Worship Elements: January 31, 2021

December 28th, 2020

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28


Knowledge — not just what we know, but who we know (Jesus Christ and others) — focuses today’s readings. The danger, as these texts make clear, is that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. “Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable” (Deuteronomy 18:19). How do we know when a prophet is speaking in God’s name? How do we distinguish true from false prophesy? Psalm 111:10 offers a clue: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Paul expands this theme, noting that knowl- edge can be both good and bad, so be careful how you use it. What we do with knowledge of God’s purposes, and how we respond once we come to know Jesus, makes all the difference.


Call to Worship (Psalm 111)

By this I have known the presence of the Lord:
in the rising of the sun,
in the smile of another’s face,
in the touch of a hand
or the sound of a laugh,
in the scent of a flower
holding the promise of spring.
By this I have known the power of the Lord:
in the healing of hurts,
in the forgiveness of sin,
in the giving of gifts beyond all expectation,
in the shower of love
that comes from God’s Son.
Let us give thanks to the Lord with all of our heart!
Let us worship our God, whose presence and power endures forever!

Opening Prayer (1 Corinthians 8)

Almighty and most merciful God, we give thanks that you know us and love us. Help us, through the power of your Holy Spirit, grow deeper, wider, and fuller in our knowledge and understanding of your ways. Help us, through the bestowal of your divine Wisdom, bring others closer to you and to your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Psalm 111)

You, God, are known for your wonderful deeds— your mercy, forgiveness, and love. You have shown us the power of your works time and time again. And yet, we are slow to comprehend; we refuse to acknowledge your gifts; we act self-sufficient, as if we provide ourselves everything we need, when we know in our hearts that you are the author of life. Forgive us, we pray. As we confess our sins, in thought, word or deed, may your redemptive presence flood our lives that we may praise your name forevermore. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Mark 1)

We know who you are, O Christ; you are the one who silences demons and casts out evil spirits; you are the one who creates new life out of utter chaos. We know who you are, O Christ. Forgive us, we pray, when we act otherwise. In your name we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Psalm 111)

God offers redemption to people of every generation,
making new life possible for everyone.
Repent, believe in the gospel, and be healed!

Passing the Peace of Christ (Mark 1)

In meeting Christ, we become new creations. As we share the peace of Christ with each other, we share the newness of life he brings. Come, enter into new life in Christ!

Response to the Word (Mark 1, Psalm 111)

We have heard a new teaching from Jesus, this Nazarene who speaks with authority. We have seen how Christ com- mands even unclean spirits to flee, and they obey him. Jesus calls us to exorcise demons—in every form they take.
God of grace and God of mercy,
grant us wisdom for the facing of this hour,
and for all the hours and days of our lives. Amen.


Invitation to Communion

Come, the table is set. Let us eat the food that God has pre- pared for us. Let us drink the wine of the new covenant. Come, the table is set. All are welcome. Come.

Great Thanksgiving (Psalm 111, Mark 1)

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is right, and a good and joyful thing,
always and everywhere to give thanks to you,
Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth.
You have created the earth and sky,
the sea and stars,
and all the living creatures therein.
Your works are the essence of majesty and honor.
Your righteousness lives forever.
You demonstrate your power
in strange and unexpected ways:
from the birth of your Son in a manger,
to the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit
calling us to love one another.
The works of your hands are faithful and just,
and your mercy endures forever.
And so, with your people on earth
and all the company of heaven,
we praise your name
and join their unending hymn.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one
who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Holy are you, and blessed is your Son, Jesus Christ
who came to cleanse us from our sins,
and to bring us newness of life.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, he healed people,
and taught as one who had authority.
He brought a new teaching—
a teaching of love, forgiveness, and the power of God for justice and mercy.

(Words of Institution)


Benediction (Deuteronomy 18, Mark 1)

Go on; get out of here! God’s prophet, God’s Son,
calls us to teach others of God’s power and might.
From this worshipping fellowship, we go into the
community, seeking to tell others our stories.
Go on; get out of here!
Share how God has transformed you.
Invite others to become disciples of this new teacher.
We will invite others to share our journey,
even if it scares us to death.
Go on, I mean it; get out of here!
Share how God has brought you to knowledge
and wisdom of new ways, new opportunities, new ways of being.
We go with joy. We leave in peace. Amen.


Contemporary Gathering Words (Psalm 111)

Do not fret because of all the stresses of the world!
Come, take delight in the Lord!
Leave the unpaid bills, the pile of dirty laundry,
the dirty dishes in the sink.
Come, take delight in the Lord!
Set aside the petty arguments, the backstabbing coworker,
and the person with the “I Heart Jesus” bumper
sticker who cut you off for that last parking spot.
Now is the time! Come, take delight in the Lord!

Praise Sentences (Deuteronomy 18)

God has raised up a new prophet, filled with teachings of love and forgiveness!
God has raised up a new prophet, Jesus the Christ!

From “The Abingdon Worship Annual 2009,” edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © 2008 by Abingdon Press. 

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