Worship Connection: February 4, 2024

January 4th, 2021

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Color: Green
Scripture Readings:
Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39


Call to Worship #1

L: Come, rejoice and sing! God’s love is showered over you this day.

P: We gather to praise God and celebrate God’s presence with us.

L: God shows compassion to all who are weak and downtrodden.

P: Jesus Christ offers healing mercies to our troubled souls.

L: Praise be to God who has called us here.

P: Thanks be to God for God’s eternal love. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Welcome! Open your hearts to God’s love this day!

P: Praise be to God who has called us here!

L: Let the words wash over you and offer you healing and hope.

P: Praise be to God who continually blesses us!

L: Place your hope and trust in God!

P: With joyful hearts, we come to worship and praise God who continually blesses and provides for us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2001, "We Sing to You, O God" , offer the following call to worship, with the choir singing the suggested verses.

Choir: singing verse 1: "We sing to you, O God, the Rock who gave us birth, let our rejoicing sing hour name in all the earth. To you, O God, let songs be raised, in joyful hymns, our feast of praise!"

L: God has called us here

P: We have wandered far. Life has been both joyful and sorrowful.

L: Come and find hope and healing in God’s love.

P: God’s mercy has been a shelter and strength to us.

Choir: singing verse 2: "We wandered far from home out in a desert land, you shielded with your love our fearful pilgrim band. You kept us safe within hour arms and sheltered us against the storm!

L: Great is God and greatly to be praised!

P: We will rejoice with all our spirits and energy.

L: God is our shield and our refuge!

P: God has led us to this place to refresh our souls and prepare our lives for service. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4

L: How wonderful it is to sing our praises to God!

P: Praise the Lord who gathers us together.

L: God’s mercy is given generously to all in need.

P: We are never out of the reach of God’s love.

L: Come, worship and celebrate. God is reaching out to you this day!

P: Praise be to God who continually heals and forgives us. AMEN.


Opening Prayer

Powerful God, from the very beginning you blessed creation. You have loved and shielded your people through all joys and trials of life. We come to you this day, rejoicing in the many blessings you have given to us. We open our hearts again to hear your word for us and to gather strength and joy for service in your world. Be with us and bless us again, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

How can we look at this world and not sing of your praises, O God? The beauty and majesty of the world is overpowering! Yet we have a tendency to take all that you do for us for granted. We treat the world with callous indifference, using its resources carelessly and with little regard to the future. We insist on war as solutions for problems rather than peaceful striving. We turn our backs on people in need, the weak and downtrodden go unnoticed in our midst. We always believe that someone else will care for those in need. How foolish we are, O God! How ignorant we have become! You have given to us all that we need. You have blessed us with the witness of Jesus Christ who came so that we might learn how you would have us live, in honor and peace. Forgive us. Heal our hearts and spirits. Make us fully aware of all our blessings and our responsibilities. Give us again a spirit of joy in serving you. Help us be agents of peace and hope to others. For we offer this prayer in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Jesus has come to heal our spirits and our souls. The demons of arrogance, indifference and apathy are being cast out. New life is offered to you in Jesus Christ. Rejoice! Be Glad! For God’s love is poured out to you this day. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

Tragedies abound, O Lord. Our newspapers, television newscasts, and media all report the troubled happenings in our world. War and strife seem to be the order of the day. And we are caught up in the midst of this chaos. Calm our spirits, Lord. Help us to focus on the love you have given to us in Jesus Christ. Remind us again that his healing mercies extend to us this day as surely as they did to the people of long ago. We have gathered on this day to hear your word, to be forgiven and healed, to find ways in which we may serve you in peace. We have lifted names of those near and dear to us who stand in need of your healing mercies and compassionate love. Some names we have spoken aloud; and others we have uttered in our hearts. You have heard all our prayers. You know our needs and concerns before our voices can frame them. Let us accept the love you give to us. Empower us to take that love and use it for good in your world. Let the message of hope and compassion go forth from us again to this world which focuses on tragedy and turmoil. And once again, let us know fully that you are with us. AMEN.


L: Do you see the wonders of God’s creation?

P: Life is moving too fast. We don’t have time to waste.

L: Do you know the magnificent love of God?

P: We know what we need.

L: Do you see the needs of others?

P: Our own needs dominate our lives.

L: Do you need to be healed?

P: We are fine, just as we are!

L: Really? Have you reached out to others in compassion offering healing and hope?

P: Sometimes.

L: Have you dared to admit your need for God’s love?

P: To admit to a need is to make ourselves vulnerable.

L: Become vulnerable to God. In Jesus Christ, God became vulnerable to the world.

P: We could be hurt.

L: God will heal you.

P: We could be lost and frightened.

L: God will find you and give you comfort.

P: We could become downtrodden and weak.

L: God will lift you up and strengthen you, for that is God’s way of loving.

P: Thanks be to God who will walk with us, heal and protect us. AMEN.

Benediction, Blessing, Commission

We are being sent into a world in need of healing. We have been given all that we need to be God’s messengers of peace. Go now into the world, rejoicing in God’s presence with you. Bring the news of peace and hope to all you meet. AMEN.


Note: It is a good idea to write a brief description of the visual presentation in the worship bulletin describing the symbols and their meaning.

This Sunday provides a challenge to the visual artist. The Gospel lesson focuses on the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and many others. Each congregation will have ideas about what symbols represent healing. For some congregations, the use of crutches, braces, wheelchairs, may represent infirmity and the need for healing. Some congregations may want to place pictures of people in need on their worship center. Two options have been offered for artistic elements for this day.

SURFACE: Place several risers on the main worship center. The center riser will be placed for the cross. Place one riser in front of the worship center, to the right.

FABRIC:Green is the traditional color for this season. You may want to cover the entire worship area with green fabric. Another suggestion would be to cover the area with burlap and use about 5-6 yards of green fabric woven across the worship center, down the front and across the front riser. Begin the flow of the green fabric from the riser to the left of the cross.

In option #2, using room darkening fabric, or muslin, cut in 1 yard pieces, approximately 18 inches wide, have people make hand prints, from acrylic paints of different colors and place them on the fabric to represent helping hands. You should have about three pieces of each hand print fabric.

CANDLES: Place 3 large white pillar candles on the riser to the left of the cross. Smaller pillar candles may be placed at other points in the display where you feel they are needed. Candles may be used in both suggested options.

FLOWERS/PLANTS: Aloe plants are wonderful additions to the setting. Many people in your congregation will have these plants. Place one plant to the right of the cross, on a riser. Other plants may be placed throughout the worship setting. These plants may be used in both suggested options.

ROCKS/WOOD: At the base of the aloe plant on the riser, place a collection of rocks and stones. Additional rocks and stones may be placed near the three pillar candles.


Option #1: If you are using crutches, braces, wheelchair to represent the need for healing, place them in the worship center with the wheelchair to the left and in front. Place the crutches and braces against the riser on the right in front of the worship center.

Option #2: If you want to create another design using pictures of people in need, the world in strife, place them on the risers, with the exception of the center riser on the worship table. Place several pictures on the riser in front of the worship table on the riser and on the main floor level. Place the hand print fabric under the pictures so that it drapes down, as though the hands are reaching up to help.

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