Worship Elements: January 27, 2013

January 3rd, 2013

Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a; Luke 4:14-21

Theme Ideas

At first glance, these readings don't set forth one overarching theme. But the issue of ministry is woven throughout. Jesus' understanding of his ministry, articulated at its beginning, echoes the grand themes of the law, which are celebrated in both the Nehemiah and Psalms texts. Ministry calls for many types of people and gifts, but all these are joined together as the body of Christ, as Paul affirms in 1 Corinthians. We are bound together by the gift and the precepts of the law, which guide our understanding and practice of ministry.

Call to Worship (Nehemiah 8, Psalm 19)

Come before your God with praise and thanksgiving.
The joy of God is our strength.
Join with the heavens and the earth
in telling the goodness of our God.
The joy of God is our strength.
Come let us worship God, who revives our souls.


Call to Worship (Luke 4, 1 Corinthians 12)

The Spirit of God is upon us.
We are called to be God's people.
The Spirit of God is upon us.
We are called to be the body of Christ.
Come let us worship God, who binds us together
in love and service.

Contemporary Gathering Words (1 Corinthians 12)

Whoever you are, you are welcome.
That is good news!
Bring your gifts to praise God.
We are happy to be together.
Let us worship God with joy and spirit.

Praise Sentences (Nehemiah 8, 1 Corinthians 12)

The Spirit of God is upon us!
This is a holy day and we are a holy people!
The joy of God is our strength!
All of us, with all our gifts, we are the body of Christ!

Opening Prayer (1 Corinthians 12, Luke 4)

Bountiful God,
you have blessed us with so many gifts.
In this time of worship,
may we be open to receiving these gifts.
Help us claim our gifts
and use them to bring liberation and justice
to a hurting world.
May the words of our mouths,
and the meditations of our hearts,
be acceptable to you.
May the transforming Spirit of joy and unity
bind us together as your body,
that we may be your hands and feet and voice
in this, your world. Amen.

Opening Prayer (Nehemiah 8, 1 Corinthians 12, Luke 4)

O wondrous God,
on this holy day,
we have gathered together once again
to celebrate your presence among us,
to praise you, and to thank you
for all you have given us.
May this time of worship
strengthen and refresh us,
and fill us with such joy
that we cannot help but share it
with everyone around us.
Though we are very different people,
with many different talents and gifts,
make us one in your Spirit,
that we may be your ministers
in the world. Amen.

Prayer of Confession (Nehemiah 8, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 12, Luke 4)

Ever present One,
you call us to be your presence,
your body in this world,
but too often we get caught up
in being a hand or a foot,
and lose sight of the overarching mission
you set before us.
We fracture into pieces.
We go our separate ways,
forgetting we need each other to be whole.
You have given us your law to be our guide,
but we turn our backs
on what we see as rules and restrictions,
fearful that we will not live up to your expectations.
Help us see with new eyes,
and hear with the ears of our heart,
the liberating spirit of the law
that strengthens and revives and enables us
to be and do all you call us to be and do.
O God of liberation and justice,
help us be faithful witnesses
to your law of love and unity. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Luke 4)

The Spirit of God is upon us.
God has called us to bring good news and liberation
to the poor, to the marginalized,
and to all who are in need anywhere.
God's joy is our strength.
Through God we can do all things.
God's Spirit surrounds us with forgiveness and love.

Prayer before Sermon

May the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of our hearts,
be acceptable in your sight,
our Rock and our Redeemer.

Benediction (1 Corinthians 12, Luke 4)

You have been called and anointed.
You have been strengthened and enlightened.
You have become one body in Christ.
Now go to spread joy and liberation
in word and in deed
to all the world.

Benediction (1 Corinthians 12, Luke 4)

The Spirit of God is upon you.
We go forth proclaiming God's love and liberation.
The Spirit of Christ is upon you.
We go forth to live lives of justice and freedom.
The power of the Spirit is upon you.
We go forth as one body, one spirit,
one witness to the promises of our God.

About the Author

Joanne Carlson Brown

Rev. Dr. Joanne Carlson Brown is pastor at Tibbetts United Methodist Church in West Seattle. She earned an M.Div read more…
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