Worship Elements: February 16, 2020 (Option 1)

January 7th, 2020

Sixth Sunday After the Epiphany

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37

THEME IDEAS

Today’s readings challenge us to choose life. As the church, we are called to focus on what God’s kingdom requires, what it blesses, and how the worshiping community is to live out its distinct calling to be the body of Christ. Moses reminds the people of their covenant to worship God alone and to walk in the ways of the Lord. Paul helps the congregation at Corinth to understand and reframe its views of leadership, particularly in relation to understanding the gift of growth that comes through the power of the Spirit. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus begins to move his followers from their assumptions about the ways of God: “You have heard that it was said. . .” to the ways of the gospel: “but I say to you. . . .” The teachings of
Jesus confront us with choices, each carrying its own unique consequences. Jesus calls us to choose the practices that will bring God glory and honor.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Psalm 119)

Happy are those who walk in God’s ways.
Blessed are those who observe God’s
commandments.
Faithful are those whose eyes are fixed
on righteousness.
Joyful are those whose hearts are filled
with praise.
Come, let us love the Lord our God.
We come to worship the One who leads us
in the ways of life.

Opening Prayer (Deuteronomy 30, Matthew 5)

Holy Spirit, guide us as we walk in faith,
and guard us against the powers
that would draw us away from your love.
Help us live according to your commandments,
that we might live long in the land
you have prepared for us.
Prompt us to seek you with our whole heart
and guide us to walk in your ways,
that we may carry out the vows
of the covenant we share.
May our words and deeds
bring life and faith to others,
as we hold fast to the gift of faith.
Be near us each and every day,
and bless us with your light,
that our days may be filled with grace. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Deuteronomy 30, 1 Corinthians 3)

Loving God, you call us to walk in your ways,
observe your commandments,
and love you as you have loved us.
You offer us a community of abundant blessing,
with rich soil to promote dynamic growth.
Yet we often turn away from you
to satisfy our own wants and desires.
We forsake the way of love and forgiveness,
giving in to petty jealousies and quarreling,
and surrendering our lofty ideals
to our baser inclinations.
Forgive us, O God.
When we flee from your embrace,
draw us into community with you
and with one another.
Shower us with the cleansing waters of humility,
that we may reclaim our purpose
and find nourishment and growth
in labors of love
to bring your kingdom in our midst.

Words of Assurance (Deuteronomy 30, 1 Corinthians 3)

God is alive and at work nurturing our growth,
nourishing our needs, and reconciling us
to one another.
God hears the confessions of our hearts
and forgives generously, sharing love with all
who follow in God’s ways.
It is through God’s amazing grace that we are forgiven.
And all God’s children respond:
Thanks be to God!

Response to the Word (Matthew 5)

O God, send your Spirit upon us and light our path,
that we may travel the road
you have prepared for us.
Having heard your scriptures proclaimed,
and your word revealed,
enable our hearts and minds
to more fully understand
your goodness and your grace.
Help us break free from ideas that no longer bring life,
that we may embrace the life-giving
work of your Spirit.
Challenge us to forsake paths that ask little of us,
and help us resist the evils
and temptations of this world,
that we may truly follow the way
of kingdom living. Amen.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Offering Prayer (1 Corinthians 3)

Gracious God,
as we present these offerings,
may we be reminded of the many blessings
you have shared with us as individuals,
and as a community of believers.
You have fed us with the milk of your grace,
and have nurtured us with a love
that knows no limits or boundaries.
May our sharing this day
reveal our priorities and our promises,
for we belong to you and offer you our gifts,
that they may be used
in mission and in ministry
to bring glory to you, our Creator,
Redeemer, and Sustainer. Amen.

Invitation to Communion (1 Corinthians 3)

As we gather at the Lord’s table, all are welcome. Having a common purpose, we receive growth from the love of God, and nurture and nourishment from the body and blood of Christ Jesus. At this table, we are redeemed by God, reconciled to one another, and called to labor in God’s fields, where love and forgiveness are sown. The table is ready; the meal is prepared. Come, be fed, and savor the feast of the Lord!

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Deuteronomy 30)

As we journey out into the world,
may each of us walk in the light of God’s ways,
striving to be blameless and just.
May our hearts be vessels of God’s love
and may the Lord bless us in the land
that we are entering.
Hold fast. Do not be led astray,
and may the love of God
be yours this day and forevermore.
Go now in peace. Amen.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Gathering Words (Deuteronomy 30)
Love your God,
and walk in God’s ways.
We will love God,
and walk in God’s ways.
Love your God,
and hold fast to God in everything you do.
We will love God,
and walk in God’s ways.

—OR—

Gathering Words (Psalm 119)

Happy are those who seek God in all things,
who turn from wrong and walk with God.
Happy are those who know God’s love,
and live with joy.
Happy are those who share praise
with a heart of pure love.
Happy are those who know God’s love,
and live with joy.

Praise Sentences (Deuteronomy 30)

Choose life! Choose God!
Live in God’s love!
God’s way is good!
Hold fast to God!

(Mary Petrina Boyd)

About the Author

J. Wayne Pratt

J. Wayne Pratt is retired from active pastoral ministry, Pratt served for twenty years as a Local Pastor in The United read more…
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