Worship Elements: January 15, 2017

December 11th, 2016

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42

THEME IDEAS

It’s hard to ignore a scripture passage that begins, “Listen to me . . . pay attention, you peoples!” (Isaiah 49:1). God is definitely trying to get our attention! It is clear from this text (and from the world around us) that there is plenty of work to be done in the task of building up God’s realm. In fact, a quick glance at the newspapers and TV reports could easily cause us to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the
task. Yet both the Isaiah and 1 Corinthians readings assure us that we are not only called to do God’s work, we are well equipped by the very One who has called us. Our faithful God strengthens us for the task and has already given us the support we need through Jesus Christ.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Isaiah 49, The Message)

Listen up, everyone!
God has given us work to do.
God has called each of us
before we were even born.
It was God who named us.
It is God who claims us.
The light of God’s love shines in us.
Let’s shine God’s love into all the world!

Opening Prayer (Isaiah 49, 1 Corinthians 1)

God of Isaiah,
you are our God, too.
You spoke to the prophets,
but your message did not end with them.
There is still work to be done,
and we pray to hear your call afresh.
Help us joyfully claim our role
as your beloved servants,
knowing that you provide all that we need
to do our work.
You walked with us before we were even born,
and you continue to hold us by the hand
each and every day of our lives.
We pray with the confidence of those
who have been filled with your light.
We pray with the assurance of those
who have been called into fellowship
with your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 49, Psalm 40, 1 Corinthians 1)

Faithful God,
you call us to be saints,
but we are more comfortable
with the role of sinner;
you call us to be your servants,
but we worry that we lack the skills
to do your work;
you put a new song of praise in our mouths,
but we stumble on unfamiliar words;
you show us the work to be tackled,
but we turn away defiant,
insisting we have more important things to do.
Put your song on our lips and in our hearts,
and remind us of the joy that awaits us
when we put our trust in you.
Guide us into the light
of your unwavering, never-ending,
and grace-filled love. Amen.

Words of Assurance (1 Corinthians 1)

God is faithful and ever-present.
The God who knew us before our birth
loves us still and strengthens us,
that we will one day be blameless.
Through the gift of Jesus Christ,
God offers forgiveness, grace, and mercy.
Enter into the light!

Response to the Word (Isaiah 49, Psalm 40)

(Sing stanza 1 of “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry” by
John Ylvisaker. Continue the instrumental music quietly in the
background during the spoken responses.)
Even before you were born, I have been with you.
My love for you is beyond time.
Fill us with your love.
Equip us for your work.
(Sing stanzas 2 and 3)
I have given you a song of praise.
I will teach you a new melody.
Fill us with your music.
Equip us to sing your harmonies.
(Sing stanzas 4 and 5)
You are my faithful servants.
I offer you all that you need
to do the work given you.
Fill us with your Spirit.
Equip us to share your love with the world.
(Sing stanzas 6 and 7)
Even before you were born, I have been with you.
My love for you is beyond time.
Fill us with your light.
Equip us to become beacons of your salvation.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Offering Prayer (Isaiah 49, Psalm 40, 1 Corinthians 1)

Generous God,
you have already given us all that we need.
Help us trust your continued care,
that we may share with others
the abundance of your blessings.
Strengthen us for service,
and remind us of the great joy
that awaits those who answer your call.
Accept our gifts and give us new songs of praise
as we celebrate the opportunity to be in ministry,
in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Isaiah 49, 1 Corinthians 1)

Go in the love of the One who strengthens us
for the work to which we are called.
Go in the fellowship of Jesus Christ,
who claims us as sisters and brothers.
Go in the community of the Holy Spirit,
who binds us together with all the saints.
Go with grace to shine God’s love
into all the world. Amen.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Gathering Words (Isaiah 49, Psalm 40)

(This dialogue for two voices should be rehearsed ahead of time, with no text printed in the bulletin. Be ready to move directly into an opening song: e.g., “We Are Called” or “Shine, Jesus, Shine.”)
Voice 1: Hey, everybody! God has a job for us!
Voice 2: Who does?
Voice 1: God! The God who has known you, even before you were born.
Voice 2: What are you talking about? How could someone know me before there was anyone to know?
Voice 1: I’m talking about God! God has known all about you since forever.
Voice 2: Ummm . . . sounds kind of creepy.
Voice 1: It’s not creepy, it’s fabulous! This is a God who has always known and loved you, and will always love you no matter what.
Voice 2: That’s amazing! So what’s the job?
Voice 1: Spread the news! Share the love! Shine the light! Sing the song!
Voice 2: Hey, slow down! That’s a big job. Can’t God just take care of it?
Voice 1: God is taking care of it—by giving you what you need to do the job. God has chosen you!
Voice 2: Well, it’s hard to argue with someone who has known me since before I was born. So what’s that song you mentioned?
Voice 1: Let’s start singing right now!

Praise Sentences (Isaiah 49, Psalm 40, 1 Corinthians 1)

God is faithful.
God’s steadfast love and faithfulness
keep us safe forever.
God is faithful.
The Holy One of Israel has chosen you.
God is faithful.
By God, you were called into fellowship
with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
God is faithful.
Let us worship God!


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

Laura Jaquith Bartlett

 Laura Jaquith Bartlett has a passion for planning and leading worship. As a musician, she especially enjoys read more…
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