Rev Norman Wilkins leads the Gathering troday



Today we look again at the story of the baby Jesus getting gifts.
The wise men and the gold, frankincense and myrrh
The romantic story of following a star to Bethlehem
It doesn’t really seem very likely
But as Marcus Borg said “everything in the Bible is true, and some of it happened” so let’s see if we will get the truth out of Matthew’s story.
PROCESSIONAL HYMN (book ‘Voices United) VU 97 When a Star is shining
Words: © Sylvia Dunstan
Music: Away in a manger
1 When a Star is shining over eastern hills,
when the air is silent, and the clamour stills,
when the night is waiting, and the old hopes rise,
then the time has ripened and the heart grows wise.
2 Where the world is waiting for an unknown day,
where a voice forgotten cries, 'Prepare the way!'
where an earthly power makes the heart turn cold,
there the gifts are offered: incense, myrrh and gold.
3 Lead us on, O Daystar, in the quiet night;
guide us through the shadow with your gentle light;
show us in a manger our redemption's sign;
bring us to a morning where the promise shines.
Kia ora tatou.
Kia ora.
JESUS’ PRAYER Jim Cotter paraphrase on card
The children may return to sit with family or stay at the front of the church and use the activity bags.
We bless you. Amen.
Feel free to pass the peace with those nearby or move to greet others further away. Passing the peace consists of shaking hands and saying “Peace be with you.” The response is “Peace be with you” or just “And with you.” Or, simply saying ‘Hello” is a good idea. Also feel free to simply observe if you wish!
The Epistle 1 Corinthians 12
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Gospel Matthew 2: 1-12 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Contemporary reading
The gift that we need to give to humanity now. Secular reading amended from “The Guardian” about Sir David Attenborough’s speech to the United Nations’ Climate-Change-Summit. The collapse of civilisation and the natural world is on the horizon, Sir David Attenborough has told the UN climate change summit in Poland. The naturalist was chosen to represent the world’s people in addressing delegates of almost 200 nations who are in Katowice to negotiate how to turn pledges made in the 2015 Paris climate deal into reality. As part of the UN’s people’s seat initiative, messages were gathered from all over the world to inform Attenborough’s address on Monday. “Right now we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in
thousands of years: climate change,” he said. “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” “Do you not see what is going on around you?” asks one young man in a video message played as part of a montage to the delegates. “We are already seeing increased impacts of climate change in China,” says a young woman. Another woman, standing outside a building burned down by a wildfire, says: “This used to be my home.” Attenborough said: “The world’s people have spoken. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now. Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands.” We are last generation that can stop climate change, we must give our direction and our support to our leaders to stop it.
For the Word in scripture,
for the Word among us,
for the Word within us,
we give thanks
HYMN Wise Men Seeking Jesus
Methodist Hymn Book 128 James Thomas East (amended) Tune Bemerton (Caswall), 65.65 Friedrich Filitz, 1847
Wise men seeking Jesus, Travelled from afar, Guided on their journey By a beauteous star.
But if we desire him, He is close at hand; For our island country Is our Holy Land.
Prayerful souls may find him By our quiet lakes, Meet him on our hillsides When the morning breaks.
In our fertile paddocks Where our stock abound, In our busy markets Jesus may be found.
Fishermen talk with him by our Tasman Sea as the first disciples did in Galilee
Every town and village In our land might be, Made by Jesus' presence Like sweet Bethany.
He is more than near us, If we love him well; For he seeketh ever In our hearts to dwell.
REFLECTION “Precious gifts” Norman Wilkins
As the offering is collected we listen to a performance of The Three Kings by Peter Cornelius, sung by The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, directed by Stephen Cleobury in Carols from King's 2006. The soloist is Rupert Reid.
1. Three Kings from Persian lands afar To Jordan follow the pointing star: And this the quest of the travellers three, Where the new-born King of the Jews may be. Full royal gifts they bear for the King; Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.
2. The star shines out with a steadfast ray; The kings to Bethlehem make their way, And there in worship they bend the knee, As Mary’s child in her lap they see; Their royal gifts they show to the King; Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.
3. Thou child of man, lo, to Bethlehem The Kings are travelling, travel with them! The star of mercy, the star of grace, Shall lead thy heart to its resting place. Gold, incense, myrrh thou canst not bring; Offer thy heart to the infant King.
OFFERING PRAYER (said together)
God, some of us have plenty and others will be worried about how we will cope in the future. However we have brought these tangible gifts for this parish and those who need more food.
As best as we can we offer ourselves to achieve a better world
We recognise and bless the gifts brought to the table, and those which wing
their way electronically from our banks to the church’s account.
People share notices and visitors are welcomed. If you have a notice, please move to the front row, ready to speak briefly from the lectern. For the benefit of newcomers, please introduce yourself before you begin.
We think today of the people of Lebanon and the the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. In New Zealand, we remember those in Parliament, and today we name Paul Goldsmith and Joanne Hayes, list MPs. Here in the Central Presbytery, we pray for the leaders and people of St Andrew's Union Church, Greytown.
HYMN FFS 50 ‘Nothing is lost on the breath of God’
Words & Music by Colin Gibson
Words & Music © 1996 Hope Publishing Co.
Nothing is lost on the breath of God, nothing is lost for ever; God's breath is love, and that love will remain, holding the world for ever. No feather too light, no hair too fine, no flower too brief in its glory; no drop in the ocean, no dust in the air, but is counted and told in God's story.
Nothing is lost to the eyes of God, nothing is lost for ever; God sees with love and that love will remain, holding the world for ever. No journey too far, no distance too great, no valley of darkness too blinding; no creature too humble, no child too small for God to be seeking, and finding.
Nothing is lost to the heart of God, nothing is lost for ever; God's heart is love, and that love will remain, holding the world for ever. No impulse of love, no office of care, no moment of life in its fulness; no beginning too late, no ending too soon, but is gathered and known in God's goodness.
THANK YOU Thank you to David Dobson
our musician today
Unless otherwise specified all our music is used by permission CCLI Licence 341550
Words/music to new hymns and gathering statement, prayers and affirmation are original unless acknowledged. If Susan Jones is the worship leader any liturgy will have been written by her. These words can be used in other worship and small group situations without seeking permission. Please acknowledge the source.

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