January 1, 2023
There is no livestreaming of today’s service on YouTube. Today’s worship service is an informal gathering of praise, prayer, song, text, and table, in conjunction with a potluck brunch. It will be held downstairs in the church’s fellowship hall at 10:45 am. Together, we welcome in 2023 as a community of God’s people asking for the Lord’s blessing upon the new year.

Ukrainian Bells
led by Rowland and Cynthia

Sharing the Meal: Please join together at your tables as you eat. Reflect together on this question: Where have you seen or experienced God in the past month?

1. A partridge in a pear tree
2. Two turtledoves
3. Three French hens
4. Four calling birds
5. Five golden rings
6. Six geese a-laying
7. Seven swans a-swimming
8. Eight maids a-milking
9. Nine ladies dancing
10. Ten lords a-leaping
11. Eleven pipers piping
12. Twelve drummers drumming
led by Pastor Mark

Covenant Hymnal #179

Matthew chapters 1 & 2

Reader 1: An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, who bore Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

Reader 2: Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had given birth to a son, and he named him Jesus.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star in the east and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him, and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘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.’ ”

Then Herod secretly called for the magi and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then 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.” When they had heard the king, they set out, and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen in the east, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On 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. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Reader 3: Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
    wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Reader 3: The word of the Lord
People: Thanks be to God!

Covenant Hymnal #171

Psalm 132:11-12

The Lord swore to David a sure oath
    from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
    I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
    and my decrees that I shall teach them,
their sons also, forevermore,
    shall sit on your throne.”

Covenant Hymnal #177

We continue to pray for: Nikolas Arden, Messian Burgos, Frank Coszach, Vira Coszach, Gloria Evenson, Pedro Gomez, Art & Rosa Hamilton, Mary McKirchy, Shirley Nicholas, our Pastoral Search Committee, the family of Priscilla Ruppe (Brasks), Mary Smith, and Steve Staurseth

Ministries & Mission
____ & _____ _____, serving in the Middle East and North Africa; Covenant Mountain Mission Bible Camp

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 sins as we forgive those who sin 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.  Amen.

Through this meal God is making all things new. When Jesus shares the meal with His friends, it is a defining moment, for He includes everyone, those He can trust and those He cannot trust. He declares no one unworthy.  Today we, His modern disciples and friends, are welcome, no matter how worthy or unworthy we feel. For Jesus makes everything new, includes each of us as we are. 

As we approach this meal of celebration and new beginnings, we confess our sin, in the hope and promise of reconciliation.  Pray with me:

All: God of new beginnings, You spread the year before us with possibilities and challenges.  Some of us come to this meal feeling overwhelmed, stunted, blocked.  Yet we want to trust Your promise of a new beginning, today.  Some of us approach this table feeling unworthy, flawed, broken.  Yet we want to trust the assurance of Your unwavering love and acceptance.  Forgive our fear and doubt.  Fill our minds and hearts with an unwavering trust in Your promises and possibilities.  Amen.

Be assured that God welcomes us into this new year with full forgiveness, full acceptance, and love beyond measure.   

from Mark 14: 22-25
On the night before He died, Jesus shared a meal with twelve of His disciples in an upstairs room in Jerusalem. The Gospel writer, Mark, tells us what happened that night. 

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it He broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is My body.’ 

Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks He gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I tell you, I will never again drink the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’

Following Jesus’ example, we take simple bread and juice, these ordinary things of life which Jesus will make special. And as He said a prayer of thanksgiving before sharing, let us do so, too.

God of new beginnings, for this time together, on the cusp of a new year, we give You thanks.  As we celebrate around the table, we give thanks for the power of this meal, this simple bread and juice, to strengthen us for the days ahead as the Body of Christ.  Amen.

Pray with me.  God of renewal and rebirth, renew us, through this meal. Through your Holy Spirit, empower us to be your faithful people each day this year. Strengthen us and show us how us the way to walk with Jesus on the path of truth, justice, and peace.  Amen.

When you are served a cup of juice and a piece of bread, please hold them until everyone has been served, and we will all partake together.

Pray with me. God of this new day and this new year, thank You for Your presence in our lives, today and each day. Thank You for renewing us through this meal, and strengthening us each step we take into this new year. May we share the peace that we have found in You with others. Amen.

Covenant Hymnal #188

L: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
P: Thanks be to God

In Dulce Jubilo
arr. John Steiner
led by Cynthia

We’ll be back here next Sunday. We hope you can join us. Information on ravenscov.org.

Worship update
The Leadership Team of Ravenswood Covenant Church recommends mask use during services, but this is not mandatory.

Beginning next Sunday, January 8, Ravenswood Covenant will resume livestreaming worship each week on YouTube, so Sunday morning worship will remain accessible to anyone who has Internet access.

Covenant Home Altar
Free copies of the Jan/Feb/Mar 2023 Covenant Home Altar are available in the narthex. The Covenant Home Altar is the daily devotional publication of the Evangelical Covenant Church, and features devotionals written by Covenanters from across the country.

Indoor Playground
Indoor Playground is back! Our weekly cold-weather opportunity to let young children run around in our gym, play with toys, and use the bounce house has begun again. Indoor Playground will be open every Thursday afternoon from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. We have been off for a few weeks during the holidays, but Indoor Playground will resume this Thursday, January 5th.

Aid for Ukrainian refugees
Jeremy and Amanda Foster, who attend our church, have a direct connection to a mission that is serving refugees who have fled Ukraine following the Russian invasion. Jeremy’s parents Don and Beatrice Foster are in Hazebrouck, France as tentmaker missionaries and have prepared rooms in their home for refugees coming from Ukraine.

If you would like to donate to help the Fosters pay for extra food and supplies, please give a donation to Ravenswood Covenant that is specially designated for Ukrainian refugees. If you would like to give directly online, the website for the Fosters is https://ukraine.la-ferme-de-la-papote.com/ .

The Covenant denomination is also raising funds for Ukraine through Covenant World Relief. Here is the link if you would like to donate through the Covenant’s program. https://giving.covchurch.org/priorities-detail/ukraine-response

Thursday evening Bible study
The weekly Bible study meets Thursdays at 7 pm. We are currently studying the book of Romans. The Bible study meets in the lounge, and is also accessible by Zoom. For more information, please contact Gregory Sager in the church office at (773) 784-7091 or office@ravenscov.org

Join Zoom Meeting

The Zoom meeting ID for the Bible study:  972 871 4458
The Zoom passcode for the Bible study: 1qa3CD

Join Us in Sponsoring a Student in the NPTS SRA Program
North Park’s School of Restorative Arts offers a MA in Christian Ministry and Restorative Arts, allowing free and incarcerated students to study together. This unique degree program is designed to prepare individuals for ministries of restoration in contexts susceptible to violence and includes courses in trauma, race relations, nonviolent communication, conflict transformation, restorative practices, and transformative justice, in addition to Bible, theology, and history.  In partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections, this four-year degree is currently offered at Stateville Correctional Center with 80 incarcerated men and a first cohort of 20 women at Logan Correctional Center.

We, Ravenswood Covenant Church, have partnered with North Park Theological Seminary by committing to sponsor a student in this program. To help us support an SRA student please send a check to church or give online and in the memo line write: “SRA Sponsorship.”

RECC preaching schedule for January
January 1: New Year’s Day special “Potluck in Pajamas” service
January 8: Pastor Mark
January 15: Pastor Denise
January 22: Kate Norton
January 29: Pastor Denise

Scripture for next Sunday
Matthew 3:1-17
Psalm 2:7-8

Art Used in this Bulletin: Steve Erspamer, SM
Clip Art for Year A © 1992, Archdiocese of Chicago.

Our church exists to love and worship God, and love and care for others. By God’s grace, we commit to help people find and follow Jesus Christ through the guidance of His Spirit and His word.

"With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." (Mark 4:30-32 NRS)