Worship Elements: February 12, 2012

January 16th, 2012

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: 2 Kings 5:1-14; Psalm 30; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Mark 1:40-45

Theme Ideas

The theme of today’s lectionary readings is healing. From the Old Testament lesson of the healing of Naaman, to the Markan account of the healing of the leper, to the praise and thanksgiving offered in the Psalter, today’s scriptures point to the glorious truth that God heals. When focusing on healing, it is tempting to dwell on the physical aspects and the many “why” questions that arise when physical healing does not happen—or at least does not happen the way we want it to (see 2 Kings 5:11). The preacher and worship planner may also wish to search the ways God provides spiritual healing, and/or delve into the ways healing has already occurred in the life of the congregation.

Call to Worship (Psalm 30)

I will praise you, O God, for you have lifted me up.
You did not let my foes rejoice over me.
You, O God, have healed me,
You have brought up my soul from the pits of hell.
I will sing and praise you, O God.
I give thanks for your holy name.
You have turned my mourning into dancing.
You have clothed me with joy.

My soul will praise you, O God, and it will not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Call to Worship (Psalm 30)

All the days of my life, O God,
I have struggled with disease and illness.
But your love remains steadfast.
In my comings and goings, my growing older day by day,
your love remains steadfast.
As the stress of life grows ever greater, and as the material promises of this world fail one by one,
your love remains steadfast.
In all my weakness, O God,
I have relied on your grace and your love.
O Lord my God, I give thanks to you
for healing and life!

Call to Worship (Psalm 30)

Like a person admitted to the emergency room
in need of defibrillation,
you have brought me back from the brink of death,
O God.

Even though cancer seeks to remove my hair, my voice,
my strength, my sense of taste,
nothing can remove your love from me, O God.
In the middle of the night, when all about is quiet
and the only sounds are my anxieties and fears
creeping through my veins,
your love sustains me and brings me
through to the morning.

In the middle of the afternoon, when chaos threatens,
and the priorities of our professions and family
seem mutually exclusive,
your love sustains me and brings me
a sense of purpose and priority.

Does illness praise you, O God? Does death?
No! For you, O God, have removed the bonds
of sin and death, and I will sing your praises forever.

Contemporary Gathering Words (Mark 1)

There are days and times when the only question on our lips is “why?” Why did my child have to get sick? Why is my husband suffering with cancer? Why did I get Lupus? For all the days that end in why, you, O God, are there. I don’t have to know the answers just now. I don’t have to understand everything you are doing. I just have to trust, remain faithful, remain steady, and remain connected to my community of faith and prayer. I need to remain faithful—even if that means reaching out when I feel like staying secret; even if that means telling my best friend that I have a drinking problem; even if that means telling my prayer circle that my best friend has breast cancer. Healing is what God desires. Healing is what God does. Come, see and hear that God’s promises are still real. Come, see and hear that God is alive and well and living in (the name of your town or church)!

Praise Sentences

Sing and dance and leap for joy,
God has brought us safely to this house of worship.
I’ve got joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart,
and I’m gonna let my face show it today!

Opening Prayer (Mark 1)

Gracious and living God,
we give you thanks for this day
and for the promises you give us.
Help us live each day
in the fullness of those promises,
that we might experience healing and wholeness
all the days of our lives.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Unison Prayer (Psalm 30)

Like two-year-old children,
we turn to you many times in our lives and ask,
“Why, Lord?”
Often with tears in our eyes and with an anxious heart,
we await your answer.
In those times, help us to trust you more fully,
to cling more tightly to your promises,
and to listen ever more intently
for that still small voice
that seeks to touch us with your love.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Benediction (Mark 1)

And now may the healing, peace and love of God
the Father, his only Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ,
and the power of the Holy Spirit
    be yours this day and forever more. Amen.

Benediction (2 Kings 5)

God is flat-out in the healing business.
It often doesn’t look like what we expect it to be,
but it’s there:
when we are able to forgive one another,
when we bring peace and wholeness
    to a hurting world,
when we bring newness
    to the dead and parched areas of our lives.
See, God makes all things new!
Go forth, in the strength of God’s love
and God’s promise of love and peace. Amen.

Adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2006, © 2005 Abingdon Press
The Abingdon Worship Annual 2012 is available now.

About the Author

Erik Alsgaard

Erik Alsgaard is managing editor in the Ministry of Communications for the Baltimore-Washington Conference.  read more…
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