we know that without You as our help and source of life, we can do nothing.

Our lives are in your hands as we enter a New Year, inextricably woven right beside a year with countless challenges. Would You help us to embrace the new with hope, along with humility. Lord, we pray for all among us dealing with many difficulties, those with hardships in their relationships, those dealing with sickness, and we pray specifically for __ as she will be undergoing a form of surgery tomorrow. We pray for our students who go back to school, those in-person, as well as the ones doing it online.

Would You give calm and strength to the teachers, instructors and professors. We also acknowledge that the pandemic is everything but over and done with. Would You hold the hands of our doctors, medical staff, nurses, all the frontline workers in whichever capacity they work. Guide us in continuing to take extra care in limiting the spread of the coronavirus. Dear Lord, your scriptures and your word, spoken, sung, prayed, in the form of children’s time, the sermon, would You open it up to us…Lord of Word and Wisdom, we celebrate your Word made flesh in Christ Jesus.

Send us your Spirit this day as we listen for your Word speaking in the scriptures. Inspire us to make that Word flesh once more in the way we live for Christ’s sake.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time                    

Song: Go tell it on the mountain     

Go, tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere.
Go, tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born.
While shepherds kept their watching
o’er silent flocks by night,
behold, throughout the heavens
there shone a holy light. Refrain

The shepherds feared and
trembled, when lo, above the earth
rang out the angel chorus that
hailed our Saviour’s birth! Refrain

Down in a lowly manger
the humble Christ was born,
and God sent us salvation
that blessed Christmas morn. Refrain

Words and Music: John Work © John Work 1940
License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission
to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Scripture reading:           

John 1:1-18 New Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Response:  O come, let us adore Him             

Message: Everything changed when God came down to earth

Talk is often so cheap. So cheap that we easily forget that words actually do matter.

We know this. We know it because God created everything, us included, simply by speaking. These words certainly mattered. We know it from Genesis 1 and now also from John 1. God creates the whole universe by just saying a few words. “Let it be.” This is the way it all came into being.

Before there was anything at all, God, being fully God and with no need for anything else, spoke in love. Love speaks. Love is not quiet. Love cannot keep silent. God made a world, an astonishing universe, and tender, small things like the flowers in spring, a snowflake, a butterfly, a tiny bird in a nest, a child just learning to walk.

The light in the darkness image is one more astounding mystery. It invites us at times to do peculiar things. We might want to go outside, in the dark. Light a candle, gaze at the stars in the sky, barely realizing how far and how many they are. I would even read this text with a flashlight to try and get a feel. What is this light in the darkness? It changed every single thing.

Then again, out text is heartbreaking. What a shock to learn that God was in “the world made through Him, but the world did not know Him”? “He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept Him.” What breaks God’s heart more than this? We needn’t go any further than today’s text. God made the world. But the world did not recognize, know, or welcome the very one to whom it owed its existence. We can blame the world. But what is that in God’s own heart? If we want to ponder what grace is about, it is right here.

When God came down to this earth, all relationships changed by God’s grace. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” And when God came to the broken world in Jesus Christ, He “came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

As James Howell [i] puts it, “John 1 is a symphony, a poem, a painting, an opera, a whisper, a shouted declamation that Jesus is far more amazing than you had ever imagined. Light, preceding Creation, the Word, the cause, reason and purpose of all things, banishing the darkness. Ours is to be in awe, to shiver in reverie, to be “lost in wonder, love and praise.” And then, like John the Baptist and Karl Barth, simply to point.”

As preacher I get to be the docent in the museum, leading parishioners to the big picture of Jesus. All I can do is point, I can say Wow, and the congregation doesn’t even notice me any longer. Amen

Song: Of eternal love begotten

Of eternal love begotten
uncreated One in Three,
Christ, the Alpha and Omega,
Christ, the Source, the End will be
of the things that are, that have been,
and that future years shall see,
evermore and evermore.

This, the one whom heaven taught singers
sang of old with one accord,
whom the scriptures of the prophets
promised in their faithful word
shines among us, long expected;
let creation praise its Lord,
evermore and evermore.

Oh that birth forever blessed
when the virgin, full of grace,
by the Spirit’s power conceiving,
bore the Saviour of our race,
and the child, the world’s Redeemer,
first revealed his sacred face,
evermore and evermore.

All the heights of heaven adore him;
angels endless praises sing,
all earth bow to Christ our Sovereign,
and our joyful tribute bring
let no tongue on earth be silent,
every voice in concert ring,
evermore and evermore.

God Redeemer, God Creator,
God the Spirit, now to thee
hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
and unwearied praises be,
honour, glory and dominion
and eternal victory,
evermore and evermore.

Words: Jason Neale; public domain
Music: 12th C. chant, arr. H. Willan; © Michael Willan

We celebrate at the table

Invitation to the Lord’s Supper

Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, you formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life. When we turned away and our love failed, your love remained steadfast. You delivered us from captivity, made a covenant with us to be our sovereign God, and spoke to us through your prophets. So with your people on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Holy are you, and blessed is your Son, Jesus Christ.
Your Spirit anointed him to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to announce that the time had come when you would save your people. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and ate with sinners. By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit. When the Lord Jesus ascended, he promised to be with us always in the power of your Word and Holy Spirit.

[Let us all come to the table of the Lord!]

Affirming our faith                 

Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died,
and was buried;
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
He is seated at the right hand
of the Father,
and he will come to judge
the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen

Communion prayer                                     

Luke 24 (institution)

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us, while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ ‘The Lord has risen indeed. Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’


Breaking bread and offering the cup
These are the gifts of God for the people of God. (Breaking of Bread)
Because there is one bread,
we who are many are one body,
for we all partake of the one bread.
When we break the bread,
it is a sharing in the body of Christ.
The body of Christ, broken for you, take eat.

(Offering of the Wine)
When we bless the cup,
it is a sharing in the blood of Christ.
The blood of Christ, shed for you, take, drink.

We respond to serve God

Prayer of gratitude:

Gracious God, we thank You for the love that brings us food from heaven, gives us the life of your dear Son, and assures us that we belong to the company of all his faithful people in heaven and on earth.

Grant that, strengthened by this fellowship and by the power of his Holy Spirit, we may continue his work in the world, until we come to the glory of your eternal kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Response: Come, they told me

Reflection on giving

Song: We three kings (vs. 1,2&5)

We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of light,
star of royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
over us all to reign.         Refrain

Glorious now behold him arise,
King and God and sacrifice:
hallelujah, hallelujah,
sounds through the earth and skies.  Refrain

Words and Music: trad., arr. J. Hopkins; public domain

Sending out with God’s blessing

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Amen (2 Corinthians 13:13)

Response: Gloria in excelsis Deo

Music postlude

(Zoom breakout rooms)

[i] Howell, J. (2021, Jan 2) Second Sunday of Christmas: God has come down to earth. Nothing could possibly be the same. Working Preacher.

10:00 am January 3, 2021

led by Rev. Heinrich Grosskopf

Elder: Heather Tansem

children’s time: Fionna McCrostie

vocalist: Glynnis McCrostie

Copyright 2021 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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