Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany - C

Texts:  Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Luke 4:21-30

Call to Worship
Today, the words of God come to us, in love,
inviting us to not be afraid, but to place our faith in God.
Today, the word of God comes to us, in faith,
inviting us to trust in the One who knows us,
to place our hope in the One who saves us.
Today, the Word of God comes to us, in hope,
inviting us to be gracious in our love and in our service to others.

Prayer of the Day
Rescuing God:
your wall of hope
     surrounds us in our despair;
your haven of faith
     welcomes us in our unbelief;
your citadel of love
     protects us from our anger.

Gracious Word:
you reach out to those
     we would dare not touch;
you greet those
     we ignore on a daily basis;
you welcome those
     we would close our hearts to.
Holy Spirit:
rest gently upon us,
     so we might become kinder people;
caress us with your humility,
     so we could let go of our pride;
show us your Way,
     so we would not demand ours.

God in Community, Holy in One,
our hope, our faith, our love,
hear us as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We hide them deep in the closets of our hearts, but God knows our secret failings. We sit in the shadows of our lives, but God sees the possibility we can become. We mumble our words, but God bends down to listen, and whisper grace and hope to us. Let us confess our sins to the One who loves us, as we pray together,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     God of incredible patience, we must confess that our love is not always what we might hope it would be. We focus so much on ourselves, the needs of others pale in significance. Too often, we find ourselves rejoicing in the miseries of others, believing they must have done something to deserve what comes their way. We continually push our families and friends away from us, simply by insisting that everything be done our way.
     Faithful Deliverer of our foolish lives, forgive us and have mercy on us. As you rescue us from ourselves, may we become your people. As you touch us with faith, may we be witnesses to the world of your dreams. As you pour out hope upon us, may we be your compassion to those who hurt. As you drench us with your love which comes to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, may we be made whole.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God's love never ends! With this good news, we know we are forgiven; with this blessing, we know that we are healed.
Now, we can bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you!
And also with you!
Beloved of God, lift up your hearts.
We open them to the One who knows us and who loves us.
Children of God, give thanks to the One who is our hope.
Our praise will always be offered to our Love, our Trust, our God.
When there was nothing but your love,
     you shaped all that is beautiful and good;
when there was nothing but your faith,
     you formed us from the dust,
          and breathed Spirit into our lungs;
when there was nothing but your hope,
     you called us to be your people,
               Creator of all.
But when we looked in the mirror
which the world held before us,
     we saw only ourselves,
     our desires, our wisdom.
We turned away from you,
insisting on our own way,
     growing irritable and rebellious
     when you would not give in to us.
Yet you did not leave us
in the grasp of sin and death,
trusting that if we met you face to face,
we would turn to you in joy.
So today, believing that your Word
has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ,
we join our voices with those
who now know you fully,
offering our songs of grateful praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Refuge and hope of the world.
All creation resounds with your praise.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes with words of grace.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are you, Anchorage of our hearts,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, graced Word of joy.
The Fullness of your hope came
     so the famine of our spirits might be fed;
the faithful son of Joseph knew rejection,
     so we might find refuge in your kingdom;
the epitome of your love endured hate and terror
     that we need not fear death and sin.

While we can only dimly understand
the mysteries of your faith, hope, and love,
we celebrate the One who came to reveal them to us.
Christ died, so we might have faith;
Christ rose, so we might see hope;
Christ will come again, so we will be with you in love.
Holy Spirit,
may the bread which is broken
     become the means of our healing;
may the cup which is poured
     become the fountain of our servanthood.
Touch us with faith,
that we might believe
     your justice and peace
     are to be shared with all people.
Fill us with hope,
     so we could dare to bear
     the burdens of those around us.
Grace us with love,
     so we could be that healing
     which the hurting and lonely need.
And when we are rescued from the bonds of time,
when we find refuge with our sisters and brothers
around the feast prepared for us in glory,
we will join our voices in singing to you
our faith, our hope, our love forever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman