Worship Elements: February 7, 2021

February 2nd, 2021

Color: Green

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

Theme Ideas

Proclaiming the gospel is not optional, says Paul! That seems like a no-brainer, but how many of us intentionally fill our days proclaiming the gospel? The gospel message is chock-full of the good news of love—not just any love, but the love of the everlasting God. This is the one who created the earth and the heavens, who provides sustenance, strength, compassion, and healing for all creatures, and who takes delight in those who place their hope in the tenacious and tender power of divine love. How can we keep quiet in the face of this amazing truth?

Invitation and Gathering

Centering Words (Isa 40, Ps 147, 1 Cor 9, Mark 1)

(Suggestion: “How Can I Keep from Singing?” would be a good prelude or gathering song before worship begins.)

How can we keep silent if we truly know the awesome power, mercy, and love of God?

Call to Worship (Isa 40, Ps 147, 1 Cor 9)

Voice 1: Is anyone here feeling tired?
Voice 2: YES! I am weary and weighed down with burdens.
All: Take heart! God gives us strength and energy.
Voice 1: Is anyone here hurt or grieving?
Voice 2: YES! I am wounded and in pain.
All: Take heart! God heals broken hearts.
Voice 1: Is anyone here short on cash, pinched for resources?
Voice 2: YES! I am overwhelmed with debt and the effort of making ends meet.
All: Take heart! God’s reward is free for the taking.
Voice 1: Is anyone here left out, shunned, outcast?
Voice 2: YES! I have been pushed to the margins, labeled unworthy of inclusion.
All: Take heart! God is calling your name and waiting to gather you close in love!

Opening Prayer (Isa 40, Ps 147, 1 Cor 9, Mark 1)

Holy One, with our ancestors and all the people of God,
we gather to sing your praises.
You are the one who has created the cosmos
and the ants.
You give food to whales and sparrows,
name the stars, and count the hairs on our heads.
Compassionate One, we offer you our thanksgiving
for your many blessings.
Powerful One, inspire us this day:
to turn our praise into action,
to share your good news
with those who long to hear a word of hope,
to proclaim your message of peace and justice
throughout the world.
Praise to you! Amen.

Proclamation and Response

Prayer of Confession (Isa 40, Ps 147, 1 Cor 9, Mark 1)

God of Strength, we confess our doubt.
We are weary, but we turn to caffeine
instead of waiting to be carried effortlessly
on your eagle’s wings.
Forgive us, we pray.

(silence)

God of Justice, we confess our lack of trust.
We are outraged and angry,
but we turn to name-calling, tweeting,
and demonizing others
instead of waiting for you to lift us up
from the pit.
Forgive us, we pray.

(silence)

God of Grace, we confess our reticence.
We praise you with enthusiasm on Sunday,
but then we turn to safe clichés
about separating religion and politics
when we could be proclaiming the message
of your limitless love.
Forgive us, we pray.

(silence)

Words of Assurance (Isa 40:31 NRSV, 1 Cor 9)

(The final silence is ended with instrumental music playing “On Eagle’s Wings” [United Methodist Hymnal #143]; the music continues under the Words of Assurance.)

Hear God’s promise to all:
“Those who wait for the Lord
shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.”
Know that God’s promise of grace and forgiveness
is free of charge!

(Respond to these words by singing the refrain of “On Eagle’s Wings.”)

Passing the Peace of Christ (Isa 40, 1 Cor 9)

Each one of us has come here today needing to hear words of peace, grace, and love. Spend the next minute offering these words with those around you: “God’s love is for you.” Respond by saying, “Hallelujah!”

Prayer of Preparation (Isa 40, Ps 147, 1 Cor 9, Mark 1)

You who formed us, named us, and gathered us,
open our ears to hear your message.
You who give power to the faint,
help us understand your message.
You who uplift, strengthen, and heal,
inspire us to proclaim your message.
We pray in the name of Christ, who is the Message.
Amen.

Response to the Word (1 Cor 9, Mark 1)

It’s time now for the [insert the name of your own faith community] Quiz Show! All you need to do is answer each question correctly. Let’s see if you can do it!

When you leave today, what are you called to do?
Proclaim the Gospel message of God’s love.
When you encounter people who are lonely,
what are you called to do?
Proclaim the Gospel message of God’s love.
When you encounter people who are discouraged,
what are you called to do?
Proclaim the Gospel message of God’s love.
When you encounter people who are hurting,
what are you called to do?
Proclaim the Gospel message of God’s love.
When you encounter people who are different,
what are you called to do?
Proclaim the Gospel message of God’s love.
When you encounter people who are marginalized,
what are you called to do?
Proclaim the Gospel message of God’s love.
Every minute of every day,
what are you called to do?
Proclaim the Gospel message of God’s love.
We are all big winners when we share the blessings of God’s love!

Thanksgiving and Communion

Offering Prayer (Isa 40, Ps 147, 1 Cor 9, Mark 1)

God, you have created the universe.
Everything we see has come into being because of you.
Your glory is beyond our comprehension.
Yet, you give us the most precious gift imaginable:
your everlasting love and faithfulness.
With great joy we now offer our own gifts—
puny in comparison, but given with grateful hearts
that belong to you, now and always.
We are thankful for the opportunity
to put these gifts to work
proclaiming your gospel of love. Amen.

Sending Forth

Benediction (Isa 40, Ps 147, Mark 1)

The God who named the stars has named each of us.
Remember that God is calling your name.
We will answer God’s call
to proclaim the gospel of love.
Jesus Christ healed, cast out the demons,
and made people whole.
Jesus offers you wholeness.
Healed by Christ, even in our brokenness,
we go to proclaim the gospel of love.
The Holy Spirit anointed Mary, birthed the church,
and is right now blowing you out this door!
Empowered by the Spirit,
we go out to proclaim the gospel of love!
Amen!

From The Abingdon Worship Annual 2021, edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © 2020 by Abingdon Press. 

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