Updated: Jan 14
Here's a picture of tender Gus, our pastor's old dog, who features prominently in the sermon, who probably has some shepherd mixed in with terrier, and who is therefore the Goodman's personal tender shepherd.
Here's the prayer of invocation:
Gracious God, as we embark on the season of Epiphany, grant us a new understanding for a new age. As we seek in this season of insight to be evermore enlightened as to your nature and your aim, grant us a renewed spirit for our work in proclaiming and manifesting good news. May our efforts in the faith be purposeful and wise. May we seek to serve, and to be served as we are your beloved people in need of rest and renewal, in need of assurance and love.
The world rages around us and among us. It troubles our spirits and makes anxious our living. We are as ungrounded wires though live with energy, loose with spark and ready to fire. We confess this anxiety now--all that keeps us up at night, all that expenditure of energy which only exhausts us though with little to show for it, all that wears away our faithfulness and makes despair of our hope.
Glorious God, who is weighty with true worth, ground us in your substance, your reality, your persistence, your goodness. Fill our hands and our hearts with your good purpose and work. Forgive us our rattled ways, meet us with your steady presence that we might be truly present here and now--present to our own needs, present to the needs of one another gathered as your church, present to the needs of our town and county, present to your call.
This we pray not only for the sake of ourselves, but for the sake of this whole world over which you have dominion and which you love, and over which we have a degree of dominion as well. Bless us also to act in love, ever in service of the gospel, which is good news for all.
In Christ, whose being is mystery and revelation, we pray. Amen.
And here's the sermon.