~ SERVICE OF THE WORD ~

January 31, 2021

Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP

Creator of all that is, draw us close to you in this time of worship that we might rejoice, for you give power to the faint and you strengthen the powerless. Bind us together, so we will go from this place prepared to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint as we live each day as disciples of Jesus, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

(tap on the video to watch the service)

Upper Room Link.png

PRELUDE MUSIC

 

GREETING & CALL TO WORSHIP

Good morning and welcome to St John’s Church. Today is the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany and our worship today focuses on the beginning of Jesus’ ministry of teaching and healing. Let us begin our worship together as we stand for our gathering hymn.

GATHERING HYMN  

“Praise To The Lord”

1. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!

O, my soul, praise Him, for He is my health and salvation.

Come all who hear, now to His temple draw near;

Praise Him in glad adoration!

2. Praise to the Lord, who does prosper your work & defend you;

Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend you.

Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,

When with His love He befriends you.

3. Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!

All that has life & breath, come now with praises before Him.

Let the Amen sound from His people again:

Gladly forever adore Him!      

 

PSALM OF THE DAY     

Psalm 111

Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.

Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.

He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.

He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant. 

He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.

They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever. 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Let us confess our sins before God and one another.

Almighty God, we thank you for this extraordinary world and it's reminders of your resilience, grace, hope and life. We confess that we have not always followed your ways and your teachings. We have diminished your power to make the impossible real, to break apart the evils of oppression, to cast out the very real fears that paralyze us, to banish the demons of judgement and worthlessness. Forgive us, O God, when we do not trust you to deal with the awfulness we find in our world. Forgive us when contribute to the brokenness around us. Forgive us when we trust darkness more than we trust in your light. Cast out our demons, O God, and make us new again so that we can walk with you. Amen.

  

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Anyone in Christs becomes a new person altogether. The past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. Friends believe the Good News of the Gospel: in Jesus Christ we are all forgiven. Amen.

SHARING GOD'S PEACE

     God’s peace is yours!

     And yours also!

ACT OF PRAISE

     Let us praise the Lord!

     The Lord’s name be praised!

     Response: “Glory Be To The Father”  

Glory be to the Father,

and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be.

World without end! Amen. Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT READING

Deuteronomy 18: 15-20

A New Prophet Like Moses

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”

 

NEW TESTAMENT READING

1 Corinthians 8: 1-13

Food Offered To Idols

Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him. 

 

Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth – as in fact there are many gods and many lords – yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

 

It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

 

GOSPEL READING

Mark 1: 21-28

The Man With An Unclean Spirit

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit,  and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching – with authority! Hecommands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

HYMN  

“O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee”

1. O Master, let me walk with Thee 

In lowly paths of service free;

Teach me Thy secret, help me bear

The strain of toil, the fret of care.

 

2. Help me the slow of heart to move

By some clear, winning word of love;

Teach me the wayward feet to stay,

And guide them in the home-ward way.

 

3. In hope that sends a shining ray

Far down the future’s broad’ning way,

In peace that only Thou canst give,

With Thee, O Master, let me live. 

MEDITATION

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH 

“The Apostles’ Creed”

I believe in God the Father Almighty, 

     Creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

     He was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

     Born of the Virgin Mary,

     Suffered under Pontius Pilate,

     Was crucified, died, and was buried;

     He descended to the dead.

     On the third day he rose again;

     He ascended into heaven,

     He is seated at the right hand of the Father,

     And he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

     The holy catholic Church,

     The communion of saints,

     The forgiveness of sins,

     The resurrection of the body

     And the life everlasting. Amen.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

MORNING PRAYERS & LORD’S PRAYER (using debts/debtors)

     The Lord be with you.

     And with you also.

Gracious and loving God, as we come to you in prayer and we lay our hearts before you, you already know our hopes and wants before we even speak them. We get so caught up in our own needs, we forget to think about our friends and neighbors, much less pray for people we have never met. Help us to be an example of your teachings to those around us.

As we try to pray for places around the world that we cannot find on a map, as we struggle to comprehend world events,  bridge the chasm between our quiet lives and those whose lives are in turmoil. Help them know the peace that only you can give.  

 

And so, humbled, we come before you now, placing our faith wholly in you, trusting that you know the needs of others, believing that in your love and mercy you will reach out and touch those whose suffering we cannot comprehend.

 

As we pray, Holy One, call on us to be your church. Let us hear your voice as clearly as the disciples mending their nets heard your invitation, “Come, follow me.” We know that you are calling us to be a part, somehow, of your healing, life-giving touch, both in our community and around the world. 

 

Lord of Life, may our desire to see your will done on earth, our prayer for our neighbors, not end with these words, but continue day by day, moment by moment, in our actions. May this prayer, through your grace, become the way we are connected through your love with all creation. May our prayers transform our lives and may all our words and deeds be an offering to you. We ask all these things through Christ, our Lord, who taught us to pray saying...

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

OFFERING

Let us present with joy our offerings of commitment and support for the ministry of Christ’s church in this place and  throughout the world. Please stand as we join together in singing God’s praise…Please stand as we join together in singing God’s praise…

     Response: "Doxology"

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

      Praise Him, all creatures here below.

Praise Him above ye heav’nly host.

      Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Amen.

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Awesome God, you sent Jesus to teach people and reach people, accept these gifts we offer to you that they may be used to pass on the promise of hope, of peace, of life, and of community to all in need. Amen.

PARTING HYMN

“Teach Me, O Lord Your Holy Way”

1. Teach me, O Lord, Your holy way, 

And give me an obedient mind

That in Your service I may find 

My soul’s delight from day to day.

 

2. Help me, O Savior, here to trace

The sacred footsteps you have trod;

And fully trusting in my God,

 To grow in goodness, truth, and grace.

3. Bless me in every task I face,

Begun, continued, done for You

Fulfill Your will in all I do,

And grant me Your abundant grace. 

COMMISSION & BENEDICTION

Go now, and heed God’s message of wonderful mercy and kindness. Welcome the freedom that is won in truth, but never use freedom to undermine others. See that your words and actions are worthy of praise. And may God uphold us in lasting covenant, may Christ Jesus free us from all harm, and may the Holy Spirit nourish us in wisdom and faithfulness. We go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

     Response: “Amen, Amen, Amen” 

CHIMES & POSTLUDE MUSIC

“Praise To The Lord, The Almighty” words used by permission of Oxford University Press.

Permission to reproduce / podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

License #A​ - 737625.​ All rights reserved.

© 2021 Saint John's United Church of Christ, Schuylkill Haven, PA.   Created with WIX.com