January 27, 2019

January 27, 2019

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Epiphany 3C

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

Psalm 19

1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

Luke 4:14-21

Call to Worship  (from I Corinthians 12)

One:  Welcome to this time of celebration!
Many:   We’ve come together, eager to strengthen our bonds in one body.
One:  Remembering the beauty of many members joined into one whole, 

            we join together to worship God.
Many:  We recognize we are different people, 
             each with different gifts and different abilities.
One:   And it takes all of us together to build up the body of Christ.
Many:  So let us join hands and hearts as we lift our voices to honor
            our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.

Opening Prayer

God of all life, thank you for bringing us into your presence in this place, where we can rejoice in the cords that bind us together. 
As we worship you, help us tune our ears, focus our eyes, center our minds, and prepare our mouths to sing your praise. 
Restore to us the joy you set in us, 
and hear our “alleluias!”, whether silent, spoken, shouted or sung.    AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  (from Nehemiah 8)

There was a season in the life of the Hebrew people when they were not tuned in to the scriptures.  In some ways it was like today, when even regular church-goers often do not tune in to the Bible.  Different reasons for something of the same reality:  so many of us simply do not read, study or memorize scripture, despite its availability in multiple forms.  In the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, ordinary people did not know how to read, their city had been destroyed and they were returning to restore and repair the city wall and their Temple.  

Nehemiah the governor; Ezra, the scribe, and the Levites (the teachers) invited the people to gather and hear as Ezra read from the Torah.  When the people heard of God’s goodness and graciousness, they cried!  They hadn’t known how compassionate God really is!

Today, we’ve come together to hear Good News, and to worship God.  Let’s hear the same teaching and respond with our own gifts of gratitude,
that we and those for whom nothing is prepared may also share in this joy!

     “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine  
   and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared,  
                   for this day is holy to our Lord; 
                       and do not be grieved, 
            for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Joy-Giving God, thank you this day for the strength you give us!  
                        Receive these gifts as signs and symbols of
                        our strong intention to honor you as we share our offering.
                        Help us transform our own lives and the lives of others
                        even as we rejoice in our connection to you. 

Invitation to Communion

(consider using “One Bread, One Body” as your communion hymn)

The imagery from I Corinthians 12 graphically displays a reality many of us recognize here at this Table.

We are different from another!  (consider describing some of the differences – age, gender, gender-identity, race, native language, political leanings, theological stripes…or perhaps how some are present for the first time and others have been in worship here their entire lives).

And difference is ESSENTIAL to our identity as members of the body of Christ!  It would not be helpful for us to all be eyes, and no ears.  
            We’d lose the wonder of song and instruments in our worship.          
           It would be difficult to all be hands, with no feet.
            We’d lose the capacity to march for justice 
                       or walk/race against hunger.
           It would be impossible to all be mouths, but have no stomach.
            We could speak and take in food, but have no way to be nourished.

As it is, we are all members of the same body, with Jesus Christ as the head.

So we gather around the Table, putting the body together. 
We break one loaf, and share one cup (if this is what you do),n
  demonstrating to those who are eyes
    the unity we share.

All are welcome at this Table, for Jesus Christ, the head of the body, invites each one, intending for each of us to have a place in his body.

Come!  For the feast is prepared.