Epiphany of the Lord (Year C)

Call to Worship

For unto us a child is born, authority rests upon his shoulders. Isa. 9:6
He shall be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Parent, Prince of Peace.

The Child shall judge the people with righteousness and justice. Ps. 72
The needy will be delivered and those without hope will be saved.
We will be redeemed from oppression and violence, for we are precious in God’s sight.
Let us gather to welcome the newborn King.
Come, let us worship God!

Prayer of the Day

Everlasting Light,
shine upon us this day,
gift us with your radiance,
that we might be led to your eternal kingdom. Amen.

Call to Confession

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul tells us
that Jesus Christ is our access to God and, because of this,
we may approach God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
 Eph. 3:12
Let us approach God with the confession of our sins
knowing that forgiveness awaits us on the other side.


Mighty God,
you are worthy of our greatest gifts.
But we often do not bring you the gifts you deserve or desire.
The wise men brought your Child gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matt. 2:1-12
But these days you require different gifts:
radical hospitality, enduring faithfulness,
relentless compassion, restorative justice.
Help us bring the gifts that matter to you. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

do not be daunted by the enormity of our sin.
God’s love is even stronger.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel,
I declare to you that our sins are forgiven.
Alleluia! Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Holy God,
shine your light upon us
that we might lift up our eyes and be radiant.
Give our hearts cause to thrill and rejoice
at the beauty and wonder you are bringing to us. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray to God, saying:
Gracious God, lead us home by another way. Matt. 2:12

We pray to you, Merciful God, on this first Sunday in 2019.
And we acknowledge that we have not always taken the paths you desire us to take.
Help us choose our paths wisely in order to serve you and you alone.
Gracious God, lead us home by another way.

We have often taken the roads of violence.
Where are the paths of peace?
Where are the paths where guns do not harm?
Where are the paths where bullying is absent?
Gracious God, lead us home by another way.

We have often taken the roads of greed.
Where are the paths of equity and righteousness?
Where are the paths of employment and housing for all?
Where are the paths of the common good?
Gracious God, lead us home by another way.

We have often taken the roads of idolatry.
Where are the paths of fidelity and faithfulness?
Where are the paths of covenant and creation?
Where are the paths of commitment and care?
Gracious God, lead us home by another way.

Mighty Counselor,
we ask that you would direct our feet for the paths of righteousness.
Lead us home by another way that we may return to you from whence we came.
Care for us on our journey this year as we seek to follow you faithfully.
This we pray in the name of your Child, who taught us to pray, saying: Our Father…

Prayer of Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Good and gracious God,
your creation is relentless.
Just when we thought you were leaving us to our own devices,
just when we thought that creation had been irreparably separated from you,
you sent us your Son, the Christ-child, to make his home in our arms.
To a maid named Mary and to a young man named Joseph,
you blessed a child who would be the savior of the world.
But their blessing is our blessing and we are called to share it.

The star hovered in the heavens, guiding the wise men in their journey.
So, too, we ask that you guide us that we may see clearly the hope we have in you.
We come from all walks of life and in our own way struggle to find your promise.
Illuminate the way, Gracious God, that we might find you and kneel before you.
So that, with all of creation, with people in every time and place,
we may join the everlasting chorus:

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. Hosanna in the highest.

We remember how, on that holy night,
Mary and Joseph could find no place to stay,
so they found a manger and made their bed with the animals of the stable.
Through these marginalized people seeking refuge,
you made your presence known to the world.

We remember how the wise men gathered
to worship the child who would redeem all of creation.
Their gifts were brought to pay homage to the true King
and not some narcissist who believed he was the world’s savior.

Therefore, we give you thanks for the gifts of this Table,
not gold, frankincense, or myrrh,
but bread and juice, the most common of elements.

We remember how this child would grow up
and gather with his friends on the night he was betrayed.
How he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:
“take, eat, do this in remembrance of me.”

Likewise, he took the cup and, pouring it, said:
“this is the cup of salvation, shed in my blood, for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

For as long as we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim the resurrection of our living savior until he comes again.

As we ponder with the wise men,
we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

We give thanks for your gifts of grace and goodness as we begin a new year of faithfulness.
May this meal of remembrance transform us into your servants,
going out into the world to proclaim your resurrection in word and deed
and to welcome all to partake in your reign of peace and love.
As we prepare to live as your disciples,
hear us as we pray as you taught us to pray, saying: Our Father…


Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.