As  we  come  to  the  end  of our  consideration  of  the  journey  which  the  Three  Wise  Men

made we  reflect  that  it  is  not  unlike  the  journey  which  Christians  take  through  life.

The  Wise  Men  followed  a  call  which  took  them  to  Bethlehem  where  they  found  themselves   in  the  presence  of  the  infant  Christ.  Christians  respond  to  Christ’s  call   to ‘ follow  me. ‘

As  they  set  off  on  the  journey  of  faith,  Christians  find  themselves  in  many  strange  and            interesting  situations  which  offer  opportunities  to  serve  their  Lord  and  Saviour,  whether  it  be in the  local  community  offering  help  and  support  to  those  in  need,  or  given  a  vision  of

serving in  a  different  demanding  situation,  they  will  have  an  aim,  lives  will  have  direction.  To keep   going in  that  direction  requires  disciple  and  integrity.  This  is  what  is  required  of   Christian  to prove  their  worth  as  followers  of  the  One  who  came  into  the  world  to  save  it from the destruction  caused  by  sin  and  selfishness.

God of mercy, your son proclaimed good news to the poor, release to the captives and freedom to the oppressed; anoint us with your holy spirit and set all your people free to praise you in Christ our Lord. God of light and of love, by the waters you walk with us inviting us into new adventures,

In the darkness you shine your light, guiding us in your path, You call us together to be your people and to offer your our praise, So we come to give you the glory that is only due to you.

We now offer our Confession to you, Remembering your grace, your love and faithfulness.

Merciful God, We confess, that we often turn from what you call us to be, You call us to follow your way of compassion, but too often we turn to criticism, You call us to follow your way of peace but too often we are the source of division, You call us to follow your way of trust but too often we

take off on our own, leaving your call behind, Heavenly Father, Unite our will to your will, and hold us to deliver your ways and strive for your love.

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful, for I have taken refuge in you; in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge, until this time of trouble has gone by.

I will call upon the Most High God, the God who fulfils his purpose for me.

He will send from heaven and save me, he will confound those who trample upon me.

God will send forth his love and his faithfulness.

I lie in the midst of lions that devour the people; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongue a sharp sword.

They have laid a net for my feet and I am bowed low; they have dug a pit before me, but have fallen into it themselves!

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth.

My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and make melody.

Wake up, my spirit, awake, lute and harp! I myself will awaken the dawn!

I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O Lord; I will sing praises to you among the nations; for your loving-kindness is greater than the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth.

Great God, our loving heavenly Father, we are so very glad that you call us to you.

You call us whatever our condition; and you never turn away anyone who comes.

Whatever our burdens, of doubt or guilt, of pain or sorrow or weariness, you will receive us, hear us, comfort, cleanse and heal us.

Heavenly Father, we confess that we are not worthy of such love. When we examine our consciences, we find there the seeds of so much that troubles humanity – seeds of pride, hatred and intolerance; of greed, of selfishness, of idleness; of careless blindness to the sufferings of others.

Hear us, Father, as we make private confession to you of our faults and failures.

Holy God, you call us to be holy too.

Forgive our sin, we pray, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lived, died, and rose again, to bring about atonement for our human race:

and send your Holy Spirit, by whose power we may receive strength for today, and hope for tomorrow, as we learn to live lives more worthy of our calling.