Worship Elements: January 29, 2017

January 1st, 2017

Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Micah 6:1-8; Psalm 15; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Matthew 5:1-12

THEME IDEAS

Who are the people of God? Not those with correct beliefs or worldly wisdom, but those who act with justice and compassion, who walk humbly with their God; those whom the world might call foolish because they choose to live kingdom values rather than worldly values; those who go against the status quo and work to bring about God’s beloved community on earth, here and now.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Micah 6, Psalm 15, Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 1)

People of God, who do you come to worship?
We come to worship the one true God.
How will you worship?
Not with words alone, but by living lives
of justice and love.
Come, you who belong to God.
Come, you who are foolish in the eyes of the world.
Come and abide in God’s tent and in God’s heart,
now and forever.

Unison Opening Prayer (Micah 6, Psalm 15, Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 1)

Loving God,
we come this morning
seeking to abide in your presence.
Open our minds to your spirit of wisdom,
that we may know how to live as your people.
Open our hearts to your spirit of truth,
that we may love all your people with a love
that speaks of justice, kindness,
and radical grace.
May this time of worship
be authentic and pleasing to you. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Micah 6, Psalm 15, Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 1)

Far too often, O God,
we desire to look wise
in the eyes of the world.
We have not spoken truth with our hearts.
We have said and done hurtful things to our friends.
We have forgotten our true identity,
wandering into ways that are not yours.
We have lost the path of true worship,
focusing on form and words rather than deeds.
We have forgotten what true discipleship is.
And because of this, you have a quarrel with us.
Forgive us and help us live into becoming
the people you have created and called us to be:
people of justice and love and truth
and humility, and yes, even foolishness.
May we be fools for Christ,
embracing our true identity,
even in the face of the world’s scorn and derision.

Words of Assurance (Micah 6, Matthew 5)

God has called us and blesses us
when we live God’s ways and not the world’s.
God’s love embraces us
even when we fall short of what God desires
for our lives and actions.
Know that the God of blessing
loves and forgives us with a fierce tenderness.
And in so knowing, may our lives and souls
be transformed.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Matthew 5)

The God of blessing and love be with all of us.
We embrace God’s blessing and love.
Turn now and pass that blessing on to one another so that our community may be bound together
in love and blessing.

Response to the Word (Micah 6, Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 1)

For the words of challenge,
for the words of blessing,
for the spirit of wisdom moving in our midst,
we give you honor and thanks and praise.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to the Offering (Micah 6, Matthew 5)

We have been called to lives of justice, love, and truth. We have been blessed to be a blessing. Let us generously offer all that we are and all that we have to further this beloved community of love, justice, truth, and blessing.

Offering Prayer (Micah 6, Matthew 5)

O God,
you bless us in so many areas of our lives—
in places we often fail to recognize as blessing.
Help us have eyes to see and hearts to understand
the depth of your love and blessing.
Today, we give out of that blessedness,
dedicating ourselves to lives of justice and love,
giving all that we are and all that we have
to bring about your beloved community,
here and now. Amen.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Micah 6, Psalm 15, Matthew 5)

Those who live lives pleasing to God
shall not be moved.
Go now to embrace the kingdom values—
values of love, justice, and truth.
Go now with God’s blessing,
to live those values through the power
of our challenging, faithful, loving,
empowering God. Amen.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Gathering Words (Micah 6, Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 1)

Come and hear the good news.
No matter what is happening in your life,
God’s blessing and love is with you.
Come and hear what God wants you to do:
live lives of justice and love and truth.
Come and get courage and strength
to be fools for Christ,
embracing Kingdom values
rather than those of the world.
We’re here, ready to listen, open to change,
expecting to be blessed by our time together.

Praise Sentences (Micah 6, Psalm 15, Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 1)

Our God is a God of blessing.
Our God is a God of love and justice.
Our God is a God of wisdom and truth.
Living and loving in that spirit,
we will not be moved.


From The Abingdon Worship Annual edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. The Abingdon Worship Annual 2017 is now available.

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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