February 5, 2023

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

New for 2023 “Because of YOU, Our Church Changes Lives”, annual campaign and stewardship materials are now available through our partners at the United Church of Christ. Visit www.uccresources.com/generosity for more information. These materials have been jointly produced between the Center for Faith and Giving and the United Church of Christ.

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 58:1-9a, (9b-12)

Psalm 112:1-9, (10)

1 Corinthians 2:1-12, (13-16)

Matthew 5:13-20

Call to Worship  (inspired by Isaiah 58)

One:  Welcome to worship!  
         Here we seek to let our light break forth like the dawn.
Many:  Here we come to call, trusting the Lord will answer.
One:  Here we’re welcome to cry for help, believing the Lord will
          respond “Here I am!”
Many:  We’re gathered, eager to gain courage to do as God directs:
            to share our bread with the hungry, 
One:  to bring the homeless poor into our homes,
         to provide clothing for those who are uncovered.
Many:  As God’s own beloved children, 
           let us worship God in this time, 
           and in our actions toward “the least” of our sisters and brothers.

Opening Prayer  

God of Community, we rejoice in this time to worship you in this holy place,
and through the wonder of technology which gathers us from many places.
Help us reach out beyond the walls of this building, eager to see LIGHT emerging as we share bread and clothes, and welcome others to safe spaces.  Inspire us always to open our hands, our hearts, our minds,
that we might truly be followers of Jesus, the Christ, who shows us 
“the Way”.   AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  (inspired by Matthew 5:14-16)

(consider singing “This Little Light of Mine” before or after this stewardship invitation)

In a world in which we can so easily turn on a light, it may be challenging to remember Jesus was speaking to his disciples out on the mountain side, with no electric lights, no lighted pathways, no flashlights.  When the sun went down, everyone knew it would be DARK!

So describing the disciples “light of the world” would have had a deep significance.  

What about for you?  
If you can, imagine how YOU are “the light of the world”.

How do you let your light shine?  
What good works can be seen when you’re around?  
What happens because of you that allows others to give glory to God?

Each week, we provide an opportunity for each one of us to shine some light as we share our financial offerings.  With our gifts, this congregation is better equipped to _________________________ (provide food for the food bank?  Bring children and youth into community through youth groups?  Help people claim their identity as followers of Jesus?

Imagine how bright the light shines when we all provide resources!  

Let your light so shine so we are not hidden or under a bushel basket, but so others from all around can see and rejoice in the Light!

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Illuminating God, thank you for the ways you encourage us to let our light shine.  Please accept these gifts, multiply them, and make possible the vision for us to use them wisely, that we might let our good works be seen and celebrated, day by day.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion  

(consider providing communion cups with a taste of salt in each one, passed along or made available with your regular communion elements)

Jesus often used familiar items to help connect people to new understanding of life, faith, and God.

Today, I invite you to taste the salt as you remember Jesus telling his disciples “you are the salt of the earth”.

Remember, salt, among other things, 
provides enhanced taste.  

As followers of Jesus, how are we, how are YOU, salt?

At this Table, may we chase the salt with bread and this cup.  These simple elements become weekly “vitamins” to build us up, providing the capacity for us to fully engage — to be SALTY Christians — in a world yearning for preservation, for healing, for enhanced life.  

It’s our birthday! The Center for Faith and Giving is celebrating 13 years of serving you with a vision of creating a culture of generosity across the life of the church. Consider helping us celebrate with a gift of financial support at Centerforfaithandgiving.org