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St. John's Worship Service - January 7, 2024
Guest Speaker
Sunday, January 7, 2024
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The feast of Epiphany (“manifestation”) concludes the Christmas season with a celebration of God’s glory revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. In Isaiah and Ephesians, that glory is proclaimed for all nations and people. Like the light of the star that guided the magi to Jesus, the light of Christ reveals who we are: children of God who are claimed and washed in the waters of baptism. We are sent out to be beacons of the light of Christ, sharing the good news of God’s love to all people.


PRELUDE        Mary, Did You Know.    (Lowry/ Greene)


Blessed be the holy Trinity,  one God, the Word made flesh, our life and our salvation. Amen.

Trusting the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior, let us confess our sin.

God of life,
you promise good news of great joy for all people, and call us to be messengers of your peace. We confess that too often we hoard our joy, our resources, and our security. We nurture conflict and build barriers. We neglect the needs of our neighbors and ignore the groaning of creation. Have mercy on us. Where we are self-centered, open our hearts. Where we are reluctant, give us courage. Where we are cynical, restore our trust. Renew us with your grace and give us again the hope of eternal life in you. Amen.

Hear the good news: We are children of God and heirs of God’s promises
through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In  Jesus we are forgiven and redeemed. Sing with joy, for all the ends of the earth shall know the salvation of God. Amen.
Let us pray. 
O God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star. Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives, and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

* GATHERING SONG   The First Noel (ELW 300)

FIRST READING: Isaiah 60:1-6
1Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
2For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
3Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
4Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
5Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
6A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

PSALM: Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
1Give the king your jus- | tice, O God,
and your righteousness to | the king’s son;
2that he may rule your | people righteously
and the | poor with justice;
3that the mountains may bring prosperity | to the people,
and the | hills, in righteousness.
4Let him defend the needy a- | mong the people,
rescue the poor, and crush | the oppressor. 
5May he live as long as the sun and | moon endure,
from one generation | to another.
6Let him come down like rain upon | the mown field,
like showers that wa- | ter the earth.
7In his time may the | righteous flourish;
and let there be an abundance of peace till the moon shall | be no more.
10May the kings of Tarshish and of the | isles pay tribute,
and the kings of Sheba and Seba | offer gifts. 
11May all kings bow | down before him,
and all the nations | do him service.
12For the king delivers the poor who cry out | in distress,
the oppressed, and those who | have no helper.
13He has compassion on the low- | ly and poor,
and preserves the lives | of the needy.
14From oppression and violence he re- | deems their lives,
and precious is their blood | in his sight. 

SECOND READING: Ephesians 3:1-12
1This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—2for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, 3and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, 4a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. 5In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
7Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. 8Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, 9and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.






GOSPEL: Matthew 2:1-12
The holy gospel according to Matthew. Glory to you, O Lord.

1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6‘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 my people Israel.’”
7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then 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.” 9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On 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. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

The gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you, O Christ.





* HYMN OF THE DAY Brightest and Best of the Stars (ELW 303)



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.


Please place your offering in the plate near the Sanctuary door any time during or following worship. Your offering and tithes may be made on line through our  website:  or sent by mail to
St. John’s Lutheran church, 1500 Glen Avenue, Folcroft, PA 19032.


God our provider, by your merciful hand abundance springs up from the earth. Receive and bless these gifts of your own bounty. Let them be a sign of your steadfast love and faithfulness for all people, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


Trusting in God’s good news of great joy for all people, we offer our prayers for ourselves, our neighbors, and the world God loves.
Humble the hearts of your faithful people, that we seek to be servants of your gospel and witnesses to your mysteries. Give us boldness in faith, that we make the good news of Christ’s birth known to all people. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
Establish justice on earth for all its inhabitants. Lead us to protect fragile ecosystems and endangered species. Empower the work of all who research, engineer, and make accessible alternative and renewable sources of energy. Make us careful stewards of your creation. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.

Nations shall come to your light and kings to your dawning. Remove corruption and fear from the hearts of leaders and authorities. Lead governments to expand policies and resources that care for refugees and all migrants. Strengthen the work of resettlement agencies. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.

Lord, we pray for the people of Israel and Palestine, for those the Gaza Strip who are suffering the ravages of war  We also pray for the Ukrainian people that they be surrounded by your love and protection against the attacks on their country.  Lift them up, and protect, them, end this war against them and let your peace reign.  Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

Defend the cause of all who are in need, all facing poverty, and all who are oppressed. Come quickly to those who feel that their lives and livelihoods are fragile. Give them strength and lead them forth with hope. We pray especially for the family of Connie Captis, Krystal, Alexandra, Jim, Robin, Dan, Sue, Jennifer, Ray, Ashton, Justin, Lois, Kathy and Rich McLaughlin, Carol, Connor, Ana, Helen, Jose, Hoon, Pat, Hazel, Deb, Joe, Ruth, Lisa, Rick, Dick, Alisia, Jacklyn, Lillian, Alexis, Jim and those we now raise before you in our hearts.  We pray for those affected by the Covid virus in mind, body or spirit.  Grant them healing and wholeness.  Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

As the magi offered gifts to the Christ child, empower us to give generously. Prosper the work of ministry partnerships in our community. Together, help us share what we have to ensure that our neighbors have enough food, resources, and opportunities. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

You have redeemed the lives of your faithful departed. Through the love of Christ, gather us into one body with them, and reveal to us the mystery hidden for ages in the One who created all things. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

Abide with us, O God of mercy, and receive our prayers according to your abundant grace. Amen.

Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
   hallowed be thy name,
   thy kingdom come,
   thy 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 thine is the kingdom,
   and the power, and the glory,
   forever and ever. Amen.

The God of peace bless you, the love of Christ sustain you in hope, and the anointing of the Spirit  remain upon you now and forever.









* SENDING SONG As with Gladness Men of Old (ELW 302)

DISMISSAL - Christ the Savior is born! Go in peace. Proclaim this good news.Thanks be to God.

POSTLUDE:        How Brightly Shines the Morning Star    (Blersch)

You are welcome to watch the live service at 10:15 am at
Or you can watch live streaming on the St. John's website:
If you are having trouble accessing, please let us know.
The ETERNAL CANDLE is sponsored for the month of January by the Current fund of St. John's.

YOU CAN HELP!  You can be a good steward AND get your grocery shopping done.  Did you know that if you purchase a grocery food gift card from St. John’s, our congregation will receive 5% of all sales of gift cards.  Please see Ruth Weaver if you wish to purchase and gift cards.  Thank you for helping us raise that 5% for helping to continue our ministry. 

Each week, we collect food for our hungry neighbors in need in our SHARING GOD'S BOUNTY WAGON.  Hunger doesn’t take a vacation.  Please consider making a donation of a food item each week. If you are in need of food, please notify Pastor Wende and she will let you know what we have available.

The Social Ministry Committee would love to hear from you if you have any ideas for small fundraising and/or social ministry events that we could pull off with minimal effort. Challenge us with your ideas!!

With our church building getting older, we need everyone’s eyes and ears to help keep her in good repair. If you see any problems like a burnt out light bulb, please let Barb or Bud know or drop a note in the offering plate on Sunday. We need to get a jump on current or upcoming problems.

Our Financial Response  (December)   
Budgeted costs per month                     $   8,510.68
Offering last month                         $   6,935..29

Budget required to date (12 months)             $ 102,128.16
Total received to date                         $  71,104.77

Budget required to date (12 months)             $   4,800.00
Total received to date                         $   4,799.32

Please continue to support St. John's.  Our expenses continue each month even if we are not all worshipping together inside our building.
Your offering and tithes may be made on line through our  website:  or sent by mail to
St. John’s Lutheran church, 1500 Glen Avenue, Folcroft, PA 19032.